Approximately forty percent of hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume. To make the cut, you’ll need an eye-catching document that clearly articulates your skills and qualifications.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to make a resume for a job, including:
How to write a resume in 10 steps
We’ll provide expert resume-writing tips, professional resume examples for popular jobs in 2024, sample resumes for special circumstances, and resume templates to get you started.
Dive right in with a walkthrough of our Resume Builder to learn how to make a professional resume that wins interviews.
Video: Master Resume Building in 3 Minutes with MyPerfectResume
How to write a resume for a job
Chances are, if you write a good resume, you’ll be booked for interviews for every job you seek. But what’s the secret? How do you make a resume that employers respond to?
Keep reading! We’ve broken down the instructions for how to create a resume, step-by-step.
Preparation is key to writing a resume that stands out. We’ll cover what essential information you should gather before writing your resume to save time and put your best foot forward.
To ensure a well-prepared resume, carefully examine your relevant qualifications and match them with the requirements of your desired job.
Take the time to organize a comprehensive list that includes:
- Measurable accomplishments from your previous positions that highlight your achievements and contributions.
- A complete inventory of your soft skills, hard skills and technical skills, matching them to the required skills outlined in the job description.
- Detailed information about your previous employers, including their names, dates of employment, locations, job titles and a clear outline of your responsibilities.
- Educational credentials, such as your college degree, certifications or licenses that demonstrate your expertise in specific areas.
- Any volunteer work where you gained skills and experience relevant to the role you are applying for.
- Notable awards and honors you have received, which further validate your exceptional abilities and dedication.
Review these qualifications against the job description and note where there is a match. Writing a customized resume is a great way to impress employers and secure interviews.
Make me (the hiring manager ) believe your are interested in our job, not just any job. Specifically, try to use the language of the job posting in your resume. This will also make sure your application makes it past any automated screening software designed to toss out irrelevant applicants. – CJ Johnson, veteran people manager for Silicon Valley startups and unicorns
By planning to include these matching qualifications in your resume, you set yourself up for success.
A compelling, tailored document that effectively highlights your qualifications increases your chances of securing your desired job.
Now that you’ve prepared your information, it’s time to choose a resume format that effectively showcases your qualifications.
There are three standard formats. Each uses the same resume sections but organizes them differently, so choose one that works best for your work experience level and your professional goals. We’ve detailed each format below:
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One of the most important aspects of writing a resume is ensuring that your contact information is clearly displayed so that hiring managers can contact you for an interview.
Check out the examples below to learn what contact information to include, where to place it and how to format it for maximum impact.
You can also explore our library of 800+ resume examples to draw additional inspiration for ways to display your contact information.
Here’s what to include in your resume contact information:
- Your full name.
- A reliable phone number.
- Your professional email address.
- Your city, state and ZIP code.
- A link to your professional social media account, website or portfolio if you have them.
Example of an effective resume header:
Kathy Backer | 555-555-5555 | Milwaukee, WI 53209
firstname.lastname@example.org | https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathy-baker/
A compelling resume summary provides a concise and impactful overview of a candidate’s qualifications, skills and career goals.
Murray emphasizes that a resume summary should “hook the reader and entice them to explore your resume further,” avoiding generic clichés while highlighting what sets you apart from other applicants.
Here’s a captivating resume summary:
If you are a first-time job seeker, changing careers or returning to work after a long absence, you can write a resume objective instead.
Unlike a resume summary, a resume objective should tell hiring managers why you want the job, but it should focus on the needs of the company, not your goals. Hiring managers want to know what’s in it for them, so get their attention and make them your objective.
Here’s a strong objective for a resume:
The bottom line: Whether you use a resume summary or a resume objective, make it compelling, concise and clear.
Potential employers want to know what they can gain by hiring you, so they will review your resume work history section to see how you have used your skills and knowledge to make an impact on current and previous employers.
For each job, display three to five work accomplishments in bullet points and quantify them when possible. A 2018 survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 34% of hiring managers identified a lack of quantifiable results in a resume as an instant deal breaker.
For example, a teacher might write: “35% of the senior class improved end-of-semester test scores by 25% within three months.”
Format this resume section by listing jobs in reverse-chronological order, with the current or latest position at the top. Include your title, the company name and location, the dates of employment and bullet points with your top achievements and responsibilities. For example:
Secretary | BCforward – Milwaukee, WI | 08/2015 – Current
- Conducted thorough research using diverse resources to assist professional staff with routine and special project tasks.
- Provided clerical support to 200 company employees by copying, faxing and filing documents
- Produced accurate office files, updated spreadsheets and crafted presentations to support executives and boost team efficiency
Resume Action Verbs
When writing a resume, you must include at least one bulleted list of skills, no matter what resume format you use. Include a mix of hard skills and soft skills to show recruiters that you are well-rounded.
When thinking about what to put on a resume skills section, aim for an average of six to eight of your top strengths, as long as they are relevant to the job you want.
If you are changing careers or applying for your first job without work experience, focus on transferable skills like communication and critical thinking, which can apply to almost any job.
An important step in learning how to write a good resume for a job is learning how to list your education credentials. Here’s what goes on a resume education section:
- If you did not attend college, display your high school diploma or GED.
- If you attended college or graduate school but did not complete a degree, then add the name(s) of the schools you attended and your courses of study.
- Add your anticipated date of graduation, if you have one. You don’t need to include the graduation year if you graduated more than 10 years ago.
If you want to know how to make a resume correctly, every resume education section must have:
- The name of your university, community college or school. Only include high school if you’re a high school student or didn’t attend university.
- Location of the school: Write the city and state.
- The month and year you graduated. If you still haven’t graduated, then write the expected graduation date.
- The type of degree you received or expect to receive and the program. For example, a “Bachelor of Science in Nursing” or a “Bachelor of Arts in English.”
Columbia University, New York, NY
Bachelor of Science in Social Work
You may also include:
- Your GPA if it is higher than 3.5 and you just graduated college, or it’s required. Otherwise, you shouldn’t add it.
- Relevant coursework. If you have not graduated or have recently graduated but don’t have work experience, then add a bulleted list of relevant coursework you’ve completed.
- Honors, scholarships and awards such as Dean’s List or Rhodes Scholarship if they were recent. Always provide the full name of the award and the year you received it.
Some jobs, like nursing, accounting and teaching, require candidates to have certifications and licenses. Some job seekers go the extra mile and get additional training or certificates to establish their expertise in their chosen fields.
When making a resume, create a separate resume section for certifications, licenses or professional training you have completed.
Here’s how to make a good resume certifications section for any additional training.
Directly below your education section, list:
- The title of the certification, course or license.
- Name of the certifying agency or body.
- The date you obtained each certificate.
- The expiration date of your certificate (if applicable). If you have not yet finished the course, write “In Progress” with the expected date of completion.
Consider the examples below when writing your resume.
How to write a resume certifications section
Example of current certification:
American Red Cross, June 2021
Expires: June 2023
Example of “in progress” certification:
First Aid Training (In Progress)
American Red Cross
Expected date of completion: Feb 2024
How to write a resume licenses section
Beauty Operator License
Board of Barbering & Cosmetology
Registered Nurse – License #000000
California Board of Registered Nursing
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How do you make a resume that stands out? Good resume writing is more than just making sure you have all the basics. Add optional sections, like volunteer work, awards, honors and publications.
If you have published work or have received relevant awards that will help you further highlight your accomplishments, then you should include them — they won’t hurt your chances but help you stand out.
Only add a separate section for awards, honors, publications or volunteer work if you cannot tie them into other resume sections.
- If the award, honor or publication is tied to your degree, you can include it as a bullet point in your education section below the university or high school name.
- You can include it in your work history section as a bullet point if it’s relevant to a specific job.
- If you have the space, create a separate section for awards, honors or publications under your education section. List them as bullet points in reverse-chronological order with the year you received or published them.
Volunteer work can add value to a resume because it shows that you are willing to help others and have passions outside of work. These traits are attractive to employers in 2024 and can help you stand out from candidates who do not have volunteer experience.
Format this section the same way you formatted your work history section, with a clear heading (“Volunteer Experience”) and your volunteer position titles with a few bullet points describing your responsibilities.
However, if you have minimal or no professional experience, you might consider adding relevant volunteer experience to your work history section. Make sure to include “volunteer” in the job title for clarity (i.e., “Volunteer Program Manager”).
Below your education section (or certifications section if you have one), write the name of the optional credential followed by one to five bullet points listing the names of the certificates followed by the dates earned or published.
Example of how to format the volunteer experience section on your resume
Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer Builder, 2018-present
- Worked on construction projects to build and repair homes for low-income families.
- Collaborated with a team of volunteers and Habitat staff to complete projects on time and within budget.
American Red Cross, Volunteer Blood Donor Ambassador, 2017-2018
- Assisted with blood drives by welcoming donors, registering them, and providing information about the donation process.
- Helped to ensure a positive donor experience and encouraged repeat donations.
Example of how to make a resume awards section
- George Polk Award for National Reporting (2020)
- Conscience-in-Media Award (2018)
- Clio Awards (2016)
Example of how to create a resume honors section
- Alliance Pipeline Sports Scholarship (2018-2021)
- Pi Sigma Alpha honor society member (2017-2021)
Example of how to write a resume publications section
- “The Unidentified Bands and Atomic Hydrogen,” Astronomy & Physics, Vol. 650, March 2020.
- “Make the Sun,” Nature Astronomy, 860-862, November 2019
- “The Duality of Black Holes,” Astronomy Now, Vol. 20, June 2019
Typos and grammatical errors are the most common resume-writing mistakes — and a deal-breaker for about 80% of hiring managers. When making a resume, reread it thoroughly to ensure that you’ve written everything perfectly and that all your dates and company names are correct.
Formatting errors are also a big turnoff for hiring managers. You can make a resume easy for them to read by following these simple formatting resume tips:
- Keep it short. A resume should only be one page long unless you have more than 10 years of work experience and need the extra room. In that case, two pages maximum is acceptable.
- Set margins to 1 inch on all sides of your document.
- Use appropriate resume fonts, like Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica.
- Stick to a font size between 10-12 on the body and 14-16 on headers.
- Choose between single or 1.5 line spacing.
- Save your resume as a PDF, plain text or DOCX. Sometimes employers specify in the job description which file type to use; always follow their directions. If they don’t specify a file format, save your resume as a PDF or .DOCX.
- Your resume file name matters! We recommend this formula: “[Your First Name]_[Your Last Name]_[Resume].pdf.” You might consider incorporating the company name or job title into the file name for specificity and to keep your files organized.
And that sums up how to write a resume for a job application. When you finish downloading your document, it should look similar to the example below.
How to make a resume free and fast
Start your resume on the right track with a professional resume template. Our expertly designed templates organize your job credentials correctly in all three standard resume formats and they meet the latest applicant tracking system (ATS) requirements.
Use a professional resume template with our Resume Builder to build a resume in minutes. You can also upload your existing resume to instantly reformat it to one of our templates.
Our Resume Builder makes it easy to make a resume quickly and easily with the following features:
- Job-specific phrases and skills: No matter the job you’re applying for, we provide the best words to help showcase your job qualifications.
- Step-by-step guidance: Get expert advice at every step to help you present your best self and get the job.
- ATS resume checker: Our ATS resume checker scans your resume for common errors and provides personalized feedback on optimizing your resume.
- Easy customization: Write a cover letter for every job application and save as many versions of it as you need. Use our cover letter templates for a matching resume and cover.
- Multiple download formats: Save and export your resume as a PDF, DOCX or plain text.
Effective resume examples by job title and circumstance
Choose an example to guide you through creating a resume that impresses hiring managers, then use our builder to customize it for your target job.
Examples of how to write a resume for popular jobs in 2024
We offer thousands of resume examples to help you learn how to make a resume for a job in almost every industry.
Here are the top 15:
Resume samples for special circumstances
Expert resume-writing tips to help you land the job
How do you make a resume that gets past ATS software and wins the hearts of hiring managers? Follow these simple tips for success! Want more tips and tricks from career advice experts? Read about what to put on a resume to get hired fast.
- Create a resume for every job application and customize it for your target job. The best way to do this is to use resume keywords or phrases in the job description and adjust your work experience, skills and summary or objective to the potential employer’s needs.
- Find time to dedicate solely to your resume. Writing a resume is pretty straightforward, but it takes time and focused effort to make a resume for each job that rises above the competition.
- Write and don’t stop to correct your resume along the way. When you get it all down, step away for a few hours and return to it with fresh eyes to refine your resume writing.
- Include only relevant experience in your work history section and required skills that you know are relevant to the job at hand.
- Include up to 10 years of work experience for any job you target.
Create a complementary cover letter
Nice work! You’ve followed all of our advice on how to write a proper resume. So now you have a great resume and you’re ready to apply for your dream job. Not so fast!
You need more than the perfect resume to get an interview. Your job application isn’t complete without a compelling cover letter to complement your resume.
Not sure where to start? Explore our professional cover letter examples, then choose an expertly designed cover letter template that catches your eye.
Once you have the perfect template picked out, you can use our Cover Letter Builder to make a compelling cover letter in a matter of minutes.
- Prepare by gathering information on your past employers and key achievements from each role.
- Select the best resume format to showcase your skills and qualifications.
- Write a customized resume for every job you apply for.
- Include keywords and phrases from the job description throughout your resume.
- Ensure that your resume is error-free by proofreading it thoroughly and asking a trusted friend or family member to review it.
- Use our Resume Builder and professionally designed templates to make a resume in minutes.
- Get inspired by our resume examples for different jobs and circumstances.
- Include a compelling cover letter with your job application.
What should a resume look like in 2024?
Your resume should be well-formatted with clear sections, easy-to-read fonts and a professional design. We recommend exploring the professionally made samples on this page, which exemplify what a standout resume looks like in 2024.
As technology continues to advance and the job market becomes more competitive, employers are seeking candidates with specific skills and abilities. A resume that clearly highlights relevant skills and certifications is likely to impress employers and win interviews.
Additionally, companies are likely to continue embracing remote work in 2024. As such, job seekers may need to highlight their experience and skills in virtual collaboration, remote communication and digital tools.
Check out what your resume should look like in 2024 for additional tips on optimizing the layout and content of your resume.
How do I write a resume that stands out to recruiters?
Making your resume stand out to recruiters can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use to increase your chances of getting noticed. Here are a few quick tips:
- Tailor your resume to the job.
- Use strong action verbs.
- Quantify achievements.
- Keep it concise.
- Include relevant keywords.
- Highlight your unique value.
- Use a professional format.
The easiest and fastest way to make a resume that stands out is to use one of our professionally designed resume templates with our Resume Builder. You can even use your resume to generate a cover letter in our Cover Letter Builder.
We provide the tools you need and guidance on how to correctly write a resume that highlights your skill set. Plus, you can download your resume in multiple formats and save it to tailor it to your next job.
What are the basic steps to writing a resume?
Here’s a sample of how to write a resume in a few simple steps:
- Prepare by gathering your information.
- Choose a format and a resume template.
- Add your contact information to the resume header.
- Write a resume summary or objective statement.
- Make a resume work experience section.
- Create a resume skills section.
- Add your education credentials.
- Include certifications, licenses and training if applicable.
- Add optional resume sections if you have any.
- Proofread, save and send in your application!
By following these steps, you can create a compelling document that highlights your strengths and increases your chances of getting an interview. We also recommend checking out the best AI resume builders, which can help you make a resume in a matter of minutes.
How do you make a resume with no experience?
If you don’t have work experience and you’re not sure how to write a resume for the first time, follow these tips:
- Choose a functional resume format. This format is ideal for job seekers without work experience because it focuses on skills over professional history.
- Write a resume objective under your contact information. Job applicants without experience benefit from objective statements over resume summaries because objectives explain job goals and emphasize essential skills and traits that match the job.
- Highlight your transferable skills — traits and abilities you can use in various jobs and industries. For example, strong communication skills are just as important for customer service jobs as they are for teaching.
- Lean on your non-work experience as long as it’s relevant to your desired job. Volunteer work, internships, school projects and extracurricular activities can count for work experience if they relate to the target job.
For additional guidance, see our guide on how to make a resume with no experience for expert tips and tricks.
Where can I make a resume for free?
You can make a resume for free using our Resume Builder. We’ll guide you through every step with prompts and expert insights.
All you have to do is upload your resume or select a template in our builder, answer a few questions and, within minutes, you’ll have a professional resume that you can download for free!
How do you write a resume on Google Docs?
Here’s how to write a resume for a job application in Google Docs:
- Go to the Google Docs website and log in with your Google account.
- Click on the “Template Gallery” button in the top right corner of the page. Select the “Resumes” category and browse through the available templates.
- Once you have chosen a template, click on “Use Template” to open it in a new document. Edit the text to include your own information, such as your name, contact information, work experience, education, skills and achievements.
- Once you have finished editing your resume, save it by clicking on “File” and then “Save.”
For a more user-friendly experience, we recommend using one of our Google Docs resume templates. You can also write a resume from scratch in our Resume Builder and import it into Google Docs.
We recommend this option, as you’ll benefit from the other features of our Resume Builder such as ready-made content suggestions and expert writing tips.
How do you make a resume in Word?
Here’s how to write a job resume in Microsoft Word:
- Open Microsoft Word on your computer and select “New Document” to create a new document.
- In the search bar, type “resume” and browse through the available templates. Select the template that best suits your needs.
- Once you have chosen a template, begin editing the text to include your own information, such as your name, contact information, work experience, education, skills and achievements.
- Save and download: Once you have finished editing your resume, save it by clicking on “File” and then “Save.”
We have a variety of Microsoft Word resume templates that you can use. For expert content suggestions and resume writing advice, we recommend writing your resume in our Resume Builder.
What is the best resume format for 2024?
The resume format you choose to follow will depend on your industry, skills and years of experience. One of the best and most commonly used is the chronological resume format, which focuses on professional history.
Another popular choice is the combination resume which highlights key skills and accomplishments followed by work experience and education.
It’s always a good idea to tailor your resume format to the specific job you are applying for and to keep it updated and relevant.
How many jobs should you list on your resume?
It is recommended to list the most relevant and recent jobs that showcase your skills and experience.
A good rule of thumb is to include the last 10-15 years of your work experience or the 3-4 most recent jobs, whichever is greater.
If you have minimal work experience, you can also include internships, volunteer work or other relevant experiences that demonstrate your skills and qualifications.
This guide on how to properly write a resume includes detailed instructions on how to write your work history section for additional guidance.
How long should a resume be?
Generally, a resume should be one page in length. If you have more extensive experience or are applying for a position that requires a more detailed account of your qualifications, a two-page resume might be appropriate.
The exact length of your resume depends on your experience level, industry and the job you are applying for. It’s important to keep in mind that employers typically spend only a few seconds scanning a resume, so it’s essential to make sure that your resume is concise and easy to read.
Industries such as medicine, academia, science and law might require a lengthier description of your qualifications in the form of a CV. Learn about CVs versus resumes and how to write a CV for additional details.
How has AI and machine learning impacted resume screening?
AI-powered tools can quickly scan and analyze resumes, allowing companies to process a higher volume of applications in less time. Machine learning algorithms can learn from past hiring decisions and identify patterns in successful candidates, which can help recruiters identify the best-fit candidates.
While these new technologies benefit employers who are tasked with filtering through hundreds of resumes, they can be detrimental for job seekers who do not optimize their resumes to pass automated screening software.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to ensure your resume stands out in the era of AI, machine learning and automated resume screening:
- Use Relevant Keywords: Many companies use AI-powered tools to scan resumes for specific keywords and phrases related to the job requirements. Make sure to include relevant keywords and phrases in your resume to increase your chances of being selected for further review.
- Customize Your Resume: Avoid using a one-size-fits-all approach to your resume. Customize your resume for each job application to ensure that it aligns with the specific job requirements and showcases your relevant skills and experience.
- Proofread Carefully: AI-powered tools can catch spelling and grammatical errors, so make sure to proofread your resume carefully before submitting it. A clean, error-free resume can help demonstrate your attention to detail and professionalism.
By tailoring your resume to each job application and highlighting your achievements and qualifications, you can increase your chances of being selected for further review and ultimately landing the job.
How we reviewed this article
Since 2013, we have helped more than 15 million job seekers. We want to make your career journey accessible and manageable through our services and Career Center’s how-to guides and tips. In our commitment to bring you a transparent process, we present our Editorial Process.
- CJ Johnson, Consultant and Course Creator. Personal Interview. Consulting By CJ
- Finances Online. Article. 10 Current Resume Trends & Forecasts for 2024 You Should Be Thinking About
- TeamStage. Blog. Job Interview Statistics: Applications and Hiring Rates in 2023
- Recruiter.com. Blog. Recruiters Spell Out the Biggest Deal-Breakers Costing You the Job
- CareerBuilder. Press Release. Employers Share Their Most Outrageous Resume Mistakes and Instant Deal Breakers in a New CareerBuilder Study