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How to Make a Resume: Step-by-Step Writing Guide for 2023

How to Make a Resume: Step-by-Step Writing Guide for 2023

How to write a resume that will get you the job you're looking for? This step-by-step guide will show you the best resume examples, and you can write a resume in a few easy steps.

Aleksandra Nazaruk

As seen in:

Landing an interview is a race against the clock—dozens of job seekers have already written their resumes and applied for *your* dream job.

How to beat them and land that position?

Let's get started with our step-by-step guide on how to make a perfect resume.

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .

Create your resume now

how to make a resume

Sample resume made with our builder— See more resume examples here .

To start with, watch our video to get the basics of writing a resume right:

Our guide serves to write a resume for any job. However, for maximum efficiency, making a resume for your specific situation is ideal. Check out a few of our guides, they may also apply to you: 

In case you wondered! What the US and Canada call a resume, most of the rest of the world calls a curriculum vitae (CV) . South Africa, India, New Zealand, and Australia tend to use the terms resume and CV interchangeably. For more, you can learn the differences between a resume and a CV .

If you're an international reader, switch over to:

Making a resume for the first time? Not sure how to ace each of the points listed above? No worries. Click any of those links to read our tips about that particular step and get examples of how to do it right. 

How To Make A Resume  

1. Choose the Right Resume Format

You can't just start writing a resume by putting your info together in some easy resume template all willy-nilly.

Instead, first select from the standard resume formats:

Reverse-chronological format

Pros: Traditional resume style, familiar to potential employers.

Cons: Very common, not the most creative resume design format.

Combination format

Pros: Great for experienced pros and career changers for highlighting transferable skills.

Cons: Uncommon type, not as familiar, not recommended for entry-level jobseekers.

Functional format (skills-based)

Pros: Entry-level job hunters can emphasize skills over lack of experience.

Cons: HR managers may think you're hiding something.

 To learn more about the best resume format to use for your particular situation, check out:

Also, take a look at our list of  free resume templates .

Most job applicants will likely want to choose the reverse-chronological resume template :

reverse-chronological resume template

The chronological resume is a traditional resume format that emphasizes your duties, experience, and work history. As the standard format, it tends to be the easiest to read and scan. You'll list your most recent positions first, and go back through past jobs in reverse-chronological order from there.

Pro Tip: There are several studies that theorize relationships between resume cues and the applicant's personality and hireability, further impacting hiring judgments through resumes. Be careful which info you choose to include!

2. Add Your Contact Information and Personal Details

A career diplomat knows what information should be disclosed, and which is better held back.

Likewise, there are basic items that you must include in the contact information section, but you should also know what not to put on a resume :

Contact Information to Include in a Resume:

Contact Information to Leave Out:

Contact Information That Is Optional:

Personal websites and social media are now okay to list on a resume header :

Ryan Robinson

Marketing-specific advice? Perhaps. But employers will look you up online anyway, so keep that in mind. 

how to write a resume with the right contact information

To be sure you get the personal details on your resume right, have a glance at our resume contact information guide.

Pro Tip: Give them a professional email address, not your old high school handle ([email protected]…) or an outdated email provider (…@hotmail.com). Studies have proven that a formal email address is much more hirable than an informal one. 

3. Start With a Heading Statement (Resume Summary or Resume Objective)

You know how most Tinder users have little patience? And it takes a witty statement, or a provocative image to get a person not to swipe left on you?

Well, the employer flips through resumes just as fast. In less than 7 seconds, as our HR statistics report shows, hiring managers scan your resume and make an initial decision. That means your resume summary statement/resume objective statement is likely to have the most eye time since it's at the top of the page.

how to create a resume heading statement example

You've got to compose a statement that paints an attractive image of your candidacy. After all, what is the purpose of a resume but to give the best impression of your clout as a candidate? Only question is—which one should you choose?

Here's how to write a resume profile that makes the recruiter swipe right:

What Is a Resume Summary Statement

Got enough relevant experience ? Choose the resume summary statement that will condense your position-related skills and qualifications.

Let's take a look at how to write a professional summary (or not), with right and wrong examples for clarity:

Difference? Wrong focuses on everyday duties, not accomplishments. Right gives evidence of IT consultant resume skills, achievements, and experience.

Pro Tip: The “right” resume summary above also mentioned the company by name. This is a great way to make sure that your resume feels personalized, rather than just sent to every company out there. 

See more resume summary examples .

What Is a Resume Objective Statement 

Choose the resume objective statement if you have no work experience at all or at least none related to the position you're applying for (entry-level applicants, career changers, students, etc.). You'll make the case that though you don't have experience with this position, you do have experience relevant to it, and transferable skills from other areas.

Let's look at another set of good/bad examples on writing an objective for a resume:

In the Right one, we used some transferable skills from the previous company and some proud resume achievements… with numbers. Remember: numbers speak louder than words! The Wrong one doesn't show enough to hold the hiring manager's attention. 

Feel free to explore some more resume objective examples —and for experienced candidates, it's worth considering a summary of qualifications , too.

Pro Tip: If you noticed, both “wrong” examples above used the first-person. Avoid this on your resume. 

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional resume template here for free .

Create the perfect resume

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

4. List Your Relevant Work Experience & Key Achievements

If you think of your resume as a fancy meal, the resume experience section is the main course. It includes the most important things to put on a resume , like your work history and past achievements.

Let's go through the various job history components of the perfect resume experience section now.

How to Format the Resume Work Experience Section

how to include work experience on a resume work history section

The recommended way to format your employment history in the job experience section is this:

If adding more than one job history entry to your resume or CV experience section, start with the most recent position and go back in reverse-chronological order from there. Use five or six bullet points to make your case for each entry's responsibilities and achievements.

Also, your experience section resume bullet points should go near the top, just under your heading statement. However, if you have little or no professional experience, put your education section above your work history.

Got a promotion you want to show off, or more than one job title within the same company? Don't worry, our guide on how to show promotions and multiple positions will show you how.

Erin Kennedy managing director

The work experience section of your resume where you describe your past jobs is the most crucial component of your whole job application. Make sure you get it right: Work Experience on a Resume: Job Description Bullets that *Kill* [100+]

Tailoring Your Resume Work Experience

Robots are taking over. As hiring practices continue to modernize, larger companies are turning to applicant tracking systems (ATS) to give them a hand. ATS software automates the early stages of the recruitment process. How? They look for keywords and assign a score per candidate.

So, tailoring your resume is an absolute must, and your experience section is where you'll do most of it. To create an ATS-friendly resume , go back to the job description and look for resume keywords related to your responsibilities. If you see duties you've performed, include them in your resume job description bullet points .

how to tailor a resume to the job description

Tailoring your resume also involves knowing how long a resume should be . There are pros and cons for a one-page resume and the two-page resume but avoid anything longer.

Also, don't use the same, tired words (“responsible for…”) in your resume job experience area. Instead, choose power words and action verbs which will keep them interested. Use present tense to describe your current job and past tense to talk about previous experience.

Finally, don't use passive voice, as it feels evasive and unclear. Instead, choose active voice when writing a resume, as it's concise and to the point:

How Much Work Experience to Include on a Resume?

In principle, a resume should go back no more than 10-15 years . But the more experience you have, the less you should worry about the length of your resume. Don't go trying to cram everything into a 1-page resume template if you're a highly-experienced candidate.

Senior-level applicants , such as executives and managers, should list up to 15 years of relevant work experience with powerful action verbs to introduce each bullet point.

Mid-level jobseekers should include detailed job descriptions of relevant positions and a brief mention of any other positions.

Entry-level candidates should list and describe all paid work, particularly calling out responsibilities and achievements that are most relevant.

First-time job hunters with no work experience can still include other history, such as a student organization role, internship, or volunteer experience, to fill out their experience section.

As you learn how to write a resume, remember the best resume templates will highlight your experience and eligibility. Don't hide it with the wrong order, a dull resume layout, or a template free of character. With dozens of good resume examples, templates, and styles, Zety is the best resume builder online .

professional resume templates examples

Make a resume in no time with our resume builder app and 20+ great templates.

Experienced a spell of unemployment? Don't worry! Check out our guide: How to Explain Gaps in Your Resume .

5. Reference Your Education Correctly

Many people treat the education section as an afterthought, but you shouldn't. It's an essential part of your resume structure .

How to List Your Education on a Resume:

Simple, huh? Here's a brief look at how to list education on a resume:

how to write a resume education section

As for mentioning your GPA on a resume , it’s only a good idea if you graduated recently and your GPA was high enough to impress employers: at least 3.5. Otherwise, just leave it off your application. 

Want to know how to create a resume education section if you have a GED or didn't graduate? Not sure about the proper resume education format? Check out our article on how to put education on a resume . 

Pro Tip:  Don't lie in your resume or CV education section. A credit short of a diploma is not a diploma. Also, don't round your GPA up. Anyway, many business degrees don't necessarily improve job prospects. 

6. Put Relevant Skills That Fit the Job Ad

how to make a resume skills section perfect

Your skills are crucial to making your resume relevant to the position (and attractive to employers). A good resume uses the job ad as reference and includes resume keywords to show you're a good fit for the job.

What Are Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Hard skills are specific abilities and know-how (e.g., Photoshop, using a cash register).

Soft skills are self-developed, life-learned attributes (e.g., social skills, adaptability).

Combined, these make up a skill set, which is a job seeker's range of skills and abilities.

Pro Tip: Don't list irrelevant skills! An IT resume doesn't need to disclose your veterinary skills, and a resume for a chef shouldn't include your ability to use Photoshop. 

What Skills to Put on a Resume?

Remember that job description you had handy from earlier? Read it again, paying attention to any specific skills that it mentions. If you have any of them, great: those are the keywords to put on your resume! Not only will that make your resume more ATS-friendly, you’ll also prove to recruiters that you’re the right fit for the job.

In case you’d like more guidance, here is a list of some common skills to put on a resume :

Pro Tip: Don't just google “skills for a [industry] resume” and throw in the results. Take time to tailor your resume skills list to the job posting, as we mentioned earlier. 

How to List Skills on a Resume?

There are several ways to include a list of skills on a resume. For most, a simple skills section that includes 5-6 key abilities and your proficiency level is enough: 

how to add skills section on a resume

For specific job titles and technical skills, you may want to list your particular knowledge per item, to give them specific detail into the areas of the skill you excel at:

skills to put on a resume skills section

Pro Tip: Not every skill is worth mentioning on a resume! Saying you can use Microsoft Word is like bragging about being able to use a fork. 

7. Include Additional Important Resume Sections

Here's the thing—everyone's job resumes include those sections above. But what should a resume include to make it personalized?

Make your resume unique by including extra resume information . Additional sections on your resume can showcase just about anything about you, from your proud commendations to languages in which you're fluent and more.

Here's how to make your resume stand out with extra sections:

Hobbies and Interests 

You might not think that your love of baseball and being the Little League assistant coach would be of interest to a potential employer. However, listing your hobbies and interests subtly proves your ability to work well in a team, and the coaching can verify your leadership and management expertise.

Volunteer Work

Volunteering boosts employability, studies find . For most job seekers, listing any volunteer experience as one of your additional resume sections is a great way to show your commitment and values. It also lets them know that you don't only care about the money. For entry-level or first-time applicants who have no experience, volunteer work makes an excellent stand-in .

Internship Experience

Listing internships on your resume is only OK if you're fresh out of school, had one or two other jobs, or you haven't been on the market for longer than 4–5 years.

Certifications and Awards

Got any certifications, licenses to show off on your resume ? If they are relevant to the job and industry, include them!

Placed first in a chili cook-off at the state fair? If you're looking to be a cook, it will definitely help. Likewise, a food safety certification or food handler's license that you already have would surely be in your favor.

Speak another language? Impressive! Listing language skills on a resume only extends your usefulness as an employee, particularly in international corporations or localities where there is a large population speaking that second language. List the language, international variation (Latin American Spanish, for example), and your language fluency levels.

You can include projects as a separate section if you've done a bunch, or simply mention one or two below each job description.

Publications

Have articles written for a blog, newspaper, or scientific journal? Mention those publications on a resume . If your published material isn't online, create a short bibliography of the works you'd like them to acknowledge.

How to make your resume stand out with additional sections

Also, if you've built graphic designs or other creative creations, or if your list of publications or projects is too long to go on a resume, consider building an online portfolio to document everything. Link to it from the contact section, in this case.

8. Complement Your Resume With a Cover Letter

You need to submit a cover letter , most definitely. Your cover letter or job application letter lets you expand upon things that you need to keep brief on your resume. Also, it allows you to speak easily in normal sentences !

Sound like an overkill? Think again. Most employers think a resume is not enough to make a decision. Follow our guide on how to make a cover letter (or a cover letter with no experience or cover letter for an internship ), and you'll knock this out quickly and painlessly.

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

9. Proofread, Save, and Email Your Resume the Right Way

You're almost there, but don't send it off just yet. Here are some resume best practices to keep in mind, so you can rest assured that you wrote the perfect resume :

Proofread & Double-Check

Double-check your CV or resume draft before sending it out. Scan your resume and cover letter (and email!) with a tool like Grammarly . Then, ask a friend or family member to triple-check. Better safe than sorry!

Pro Tip: Have a look at our guides on resume tips and resume mistakes to avoid , for more.

Brittney Ross grammarly proofreader

As for the question of how to spell resume? It's still a bone of contention, but we think “resume” without the accents is the best choice.

Check Your Online Presence

Remember when we discussed social media and LinkedIn back in the contact section?

Before a recruiter or hiring manager gets the chance to look you and your employment history up, you better have your online presence sanitized ! That means removing any offensive posts and making private things private. While you're at it, tweak your LinkedIn profile so that it's up-to-date and complete.

Pro Tip: Don't send your email to the catch-all public email address for the entire company, unless the job listing specifically asks you to do so. Find the personal email address of the HR manager, instead, if you can. 

Save Your Resume 

Word Doc or PDF? See what the job ad says. Resumes in PDF usually work best, because they preserve the structure and formatting on all devices. However, if the company’s asking the candidates to send resumes in Microsoft Word .doc format, creating your resume in Word and sending it as required is a better idea.

How to name your resume file ? Easy: include your name, job title, and the word resume , separated with hyphens or underscores. 

What about references? You definitely shouldn't include them on a resume, but you can include a reference page with a resume .

Pro Tip: When emailing your resume, check the job description to see if they ask applicants to send emails with something specific in the subject line of the email. If not, go with the position title, posting any job reference number, if required, your name, and include the word “resume.”

Make It Legible

This entire document you're making is completely useless if the employer can't actually read it. Make it easy for them to scan by keeping these points in mind.

 What Should a Resume Look Like—Formatting:

Natalie Severt resume writing expert at Zety

Be Consistent

Consistency on your resume draft is crucial, just like your consistency as their future employee. For example, format your dates any way you'd like (31 Dec, December 31, 12-2020, etc.), but follow the same throughout.

If you find an icon to introduce a particular resume section , find resume icons for each section or skip them altogether. Don't use the wrong verb tenses or go back and forth between tenses. If it was a past job that you no longer work at, use the past tense. If you're listing a current position, use the present tense. Whatever you do, keep them consistent throughout.

Email Your Resume the Right Way

When you send a resume to a catch-all email address such as [email protected] , your resume and cover letter are entering a sea of similar emails from other job seekers fighting for the same position as you.

Find the name of the person who will be reading your resume and personalize your email with that information. Sending a resume is much more compelling when you use Dear Susan instead of To Whom It May Concern .

Key Takeaway

Resume tips for making a resume

That was super-detailed, we know. So here are a few general resume tips for making a resume:

Have any questions on how to write a resume? Not sure how to make the perfect resume work experience section or how to build a resume list of skills or achievements? Get at us in the comments below, and we'll answer your questions. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your résumé preparation!

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Make a Resume for a Job

What is a resume.

A resume, also referred to as a résumé or a CV, is a document summarizing a person’s professional and academic background, relevant skills, and accomplishments. It’s usually used to introduce yourself and present your qualifications to a prospective employer when applying for a job.

Do you need a specific type? Zety’s prepared hundreds of resume examples , from an entry-level resume to a software engineer resume to a video resume . Visit our page to find your own.

How to make a resume for a job?

First, read the job ad carefully  to pick up keywords for your resume that you’ll target to pass the Applicant Tracking Software test. Next, create resume sections necessary to present yourself, your qualifications, and your strengths . The sections are:

Depending on the industry and experience, you’ll have to think about which additional sections work best . But you definitely can’t write a resume without the other five. You can spare yourself the worry by using our resume maker .

How to write a resume for the first time?

Write your first resume with transferable skills in the skills and resume objective sections. In the work history part, add accomplishments examples that prove your qualities of a valuable employee, such as curiosity, eagerness to learn and assist, and developed communication skills . Internships and volunteering placements fit there perfectly. And most importantly—put your academic achievements right below the objective to highlight your educational advancement.

How to make a good resume that will impress recruiters?

An impressive resume is a resume that reads well and looks so, too . So before you get down to writing the nitty-gritty details of your professional and academic achievements, take care of the resume formatting and layout.

Only then move on to adding the biggest successes under each section: resume profile , experience, education, and skills. But—additional parts make the strongest impression, so don’t forget to include awards, certifications or licenses, or extracurricular activities to your resume . Say you’re an achiever, not a doer.

What is the format of a resume?

The chronological format is the most popular  resume format suitable for every job applicant —an entry-level position, a specialist, or an executive. By choosing it, you decide to show off your career progression.

Functional format , or skills-based resume, presents you in the best light when changing careers. It concentrates on your skillset and leaves work history in the back seat.

Combination format , aka a hybrid, is a well-blended mixture of the chronological and functional formats. It’s the most complex one to write as it includes a skills summary and an extended experience section, which is apt for senior positions.

How to make a resume in Word?

You can spare yourself the trouble and use a pre-made Word resume template . But if you have quite some experience with text formatting (and plenty of time), start making your resume in Word . Create a clean layout, choose a font that reads well, and limit the number of graphic elements on the page  not to overwhelm the ATS . Then, add the main and additional resume sections in an order suitable for the resume format . Save it in a Word or PDF file at the end, keeping in mind the instructions from the recruiter. 

Or, if you need a top-notch resume that takes just minutes to make and looks better than any Word resume, pick one of Zety’s resume templates , add your info, and land that job.

What does a good resume look like in 2023?

In 2023, you need to make even a stronger impression than in the previous years. Use a modern resume template and include the most important sections: personal information, summary or objective, employment history, education, and skills . Add your best achievements under each section and quantify them. Show your future employer that you’ve had an impact and will continue to bring results.

Aleksandra Nazaruk

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How to Make a Resume in 2023 | Beginner's Guide

Background Image

For most job-seekers, a good resume is what stands between a dream job and Choice D. Get your resume right, and you’ll be getting replies from every other company you apply to.

If your resume game is weak, though, you’ll end up sitting around for weeks, maybe even months, before you even get a single response.

So you’re probably wondering how you can write a resume that leads to HR managers inviting you to interviews daily.

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

In this guide, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about how to make a resume, including:

So, let’s dive right in!

New to resume-making? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!

How to Make a Resume (The Right Way!)

Before we go into detail about how you should make a resume, here’s a summary of the most important steps and tips to keep in mind: 

how to write a resume

To get the most out of our tips, you can head over to the resume builder and start building your resume on the go as you read this guide.

#1. Pick the Right Resume Format

Before you start filling in your resume, you’ve got to make sure it will look good. 

After all, recruiters first notice how your resume looks, rather than what it contains. So, this is your best chance to make a great first impression. 

This includes picking the right resume format and doing the layout . 

So, first things first - how should you format your resume? 

There are three types of resume formats out there:

So, which one do you go for?

As we already mentioned, in 99% of cases, you’d want to stick to the reverse-chronological resume format . It’s the most popular format, and most HR managers are used to it. Hence, in this guide, we’re going to focus on teaching you how to make a reverse-chronological resume.

reverse chronological resume

Fix Your Resume Layout

With formatting out of the way, let’s discuss your resume’s layout . After all, the layout is the first thing a job recruiter notices about your resume. 

Does it look organized or cluttered? Is it too short or too long? Is it boring and easy to ignore, or is it reader-friendly and attention-grabbing?

Here are some of the best practices when it comes to your resume layout:

One more thing you need to consider in terms of resume layout is whether you’re going for a traditional-looking resume template or something a bit more modern :

traditional vs modern resume

If you’re pursuing a career in a more traditional industry - legal , banking , finance , etc. - you might want to stick to the first. 

If you’re applying to a tech company, though, where imagination and innovation are valued, you can go for a more creative template .

Want to Save Time? Use a (Free) Resume Template

Anyone who’s ever tried creating a resume from scratch knows how boring the formatting can be.

Before you can even start filling in the contents, you need to tweak the margins, adjust font sizes, make sure everything fits into one page WHILE also looking good, and so on.

Want to skip past that AND create a very compelling resume?

Try one of our free resume templates. They’re pre-formatted, so all you have to do is fill in the contents. 

They’re also created in collaboration with recruiters from around the globe, ensuring that the templates are visually appealing and ATS-friendly!

See for yourself how it compares to a resume created in a text editor: 

novoresume vs text editor

#2. Add Your Contact Information

Now that we’ve got all the formatting out of the way, let’s talk about what’s really important: your resume content .

The first thing you want to do when filling out the contents of your resume is to add your contact information .

This is a straightforward, yet critical section.

Even if you get everything else right, you’re not going to go far if the HR manager can’t get in touch with you because you misspelled your email, right?

So, double-check, and even triple-check your contact information section and make sure everything is correct and up-to-date. 

Must-have Information

Optional Information

All clear? Good! Now, let’s examine what a successful example of the contact section looks like:

professional resume contact section

#3. Write a Resume Headline (Summary or Objective)

It's no secret that recruiters spend less than ten seconds on a resume on average.

When you receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications daily, it's physically impossible to spend too much time on each. 

So, in order for the hiring manager to go through the resumes effectively (without spending an entire day), they scan through the resume real quick, and if it catches their interest, they get into it in more detail.

And the first thing that the hiring manager looks at is the resume headline .

Depending on your professional standing, a resume headline can be either a resume summary or a resume objective . 

Both are placed at the top of your resume, right below or next to the contact information section. For example:

resume summary professional

Now, you might be wondering whether you should use a resume summary or an objective, and how to write one effectively.

Well, that brings us to our next section:

What’s a Resume Summary & When to Use it

A resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your career. You should use a resume summary in basically any situation, unless you’re a recent university graduate or switching careers (in that case, you use a resume objective. More on that later!).

In your resume summary, you need to mention:

Here’s an example of a well-written resume summary: 

resume summary

What’s a Resume Objective & When to Use it

A resume objective is, in a nutshell, the goal of your resume. It communicates your motivation for getting into a new field. As with a resume summary, a resume objective should be around 2-3 sentences. 

As we’ve mentioned before, a resume objective is the go-to for anyone who either has no work experience or is going through a career change .

So, here’s what that would look like if you’re a student :

Or, on the other hand, if you’re going through a career change:

#4. Prioritize Your Work Experience

The most important part of your resume is your work experience.

This is where you really get to sell yourself, displaying your past accomplishments and responsibilities.

If you manage to master this section alone, you’ll know 80%+ of all there is to know about how to make a resume.

There are plenty of best practices for writing your work experience. Before we dive into all the nits and grits, though, let’s start with the basics...

How to List Work Experience in a Resume

The standard format for your work experience is as follows:

Here’s a real-life example:

how to list work experience on a resume

As you can see, the work experience listings should be mentioned in reverse-chronological order - starting with the most recent job and going all the way back into the past.

Now that you know how to list your experience, we’re going to talk about how to write about your experience in such a way that you stand out from the competition.

Are you a student with no work experience? We’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to writing a resume with no experience here.

List Achievements When Possible

One of the most common resume mistakes is listing only responsibilities in your work experience section.

Here’s the thing - in most cases, the hiring manager knows exactly what your responsibilities were. Let’s say you’re a sales manager, for example. Your responsibilities would be:

So, to stand out, you want to focus on mentioning achievements in your resume instead. Or in simple terms, how exactly you helped the company grow, reach quarterly quotas, and so on.

job search masterclass novoresume

Keep in mind, though, that in some fields, there aren’t that many achievements you can mention. Let’s say you work in a warehouse. Your day-to-day responsibilities probably involve:

In such fields, it’s pretty hard to distinguish yourself, so it’s totally OK to stick to responsibilities instead.

Tailor Your Resume to the Job

Tailoring is what sets an amazing resume apart from the “ OK ” one.

Hiring managers don’t want to know every single job you’ve worked, or every single skill that you possess.

They specifically want to know about your jobs, experiences, or skills that are somehow related to the role you’re applying for .

For example, if you’re applying for a job doing Google Ads , you don’t really need to talk about your SEO internship from 8 years ago.

By focusing your resume on whatever is important for a given role, you’re a LOT more likely to stand out and catch the hiring manager’s attention!

So, let’s cover a simple example of how to do this. Let’s say that after reading the following job ad for the position of a digital marketer, you discover that the most critical requirements for the job are:

how to tailor your resume to the job ad

Now, to tailor your resume to these requirements, simply mention each in your resume, as long as you have the relevant achievements and qualifications!

For example, you can use: 

Include the Right Amount of Work Experience

If you’ve got over a decade’s worth of work experience, you’re probably confused about how much of it you mention in your resume. After all, If you had to list everything you’ve ever done, you’d end up writing a mini-novella.

Or, on the other hand, if you’re a newcomer to the job market, you probably don’t have any experience and are wondering what you could even mention.

Here’s how much information you’d mention in your resume depending on your level of experience:

Consider Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software

Did you know that over 70% of resumes don’t even make it to the hiring manager ?

Most companies these days use applicant tracking software to evaluate hundreds of resumes instantaneously and filter out the ones that don’t fit certain criteria. For example, if the resume doesn’t mention a specific skill, or if the resume is not formatted the right way.

ats system statistic

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make your resume ATS-friendly :

Want to make sure your resume formatting passes the ATS test? Choose one of our ATS-friendly resume templates and you’ll be good to go! 

#5. List Your Education

The next section we’re going to cover is your education . Let’s start with the basics - how to format the education section & what to mention there. Then, we’ll move on to tips & tricks that’ll help you stand out…

Here's an example:

education on resume

#6. Emphasize Your Know-How with the Skills Section

Another must-have section in your resume is the skills section. Here, you want to mention all your know-how that makes you the perfect candidate for the job.

There are two types of skills you can include when writing your resume:

A good resume should cover both.

How to List Skills in Your Resume

Regarding how to list skills on your resume, there are three essential steps to follow:

Step #1 - List Hard Skills with Experience Levels. For each hard skill you list, you want to mention your proficiency level:

How to List Skills in Your Resume

Here’s how you can categorize your hard skills:

Make sure to NEVER lie about your skill levels. Otherwise, it’s going to be pretty awkward both for you and your employer.

Step #2 - Tailor Your Skills to the Job. You might have some awesome skills, but probably not all of them will come handy for the job. For example, it’s awesome that you know how to cook, but would you really need it at your new job as an accountant? Exactly!

To tailor your skills to the job, take a look at the job ad and list 2-3 essential skills required for the job.

Qualifications:

As you can see, the must-have skills here are Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote and Pages. A good-to-have is WordPress. You can also mention Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook, but it’s pretty much assumed that you know how to use them, as they’re required for most office jobs.

If you’re qualified, make sure to mention all relevant skills with respective proficiency levels in your “Hard Skills” section. 

Step #3 - Include Some Transferable Skills . These are the type of skills that are useful for almost any job out there. They are both soft skills (leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, etc.) and hard skills (Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop, writing, etc.). Whatever job you’re applying to, chances are, these skills will in one way or another come in handy, so feel free to include them, even if they’re not specifically required for the position.

Not sure which skills to mention for your field? It might be one of these 100+ essential skills to put on any resume!

#7. Include Other Important Resume Sections

other important resume sections

The sections we’ve covered so far are must-haves for any resume. They’re the bread-and-butter for any job application, and if you get them right, you’ll land any job you apply to.

The following optional sections, though, can also give your resume a boost!

Are you bi-lingual? Or better, multi-lingual? You should ALWAYS mention that on your resume!

Even if the position doesn’t require you to know the specific language, it can still come in handy at some point. At the end of the day, it’s always better to know more languages than less.

To list languages in your resume , simply write them down and assign them the appropriate level:

As a given, you should never lie about your language skills. You never know, your interviewer might turn out to be fluent in the language, or even be a native speaker!

Hobbies & Interests

Want to add some spice to your resume? The hobbies and interests section , while not a game-changer, can help show who YOU are as an individual. Who knows, maybe you and your interviewee have some hobbies in common!

If you end up with some extra space in your resume, don’t hesitate to show off your personality with a hobbies/interests section.

Volunteering Experience

If you’re the type of person who uses your free time helping others, while expecting nothing in return, chances are that you’re the type of employee who’s in it for more than just the money. It leaves the impression that you’re a devoted, loyal employee.

Several studies show that you can boost your chances of getting hired simply by listing your volunteering experience . This holds especially true if you’re a student with next to no work experience.

Certifications & Awards

Do you have any awards that make you stand out in your field? How about certifications from industry experts?

Whichever the case is, as long as it’s relevant for the position you’re applying for, feel free to add it to your resume.

Let’s say, for example, you’re a Microsoft Cloud Engineer. Assuming you specialize in Microsoft Technologies, you’d definitely want to include all essential certifications, such as the Azure Solutions Architect Expert one.

Publications 

Are you a freelance writer? Maybe a distinguished academic?

If you have any published works (online, or in an academic journal), you might want to include them in your resume. Make sure to include a URL, so the HR manager knows where to check your work!

Working on side projects can really show off your passion for your field. Whether they’re university class projects or part-time entrepreneurial endeavors, they’re both equally relevant.

Let’s say, for example, you worked on a mock software product as part of a competition in university. You went through every step of product creation, from ideation to creating a marketing strategy. 

You can mention the project in your resume and stand a better chance at landing that business internship!

Or on the other hand, maybe you manage an Etsy store, selling hand-made arts & crafts to customers online. Mention all of it! 

Hiring managers love employees who do cool work in their free time.

Perfecting Your Resume - FREE Checklist

Already done with your resume? Interested in seeing how it holds up? Go through our checklist for perfecting your resume and see where you stand!

professional resume writing checklist

If you ☑’d all the points? Congrats! You’ve mastered all there is to know about how to write a resume, and you’re good-to-go to move on with your job search! If you missed some points, though, just go through your resume one more time and perfect it as much as possible.

Wondering how to write a CV instead of a resume? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to write a CV (31+ examples included)!

5+ Effective Resume Examples for Different Jobs

Knowing how to write a resume is one thing, actually creating a resume that stands out is something else entirely. Without inspiration, even top career experts might stumble on a roadblock or two.

Check out the following effective resume examples for different job positions to get a better sense of what a good resume looks like...

#1. Architect Resume Example 

Architect Resume Example

#2. Data Analyst Resume Example

Data Analyst Resume Example

#3. Web Developer Resume Example

Web Developer Resume Example

#4. Remote Job Resume Example

Remote Job Resume Example

#5. Sales Associate Resume Example

Sales Associate Resume Example

#6. Receptionist Resume Example

Receptionist Resume Example

Want to see more examples? Check out our compilation of 80+ resume examples for different fields.

5+ Resume Templates for Different Industries

#1. traditional resume template.

Traditional Resume Template

Good for traditional industries like finance, banking, manufacturing, etc. 

#2. Modern Resume Template

Modern Resume Template

Good for both contemporary and forward-looking industries, including entrepreneurship, Medical Technology, engineering , etc. 

#3. Creative Resume Template

Creative Resume Template

Good for creative industries, including arts, design, architecture, and the sorts. 

#4. Minimalistic Resume Template

Minimalistic Resume Template

Good for experienced professionals in basically any industry who want to let their achievements do the talking. 

#5. IT Resume Template

IT-resume-template

Good for any IT-related profession. 

#6. Tech Resume Template

Tech Resume Template

Good for the tech industry and everything it encompasses.

Next Steps After Your Resume

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about how to create a resume, let’s talk about cover letters and interviews. 

After all, your resume is only the first step in your job search. To really land that job you deserve, you also need to craft a killer cover letter, and ace that upcoming interview. 

How to Write a Convincing Cover Letter

Every job application consists of 2 parts - the resume and the cover letter. Now that we’ve covered the first, let’s briefly explain the latter.

Most job-seekers flinch when they hear that they have to write a cover letter. What do you even mention in a cover letter, anyway? If you were good at writing cover letters, you’d be applying for a writing job!

In reality, though, writing a cover letter is pretty simple, if you know its purpose.

You should think of a cover letter as a direct message to the hiring manager. You get to briefly explain why you’re such an awesome fit for the position. When we put it that way, it doesn’t sound as hard, does it?

Here’s a format you could follow:

All clear? Just in case, you can also check out a real-life example below:

How to Write a Convincing Cover Letter

Does writing a cover letter still seem a bit complicated? Doesn't have to be. Our guides on cover letter tips and common cover letter mistakes will take your cover letter to the next level.

How to Ace Your Next Interview

You’ve perfected both your resume & cover letter. Now, it’s time for the next (and final) step - the dreaded job interview.

Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, you probably hate the interviewing process. After all, sitting there while someone’s prodding into your past experiences and judging the hell out of you isn’t the most fun experience.

Did you know, though, that most interviewers ask the same questions? Yep - all you have to do is learn how to answer some of the most common interview questions, and you’ll be an interview away from landing your dream job!

Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide to Job Interview Questions and Answers .

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Make a Resume

Do you still have some questions about making a resume? Check out the FAQ below!

1. What does a good resume look like in 2023?

For your resume to look good in 2023, make sure it’s organized and clean, and isn’t longer than one page. Furthermore, be sure to include information that adds value to your application - so, leave out the redundancies and focus on your work experience, skills that you can prove, and on listing as many achievements as possible. 

If you’re using a template, choose based on your industry. Conservative industries require more traditional resume templates, but if you’re into arts, design, architecture, marketing, etc., you can go for a more creative resume template. 

Last but not least - remote work is big in 2023, so if that’s what you’re seeking, then consider creating a remote job resume . 

2. How do you make a resume in Word?

The best way to create a resume in Word is to use a pre-customized Microsoft Word template. To access them, you should: 

That said , Word resume templates are generic , hard to personalize , and overall not very standoffish. Want a template that looks good AND is extremely easy to make? Check out ours!  

3. How do I write a resume for my first job?

If you’re writing your first resume for an entry-level position, the hiring manager won’t expect you to have any work experience. However, you can make up for your lack of experience with your skills and academic achievements. 

For example, you can take advantage of extracurricular activities , internships , volunteering experience, and other such experiences.

As such, for your first job, you should include a resume objective to your resume, emphasize your education, and replace your work experience section with one of the following: internships, volunteering, independent projects, etc.

4. How to make a resume on Google Docs?

The easiest way to make a resume on Google Docs is to choose one of their templates and fill it in on the go. All you have to do is go to your Google Drive’s template gallery, choose your favorite template, fill in your information, and voila - your Google Docs resume is ready to go! 

That said, Google Docs templates are not the most user-friendly choice. You don’t have much flexibility with the layout and formatting is not their strong point. You tweak a section to the slightest, and the whole thing gets messed up. 

If you want an easier option, check out our resume builder !

5. What kind of resume do employers prefer?

Typically, employers prefer one-page-long resumes that follow the reverse chronological format. 

Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes every day, so they don't have the time to read 3-page resumes.

Meanwhile, the reverse chronological format is the most popular because it draws attention to your most recent jobs and professional achievements, which is the #1 most important thing hiring managers look at when evaluating a resume.

6. How many jobs should you put on your resume? 

You should only include relevant job positions on your resume.  

This means that your work experience section should be tailored to the job you are applying for. If you’ve worked five different jobs and they can all add value to your current application, then you should include all five. 

If, on the other hand, you’re applying for, say, a customer service position and some of your past jobs have 

to do with customer service, your resume can probably do without them. 

7. Should I put my address on my resume? 

You can put your location (city, state, or country) on your resume, but you don’t need to put your entire physical address. 

Putting a physical address on a resume was the norm back when companies would contact you via mail. In today’s world, everyone communicates via email, which is why adding a correct and professional email address to your contact information section is far more important than putting your physical address. 

So, just include your location or – if you’re a remote worker – specify you prefer to work remotely by writing “working remotely from [location].”

8. What information should I leave out of my resume?

You shouldn’t include your birthday or your headshot on your resume. 

If you have plenty of achievements to list under your work experience, then you can leave your basic work responsibilities out of your resume, as well. 

In your education section, you should only include your highest and most recent degree. So, if you hold a Ph.D., you can list that and your Masters degree and leave your Bachelor’s degree and high school diploma out. 

Finally, leave out any skills that are not relevant to the job you’re applying for.

And let’s wrap it all up!

If you’ve followed all of our advice until now, congrats! You’re probably an expert on how to make a resume.

To wrap it all up, let’s brush up on some of the most important lessons we’ve learned so far...

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How to Make a Resume in 2023

Kellie Hanna

Forty percent of hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume . That’s why you need a strong and eye-catching document that perfectly captures your relevant skills and work experience to make the cut.

If you’re wondering,” How do I write a resume for a job application?,”  “How do I make a resume successfully?,” or “How do I update my resume?,” don’t worry! We’re here to help. In this guide, we will show you how to make a good resume in just a few easy steps and detail exactly what to include in each resume section.

We’ll cover:

Plus, we’ll provide expert resume-writing tips, professional resume examples for popular jobs in 2023, sample resumes for special circumstances, and resume templates to get you started.

Make a resume with My Perfect Resume

Our Resume builder can help you write the perfect resume. Start Now!

How To Write Resume

How to write a resume

Chances are, if you write a resume well, 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.

STEP 1 Gather your professional information to prepare to write a great resume.

Preparation is key to writing a resume that stands out. Having your essential information ready will save you time and ensure you put your best foot forward. Here’s how to prepare a resume effectively.

Proper resume preparation means you must take the time to review your relevant qualifications and compare them to the requirements for your target job.

Then make a list of your:

Pro tip Tailor each resume you write to the target job to make it most effective.

STEP 2 Pick the best resume format for your needs

Now that you’ve prepared your information, here’s a secret on how to create a resume that many job seekers overlook: You have to choose a suitable resume format before you can begin to write a resume.

How to choose the best resume format? 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.

Chronological resume format

The chronological resume format is the most commonly used. It’s ideal for candidates who want to focus on their work experience when building a resume because this section sits front and center.

It’s perfect for people with a lot of professional work experience and no employment gaps, and those applying to jobs that put heavy emphasis on experience.

Functional resume format

The functional resume format highlights your skills and training, focusing on the abilities that can make you a great addition to the team, even if you’re applying for your first job.

This format is excellent for first-time job seekers, people changing careers or those with employment gaps.

Combination resume format

Also known as the hybrid resume, the combination resume format combines the functional and chronological resume formats. It’s ideal for mid-level job seekers who want to know how to write a resume for a job when switching to a different industry or reentering the workforce.

STEP 3 Add your contact information.

Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and easy to find. Always put it at the top, in the header.

Here’s what to include in your resume contact information:

For example:

Resume Contact Info

STEP 4  Write a resume summary or objective statement

Use a resume summary if you have work experience and you are not changing industries or jobs.

When making a resume, use a resume objective statement if you are a first-time job seeker, changing careers, returning to work after a long absence, or applying for a new job (such as a managerial role) in the same company.

Whether you use a summary or an objective, it must be compelling, concise and clear.

Resume Summary Objective

Pro tip  We have more than 35 resume summary examples to help you write your own.

STEP 5 Make a resume work history section

Format this resume section by listing jobs in reverse-chronological order, with the current or latest position at the top and display. Here’s how to create a resume work experience section. You’ll need:

Step 5 Bg

Your work history section should give employers a glimpse into what they can hope to gain by hiring you.

Don’t write a resume job history section as a list of duties, like “Prepared and maintained financial reports” and “Responsible for daily inventory,” because they don’t tell hiring managers anything about how well you can perform in the role.

Instead, for each job, display your work accomplishments in three-to-five bullet points and quantify them when possible. A recent study showed that job seekers who use numbers in their resumes see a 40% boost over the competition.

For example, a teacher might write: “35% of senior class improved end-of-semester test scores by 25% within three months.”

Pro Tip Use action verbs like “Spearheaded project X” or “Oversaw process Y” for impactful resume job history statements.

Resume Action Verbs

STEP 6 Create a resume skills section to highlight your strengths.

When building a resume, you must include at least one bulleted list of skills, no matter what resume format you use.

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,, focus on transferable skills like communication and critical thinking, which can apply to almost any job.

Pro Tip Here’s a secret for how to do a resume that makes an impact: Show hiring managers that you’re well-rounded by adding to your resume a mix of hard skills , such as accounting, and soft skills , such as adaptability.

These are the top-ten hard and soft skills employers want to see in 2023:

Hard Skills

10 hard skills for resume writing

Soft Skills

10 soft skills for resume writing

STEP 7 List your education accurately

When writing a resume education section, list your education credentials, even if you don’t have a degree.

Here’s what goes on a resume education section.

If you want to know how to make a resume correctly, every resume education section must have:

Columbia University, New York, NY May 2014 Bachelor of Science in Social Work

You may also include:

STEP 8 Add relevant certifications, licenses and training

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:

Consider the following examples when building a resume:

Certifications on resume example:

Example of current certification:

Certification Example

Example of “in progress” certification:

Certification Example 2

 Licenses on resume example:

Beauty Operator License (2019) Board of Barbering & Cosmetology Expires: 2024

Registered Nurse – License #000000 California Board of Registered Nursing Expires: 2023

Certification Example 3

STEP 9 Include optional resume sections if you have them

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 can’t hurt, but they can help your resume to stand out.

Only add a separate section for awards, honors, publications or volunteer work if you cannot tie them into other resume sections.

Volunteer work can add value to a resume because it shows that you are willing to help others and have passions outside of work, which are not necessarily motivated by money. These traits are attractive to employers in 2023 and can help you stand out from candidates who do not have volunteer experience.

Pro tip Be highly selective when adding resume sections for optional qualifications. You only have so much real estate on a one-to-two-page document, and everything you add must count!

Unsure how to write a simple resume with optional sections? Here’s how to create a good resume with optional qualifications:

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 make a resume awards section:

Certification Example 4

Example of how to create a resume honors section:

Certification Exampl 5

Example of how to write a resume publications section:

Publications

Certification Example 6

STEP 10 Proofread, check your formatting and save your final product.

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.

Pro tip Our Resume Builder has a helpful spell-checking tool that scans your document and lets you know of any mistakes.

Formatting errors are also a big turn-off for hiring managers. You can make a resume easy for them to read by following these simple formatting resume tips:

And that sums up how to make a resume. When you finish downloading your document, it should look something like this:

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.

Download one to create a resume from scratch, or use a template with our Resume Builder to build a resume in minutes. You can also upload your existing resume and edit it with our builder! Resume writing has never been easier!

We make it easy to make a resume for work with the following:

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.

Resume examples for popular job titles in 2023

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

Example of a resume for someone with no work experience

Career change resume sample

Employment gap resume example

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!

Create a complementary cover letter

Nice work! You’ve followed all of our advice about resume writing. You know how to write a great resume and you’ve spent a few minutes building a resume that makes you proud. Now you’re ready to send it off 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 accompanying your perfect resume. Cover letters are vital to job applications because they show potential employers the person behind the qualifications and provide in-depth information about your experience and career goals. And they are a great way to explain employment gaps and career changes.

Not sure where to start? Let us show you how to write a great cover letter with our professional cover letter examples ; then, choose a cover letter template and use our Cover Letter Builder to make a professional cover letter effortlessly.

How to make a resume for a job: Important takeaway

Before we officially wrap things up, let’s make sure you are completely clear on how to write a resume that will impress potential employers.

7 Key Takeaways

Key Takeaway Bg

How to make a resume FAQ

What should a resume look like in 2023.

A good resume in 2023 should look a lot like the examples on this page. In 2023, resumes can be in any format that works for your goals, but they must look professional. That means they must be formatted correctly with clear sections, written concisely with a proper resume font , and framed inframed in in a professional template with a clean design

How do I make a resume?

The easiest and fastest way to make a resume is to use one of our professionally designed resume templates with our Resume Builder. We provide tips, advice and tools to help you build a resume that looks good, is easy to read by hiring managers and ATS software, and is properly formatted. Plus, you can download it in multiple formats and save it to tailor to your next job.

Can I update my resume in your builder?

Yes! You can update your resume in our builder easily. All you have to do is upload it and it will reformat to your new resume template automatically. After that, all it takes is a few clicks to update and save your perfect resume.

What are the basic steps to writing a resume?

The instructions for writing a resume are fairly simple:

How to 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, you can still make a resume and get the job! Here’s how:

Where can I make a resume free?

You can make a resume for free right here! We’ll guide you through every step. 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 you can download for free!

How to write a resume on Google Docs?

There are several pros and cons to each Google Docs template, so make your selection carefully.

We make it easier to build a resume in Google Docs !

Here’s how:

What are three tips to writing a good resume?

Our three top tips for writing a resume for jobs you want are:

How to fill out a resume template?

It’s easy to fill out a resume template in just a few simple steps:

What are the differences between a CV and a resume?

People often ask if a CV is the same as a resume. The short answer is no. Although CVs and resumes have similar features and purposes, they follow different rules. A CV is an in-depth, lengthy document that covers your entire professional career, while a resume is short and concise. It focuses on your most relevant job qualifications and is accepted by most employers for a wide range of industries. In the U.S., a CV is typically reserved for jobs in academia, medicine, law and science.

What if I don’t know how to write a CV?

Making a CV is as simple as making a resume! We have a CV Maker that will do the work for you — and it’s fast and easy to use. Plus, we offer a variety of ATS-friendly CV templates and provide professional CV examples to get you started.

Kellie Hanna

Content strategist, career advice expert.

Kellie is the content strategist for My Perfect Resume. She has more than 20 years of experience in digital media and is passionate about helping job seekers navigate their careers. She has a B.A. in English and writing from Temple University.

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How to Write a Resume in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you are looking for your first job or making a mid-career transition, knowing how to craft a resume that highlights your strengths and achievements is invaluable. This resume guide will show you, step-by-step, how to write a resume that will get you noticed by potential employers. Let’s get started!

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Are you struggling to write a resume that catches the attention of employers? You’re not alone. Millions of people every year submit resumes that don’t get them the jobs they want.

Your resume is the most important tool in your job-seeking arsenal. A good resume can help you get your foot in the door, while a bad resume will likely keep you from even being considered.

This resume guide will teach you, step-by-step, how to make a resume that will help you stand out from the crowd. We’ll provide tips on how to format your resume, what information to include, and how to tailor your resume for different jobs using the right keywords.

Table of Contents

Step 1. Choose a resume format

The right resume format can help highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. It can also make it easier for recruiters to scan your resume and identify the key information they are looking for.

There are three standard resume formats to choose from.

Chronological Resume

This is the most popular resume format, especially for job seekers with lots of relevant experience. This format lists your work history in reverse chronological order, with your most recent jobs listed first. It’s ideal for:

Chronological

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Functional Resume (also known as a Skills-Based Resume)

The functional resume is organized around your transferable skills and abilities rather than your work history. It helps you downplay your lack of experience in a particular field. While it is helpful for certain situations, it’s not always the best. Recruiters sometimes don’t like the functional resume format because it can make it seem like you’re trying to conceal something. So be wary of that.

Under each skill you list, try to add bullet points that provide specific examples of times when you’ve used that skill. This format is ideal for:

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Functional

Hybrid Resume (also known as a Combination Resume)

A hybrid resume can be a great way to showcase both your work history and your skills. For many job seekers, it’s the best resume format . With this format, you would begin with a brief overview of your skills and accomplishments, followed by a chronological listing of your employment history. This format is ideal for:

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Hybrid

Step 2. Add your contact information and personal details

This is one of the most important sections of your resume. If hiring managers can’t contact you, it doesn’t matter how great the rest of your resume is. So you need to make sure that your contact info is accurate and up-to-date.

The following information should appear at the top of your resume:

Here’s an example:

resume-writing-guide

It might seem obvious, but job seekers sometimes forget a key piece of contact information in this section. Double check to make sure it’s as easy as possible for recruiters to contact you for a job interview.

Step 3. Write a standout resume headline

One way to make sure your resume stands out is to write a catchy headline . This is a concise, one-line description of who you are as a candidate.

A well-written headline can grab a recruiter’s attention and encourage them to take a more detailed look at your resume. It can also highlight your most relevant skills and experience, making it easier for recruiters to see why you would be a good fit for the role.

You should place your headline near the top of your resume, so it’s one of the first things that a hiring manager or recruiter sees.

resume-writing-guide

Resume headlines are most beneficial for people who have a lot of relevant experience, but anyone can use them.

If you don’t have any experience or are applying for an entry-level job , you can use your resume headline to show off your soft skills, your proficiency with tools, or your winning personal attributes.

When writing your headline, it’s crucial to include the job title that appears at the top of the description of the job you’re applying for. This is the most impactful keyword of all, and the headline is a good place to put it, especially if you haven’t held the exact position before.

Read the full guide : How to Write a Resume Headline That Stands Out

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Step 4. Add your resume summary statement or resume objective

Most recruiters only spend between six and eight seconds looking at a resume before they make a decision about a job candidate, according to a study by Ladders .

This means you need to make a strong first impression! You can do this by adding a resume summary statement underneath your resume headline.

A summary statement is a brief paragraph or a set of bullet points that summarizes your professional qualifications.

Your summary statement should expand on your resume headline and provide evidence of your skills, achievements, and experience.

resume-writing-guide

Read the full guide : How to Write a Resume Summary Statement

Resume summaries are ideal for job seekers who have plenty of relevant work experience and accomplishments that can be tied to actual numbers.

If you don’t have much job experience or are changing careers, you could write a resume objective statement instead.

Your resume objective basically explains what the object of your resume is. It is a short statement that communicates your reason for wanting to work in a new field. It should include:

For example, if you are a recent college graduate seeking a position in marketing, your resume objective might state: “To secure a position in marketing where I can utilize my creativity and analytical skills to contribute to the company’s success.”

Read the full guide : Resume Objective Statements: Examples, How-To, and FAQ

Step 5. Add keywords and skills that are ATS-friendly

Before you move on to the next step, it’s important to determine what keywords and skills you need to have on your resume.

Why? Because when you submit your resume, it most likely won’t go to a live human being – it will go straight into a computer database.

Employers receive hundreds and even thousands of resumes for every job opening. They don’t have time to look at all of them.

To solve this problem, many employers now use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automatically collect, review, and sort resumes. In fact, 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies now use ATS to help them manage the hiring process.

Having the right keywords on your resume is important because hiring managers use keywords to search through their ATS database for the best job candidates.

These keywords are usually job titles or specific skills. If your resume doesn’t contain the keywords hiring managers are searching for, it will sit in the database, unseen.

This is why it’s crucial to include keywords on your resume that are relevant to the job you are applying for. But how do you know which keywords to use?

Just look at the job description. Take note of the skills and keywords that appear the most . Then add these skills and keywords to your resume when appropriate.

To get the best results, tailor each and every resume you create to the specific job you’re applying for — your resume is not a one-size-fits-all document!

Read the full guide : Top 500 ATS Resume Keywords: Examples for Your Job Search

Ready to put your resume to the test? Jobscan users landed a job 67% faster.

Step 6. detail your work experience.

Now it’s time to get to the heart of your resume – the “work experience” section . This is the section employers will spend the most time looking at when they consider your resume.

If you get this part right, you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong resume that will land you plenty of job interviews!

The first things a recruiter looks at on your resume are the job titles you’ve held and the companies you’ve worked with. Make this information easy to find by listing each job in reverse-chronological order (latest job first).

Each job should have its own subheading that includes the following information:

Our research has found that this sequence offers maximum applicant tracking system (ATS) compatibility. Here’s an example:

resume-writing-guide

Tip #1: Highlight achievements as well as responsibilities

One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing a resume is only listing their job responsibilities . These are tasks that you’re expected to perform as part of your job. They can include things like:

Listing your job responsibilities gives a potential employer an idea of what you did day-to-day, but it doesn’t reveal how well you did it .

That’s why it’s important to highlight your specific accomplishments in prior roles.

For example, if you increased sales, reduced costs, or implemented new processes or technologies, be sure to mention these accomplishments.

Instead of writing “managed a team of 12 people,” write “managed a team of 12 people, consistently meeting or exceeding quarterly targets.”

This not only demonstrates that you are an asset to any organization, but it gives employers confidence that you’re capable of handling the job.

Here’s an example of a resume that does a good job of listing both responsibilities and accomplishments:

resume-writing-guide

Not every career lends itself to easily-quantifiable achievements. For example, someone who works in a warehouse might have responsibilities that include stocking shelves, unloading trucks, and packaging items for shipment.

While these responsibilities might not seem like much, they’re actually essential for keeping the warehouse running smoothly. The ability to work efficiently and effectively is a valuable skill in any field.

So, next time you’re feeling like you don’t have anything to list as an accomplishment, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Chances are, you’ve achieved more than you realize!

Read the full guide : 6 Steps to Writing Your Resume Work Experience

Tip #2: Use action verbs

Action verbs are key when it comes to writing an engaging and compelling resume. They help paint a clearer picture of your qualifications and increase the overall impact of your resume.

Instead of simply stating that you were “responsible for” a certain task or project, explain how you took charge and made it happen. For example, you could say that you “spearheaded” a new initiative or “coordinated” a complex team effort.

By using powerful verbs, you’ll not only make your resume more interesting to read, but you’ll also demonstrate the kind of can-do attitude that employers are looking for.

Read the full guide : 400+ Resume Action Words (Plus 100 Power Verbs Recruiters Love to See)

Tip #3: Use active voice, not passive

Always try to use an active voice instead of a passive voice when writing your resume.

In an active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the verb. For example, “The cashier counted the money.” In a passive voice, the subject is being acted upon by the verb. For example, “The money was counted by the cashier.”

Active voice is preferred over passive voice because it’s more direct, concise, easier to read, and it makes you sound more confident and authoritative.

When used with an action verb, an active voice can subconsciously influence a recruiter into thinking that the applicant is competent and capable. For example, “managed a team of 12” is more powerful than “was responsible for a team of 12.”

Read the full guide : Resume Words: Keywords, Adjectives, Skills, and Power Verbs

Tip #4: Use numbers

One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to use numbers . In fact, job seekers who use numbers in their resumes increase their hireability by 40%, according to a study by TalentWorks .

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements with numbers that illustrate the scope of your work. For example, instead of saying “created marketing campaigns,” you could write “created 10 successful marketing campaigns that generated a 20% increase in leads.”

By using numbers, you give hiring managers a better sense of your value, making it more likely that you’ll land the job you want.

Here are some more examples of using numbers (with action verbs underlined):

Finally, If you have gaps in your employment history, be prepared to explain them in a cover letter or during an interview.

However, don’t let a few months or years off work deter you from applying for a position – focus on highlighting your skills and strengths, and let your work experience speak for itself.

Read the full guide : Wordsmithing Your Resume: Tenses, Plurals, and Optimized Keywords

Step 7. Showcase your skills

When writing your resume, be sure to include a skills section . This is the perfect place to mention all the skills and know-how that make you the ideal candidate for the job.

Pay particular attention to the skills that are listed in the job description of the position you are applying for. As we’ve seen, including these keywords on your resume greatly increases the chance that your resume will be seen by an actual hiring manager, leading to a job interview.

There are two types of skills you can include in your skills section: hard skills and soft skills .

Hard skills are the specific skills and knowledge that you need to perform a certain task or job. They are usually quantifiable and easy to measure. Examples of hard skills include:

Soft skills, on the other hand, are interpersonal skills that help you interact with others. They are more difficult to quantify but are just as important in the workplace. Examples of soft skills include:

Soft skills are important because they’re transferable . This means they can be applied to any number of settings and can help you succeed in any type of job.

Also, unlike hard skills , which can become outdated quickly, soft skills are always in demand. As the world changes and technology advances, soft skills will become even more important.

Here’s an example of a skills section for a mechanical engineer that includes both hard and soft skills:

resume-writing-guide

Read the full guide : Top Resume Skills and How to List Them

Step 8. Add your education and certifications

You need to include your education somewhere on your resume, but where it appears depends on your individual circumstances.

If you are just starting out in your career, it’s generally a good idea to include your education section near the top of your resume. Recent grads can include relevant coursework, societies, organizations, and extracurriculars that strengthen their candidacy.

However, if you are a few years into your career, your education can appear at the bottom of your resume. This is because your work experience will be more relevant to potential employers at this point in your career.

Unless you’re applying to a job that puts extra emphasis on education (like academia, law, or medicine), most job seekers can get away with providing only the following information on their resume:

Read the full guide : How to Format Your Resume Education Section: Tips and Examples

If you have earned any professional certifications that are relevant to the job you are applying for, then you should definitely include them on your resume.

You can list your certifications right under your education information. Be sure to include the name of the certification, the issuing authority, and the date of certification. If the certification is still valid, you can also mention that.

If you have earned multiple certifications, then you can list them in order of importance, with the most relevant ones appearing first.

Here’s an example of what the education section looks like on a pharmacist’s resume:

resume-writing-guide

Read the full guide : 8 Free Certifications to Add to Your Resume

Step 9. Additional resume sections (optional)

Your resume is your opportunity to shine. It’s your chance to show potential employers who you are and what you’re capable of.

One way to really stand out is to include additional information that showcases your skills and accomplishments. If applicable, consider adding the following resume sections:

In today’s global economy, knowing foreign languages can give you a competitive edge over other candidates. Many businesses are looking for employees who can communicate with customers and clients in their native language.

On your resume, list the languages you speak in order of proficiency, starting with your strongest language. Also, specify whether you are fluent, proficient, or conversational in each language. For example:

Hobbies and interests

Many people believe that hobbies should remain separate from their professional lives. However, including information about your hobbies on a resume can actually give employers a better sense of who you are as a person.

For example, if you enjoy hiking, it shows that you are physically active and have a sense of adventure. If you enjoy cooking, it shows that you are creative and have a keen interest in food.

When listing your hobbies, make sure to keep it short and sweet. You don’t need to go into great detail about every single hobby you have. Just mention a few that you think are relevant and leave it at that.

Publications

If you have been published in any capacity, it is generally a good idea to include this information on your resume, especially if it’s relevant to the job you’re applying to. Most employers love to see that you can communicate effectively in writing.

If you’re not sure where to start, list any published articles, blog posts, books, or even whitepapers that you have written. Be sure to include the title, publisher, and date. For example:

“The Impact of Social Media on Businesses.” The Journal of Business, December 2021.

If you have won any awards that are relevant to the job you’re applying to, you should absolutely include them on your resume. Awards will impress potential employers and help you to stand out from the competition.

Be sure to list the name of the award, the date you received it, and a brief description of the award. For example:

“Top Salesperson” (January 2020) – Awarded to the salesperson with the highest sales numbers for the month.

Volunteer experience

If you have any volunteer experience, don’t forget to add it to your resume!

According to a LinkedIn survey , 20% of employers say they have hired a candidate because of their volunteer experience. The survey also showed that job seekers who volunteer are 27% more likely to be hired than non-volunteers.

When adding your volunteer experience to your resume, list the name of the organization, the dates of your service, and a brief description of your duties and responsibilities. For example:

Woodstock Food Bank, Jan 2019-present

Personal projects

Many professionals use their skills outside of the office. In fact, 57 million workers participate in the gig economy in the US.

Adding your side projects to your resume can be a great way to demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

Examples of personal projects include designing websites, creating a YouTube channel, coding apps, writing a book, running an ecommerce store, consulting, or starting any kind of new business.

When choosing personal projects to include on your resume, be sure to select those that are most relevant to the position you are applying for.

Does your resume pass the test?

Tailor your resume and optimize for applicant tracking systems with Jobscan.

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Step 10. Format your resume so it can be easily read by an ATS

Formatting your resume correctly is absolutely vital if you want to get more job interviews.

Why? Because your resume most likely will go straight into a computer database (ATS) after you submit it. If your resume can’t be read by the ATS due to formatting issues, then all your hard work will be for nothing .

So pay close attention to these formatting do’s and don’ts!

Read the full guide : The Best Fonts for Your Resume

Step 11. Add a cover letter

When you submit your resume, you’ll most likely also have to submit a cover letter .

Think of a cover letter as a quick preview of your skills and experience. The goal is to make the hiring manager interested in you so they will want to learn more.

The best cover letters are usually one page long so the message is clear and easy to understand.

How to Write a Cover Letter

A great cover letter can make all the difference when applying to a job. It allows employers to see beyond your resume and get an idea of who you are as a person—and if you would be a good fit for their company culture.

By following these tips, you can write a great cover letter that will improve your chances of getting an interview!

And last but not least…

Remember to thoroughly proofread your resume and cover letter!

Proofreading is one of the most important things you can do before sending off your application. A single typo or mistake can make you look unprofessional and could cost you the job.

If you don’t think your proofreading skills are good enough, ask a friend or family member to help you out. You can also use a free online proofreading tool like Grammarly .

Remember, sending your resume off without carefully proofreading it could spell disaster. So be sure to take the time to update your resume and review it for typos and errors. It could make all the difference in whether or not you get a job interview.

Read the full guide : 7 Steps for Choosing and Using Job References

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Resume Formats

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Resume Examples

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Creating Your Résumé

Résumé examples.

Creating your résumé is the first step to getting a job. Learn exactly what goes into this important document and start your career search off on the right foot by creating your own résumé.

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Step-by-Step Résumé Breakdown

A résumé is a one-page summary of your work and school experiences. Employers match your résumé against their job openings to evaluate if you'd be a good fit. As such, it's important to make your résumé a good representation of yourself. Here's how, step by step:

1. Decide Which Type of Résumé You Want.

There are three types of résumés: chronological, functional and combination. You might want to consider more than one format of résumé if you're applying for multiple jobs.

 2. Create a Header.

A header should include your name, phone number and email address. You can also include your mailing address, but leave it out if you plan to post your résumé online.

3. Write a Summary.

In one or two sentences, summarize your work experience and relevant skills. Keep this strong and simple.

4. List Your Experiences or Skills.

For chronological/combination résumés, list your experiences.

Starting with your most recent or current job, list your previous work experiences.

Southwestern Writing Center, Peer Writing Tutor, Yuma, AZ

April 2014–Present - Tutored students in writing for all disciplines. - Critiqued peers' writing.

Camp Granite Falls, Area Director, Mountainville, TN June 2013–September 2017 - Directed staff of four while supervising 20 campers. - Taught crafts, sports and cooking.

For Functional/Combination Résumés, List Your Skills

The "skills" section of your résumé is a place where you can show your strengths and individuality. Start by stating each skill. Then back it up with a two- to three-line explanation of how you learned that skill or why you believe you have it. Make these entries short, clear and to the point.

Self-Motivated: Proactively organized volunteers to assist with distribution at the community food ban k.

Bookkeeping: Maintained accurate, detailed inventory reports at school library and subsequently won Top Librarian Assistant award three months straight for Brown County.

5. List Your Activities.

List activities in which you have participated and include what your specific role was in each.

Track Team: Team Captain, Senior Year. Fall 2016–Spring 2017.

Drama Club: "Crazy for You" and "West Side Story." Fall 2017 and 2018.

6. List Your Education.

Oldham County High School, Oldham, PA. 3.8 GPA. Anticipated Graduation: June 2019.

Bellville Adult Education, Bellville, NY. Introduction to Web Design. September 2017.

7. List Any Awards You've Won and When You Won Them.

When you've been recognized by someone else, you should let potential employers know about it. But you shouldn't worry if you haven't received any awards; just skip this section.

Richmond County National Essay Contest, Honorable Mention, May 2006.

Honor Roll, South Satchewan High School, Junior and Senior Years, 2008–2010.

8. List Your Personal Interests.

Ceramics, camping, reading, soccer, automotive repair, carpentry

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Submitting Your Résumé 

When it comes to applying for a job, there are several ways you can share your résumé with an employer. Make sure you're aware of these dos and don'ts to ensure your hard work is represented clearly.

Saving Your Résumé as a PDF

Most employers prefer to receive résumés in the Portable Document Format (PDF). To create yours, look for the "Save as PDF" or "Print to PDF" option in your word processor. Review the file carefully to make sure your formatting is preserved.

Emailing a Résumé

When emailing a résumé, you will likely be asked to send it as an attachment. Review the job listing carefully to see if there is a preferred format; most likely, employers will ask for a PDF.

Posting a Résumé

When submitting your résumé to a human resources website, review the upload instructions; the PDF is the most common format here as well. 

Another consideration when submitting your résumé online is using job-specific keywords. Employers often search résumé banks for special words or requirements specific to a job description. Including keywords in the summary, experience, skills and awards sections of your résumé will increase your chances of being flagged as a potential match. You should also use such keywords in the title and brief description of yourself that most job sites request.

Keywords tend to be nouns that are industry-specific qualifications, skills or terms. Some keyword examples include degrees or certifications, job titles, computer lingo, industry jargon, product names, company names and professional organizations. 

And lastly, if you're posting your résumé or portfolio to a job website, be sure to conceal your contact information by activating the privacy settings offered on most job sites or by providing only an email address. Posting personal information on the web could attract unwanted attention. 

Printing Your Résumé 

It's a good idea to have printed copies of your résumé on hand when you go on interviews. Start with a well-formatted document and make sure it has been proofread. You also want to make sure it's the same version that you submitted as part of your application. Use high-quality paper rather than regular copy paper; it will make a much better impression. Make sure your printer has fresh ink and then print a test run to check for any errors or inconsistencies. 

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What is a Resume?

A resume, sometimes called a CV or curriculum vitae, is a document mostly used to showcase your career background, skills, and accomplishments when searching for a job. Resume Build helps you create professional resumes tailored to the specific industry or job you want in just minutes.

How to Create a High school Student Resume for My First Job?

Resume Build has hundreds of resume templates and pre-written resume examples divided by industry, experience level, and careers. Just follow the simple steps to make a high school resume to help you land your first job in a few minutes.

How to Make a Resume on My Phone?

Resume Build helps you make a job-winning resume on any device with just a few clicks. Follow the easy instructions and start by choosing the template you need for our library of professionally designed resume templates by industries, to create a perfect resume on your phone or computer fast.

How Many Pages Should a Resume Be?

Resumes should grab the recruiter’s attention in just a few seconds, and Resume Build helps you create the perfect resume using expert tips and pre-written resume examples to build it fast and easily. While the length of the resume depends on the career field and experience of the applicant, a two-page resume is ideal, according to employers.

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