Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Perfect Resume (With Examples!)

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Your resume is arguably the most valuable piece of paper for your career. But this document can be daunting for many. Maybe you’re not sure how to fit in all your information onto one page. Maybe you’re not sure about the right way to format and write your resume. Maybe you don’t even know what the heck a resume is!

Whatever your concern, we’ll break down everything you need to know about making the perfect resume, from scratch.

What Is a Resume?

What are employers looking for in a resume.

What Are Some Examples of a Good Resume?

A resume is a summary of your career, whether yours is just getting started or has been going on for years. Coming in at around one page in length (two only under specific circumstances), it showcases the jobs you’ve held and currently hold, the responsibilities you’ve taken on, the skills you’ve developed, and the qualities you bring to the table as an employee. Together, those things make it super easy for any hiring manager to see your qualifications and fit for a role.

For all the work you may put into writing one, hiring managers actually spend very little time—mere seconds in many cases—looking at your resume. But despite this sad fact, it’s safe to say that creating a great resume (rather than hastily throwing one together) still matters.

“If you miss the mark, your resume may never be read. Even worse, you might be removed from the applicant pool by a computer before a human even knows you exist,” says Muse career coach Heather Yurovsky , founder of Shatter & Shine. So you want to get it right because, as she explains, isn’t the goal to “spend less time looking for a job and more time in a role you love?”

You might be wondering if you can lean on your LinkedIn profile instead of writing a resume. The answer, sadly, is no. Most hiring managers still expect you to submit a resume, even if they also look at your LinkedIn. Even if you don’t need a resume for a job you’re applying for now, you’re going to need one at some point in your career—they’re not anywhere close to going out of style. So it’s best to always have one at the ready should an opportunity pop up.

And although LinkedIn has plenty of benefits, a resume has one clear advantage: While your LinkedIn is usually a broader picture of your career trajectory, your resume gives you the opportunity to tailor your career story to a specific role or company (more on that later).

Oh, and you’ve probably heard of something called a CV? It’s slightly different from a resume , and usually more common with academics and job seekers outside the U.S.

Hiring managers look for three things on your resume, “What did you do? Why did you do it? And what was the result?” says Muse career coach Martin McGovern , owner of Career Therapy. “If you can answer all three of these questions in...your resume bullet points, you’re going to be on the right track.”

Clear, easy-to-understand language is key. “The truth is that most resumes make no sense. They are stuffed with jargon, they are too technical, and they are filled with redundancies. Try to read a resume that isn’t yours and you will quickly realize that it feels like an alien wrote it,” McGovern adds. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter who has no idea how your role works—how can you make your resume accessible to them?

The hiring manager also cares about more than just you and you alone—they care about you in relation to them. “Hiring managers want to see if a candidate matches the requirements” of the role they’re hiring for, Yurovsky explains. “Your resume should paint this picture so the hiring manager not only knows what day-to-day responsibilities you can handle, but why you, above other[s], bring value to their organization.”

How Do You Write a Resume?

Whether you’re someone who’s never written a resume in your life, or you need a nice, thorough refresher on the process of creating one, follow these steps to go from a blank page to a complete—and dare I say beautiful—document.

Related: This Free Worksheet Makes It Easy to Create (or Update) Your Resume

1. Pick Your Format

Before you start typing one single thing, you have to decide what you want the overall resume to look like.

Resume builders can be helpful for this step—they’ll take all your basic information and organize it for you, eliminating some of the legwork. You can also use a pre-made outline, such as one of these free Google Docs templates .

But it’s often safest to start with a clean slate all on your own and eventually upgrade to a more advanced layout. (If you'd still like a place to write all the relevant information before you get started, check out our resume outline .) This allows you to course correct, edit and re-edit, and choose a resume format that best fits your particular situation (after all, not everyone has a career trajectory that’s easy to compartmentalize).

In general, you’re most likely to cover and/or include sections on the following:

So how do you format and organize all of that information?

By far the most common (and safest, if you’re not sure which route to take) option is reverse chronological order . This means you organize your experiences from most recent to least recent. So your work experiences would go above your education, and your current role would go above previous roles you’ve held. This of course has its exceptions—maybe you went back to grad school between jobs, or your most recent role is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. So the whole page may not be exactly in reverse chronological order depending on your situation. It’s just a guideline.

There’s also something called a functional or skills-based resume . This is used pretty rarely, mainly with career changers and those with limited or complicated work histories. It gets its name because it’s primarily about listing your skills rather than experiences, and showcases them above your work history and education.

You can also opt for a combination resume , which is a mix between a reverse chronological resume and skills-based resume. It highlights your skills at the top, but allows just as much room below to cover your job and school experience.

Use caution when choosing these two formats: “Combo and skills-based [resumes] can be hard to follow, because [they force] the reader to hunt for connections between your skills and experience, and [don’t] provide the full context of your work,” says Muse Career Coach Angela Smith , founder of Loft Consulting. “I’ve also heard a lot of recruiters say that they automatically discount skill-based resumes because they feel the candidate is trying to hide something. I don’t necessarily believe that, but I think it’s important for job-seekers to know that perception is out there.”

2. Start With Your Basic Information

Your contact information should always go at the top of your resume. In this header you’ll want to include anything that could be helpful for a recruiter to get in touch with you. Usually, this means adding in:

You might also choose to include other basic information, such as your LinkedIn or personal website URL, your GitHub (for technical roles), your social media profiles (if relevant to the job), or your address. If you’re looking to move for a job, you may choose to leave out your address or write “open to relocating” to better your chances of getting an interview.

The key is to make this part as clear as possible. If a hiring manager can’t reach you, there’s no point in perfecting the rest of your resume.

3. Add in Your Work Experience

This section will most likely be the bulk of your resume. Even if you’re changing careers, employers still want to see where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, and the impact of that work to get a sense of your background and expertise.

Your “Work Experience” might be one entire category, or you might choose to break it up into “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Experience” to highlight the jobs that are most important for hiring managers to focus on. Either way, you’ll almost always want to have your most recent experience at the top and your older experience down below.

Within your work experience, you’ll want to include each official job title, the company (and possibly its location), and the years you worked there. Below that, you’ll add in two to four bullet points explaining what you did in that job, the skills you built and exercised, the tools you used, and the results of what you did. If you accomplished a lot during your time there, focus on the responsibilities that made the most impact or you’re the most proud of, as well as the ones that best align you with the job you’re applying for (more on that in the following sections). It’s key here to list, if relevant, quantitative as well as qualitative accomplishments.

For example, you might write:

Associate Accountant, Finances and Co., Ann Arbor, MI September 2017 – Present

Your resume bullets should be in past tense if you’re referring to past jobs and present tense if you’re talking about your current roles. In addition, your bullets should always start with a strong action verb that best describes what you did. And if you have examples of your work, consider hyperlinking them here as well.

If you have a ton of experience and this category is starting to run long (read: over one page), consider kicking out your oldest jobs unless they’re super relevant to the job you’re applying for, or extra impressive for your field.

Not sure where to start? “It’s helpful to do a brain dump and create a document that has everything and anything you consider as experience or an achievement,” says Yurovsky. From there, she explains, you can start to whittle down what is and isn’t important. And you can refer to this document later if you ever decide to update your resume for a specific role.

Need more specific advice on listing your work experience on your resume? Check out these additional resources:

4. Consider Including Volunteer Work or Other Experience

Anything you’ve done that’s not work experience—your side gig, volunteer work, special projects—can be hosted under clearly-labeled sections (“Volunteer Experience” or “Activities,” for example). Depending on how robust your work experience is, these things may be worth including, particularly if they’ve helped you level up your skill set or better align you with your dream job. Plus, they make you look that much more well-rounded, passionate, and hardworking.

If you’re a recent grad, you might also build out a section for on-campus activities, such as clubs, organizations, or leadership experience. This can be a great supplement if you’re lacking in the jobs department. You can frame these just as you would professional jobs—including your title, the organization’s name, and bullets describing what your role was and what you accomplished.

Read More: This Is Exactly How to List Volunteer Work on Your Resume

5. Don’t Forget Your Education

If you’re still in school or just graduated, your education can go at the top of your resume, but for pretty much everyone else, this goes near the bottom. Most people include their school, graduation year (for folks less up to about a decade out of school), major, and degree. Brand-new grads might also write in their GPA, honors and awards, study abroad, thesis, or other notable achievements. But keep this section super simple, as you don’t want it to take up too much space over your work experience.

It’s possible you have unique education experience, such as taking an online course or certification. If you did this specifically as a way to boost yourself within your industry, definitely include it. Again, list everything more or less reverse chronologically—so a grad school degree would go above an undergrad degree, and a more recent relevant online course would go above that.

Learn more about the ins and outs of listing your education on your resume:

6. Top It Off With Some Skills and Interests

The skills section of a resume gets a bad rap, but it’s just as important as the rest of the stuff you include. It’s a quick list a recruiter can scan to see if your skill set aligns with what they’re hiring for. And it’s super ATS-friendly (ATS stands for “applicant tracking system,” the robot that in some cases reads your resume before a human does) because it allows you to add in keywords the machine is scanning for.

Usually this section goes at the bottom of your resume, but in special cases—such as a skills-based resume or when someone’s switching fields—you may place it further up.

What exactly do you throw in here? You’ll want to list any hard skills and applications you’re familiar with (Photoshop, SEO, JavaScript, to name a few examples), and, if relevant, your level of expertise. Avoid including soft skills here, like time management or public speaking—save those for your bullet points instead.

Be strategic when filling in your skills. Don’t list things you actually couldn’t do at a high competence level (I’m looking at those of you who say you’re “great” at Excel), and maybe nix skills that are completely irrelevant to the job you want. For example, you may not even need to include Excel if you’re applying for say, a design position, unless it’s listed as a job requirement.

Maybe you’re thinking, I’m a really good volleyball player, but that’s not a “skill,” right? No, it’s not, but it is a hobby. Adding in a hobby section at the bottom of your resume is underrated, and frequently a smart choice. It can be a great conversation starter with a hiring manager, and it can show that you’re a good culture fit—or a culture add—for the company. Also, it’s just a nice way to add in some of your personality. So tack on a bullet point listing out some of your interests, such as hiking, rowing, or crafting (no more than five to seven work-appropriate verbs), and you’re all set here.

7. Write a Resume Summary Statement (if Relevant)

You may have heard of a resume summary statement . They’re not super common, but they can be useful to include near the top of your resume if you’re looking to add clarity or context to your resume. If you’re a career changer, you might find a summary statement helpful in explaining your leap and tying your experience to your new path. Or if you’re a more experienced professional, you can use a summary statement to highlight a theme that brings your career trajectory together.

Overall, you probably won’t need a summary statement if your career is pretty linear and your bullet points do a great job of emphasizing what you have to offer in terms of skills and experience. But if you think it makes sense to include one, “Take the time to think about what the person reading your summary wants to know before you write it,” says McGovern. “Good summaries explain why you do what you do and how it can help. For instance: Merging a background in ABC, I help companies improve XYZ through 123. Summaries shouldn’t be any more complicated than that.”

So, taking McGovern’s example, you might say:

Merging a background in social media marketing and PR with seven years in the consumer tech space, I help companies improve their internal and external communication and brand awareness through data-driven, quality content and strategies that align with the modern trends of the space.

Yurovsky adds that “you don’t want your summary statement to be a dense paragraph with too much information. You want it to be easy to read, concise, and memorable. Almost like a tagline.”

Read More: 3 Resume Summary Examples That’ll Make Writing Your Own Easier

8. Tailor It to the Job (and the ATS)

Once you have your resume written out—you’ve broken down your work experience, tagged on some activities and additional experiences, and listed out your skills—it’s important to go back to the job description (or multiple job descriptions, if you’re applying to several similar jobs) and make sure that what your resume says matches up with the kind of candidate the employers are looking for. In other words, tailor it .

Let’s explain further. You’ll want to begin by tackling the ATS . This means combing the job description to see if individual words and phrases line up. What skills are they asking for, and have you listed them (so long as you actually have them)? What words are they using to describe their ideal hire, and do you use similar language in your resume?

Next, take a bird’s-eye view. If you were the hiring manager for the role, where on your resume would your eyes be drawn to? And what would you be looking for? Whatever you think will be most important for the recruiter, make sure it’s near the top of your resume, or otherwise emphasized.

Finally, dig into the role and responsibilities of the job. Does your resume reflect similar experience? If not, is there a way you can spin it so that it’s clear you’re capable of doing the job (and doing it well)?

These articles can help you if the word “tailoring” makes you start to sweat:

9. Edit and Refine It

Please, please don’t just write your resume and shoot it out without giving it a second glance. Hiring managers may not spend hours browsing it, but if there’s one thing that sticks out more than anything else it’s a glaring typo.

The best approach? Write a rough draft, then leave and come back to it later with fresh eyes to give it an edit.

Cover the basics: Is your contact information correct and updated? Are you using the right verb tenses? Does everything look consistent and accurate in terms of spelling and grammar?

Then do some cutting if your resume’s quite long. It’s no longer a hard-and-fast rule that all resumes must be only one page—but consider it a smart guideline for most applicants, especially if you've got less than 10 years work experience. The exception is if you’re very senior or very established in your career; in this scenario, a two-page resume isn’t completely out of the question. Everyone else, read this article for advice on how to cut your resume down.

Formatting-wise, it’s key to consider a couple things. First, what font are you using , and is it legible (for a human and a robot)? When in doubt, go with one of these simple, but sleek, options: Arial, Arial Narrow, Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Helvetica.

Second, are you going to save it as a Word document or PDF ? Neither option is wrong, although a PDF helps ensure that your formatting is maintained, no matter what type of computer the hiring manager uses to open the document.

Third, is your resume formatted in a way that it’s skimmable? If it’s feeling crowded or overrun with words, read this: 12 Tiny Changes That Make Your Resume Easy for Recruiters to Skim .

Once you’ve given it a few good looks, it may be worth sending it to a friend or colleague (or even a career coach ) to get a second opinion. Don’t just have them edit it for spelling and grammar—they should dig into your bullets and offer feedback on whether or not your resume is showing you in the best possible light (it’s smart to also send them the job description for something to compare it to).

Here’s the thing: Your resume won’t ever look exactly like someone else’s, nor should it. How you choose to format it, organize your information, and talk about specific experiences depends not just on your career path, but on your field, the job you’re applying for, the company that job is at, and more.

So there isn’t a universal way to do a resume. But there are common themes. To give you some context as to how yours might turn out, here are three examples of different kinds of resumes.

The Most Popular: A Reverse Chronological Resume

As previously mentioned, a reverse chronological resume is preferred by many coaches and HR experts, mainly because it’s super readable. When everything’s in a clear order, it’s easy to skim and even easier to draw lines between experiences.

Who it’s good for: Just about everyone—from students applying to internships all the way up to senior-level executives (with an optional resume summary statement)

Download an Example Chronological Resume for a Software Engineer

resume format how to write

The Unorthodox Route: A Functional or Skills-Based Resume

Rather than listing out your experience in reverse chronological order, a functional or skills-based resume has bullet points that reflect how each of your skills is demonstrated by the work you’ve done over the course of your career. At the bottom, you’ll include everything else, such as your education, job history, professional achievements, community involvement, and other technical skills. This is a good option if you have a somewhat all-over-the-place work history and want to tie everything together neatly.

Who it’s good for: Career changers whose work experiences may not appear to be relevant and people with an abundance of temporary jobs or gaps in their work histories.

Download an Example Functional Resume for a Project Manager

resume format how to write

The Creative Angle: An Infographic Resume or Resume Website

This resume type is characterized by how it’s formatted visually. You may choose a reverse chronological order or skills-based style to organize your information, but also use graphics, colors, unique fonts, and even multimedia elements to help that information pop. Keep in mind that any creative resume is still likely subject to an ATS—and certain elements may be unreadable by a robot. So consider going this route only if you know a human will be reading your resume (and that said human might enjoy it).

Who it’s good for: People applying to creative roles (designers, editors, writers, marketers, video producers, for example), startups, or fun companies, or to jobs where a creative resume is encouraged, if not required.

Download an Example Infographic Resume for a Designer

resume format how to write

Not a designer but want your resume to look just as pretty as this example? Check out these articles:

Your resume is a living, breathing document. So while you won’t go through this whole process every time you apply for a job, you should be thinking about all these things as you go to update your resume for your next career step. You might decide later on to switch up the order, or remove or add things, or even get creative and try out a whole new format. If you’re not getting the calls back you expect, you may decide to scrap it and start over —and that’s totally OK.

Regardless of where this piece of paper goes and how it grows, when you give it the care and attention it deserves, you set yourself up for success. And you’ll make it that much more likely that you’ll land an interview and get the chance to prove to the hiring manager—over the phone or in person—what you’ve got to offer.

resume format how to write

How to Write a Resume (With Examples)

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

resume format how to write

What Is a Resume?

Types of resumes, which resume type is right for you, what to include in your resume, what to leave off your resume.

Use Resume Keywords

Review resume examples, download a resume template, proof your resume, keep your resume current, get resume advice.

The Balance

Do you need to write a resume? While it's only a page or two in length, a resume is one of the most important parts of a job application. Your resume is your most powerful tool to tell the story of your professional work history to potential employers.

A  well-written resume  that highlights your most relevant qualifications for the job will help you get selected for an interview. Often, interviewers will consult your resume during the interview, too. Above all, your resume needs to be consistent, concise, and easy to read. If it's not, your resume and cover letter won't get a second glance from any hiring manager.

In many cases, your resume is the first document a hiring manager will look at when reviewing your application, and therefore is a true “first impression.” Accordingly, it’s important to put time and effort into developing and maintaining an updated, accurate resume.

Here is information on how to write a resume that will get noticed and help you get invited for an interview.

Think of a resume as “self-advertisement” that sums up your experience on one page. Your resume is one of the most important pieces of your job application. It gives the hiring manager an overview of the qualifications you have for the job for which you’re applying.

You should also familiarize yourself with the difference between a resume and a cover letter:

There are several  basic types of resumes  used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances:

A chronological resume (in reverse chronological order) is the simplest format to use, but there may be circumstances where you want to focus on your key accomplishments and skills rather than your employment history. For instance, this format can be helpful if you have an employment gap. 

To quickly make the best impression on hiring managers, recruiters, and connections, consider creating three versions of your resume, including a comprehensive, targeted, and short teaser version.

Which resume type should you use for your job search? That depends on what you're trying to accomplish. The goal of any resume is to show a hiring manager the applicant's strengths, skills, and experience in as short a time as possible. According to one study, recruiters spend as little as seven seconds reviewing a resume before moving on to the next, so it's in your best interests to put your finest qualities and accomplishments in a prominent position on the page.

In addition, functional or combination resumes may also be useful if you're trying to draw the reader's attention away from something—namely,  large gaps in your work history  or detours into unrelated fields.

An effective resume lays out a summary of qualifications that will push the hiring manager or employer to move forward and invite you to interview for the position.

For many people, it can be helpful to sit down with a pen and paper, or a blank Word or Google document, and jot down their  work history  from start to finish. Of course, if you have been in the workforce for many years, this is not going to be time-efficient, so you may choose to focus on your most prominent and relevant positions.

No matter your approach, your goal will be to produce a chronological list of experience that is relevant to the jobs you’re applying to.

Required and Optional Resume Sections. As well as details on skills, education, and work history, resumes can also have optional sections, such as an  objective ,  summary statement ,  skills , or  career highlights . Those sections can be added after you’ve compiled all the factual information you need to list on your resume.

List the Details . Make sure to include the name of the company, its location, dates of employment, and several bullet points describing your role and responsibilities for each position you list. Although you may need to expand on the bullet points later on, you’ll need this information at the minimum.

Include Your Experience and Accomplishments. Although this should focus on professional work experience, you can also include awards or accolades,  volunteer or community experience , post-grad coursework, and  skills , as well as your  college education , which can move to the bottom of your resume once you get your first job after college.

Focus on Your Achievements. When writing the descriptions for the jobs you’ve held, focus on  what you accomplished in each position  rather than what you did. Listing quantifiable achievements in a  numerical manner  (increased sales by 20%, reduced expenses by 10%, for example) will help your resume stand out.

Match Your Resume to the Job. Be sure to  match those accomplishments  to the criteria the employer is seeking in the job posting.

Review Your Job Descriptions. Review the descriptions you've written for each job you've held:

If it’s challenging (and it can be!) to write resume descriptions that will catch the attention of the hiring manager, review these tips for  how to make your resume employment history sound better —and get you picked for an interview.

There are some things that don’t belong on a resume for a job.  What you exclude  is just as important as what you include. Ideally, your resume should reflect experience that is relevant to the job you are applying to, and typically no more than ten to fifteen years in the past. Since your resume should, if possible, be no longer than  one or two pages , you may need to nix certain items.

For example, if you took a job and only stayed there for a month or so, you wouldn’t want to include that position. If you’ve been out of college for more than five years, it’s generally best to remove any internships you’ve had, assuming you have other professional work experience to fill the gap.

However, this is a case where you’ll want to use your common sense. If you went to college for marketing and had a marketing internship your senior year, then worked as a server for the next several years, you would want to include your marketing internship.

Ultimately, you want to try to strike a balance between including experience that is both timely and relevant.

How to Format Your Resume 

It's important to  choose a font and font size  that are legible and will leave enough white space on the page.

You also want to keep style features (such as italics, underlining, bold, and the use of  bullets ) to a minimum; reserve the use of boldface for section headings and for quantifiable achievements that you would like to have “pop” on the page (example: “Secured and fulfilled  $1.5M  contract”).

When you use a particular style, use it consistently. That is, if you bold one section header, make sure to bold all of them. 

You should use consistent spacing throughout, and evenly sized margins on all sides if possible. It’s generally best to stick to your word processor’s default settings, but in some cases, if you shrink the margins on the left, right, top and bottom, this can help buy more space to  fit your resume on one page .

Although visual or infographic resumes have become trendy in some industries, it is always a safe bet to stick with traditional formatting: white page, black text, readable font. Choose a  basic font  such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Helvetica, or Georgia. Ideally, your font size should be no larger than 12 and no smaller than 10.5.

Even if you are only sending in copies digitally, it is a good idea to print your resume (as it’s possible that hiring managers may be doing so) to be sure it prints on a single page, and is easy to read in printed form. Reading over a printed copy of your resume will also help you ensure that there is plenty of white space on the page and it looks professional.

Most companies use recruiting management software to screen candidates for job openings. 

In order to get found, your  resume needs to contain keywords  that directly target the jobs you are interested in.

Spend some time  matching your qualifications to the job  to ensure you're including the appropriate keywords and skills. In addition to helping your resume get selected, it will also help the hiring manager see how your skills and experiences make you an ideal candidate for the specific job.

7 Tips For a Resumé That Will Get You Hired

Read through  samples that fit a variety of employment situations . These sample resumes will provide you with examples of resume formats that will work for almost every type of job seeker. They will also help you see  what kind of information to include .

Along with resume examples, you can use a  resume template as a starting point for creating your own resume. Add your information to the resume template, then tweak and edit it to personalize your resume so that it highlights your own unique skills and abilities.

Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.

Resume Sample (Text Version)

Joanie Jobseeker 234 Howard Street • Milwaukee, WI 53210 • (123) 456-7890 •


Skillful and customer service-oriented Cashier with proven capacities for checkout and return transactions, point of sale operations, and team organization and motivation. Key skills include:


HARDWARE SALES, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Head Cashier (February 2017 – Present)

Performed all cash handling and credit transactions with 100% accuracy. Processed checkout and return transactions, provided solutions to customer queries and issues, and coached and trained new hires.

ARNOLD’S DRIVE-IN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Waitress (November 2015 – January 2017)

Concurrent with education, provided attentive customer service to patrons of popular local restaurant. Greeted guests, provided menu recommendations, and took orders; helped to maintain dining room.


Associate’s Degree in Business Management, 2017

Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Technical Proficiencies : Microsoft Office Suite, QuickBooks, and POS systems

Be sure to  thoroughly edit your resume  before sending it:

In the short term, you should  tweak your resume based on each job you apply to . For example, if one position you’re applying to seems to weigh a certain responsibility or focus over another, you should be sure your resume conveys your expertise in this area.

At the same time, you should be updating your resume with your experience as it develops, adding any new skills you’ve learned, courses you’ve taken or awards you won.

It is much easier to update your resume periodically than all at once, so even when you’re employed, set a reminder to refresh your resume every three months, while the information is still fresh in your head. This will make your next job search much easier, should you decide to switch companies or careers in the future.

Writing a resume is hard work, and it's often a good idea to get help before you send it to employers. You can find resume writing advice and  resume writing tips  online. You can also meet with a college career counselor if you are a college student or alumnus.

You might use a  professional resume service  instead or check with your state’s department of labor website for information on any free job services they offer. There are many great, free resume resources.

CareerOneStop. " Why You Need a Great Resume ."

CareerOneStop. " Resume Types ."

Ladders. " You Have 7.4 Seconds to Make an Impression ."

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The 3 Best Resume Formats to Use in 2023 (Examples)

The 3 Best Resume Formats to Use in 2023 (Examples)

Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW

As seen in:

The perfect resume format for 2023 has to pass applicant tracking systems. Show off your value as a future employee. And help recruiters make the right decision—invite you to the interview.

Pick the wrong one, and you’ll annoy those little bots and their human overlords—

But which resume format is best?

Most importantly, how to pick the proper resume format for you ?

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 .

sample resume templates

An example of a well-formatted resume made in our builder— See more resume examples here .


Resume Formatting

Examples of well-formatted resumes you can use, the three main resume formats.

Make Sure Your Resume Format Beats the ATS Resume Test

Bonus resources (templates, layouts, examples, and extra tips).

Here are the simple, standard rules you have to follow when formatting a resume.

(Feel free to skip this section if you simply want to pick a format and start working on your resume.)

For a professional resume, follow these 10 resume formatting steps:

How to format a resume?

What about the proper file format?

To learn more about ideal file formats for resumes, see: PDF? DOC? What's the Best File Format for a Resume

Enough theory, though. Here are two examples of the bad vs the good way of how to format a resume. We’ve created the sample resume format on the right in our builder.

10 resume formatting tips for a professional resume

Resume formatting isn't  that hard. But, truth is, whatever word processing software you use, it takes time and effort to create a neat, polished document that looks the way you want it to. So why not let Zety guide you through the process? With our resume builder, you don't need to worry about formatting your job application—just type up the contents and our software will make sure your resume always looks professional.

See some sample resume formats from our builder, pick the one you like best, and make it yours with a few clicks.

Create the perfect resume

Nanica is one of the all-time favorites among our users, despite being a super simple resume format. The best thing about it? A very universal design with lots of white space. Highly recommended for job applications in conservative fields: law, finance, general business.

Create the perfect resume

Another uncluttered resume format available in our builder. Simple and elegant yet with a modern touch. Primo uses a timeline on the left-hand side to make your work experience and education dates easier to track. A sidebar for your skills and extra sections lets you save space and fit more information onto a single page.

Create the perfect resume

If you care for my personal opinion, I'd say Cubic is the prettiest resume format available in our builder. A perfect combination of classical elegance and modern creativity. Subtle shading helps guide the reader's eyes across different sections, the side column for contact details and skills adds a dynamic twist to the design. A great choice for applicants hunting jobs in IT, marketing, or sales.

Create the perfect resume

As the name of this format implies, diamonds highlight the key areas: section headings, skill levels, and bullets in the work history section. This resume is full-width from top to bottom (no side column featured), making it very easy to go through your work history, chronologically. A great pick for candidates with many years of experience under their belts.

Create the perfect resume

A very minimalist template for everyone who likes to keep things simple and clear. With Newcast, you get a traditional resume with a few details that help your application stand out, like the tasteful icons for section headings and bar charts to indicate skill levels. If you're applying for a job at a company with conservative culture, Newcast will be a great bet!

There are three main resume formats —r everse-chronological , functional , and combination . The first one is the most popular and useful in 2023, as it presents relevant information in the ideal order: from the most recent job to the oldest.  While we strongly recommending this one, you can pick the type of resume  that best fits your career.

Those 3 common resume formats can also be named: 

The main difference between them is the chief focus.

What does it mean for you?

That you have to know the correct order of sections on each of the standard resume formats.

Have a look:

3 Resume Format Examples

resume formats

The Three Standard Resume Formats: Resume Structure

As you can see:

What’s the best format for your resume?

What’s the best format for your resume

That depends on your career path so far.

Let’s discuss that on some real-life examples.

Meet three job seekers: Frank, Thomas, and Christian.

Their resumes and how these correspond with their careers will guide you through the process of picking a good resume format for your situation.

Frank is an electrician.  He’s been working in his field for over 15 years.

He’s been with the same company (having gotten promoted from journeyman to master) since 2007.

Frank found an interesting opening for a master electrician position with a big, international corporation. The responsibilities listed in the job ad are very similar to his current duties and tasks.

To get recruiters’ attention, he needs to highlight his career progression and proudest professional wins. That’s why Frank wrote a reverse-chronological resume . Scroll down to see it!

Thomas is an entry-level PR specialist. He’s been doing a lot of freelancing and participating in minor projects but has little full-time experience.

He graduated in 2017. He’s worked as a part-time PR Intern since then and done a lot of side gigs and non-profit projects to build his portfolio. He’s also a prolific blogger.

Thomas wants to apply for a full-blown role as a Content Marketing and PR Specialist with a tech company with a relaxed culture. He’s never done a similar job before, but he has all the necessary skills.

If Thomas wants to get the job, he needs to showcase his portfolio and present the wide variety of his skills. The functional resume format is a great pick for him . Scroll down to check his resume out.

Christian is a Senior IT manager. He’s held leadership positions with the biggest IT companies in the world.

Not only is Christian a master programmer, but also an effective leader.

Someone from Christian’s professional network let him know about an unlisted, highly-specialized position as the Head of IT with a huge IT company that designs mobile apps.

To get there, Christian needs to prove that he has comprehensive technical knowledge, as well as team-building and leadership skills. Christian went for a combination resume format.

Now, it’s time to see their actual resumes and explain how different job seekers can make the most of each of the most common resume formats.

1. Reverse-Chronological

For starters, here’s a sample reverse-chronological resume format created in our builder.

Reverse-Chronological Resume Example

reverse-chronological resume

Want to save time and have your reverse-chronological resume ready in 5 minutes? Pick from 20+ resume templates , adjust, customize, and have a stunning chronological resume in no time.

Create your resume now

The reverse chronological resume format is useful to virtually all job seekers. That’s why this is the most popular US resume format.

Recruiters are familiar with it so it makes their job easier: helps them spot all relevant information in a flash. It’s also a really simple resume format to use. Here’s how to structure a resume in reverse-chronological order. Reverse-Chronological Resume Order of Sections

The reverse chronological resume format puts emphasis on your work history because that’s what’s most relevant for hiring managers. It's considered the traditional resume template .

Its key part is the work experience section. Here’s how to write it:

Reverse-Chronological Resume: Work Experience

Like Frank, the candidate from our example did:

Work Experience Entry Example

Not sure if the rev-chron resume format is your best shot? See the handy table below.

Chronological Resume Format Pros and Cons

Pro Tip: You should also know the difference between a CV vs a resume , depending on what part of the world you live in they can have a format that's much the same, or completely different. So make sure you choose the right one.

For more information on how to make the most of the standard reverse-chronological format of a resume, go here: Reverse-Chronological Resume Examples That Get Jobs

2. Skills-Based / Functional

Here’s a functional resume example created in our resume builder.

Functional Resume Example

functional resume

Want to save time and have your skills-based (functional) resume ready in 5 minutes? Pick from 20+ resume templates , adjust, customize, and have a stunning skills-based resume in no time.

A functional resume format focuses on your skills and abilities. That’s why it’s also called the skills-based resume format.

It lets you emphasize what you’re good at and takes the pressure off of your work experience.

Here’s how to structure a functional resume: Functional Resume Order of Sections

The two crucial components of a functional resume are the resume objective at the very top and the skills summary. This is how to write them step by step:

Functional Resume: Resume Objective and Skills Summary

Have another look at how Thomas did it:

Example of a Resume Objective + Skills Summary

But remember—

A functional resume format most likely won’t get you far.

In short, because recruiters and hiring managers hate it. According to a Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report , the most important thing to recruiters is your job experience. This means:

And what does a functional resume do? It throws all of the above out of the window.

For most candidates, using a functional, “skills” resume format is against any sort of logic.

The only groups of job seekers who might entertain using this resume format are:

To recap, then:

Pros and Cons of a Functional Resume Format

For more information on the only strategy to make the functional resume work for you, see: Functional Resume Template and Writing Tips

3. Hybrid / Combination

Here’s a combination resume example created in our resume builder.

Hybrid / Combination Resume Example

combination resume

Want to save time and have your hybrid / combination resume ready in 5 minutes? Pick from 20+ resume templates , adjust, customize, and have a hybrid resume in no time.

The combination resume format combines the resume elements of a chronological resume and a skills-based resume.

Here’s how to structure a hybrid resume: Hybrid (Combination) Resume Order of Sections

The focal point is your skills summary. This section comes at the top of a hybrid resume, just below your contact information. The skills summary lists skills relevant to the job and validates them by providing examples of past achievements and professional experience in bullet points.

This is how to write it:

Remember our candidate, Christian?

In his skills summary, he needs to prove that he is:

Example of a Skills Summary for a Hybrid Resume

In a nutshell:

Pros and Cons of a Combination Resume Format

As you can see, this is the hardest resume format to make. Learn all you need to know about it here: Combination Resume Template and Writing Tips

4. Recap: How to Pick the Best Resume Format for You

What format should your resume be in?

Here’s a recap of what you’ve learned so far:

Chronological vs Functional vs Combination 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.

A disturbing thought:

According to research , 70% of resumes never reach a human eye.

Why’s that?

Because as many as 7 out of 10 large companies use the ATS resume checker (short for “Applicant Tracking Software”).

Make sure your resume format is ATS-friendly .

How to Pass the ATS Scan:

For more information on how to beat the bots, see:  Resume Keywords to Get You Past the ATS

Resume formatting is a complex issue. Even the term “resume format” itself has multiple meanings.

Whatever it is exactly that you’re looking for, here are the guides that will help you find it:

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.

Key Takeaway

Key strategies for the perfect resume format

To have a resume format that gets you the job, use these key strategies:

All check? Then you can make any resume format template work for you. Do you have any questions about choosing the best resume format for your position? Is there anything else about formatting a resume that you’d like to know? Give me a shout in the comments. Let’s chat!

Frequently Asked Questions about Resume Format

What is the best resume format for 2023.

For most people, the reverse-chronological resume format is the best option . This means listing your work experience and education in reverse-chronological order, i.e. starting with the most recent position and working backwards through previous jobs or degrees. There are several reasons why it’s the best job resume format to use:

All of Zety’s resume templates are available in the reverse-chronological format: you just need to fill in the blanks, and you could be ready to apply for your dream job in minutes!

In order to meet recruiters’ expectations, your resume needs to look a certain way . So, here’s how to format a resume in Word (or other word processing software):

A resume  made from scratch? That's a challenge, especially given that the ideal resume length is one page for most candidates: it’s tough to get everything to fit and still look good. To make it easier, you can start with a ready-made Word resume template . Better yet, you could head over to our resume builder and let it handle all of the formatting for you in seconds!

What are the three resume formats?

Currently, there are three types of resumes to choose from:

For most candidates, the reverse-chronological format is the best choice: go with a functional or combination resume only if you’re sure a non-standard format will give you an advantage.

Is there a separate student resume format?

Most student resumes follow the standard reverse-chronological format , assuming you’re applying for a job. You can read more about entry-level resumes and writing a resume with no work experience in our dedicated guides. However, you do need to use a different format if you’re applying for a job in academia or writing a graduate school resume . In those cases, go with an academic CV rather than a resume.

Is resume format the same as resume template?

No. The term resume format usually refers to the layout of a resume , i.e. the type and order of information featured on the resume and the way it’s organized on the page, including document settings such as margins and line spacing. Meanwhile, a resume template is a blank resume document that you can fill with your information—it’s much quicker than building your resume from scratch. If you’re interested, check out our list of free resume templates .

Can I get creative, or is a simple resume format always better?

When it comes to resume formatting, it’s usually best to keep it simple. You want your document to be readable both to recruiters and to ATS software, so sticking to basic resume templates is advisable for most candidates . You may want to opt for a more complex resume design if you’re writing an artist resume or otherwise applying for a job in a creative field. Creative resume templates typically still follow the standard format, but they feature bolder colors and graphic elements.

What does ATS-friendly resume format mean?

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System(s)—software used by recruiters to sort incoming resumes. ATS software scans applications for specific resume keywords , such as key skills required for the role, rejecting irrelevant applications. ATS-friendly resume format is one that organizes information into clear sections and features key information as plain text —most ATS software can’t read text within images, for example. To check whether your resume can be read by ATS, copy its contents into Notepad. If all of your information is still there and looks more or less organized, ATS should be able to make sense of your document.

Which file format should I use for my resume?

Unless the job ad specifies a different format, submit your resume as a PDF . This file format keeps formatting intact and can be opened on any device, even a smartphone or tablet. Remember to give your resume file a professional name with no spaces, e.g. John-Smith-Waiter-Resume.pdf .

Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW

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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.


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.


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


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:


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 With No Experience + Examples

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Prepare Your Resume for Email and Online Posting

Think you need different versions of your resume for email and online applications? Think again. We show you how to prepare a resume for both.

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Learn how to discuss your education during an interview, plus read a sample answer.



Build my resume footer

The High Score Resume format: How to write a resume for 2023

Related stories:.

A lot of resume advice is good, some of it is bad, but it’s difficult to know which is which – especially when it comes to creating a resume that works for you.

So I wanted to share what we’ve learned at Ladders from reviewing millions of resumes over the years and seeing how those resumes did in over 1 billion applications.

Because I understand how pressed for time professionals are, I’ve created 73 industry-specific resume templates , containing example copy, which can be downloaded and edited free.

Each with a unique cover letter example.

So let’s find out why the high score resume format works for experienced professionals like you.

The best format for your resume is the High Score Resume

The High Score Resume focuses your resume on sharing the “high scores” you’ve reached and the achievements you’ve unlocked throughout your career. It is a format that enables you to present yourself in the most effective way possible without worrying about bragging. And it provides hiring managers and recruiters concrete proof of what you’re capable of.

The High Score Resume also is very clear to people reading your resume about what you’d like to do next, i.e., what your next level is going to be. By showing what you’ve already achieved, it’s easy to explain what you’re capable of next. So while there are other parts of your resume that will deserve attention, the High Score Resume focuses most of your time and effort on the two most important sections of your resume: your work experience and your professional summary .

Work experience: Show your high scores

From our experience at Ladders, the most successful resumes all have one thing in common: they display the past successes of the professional. One common resume error seen in less effective resumes is a reliance on listing job descriptions, duties, or staff size.

The High Score Resume approach to resume writing is to make each bullet a High Score . That means sharing, with numbers, how well you did at that part of your job. And it means bringing a player’s enthusiasm to how to you retell it.

A bit tongue-in-cheek, but when you’re telling your friends, or if you were trying to join a team, you wouldn’t say this:

Torn paper image showing the "work experience" section of a Ladders resume.

But you might say this:

torn paper image showing an alternative version of a Ladders work experience resume section.

All high scores have numbers — it’s easier that way for people to understand how good you were at Tetris, tennis, or … tax strategies. Same for your past experience — let your future boss know how good you were at the role, by providing your score. The High Score Resume constructs each bullet of your work experience with a success verb and a number — whether it be units, a dollar sign or a percentage. That’s the most effective way to convey your past successes.

Most recent jobs first

The High Score Resume always shows the most recent jobs first. When people ask about your golf game, vacation travel, or books read, they’re not looking for you to go all the way back to the beginning and tell you about your first one first. They typically want to know about the latest.

Same thing on your resume. If your last job was working as an IT security engineer , don’t list your college role as a sales representative first. Your most recent experience is the most relevant in the same way that your most recent high score is most relevant to the games you play.

This is your chance to detail your successes and achievements.

Complete page of a Ladders resume format with arrows showing specific content.

And, in the same way that your high score doesn’t say “Well, first I did level 1, where there were challenges and many obstacles. Then I did level 2 … ”, your resume should not simply list past job titles and duties, and shouldn’t provide an inventory of your staff or budget size.

The purpose of the High Score Resume is to display for your future boss the specific achievements that made you a valued contributor to past bosses.

For each job you’ve had, you’ll have an entry including the company name, title, description, and dates.

Company name

Company name seems straightforward and typically is. There is some leeway in whether or not you use the company’s formal name —   Schwab , Charles Schwab , or Charles Schwab Corporation   — and whether or not to use the abbreviation. Because there’s no standard rule, use the formal company name in industries with a tendency towards formality, and the more casual version in casual industries.

For example, if applying to a prestigious law firm, I’d be inclined to call it “Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP”, not “Pillsbury”, whereas I’d recommend using “Google” not “Alphabet, Inc.” if you’re a mid-level manager in the internet industry.

Whichever way you choose, stay consistent throughout your resume in how you treat company names.

In the case of mergers, bankruptcies, or name changes that occurred after your departure, there is, again, no hard and fast rule. Use whatever feels most effective from a marketing standpoint. In my own case, I worked at from 2000 to 2002, when I helped sell it to Yahoo! for a half-billion dollars.

Over the past 16 years, it has appeared on my resume in various forms:

There’s no set answer for how to handle company names through these transitions and very little negative risk. So your choice should be consistent and feel comfortable to you.

torn paper image showing ways to present a company name in the Ladders resume format.

In unfortunate cases where your employer was involved in a notorious scandal — Bernard L. Madoff Securities, Enron, Global Crossing, CountryWide Financial — there’s little you can do other than list the company accurately and address the subject head-on in your achievements (“Survived corporate scandal impacting a separate division — no person in our group was accused of or found to have been involved in unethical behavior”), in person, or on the phone with the recruiter. Some have reported success in handling the matter head-on in the company description: “Worked in separate entity from the infamous investment management business” or “Blind-sided professional at disgraced energy trading company.”

It’s worth remembering that some employers do appreciate the type of grit and determination that goes along with overcoming this kind of adversity. Should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, do not presume that everybody is snickering — some may be more intrigued than put off.

Titles and employment dates

Now’s the time to be precise. No tall tales, fibbing, or fish-that-got-away stories allowed. Because you’re dealing with history, you need to be rigorous with your presentation of the facts.

For each job, list your actual title, as it appeared in your offer letter or subsequent company promotion. It is quite important to be precise, as you are representing that you held this title at this company at this time. Small inflations can come back to bite you — promoting yourself to regional sales manager  when you were, in fact, an account executive . Among the few things that companies review during background checks are titles, so it is both ethically and procedurally necessary to ensure that your resume matches the company’s records precisely.

The common practice remains to include both month and year in the date. Personally, I’ve long felt that year is enough, and we ought to drop the practice of including the month of your start and end dates on resumes. But the industry practice does not agree with my personal feelings on this, so you should stick with writing both the month and year for start and end dates. So January 2018 – December 2021, for example, or Feb 2018 – October 2022, both work.

Torn paper image showing date format on a Ladders resume template.

Multiple jobs and promotions at one company require a careful presentation, both for the understanding of the people who will read your resume, as well as the software systems that will translate your resume into a storable version in the company’s database.

In the case of multiple jobs over the years at the same company, the best approach is to put the total years served next to the company name, and then the actual years for each role, as expressed by month-date, month-date, next to each position title. You can see our free resume templates and resume examples for specific guidance.

Company or role description

Increasingly popular in recent years is the trend towards describing the company and or the responsibilities of the role in a line underneath the company name. This succinct summary of important background information is quite an effective way to convey the facts about your role or the company. Staff size, budget and hiring circumstances can be shared on this line.

resume company description image for a Ladders resume

For example, you might write any of the following as a description of the employer:

You may also choose to address your staffing or responsibility:

Or the circumstances that led you to the role:

This line can briefly and brilliantly communicate the size, shape, or circumstances of your role or employer. It’s not required, but it can greatly help you increase the amount of information you get across without taking up more valuable bullet points.

Handling gaps — sired, fired, retired

Handling gaps in employment history is distressing for any professional. I’m being a bit flippant in describing this as sired, fired, or retired, but those are the most common causes – apart from gaps caused by COVID-19 .

In the case of COVID-caused furlough or layoff, be brief and to-the-point. This gap won’t raise doubts about you, because we all understand it.

Sired:  You or your spouse gave birth and you decided to stay at home for some number of years. That time period is up and you’re looking to get back into the workplace.

Fired: You picked the wrong job, wrong boss, or wrong industry, and you ended up being shown the door. Landing the next role has not happened as quickly as you would’ve liked and you have a gap longer than 12 months to explain.

Retired:  You decided to downshift and seek out the finer things in life, you took a gap year, or simply traveled for a year or two because circumstances afforded you the opportunity. But now it’s time to get back to having a work family, or a paycheck, or a career.

In each of these cases, it’s always better if you’ve had a plausible institutional connection during the gap period. Non-profit work is the obvious best and easiest one. Consulting roles, even at your own firm, count. Paid work done on a project basis for friends or former colleagues can also fit the bill. Any of these is better than a final date on your most recent employment that is twelve or more months in the past.

But in the case where that just wasn’t the situation — you’ve been the stay-at-home parent for the past seven years, as an example — your goal is to minimize the amount of space you spend describing what is not, after all, a business High Score.

Ideally, you summarize it in one optimistic, forward-looking, positive line of text:

Or to cover a time of travel:

Or the unenviable, unwanted, employment gap:

Image showing how to describe non-working periods in the Ladders format.

In each of these cases, your best approach to managing a period of time when you were hitting professional High Scores is the same — positive, brief, crisp — and then move on.

How to write resume bullet points

For a typical, experienced professional with more than ten years experience, you’ll have twenty-five bullet points across two pages to make your case. If you’re earlier in your career, you may have only 10-15 bullet points across one page. In either case, the High Score Resume treats each bullet point as a scarce, precious resource to be optimized for your success.

The High Score Resume makes the most of each bullet by demonstrating your success with numbers. Each bullet is constructed of a success verb and a specific numerical accomplishment in your field or role. This entices potential interviewers by providing quantified, proven results that detail your successes.

The High Score Resume allocates bullets to jobs according to its importance in landing your next gig. Your most recent jobs are the most important, so the last five years get 10 to 15 bullets. The next five get five to 10. The next five get five in total. Anything beyond 15 years ago gets zero bullets. “One of the reasons to hire me is the experience I had in 2003 with … ” is simply not persuasive to bosses looking to hire in 2023.

As you’re writing each bullet point, craft it to persuade an employer to hire you because of the benefits you can deliver. You might practice reading it out loud with the phrase “You should hire me in 2023 for this role because I … ” followed by the text of each bullet. Bullets are written to support your argument that you can bring new High Scores to your potential boss right now.

“Show, don’t tell” is the motto of the High Score Resume. Within the confines of confidentiality, bullets provide specific proof to support the skills and accomplishments you claim in your Professional Summary. Simply asserting you’re good at this or capable at that isn’t persuasive. For each bullet, describe the accomplishment with specific details. It is those specific results, specific stories and specific successes that resonate most with future bosses.

Should I use action verbs on my resume?

In the High Score Resume, the structure for each bullet points is a success verb plus specific numerical data regarding an accomplishment in your field or role.

That means you need about 25 magic resume words for your bullet points. Rather than make you guess, I’ve provided you with 25 great success verbs in the box below that can serve effectively on any resume.

Image showing a list success verbs used as part of resume formatting.

Typical resume advice says to use active verbs, which the High Score Resume says aren’t good enough, aren’t powerful enough, and aren’t persuasive enough. Some active verbs are very bland and do nothing to help persuade a future employer. “Managed”, “established”, “defined”, and “performed” are all considered active verbs and are frequently used on resumes.

But these aren’t good verbs for communicating your High Score. You wouldn’t say “I managed a little character through a variety of levels” or “I performed various moves in the game.”

White-collar employees, by definition, establish, manage, define, and perform a wide variety of tasks. But what the High Score Resume wants you to share is “were you any good at them?” And that’s an important fact a hiring manager or recruiter wants to know.

That is why the High Score Resume says it’s important to use a success verb in every bullet point. As you can see above, success verbs demonstrate success — because you were there, something got better, something improved, something progressed. Spread across the two pages of a resume, these 25 verbs won’t repeat, they’ll convey action, and they’ll serve to jog your memory about those things you did that were successful — when you increased, delivered, improved, or optimized your company’s business.

Torn paper image showing the use of success verbs and numbers in the Ladders resume format.

The simplest thing to do would be to use these 25 verbs and only these verbs. Unless you have a good reason to expand your variety, the above success verbs can cover most bullets you can think of. Limiting your choices will save plenty of time and headache while ensuring a higher quality resume.

This might seem boring, but unless you are applying to be a thesaurus writer, none of your four audiences care how clever your success verbs are. The millions of hours lost each year to professionals like you looking up synonyms for “improved” is a complete waste of time.

Torn paper image showing a complete work experience section in the Ladders format.

In the example above, we’ve stuck to precisely eight of the verbs from the success verbs list.

On the other hand, a great example of how stating the obvious in your bullet points can set you back is the classic filler “Hired to be Vice President, Western Region”. Look, we live in the United States of America in the 21st century. Of course you were hired for your current role! I wasn’t assuming that you had inherited it from your father, the Duke of Sales, Western Region. This isn’t Game of Thrones. So why are your wasting valuable space in your resume telling your audience something they already know based on your title?

And given the nature of the modern organization, if you’re a manager, of course you’ve managed some number of fellow human beings. And of course you were given a budget with which to do something interesting with those human beings in the service of the organization’s greater goals.

So when you begin a bullet point with empty non-achievements such as “I was hired, I managed and I was responsible for … ” you are squandering the opportunity to showcase the benefits you brought to your boss and your company in your prior role.

It’s not enough to just have the verb, you need a specific numerical accomplishment, too.

The professional summary explains what your next job is

In the High Score Resume, the professional summary communicates your Next Level — the job you want next. Very significantly, it is not a summary of your past professional experience, but a summary of where you will be next.

In the professional summary, you make your most effective, most concise, most powerful pitch for the job you want. Using short words and brief phrases, this section stands out from the rest of the High Score Resume in a dramatic and compelling way. You’ll use that power to make clear to your future boss your capabilities and your expectations for your next role.

While it represents only 10% of the space on your resume, the professional summary should be where you spend a third or more of your resume writing time.

In total, your professional summary includes 12-16 phrases spread across three to four lines. The first of the four lines is a list of job titles you want. The next line is a list of professional skills you have. The third is a list of achievements that show how you excel. The optional fourth line can be used for more skills and achievements or can be used to explicitly indicate the kind of company, role or industry you’re targeting.

You’ll spend as much time on what to leave out, as what to include. Miles Davis said “Music is the space between the notes. It’s not the notes you play; it’s the notes you don’t play.” For you, it’s the words and achievements and titles that you leave out that reinforce for your audience who you are and what you’ll do next.

Your professional summary begins with a Professional Headline that summarizes who you are. You’ll want to include only the three or four words that capture the essence of your professional career at this point. Our example below is a General & Operations Manager , but you may be an Innovative Financial Executive , a Senior Leader in CPG Marketing , a Gaming Technology CTO , an Accomplished VP Enterprise Sales , or a Leading Biotech Research Scientist .

Torn paper image showing a resume summary in the Ladders resume format.

Whichever it is, this bold, ALL CAPS, Professional Headline is the marketing pitch for you. It’s worth spending several hours getting this exactly right.

Your Professional Summary is your first impression to four audiences. Like all first impressions, it is important and can be defining. The same resume with the same accomplishments reads very differently with these lame, generic terms “Seasoned Executive – Manager – P&L Responsibility – Industry Expert” versus the more direct and specific “COO – SVP, Operations – Turn-around Expert – Delivered $2 bn Shareholder Value”.

While it might seem obvious to you what your Next Level is, it is not obvious at all to the people reading your resume.

In fact, given how different people are, you can be assured that someone just like you spoke to the recruiter or hiring manager last month, last week, or even yesterday, and despite having the precise background that you have, that person told them of a completely different career plan . I’ve seen it enough to know that I can never guess what someone wants to do next. To be honest, that’s why one of the first questions I ask in hiring is “so what are you looking to do next?”

You’d be surprised at the answers!

In our example here, we’ve clarified that our resume is for a General & Operations Manager , who is looking for roles with the title COO, VP, Operations and Administration, Country Manager, and so forth. Listing those titles specifically makes it easy for Audience #1, the screener, to understand which roles to select you for. It makes it easy for Audience #2, the recruiting professional, to understand what your Next Level is. It makes it easy for Audience #3, your future boss, to know who you are and where you’re headed. And it makes easy for Audience #4, the ATS, to understand what titles to associate your candidacy with.

Image showing the four audiences of a professional resume.

As always on resumes, the more specific you can be, the better. Your four audiences must come away with an explicit understanding of the type of job in which you’re interested, the titles to consider you for, and your High Score achievements and capabilities.

As for formatting, you must keep the Professional Summary to four lines. Don’t go over the line ends and cause gaps in spacing as the software tries to deal with a word or two extra on the next line. And keep the entire section centered.

Torn paper image to show why a professional resume summary should not exceed four lines.

Job titles in your Professional Summary

The first line of your Professional Summary is the most effective area for communicating your expectations, so here you will list 3 to 5 job titles of jobs you would actually accept as your next job. It’s important to note that these are the titles of the job you want next, not of the jobs you have had in the past, or the job you currently have. This is the “Next Level” section of your High Score Resume . It’s where you inform recruiters and hiring managers of the job you desire and believe you’re a good fit for.

Now it’s important to note that it does not matter that you have never actually had this job title in the past, but it ought to be a plausible Next Level in your professional career. Rather, you’re advertising your ambition to the screener, the recruiter, or hiring manager looking to hire someone for that particular role and title.

Calibrating precisely the title you’re looking for is easier, of course, if you plan on staying in a similar-sized company. A VP, Marketing at one tiny startup can plausibly lay claim to the ability to fulfill the VP, Marketing role at another tiny startup. And a Finance Manager at one Fortune 1000 company is well within her rights to indicate that Senior Manager, Finance is her target for her next gig. Complications arise when you’re considering all company sizes — having been a CMO at three different five-person start-ups does not make it at all likely that you’d be considered for a role with a lower level, such as Director or VP, at a Fortune 500 company.

Torn paper image showing aspirational job titles on the first line of the resume summary.

Because there are no hard and fast rules that make it easy, you’ll use your business judgment to determine what qualifies as a suitable title for which you ought to be considered.

Examples of the first line of your professional summary are:

You’ll notice the separators can be anything tasteful and understated — an asterisk, a dot, a vertical bar or a hyphen.

Image of complete page discussing why lies on a resume are a bad idea.

Professional skills in your Professional Summary

The second line of your professional summary focuses on professional skills — your skills and capabilities that will make you successful in the job titles listed above. These are the skills you currently possess and are “level-appropriate” for your Next Level.

Please consider that at your next job, the skills you are currently using will be one notch less relevant. After all, they are skills you used for a job at a lower level. The advanced skills at your current job will be the basic, expected skills in your next role. And the skills you are currently stretching yourself to acquire — those that are currently at the very fingertips of your reach — will be the ones that you’ll be expected to develop and put into practice day after day. The basic skills for your current role will not be relevant at all.

Torn paper image showing four professional skills on the resume summary second line.

So if you’re an individual contributor at the moment, and want to move up to a team lead, or a senior individual contributor role, rather than highlight skills related to your individual practice, you want to call out those skills that show the elements of team leadership and accountability.

And if you’re a manager looking to step up and become a manager of managers, you’ll focus on your ability to manage output, process, accountability, and communication, more than your ability to manage individual team members, the work output, and team member level tasks and productivity.

Do not list skills that are obvious or would be assumed for someone at your level. For example, if you’re applying for C-suite jobs, listing “time management” or “presentation skills” would be far too junior to mention in your summary.

Examples for the second line could include:

Past achievements for your Professional Summary

On the third line of your Professional Summary, you will list three to five phrases that describe your demonstrated past success. No need for numbers here as you’ll dive into that in detail in your work experience section, so here you’re sharing the “how” of your High Scores. Any type of achievements or attributes for which you have received recognition are appropriate, and those that best demonstrate your mastery of your prior roles are best.

Summarize the three to five most important achievements of your recent career to make a concise case for why past success is indicative of future results.

Situational, recognition or industry considerations

On the optional fourth line, you can include additional skills, capabilities, and achievements; provide additional color around the types of situations you are looking for; internal, external, or industry awards and recognition; or indications of industry interest that may not be clear from other items in your professional summary.

Torn paper image showing four achievements on third summary line and optional fourth line.

Examples might include “Marketer of the Year 2018”, “Turnaround Expert”, “Growth Company Executive”, “Successful Public Speaker”, “Startup Leader”, “CPG Veteran”, or “Airline Expert.”

Your optional fourth line is a great place to add additional flavor to your overall initial presentation, and round out the picture of who you’d like to be next.

This specific ordering suggests a pattern to follow. If it makes more sense to you to change the order or the themes, you have the flexibility to do that. So while it makes more sense to group skills on one line and achievements on another, if the specific order of job title – skills – achievements – awards does not work for your situation, you should change it as you see fit, and as reads best for you.

To repeat, there’s no penalty for mixing and matching the themes on these various lines, but there’s no benefit either. Save yourself the time and aggravation by keeping it simple and following this outline .


Resume Genius

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Home Resume Help Resume Formatting

How to Format a Resume: 7+ Resume Formatting Tips

Conrad Benz

No matter what kind of skills you have, employers won’t take your resume seriously if it’s not properly formatted. Read on to learn how to format your resume from header to footer with our examples and resume formatting guide.

An image of a resume that demonstrates proper resume formatting

While the content of your job application is primarily what wins you an interview, no amount of experience or skills will impress employers if your resume is hard to read or looks unprofessional.

Once you’ve selected one of the three main resume formats to use, it’s essential you follow proper resume formatting rules for a job application.

Here some basic formatting rules to follow when writing a resume :

How to format a resume in 7 steps

Here are seven steps to formatting a resume so that it’s both professional and easy to read:

1. Left-align the content

Your resume should always have the most important information left-aligned. This includes information like your work experience and skills section .

Left-aligning content makes it easy for hiring managers to read through your qualifications and easily find the information they’re looking for.

However, if you need to save space, right-aligning minor details on your resume like your education (if you’re not a recent graduate ), certifications, or awards is acceptable.

2. Use 1″ margins

In most cases, you should use 1” margins on your resume . However, anywhere between ½”–1″ is acceptable.

For example, if you have less work experience you should be able to fit all your qualifications on a one page resume with 1″ margins. But you may prefer to use narrower margins if you have years of work experience and need to fit more information on the page.

3. Select a professional, easy-to-read font

The font used on your resume should be professional and easy to read. Generally, this means sticking to commonly used fonts like Times New Roman or Calibri.

The most important thing is that your font choice doesn’t distract from the qualifications on your resume. So avoid using more eccentric fonts like Courier New or Impact (and especially avoid Comic Sans).

Here are some of the best fonts to use on your resume :

Additionally, the font size used for the body content of your resume should be between 10 and 12 points , depending on the font you’re using and your space requirements. Meanwhile, your name and section headers should be larger to help break up your resume into sections.

4. Divide your information into clear sections

All the information on your resume should be divided into clear sections. This makes your resume easier for employers to scan through and find the information they’re looking for.

At a minimum, here are the five resume sections you need to include:

If you want to highlight more information on your resume, you can add additional sections for things like your volunteer work , awards, or publications.

5. Set headers for each section

Start each part of your resume with a header that’s distinguishable from the rest of the text on your resume and clearly states what information is found in that section.

For example, your work experience section should start off with “Work Experience” or “Relevant Experience” in a slightly larger, bolded font. Many resume templates also add underlines to section headers to further distinguish them.

Here’s an example of a resume with appropriate section headers:

6. Use bullet points for your work experience

All the details of your work experience should be formatted in concise bullet points that highlight some of your key professional accomplishments .

Each bullet should start with a specific action verb that highlights what you did while at your previous or current job. You should also include hard numbers when possible to illustrate the exact impact you made while working in each role.

For example, mention the estimated dollar amounts you saved, number of sales you made, or customers you helped.

Here’s an example of a resume experience section that uses good resume formatting:

An example demonstrating how to format resume bullet points

7. Keep your resume an appropriate length

The proper resume length for most people is one page , especially if you’re a recent graduate or have less than five years of work experience.

Hiring managers are typically busy, and one page gives you enough space to summarize your main qualifications and achievements without using up their time.

However, if you have more than 10 years of relevant work experience, you can use a two page resume to communicate the depth of your experience and skills.

Additional resume formatting tips

Now that you know the basics of how to format a resume, here are some additional tips for making your resume professional looking and easy to read.

Don’t use first-person pronouns

Your resume should always be written in an implied first person perspective , meaning that you describe your responsibilities and accomplishments as your own, but omit “I” or “me.”

If you started each bullet point with first-person pronouns, your resume would get repetitive fast. For example, “I built this,” “I executed this strategy,” “I increased sales.”

Hiring managers understand that everything on your resume is referring to your own experience, so just directly state what you accomplished.

“Executed a new marketing strategy that increased personal sales numbers by 10%”

“I executed a new marketing strategy that increased my personal sales numbers 10%”

Use past-tense when explaining previous work experience

If you’re currently employed and writing about experience from your present job, use the present tense for any responsibility that isn’t a one-time accomplishment. However, all your former jobs or achievements should be described using the past tense.

Here’s an example of a work experience section that uses proper tenses:

An example of proper tenses on a resume

Stick to a consistent date format

The dates on your resume should follow a consistent format. For example, most job seekers state the month and year they began employment somewhere, followed by a dash and then the end date (or “Present” if the position is ongoing). Like this:

Content Editor May 2019 – August 2020 Big Software, New York, NY

However, it’s important to make sure you stick to the same formatting throughout your resume. If you start stating only the years you were employed (and not the months) halfway through your resume, it’s likely to confuse employers and negatively impact their perception of you.

Proper resume formatting template

Here’s a resume formatting template that you can copy and paste into Google Docs or Microsoft Word and fill out with your own information. This template is designed to help you stick to the basic resume formatting guidelines mentioned above.

1. Resume Heading


Email: youre[email protected] | Phone: 995 555 555 | Address: 1234 Lincoln Rd. Harrisburg, PA 17101 | Linkedin:

2. Resume Introduction

Dedicated [industry] professional with [# of years] years of experience. Looking to leverage my abilities in [relevant skills] to fill the [position name] position at [Company Name]. An adaptable employee seeking to help achieve [Company’s Name]’s goals and take on new challenges as soon as possible.

3. Work or Relevant Experience

Most Recent Job Title / Start Date – End Date Employer Name / Location

Earlier Job Title / Start Date – End Date Employer Name / Location

4. Education

Degree Name / Major University, Location / Start Date – End Date

5. Skills and Certifications

6. Additional Resume Section

Final resume formatting checklist

Before you send off your application, here’s a final checklist to make sure your resume formatting is correct and makes you come off as a professional:

The Resume Genius Resume Formatting Checklist

Is your contact information accurate?

Does your resume NOT include sensitive personal information?

Does your resume fit on one page (or two pages if you’re highly experienced)?

Is your information easy to read (fonts are above 10pt, sections aren’t crowded)?

Is the design of your resume appropriate for the position you’re applying for?

Did you include all relevant sections on your resume?

Did you include quantified achievements in your work experience section?

Does your resume address the requirements stated in the job ad?

Is your resume free of typos and grammatical errors?

Is all of your information clearly formatted and professional?

Are all your sections properly aligned (nothing looks pushed off to the side)?

Click to rate this article

Conrad Benz

Written by Conrad Benz

Conrad Benz is a Digital Media Specialist & Resume Expert at Resume Genius, where he helps countless job-seekers craft standout resumes and launch their careers. His... more

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Use a template to create a resume

If you need help creating a resume or cover letter, start with one of the dozens of professionally-designed resume and cover letter templates that are available in Word.

Go to File > New .

In the search box, type Resume or Cover Letter.

The search word, Resume, is highlighted on the New document screen.

Double-click the template you want to use.

Replace the placeholder text with your own information.

On the File menu, select New from Template .

Resume is hightlighted in the templates search box

Create and use your own template in Office for Mac

Making a resume like this while you're online is quick and easy.

Note:  This template comes with a cover letter, so you'll have everything in one document.

Resume template

Choose one of our resume templates , and open it in Word for the web to make it yours.

click More on

As you work on the resume, you'll probably want to rename it.

The template uses a table to line everything up. If you need to add more lines for job experience or education, add rows to the table by going up to Layout under Table Tools and clicking Insert Below (or Insert Above) .

Insert Below and Insert Above commands

For tips on writing your resume, check out Six steps to developing a great resume .

When you're finished, print it out or share it online. You can do this with the resume still open in Word for the web. No need to save it first (that's already done for you).

To print it, press Ctrl+P, and wait for the Print dialog box.

Note:  If you don't see a Print dialog box, click the link for opening a PDF version of your resume. From there, use the PDF program's Print command.

To share it online, send a link:

Near the top of the screen, click Share .

Under Share , click Get a Link .

Click Get a Link

Under Choose an option , click View only .

View-only link

Click Create Link .

Click on the web address to select it, and then copy and paste it into an email, message, or post.

Tip:  If you have a blog or website, you can embed a view of your resume there.


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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts

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Sample Résumés

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This section of resources contains samples of skills, chronological, and functional résumés. The Interactive Résumé resource contains a sample résumé on which you can click each section to learn more about the different sections of the résumé and how to write each section of the résumé.

This section offers information on three common résumé styles: skills, chronological, and functional. Each section also contains a sample résumé of the particular style the section discusses.

The Interactive Résumé resource contains a sample résumé on which you can click each section to learn more about the different sections of the résumé and how to write each section of the résumé.

Sample Résumés:

Skills Résumé

Chronological Résumé

Functional Résumé

Interactive Résumé

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Help Center

What should I include in my federal resume?

Whether you’re a current federal employee or new to the federal government, your resume is the primary way for you to communicate your education, skills and experience.

Before you get started

Read the entire job announcement. Focus on the following sections to understand whether or not you qualify for the position. This critical information is found under:

Make sure you have the required experience and/or education before you apply. Hiring agencies use the job announcement to describe the job and the required qualifications, including:

What to include in your resume

Federal jobs often require that you have experience in a particular type of work for a certain period of time. You must show how your skills and experiences meet the qualifications and requirements listed in the job announcement to be considered for the job.

Include important contact information

Don’t forget to add current contact information. Most job applications require this information:

Read the job opportunity carefully to make sure you have included all required contact information.

Include dates, hours, level of experience and examples for each work experience

For each work experience you list, make sure you include:

Program Analyst GS-343-11 January 2009—Present 40 Hours/Week $63,000/Year

Include volunteer work and roles in community organizations

Don’t limit yourself to only including paid work experience. Include relevant volunteer work or community organizations roles that demonstrate your ability to do the job.

Use numbers to highlight your accomplishments

Use numbers, percentages or dollars to highlight your accomplishments—you can find this information in things like your performance reviews, previous job descriptions, awards and letters of recommendation.

When explaining your accomplishments:

These statements show in concrete terms what you accomplished.

More resume writing tips

Customize your resume.

You should tailor your resume to the job announcement rather than sending out the same resume for every job. Customizing your resume helps you match your competencies, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to the requirements for each job. Emphasize your strengths and include everything you’ve done that relates to the job you’re seeking. Leave out experience that isn’t relevant.

Use similar terms and address every required qualification

Your experience needs to address every required qualification in the job announcement. Hiring agencies will look for specific terms in your resume to make sure you have the experience they’re seeking.

For example, if the qualifications section says you need experience with “MS Project” you need to use the words ” MS Project” in your resume.

Organize your resume to make it easy to understand

You need to organize your resume to help agencies evaluate your experience. If you don’t provide the information required for the hiring agency to determine your qualifications, you might not be considered for the job.

Hiring agencies often receive dozens or even hundreds of resumes for certain positions. Hiring managers quickly skim through submissions and eliminate candidates who clearly are not qualified. Look at your resume and ask:

Review your resume before you apply

Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors and have someone else, with a good eye for detail, review your resume.

Important facts about the federal hiring process

Learn more about the federal hiring process .

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Best resume format 2023 (+free examples)

Paul Drury

What is a resume format?

The phrase “resume format” is often a confusing one, since different sources use this term to refer to different/multiple things. 

In the most basic sense, a resume format is the type of structure your resume has depending on the order in which resume sections are presented, how the employment history section is written and which sections are given the most emphasis. 

For example, in one type of resume format, the skills section may be overly emphasized, while in another, your work history will take center stage.

3 main types of resume formats

Luckily when it comes to choosing a resume format, your choices are already narrowed down to three main types:

Each one offers unique advantages and there are no best resume templates. You may even want to create a version of your resume in each format depending on the job title, the company or even the country in which you are applying. An online resume builder can make it much easier to quickly switch around sections and go from one format to another without much fuss. 

Reverse chronological format

The old standard, the reverse chronological format has probably been around nearly as long as resumes. And it’s not without good reason. A chronological format is still the best way to showcase employment history , especially in traditional industries where climbing the corporate ladder is the most commonly accepted route. All the best resume templates will focus on this logical approach.

“Reverse” refers to the fact that this format begins with your most current (or most recent) place of employment and works backwards until you’ve listed all your relevant experiences of the past ten years. While you don’t need to include everything you’ve done in that timeframe (for example, you’ll want to leave off your server experience on an architect resume) you do want to pay attention to any gaps in employment history as the chronological format can quickly make them stand out to the hiring manager.

Reverse Resume Example

Functional resume format

For jobs where specialized skills count for more than employment history, the functional resume can be a lifesaver. This format allows you to highlight your expertise right from the top of your resume in a section often called “Experience.” Whereas a chronological resume format shows an employer what you’ve accomplished in the past, a functional resume format is more focused on the skills and specialized knowledge you can offer right now.

Since a functional resume format is more flexible than a chronological one, it’s a great choice for a variety of job situations. Skilled tradespeople, freelancers, gig workers, students and even recent grads can all benefit from highlighting their strengths without having to categorically organize them under previous positions which may be too numerous or repetitive.

Functional Resume Example

Combination resume format

A combined format, sometimes called a combination format, is exactly what it sounds like: the perfect fusion of the chronological and functional formats. The need for a combined resume format is often dictated by the candidate’s job search. For example, a freelancer looking to apply to a full time position may want to begin the resume with top skills before following up with an Employment History section to show their ability to work in environments similar to the prospective employer’s.

Many professional resume writers will write in a combination style while still calling it reverse chronological. Highlighting your key skills at the top is a genuinely smart move for many roles. The work experience section isn't so far behind and you can normally still fit the two most recent roles on page one.

The advantage of the combined resume is that it allows the job seeker to first draw the hiring manager’s attention to their strengths, while also providing the employment history information that many traditional companies still expect. For candidates whose experience best fits a functional resume but aren’t sure how well it will be received, a combined resume is the right choice.

Here's a video that can help you choose between a combination or chronological resume format.

Combination Resume Example

Best format for freshers

If you have recently graduated or you are due to graduate soon, you may be wondering about the best resume format for freshers. You may not have a lot of experience, so you will want to focus on your education and what you have learned through your studies.

With your qualifications, you should go into some detail about what you did and what modules you covered. This will give the hiring manager a better overall feel for who you are and what you know. The most valuable aspects of your coursework should be highlighted and pay attention to how these are transferable to the role. Keep your resume format for freshers clear and concise, there is no need for the graduate resume to be any more than one page.

Choosing the best resume format (top 5 tips)

Here are our top 5 tips for choosing a resume format and finishing it inside a resume builder:

If you spent at least some portion of your career believing that there was only one correct way to format a resume, we’d understand. Most people are familiar with the reverse chronological resume format which dictates that you begin your resume with your most recent position and work backwards from there. 

Although chronological may still be the most common format, that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Many candidates find that selecting a different resume format better allows them to highlight their diverse experiences and unique skills. It is one way of standing out, but only if it allows you to make your case in the most effective way.

Likewise, many forward-thinking hiring managers are no longer looking for cookie-cutter employees. They want applicants to showcase an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to adapt to the workplace of the future. While the chronological format may still work best for communicating previous positions, adding elements of a functional format to create a combined one can quickly set apart an innovative candidate.

In the chapters below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about selecting the perfect resume formats including:

Many hiring managers can spend less than 30 seconds reviewing a resume. Clean formatting without spelling or grammatical errors is one of the first things they take in, according to Mashable .

Google docs resume templates

Ready to craft a resume that catches the attention of recruiters? A Google doc resume template can give you a head start. Keep reading and we’ll help you decide whether it’s your best bet for success.

Which resume format 2023

Ultimately, no resume format is more correct than another. It all comes down to your experience, industry and potential employer. When choosing a resume format for 2023, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine which resume format is right for you.

If you answer YES to any of the following questions, you may want to consider switching from a chronological format to a functional or combined one:

While combined resumes will be on the rise in the coming years, that doesn’t mean a nontraditional format is for everyone. Here are some situations in which a chronological format is likely the best choice:

We also have made a chart to see which resume format is the best for you:

How 2023 job trends influence resume formatting choices

It’s no surprise that in 2023 the way we work is changing – big time. And that affects everything from the methods of conducting your job search to formatting your resume. With more companies favoring remote teams, flexible hours and specialized candidates, there is a lot to adapt to when it comes to finding a new position or even starting a career from scratch. Your resume should show that, at a time of change, you have what it takes.

In this chapter, we’ll discuss some of the major trends for work in 2023 and how you can adjust your resume formatting choices to increase your chances of landing your dream job. Here’s what’s ahead:

Formatting a resume for a remote position

For many, remote work may be an entirely new experience but that doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Companies have seen the advantages of working from home in increased productivity, employee morale and a reduction in overhead costs. According to NPR , many of America’s largest companies are planning to free their employees from the walls of the office for the foreseeable future.

According to researchers at MIT, more than half of the American workforce is currently working remotely. Good luck finding a new chair for the home office!

Which resume format you choose for a remote position largely depends on the type of work you do. There are many industries where the fact that you’re working from home won’t mean you should jump ship on a chronological resume. However, if there are other factors in play, for example you are looking for part-time creative work while still holding another job, you may consider a combined resume format to paint a clearer picture of what you do. Just make sure to label remote positions as such so that a potential employer sees that you are comfortable in a digitally connected environment.

Remote working on the 2022 trends

The best resume format for freelancers in 2023

After having long struggled in a work world designed for traditional employees, in 2023 freelancers are finally ahead of the game. According to CNBC , the freelance market is booming, with more than one-third of Americans turning to freelance work this year and employers looking to hire them, especially in the fields of ecommerce, web and mobile design.

So for freelancers looking to have their day in the sun, what’s the best resume format? It depends on your objectives. For freelancers looking to remain in their current situation, a functional resume might serve as a great way to show clients what they are capable of. 

A combined resume can be a great choice if your skills are your selling point but you also have some impressive previous employers that can’t be missed. Finally, if you are transitioning to full time work, a chronological resume may be the right choice.

How to highlight specialized knowledge on a resume format

According to McKinsey , specialization is the way of the future. Employees who can handle one task well are likely to fare better than generalists in the long run. Low-wage jobs will be replaced with employees who have superior knowledge of products and the market (think “super agents” instead of just call center workers.) Many people will need to learn new skills and focus on career development in order to have the best chances of future advancement.

So what do these changes mean for your resume formatting? For one, companies want to know what you can bring to the table. A combined resume format can help you highlight specialized knowledge without appearing like you don’t have much industry experience to show. If you complete any training or certifications this year, you may also want to format your resume to include an additional section to showcase them.

1 in 16 workers will need to change occupations by 2030, according to the McKinsey report . If a career switch is in the cards, your resume format may help give you a fighting chance against more established candidates. Consider a functional format if you have no experience in the new field and a combined format if you have 1-3 related positions to show.

The best resume format for recent grads 2023

Recent graduates are facing a tough moment to enter the job market as companies shrink the number of entry-level hires and interns they are willing to take on. However, it’s not all bad news. Although many companies have a temporary hiring freeze, they are expecting to reach pre-pandemic hiring levels by summer 2023, according to Forbes .

When it comes to the best resume format for recent grads in 2023, flexibility and skills are everything. That doesn’t mean you should jump straight to a functional resume format. Hiring managers are wary of grads who try to cover a lack of work experience by focusing only on skills. If you have some previous internship experience, it can be enough to create a chronological resume format or a combined one if that’s a better choice for your industry.

Great news for recent grads – it’s becoming easier to find a job with less experience. According to Forbes , more than 70 percent of roles today have less requirements than one year ago.

Formatting your resume to pass the ATS

Did you know that two-thirds of the resumes submitted for a single position never make it to the hiring manager’s desk? That’s because a human HR rep is no longer the first gatekeeper when it comes to making new hires. A large percentage of today’s workplaces are employing ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems – to help filter out candidates, saving the hiring manager a lot of time and energy.

The ATS algorithms scan resumes for keywords and rank them against the other applicants. Only a top selection moves on to be read by a human hiring manager. You may have all the right experience and skills but if you don’t format them correctly, there’s a big chance you’ll miss out on the opportunity for an interview. 

When it comes to formatting your resume to pass the ATS, here’s what we recommend:

Key takeaways plus top 5 resume format tips

We hope this guide to resume formats has prepared you to make the best choice for your own experience and career goals in the ever-changing landscape of 2023. Here are our top 5 resume format tips to remember:

The easiest way to create a clean resume format – or to easily switch between two different types – is with a resume template. Resume templates allow you to be sure that your formatting is precise, attractive and optimized for the ATS, all without having to spend hours fighting with graphic design software. Check also our blog about: '' How to write a resume ''.

Presentation Skills: Examples and Solutions

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How to Write a Résumé and Choose the Best Format

resume format how to write

Listen to article

(8 minutes)

If you are unsure how your résumé should look, start with the chronological format.

The most common résumé format is chronological, listing your work experience in order, with the most recent experience at the top. It is straightforward, and many hiring managers prefer it because it is easy to understand.  

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Resume & Cover Letter

How to write a resume.

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Write the perfect resume in no time.

Let's face it: writing a resume can be intimidating. And the pressure to make it really sing can make the prospect of putting fingers to keyboard that much scarier. But writing the perfect resume doesn't have to be terrifying. In fact, it can be easy — if you know what you're doing.

That's what this guide is for. We'll take you through all the essential steps of crafting this career document, from how to structure its many sections to how to make sure a spelling error doesn't sneak in. We promise that when you're done, you'll want to show it off to the world. (Luckily, you can do that on Glassdoor. Simply upload your resume here , and you'll be ready to apply in an instant when you spot your dream job posted in our long list of job openings .)

What Is a Resume?

First things first: let’s define a resume . A resume is a summary of your work history, skills, and education. In this respect, a resume is different than a curriculum vitae — more commonly called a CV. A CV is a complete look at your career, covering every aspect of your education, work and experience without the restriction of length. But a resume is a summary of those experiences and skills, and typically covers only 10 years’ worth of employment . Unlike a CV, a resume should be tweaked and edited for each specific job for which you apply, and it should be just one or two pages long .

A resume is the most requested document in any job search — followed by the cover letter , of course. In fact, recruiters scrutinize job candidates’ resumes more closely than their cover letters. So let’s move on to how to structure it right.

resume format how to write

Common Types of Resumes

Most professional resume writers will tell you that there are three main types of resumes : chronological , functional and combination .

Chronological Resume: A chronological resume is the format that you’re probably the most familiar with — this is the type of resume that focuses on your recent work history above all. List your positions in reverse chronological order, with the most recent positions at the top and the oldest ones at the bottom. Ultimately, the goal is to show how your positions leading up to this point have perfectly prepared you for the role you’re applying to .

Functional Resume: A functional resume, on the other hand, emphasizes the relevance of your experience. To create a functional resume, you’ll prominently feature your professional summary , your skills and a work experience section organized by how closely the positions relate to the one you’re applying to. This format is best for those who want to minimize resume gaps , or are transitioning into a new industry.

Combination Resume: As you might be able to guess, a combination resume borrows from both of the aforementioned formats. You’ll combine the professional summary and skills section of a functional resume with the work experience section of a chronological resume. This format is a powerful way to stand out to recruiters by emphasizing both your experience and skills, and is useful for many different types of job seekers.

resume format how to write

How to Structure Your Resume

No two resumes will look exactly alike (nor should they!), but generally, resumes should have the following sections.

Header & Contact Info:  At the top of your resume, always include a header containing your name. Your contact info (typically your phone number, personal email address and sometimes links to social profiles or personal websites ) should be close by as well. After all, you don’t want there to be any confusion over who the resume belongs to, or make it difficult for recruiters or hiring managers to reach out to you. However, you may want to avoid putting your contact info in the header or footer of the document itself — the headers and footers can sometimes be overlooked by the software that scans your resume .

Professional Summary:  The professional summary is a brief, one- to three-sentence section featured prominently on your resume that succinctly describes who you are, what you do and why you’re perfect for the job . In contrast with the largely out-of-date objective statement — a line that describes the type of career opportunity you’re looking for — professional summaries aren’t about what you want. Instead, they’re focused on the value you could bring to a potential employer. It’s worth noting that a professional summary isn’t an absolute must-have — if your resume is missing one, it probably won’t be a dealbreaker — but it can be a nice way to give time-pressed recruiters and hiring managers a quick, high-level overview of why you’re the right person for the job.

Skills:  Once relegated to the bottom of resumes as an afterthought, the skills section has become more and more important as recruiters and hiring managers increasingly look for candidates with specialized backgrounds. Rather than making the folks reading your resume hunt through your bullet points to find your skills, it’s best to clearly list them. If they see right away that you have the ability to get the job done, they’re much more likely to take your resume seriously.

Work Experience:  This critical section of a resume is where you detail your work history in a consistent and compelling format. The Work Experience section should include company names, locations, employment dates, roles and titles you held and most importantly, bullet points containing action verbs and data points that detail the relevant accomplishments of each position. This portion is essential for recruiters and hiring managers, who look to absorb information about your career experiences and connect your skills to what they’re looking for in a potential hire. Recruiters are often flooded with resume submissions and have to carefully source and identify quality candidates in a crowded pack — so make sure your work experience stands out.

Education:  Since many jobs require a certain level of education , it’s important to mention your academic credentials on your resume. However, this section shouldn’t take up too much space. In most cases, simply listing where you went to school, when you attended and what degree you attained will be sufficient.

Additional Experience:  An optional, but potentially very valuable, addition to your resume is Additional Experience. This is a catch-all section at the tail end of your resume that allows you to highlight volunteer experience , awards and hobbies. Again, it shouldn’t be too long — you don’t want it to detract from your skills or work experience — but it can be a good way to provide a more well-rounded picture of who you are.

resume format how to write

Design & Formatting Tips

The subject matter of your resume is ultimately what recruiters care about most. However, that doesn’t mean you should slack off when it comes to design and formatting. A cluttered, visually confusing resume makes it more difficult to read, and therefore more likely that recruiters and hiring managers will cast it aside. On the other hand, a sleek, polished resume will have the opposite effect. Use these rules of thumb to ensure that your resume looks its best.

Want some specific examples? You can find attractive and effective resume templates here and here .

resume format how to write

How to Edit Your Resume

You’ve written your resume, and read it twice, but that’s not enough. A good editing job will take a little longer — and some specific tactics meant to catch resume errors .

First, don’t attempt to edit your resume until it’s done. Yes, it can be difficult to leave a glaring error while you move on to write your skills section, but force yourself to finish your resume before you edit it . Why? You’ll save yourself time, and letting go of errors now could help you write a better first draft because you’re focusing on the writing itself. You’ll be glad you decided to go back and make all the edits at once.

Next, never try to edit your resume right after you’ve written it. In fact, you should give yourself a 24-hour break before editing your resume. With time away, you’ll see your resume with fresh eyes and for what it really is—not what you meant it to be.

When you give your resume a read, try reading your resume backward . It sounds odd — and it’s not always easy — but reading backward forces you to focus on each word, and helps you better catch both spelling and grammatical errors in the text.

Ask a friend or family member to read your resume , too. They may spot errors that you missed, or have suggestions for how to show yourself in an even better light.

Then, fact-check your resume . Check the spelling of proper nouns — think: company names, addresses, etc. — and make sure you have the current contact information for any references you’ve chosen to add. These things might have changed since you last applied for a job.

And lastly, be sure to look for common resume pitfalls before you press send.

resume format how to write

Learn More!

Want more info? Check out these helpful resources on turning your resume into an irresistible reflection of you and your work.

The Perfect Resume Looks Like This

Ask a Resume Writer: Where Do I Start?

7 Things Your Resume Is Missing

What Hiring Managers Expect on Resumes Now

21 Words To Never Include In Your Resume

11 Skills, Traits and Qualities That Are Great to Have on Your Resume Now

How to Find a Job in 72 Hours

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    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.

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    Here are a few elements in the order of how they should be added to a simple resume format: 1. Contact information. One of the first pieces of information a hiring manager should find on your resume is your contact information. This is often written at the top of the document. You can include your name, city, state, phone number and email address.