How to Write a Resume | Professional Guide w/ 41+ Examples
For most job seekers, a good resume is what stands between a dream job and Option D. Get your CV right and you will receive responses from all other companies you applied for.
If your resume game is weak, you will be sitting around for weeks, maybe months, without a single answer.
So you’re probably wondering how you could write a resume that leads HR managers to invite you to interviews every day.
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to create a resume:
How to Write a Resume – Step by step
- Choose the Right Resume Format and Layout
- Mention Your Personal Information and Contact Information
- Use Resume Summary or Goal
- List Your Work Experience and Achievements
- Talk About Your Best Soft and Hard Skills
- (Optional) Include Additional Resume Sections – Languages, Hobbies, etc.
- Adapt Your Information to Job Posting
- Prepare a Persuasive Cover Letter
- Correct Your Resume and Cover Letter
So, let’s dive right in!
How to Make a Resume (The Right Way!)
Before you even start working on your CV, you must decide how you will create it.
And no – you shouldn’t use the basic text editor. While this is the most popular method for creating a resume, it is far from the best.
With a basic text editor resume, you will have to spend hours playing around with formatting. You make a little change and BAM! Your entire resume layout gets mixed up.
Instead of using a text editor, we recommend choosing a resume builder like Novorésumé. Our resume maker is quick, easy, and to put the icing on the cake, a Novorésumé looks much better and can fit more information than your average, cookie cutter resume.
To get the most out of this guide, you can go to the resume builder and start building your resume on the go while reading this guide.
How to Pick the Right Resume Format?
There are three types of resume formats: reverse chronological, functional or skills-based, and a combination of the two. The choice depends on the type of job you are applying for and your level of experience.
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1) Reverse chronological resume format – This is the most popular resume format and is ideal for people with a lot of work experience relevant to the position they are interested in.
2) Functional / skills-based resume format – If you do not have relevant work experience because you are a student / recent graduate or are considering a career change, the skills-based format is the better choice.
3) Combination resume format – The combination resume is a great choice for job seekers with a wide range of skills. It is useful if you are applying for a role that requires expertise in 3-4 different fields and you want to show all this on your resume. For example, let’s say you are applying for a senior management role and the requirements are Management, Sales and Software Development specialization.
So which one do you prefer?
In over 90% of cases, you want to stick to the reverse chronological resume format. This is the most common and most HR managers are used to it. Therefore, we will focus on this particular format in this guide.
If you have just graduated or have varied skills and work experience, you may want to choose one of the other 2 formats. Check out our guide to resuming formats to learn how to write both.
What is the Best Resume Layout?
- The first thing a job finder notices about any resume is the layout.
- Does it look tidy or messy? Is it too short or too long? Is it boring and easy to ignore, or “Read me!” Is he yelling?
- Some of the best practices when it comes to your resume layout include:
Resume Layout Must-Haves
1. One page long. You should only go to 2 pages if you really believe it will add significant value. HR managers at large companies receive more than 1,000 resumes per month. They won’t waste precious time reading your life story!
2. Clean the chapter titles. Choose a title (H2 for example) and use it for all chapter titles.
3. Lots of white space, especially around margins.
4. Easy to read font. We recommend sticking with the things that stand out, but not too much. Do: Ubuntu, Roboto, Overpass etc. Don’t (never): Comic Sans
5. Choose the correct font size. As a general rule, use 11 – 12 pt for regular text and 14 – 16 pt for chapter headings.
6. As a general rule, save your resume as a PDF. Word is a popular alternative, but it’s likely to mess up your resume formatting.
One more thing you should consider in terms of resume layout is whether you choose a traditional looking free resume template or a slightly more modern template:
CREATE YOUR CV NOW
If you’re pursuing a career in a more traditional industry (law, banking, finance, etc.), you may want to stick to the first.
Still, if you’re applying to a tech company that values imagination and innovation, you can go for something more creative.
Resume Content – What to Mention on Your Resume
Now that we’ve eliminated the basics, let’s move on to the basics on how to write a resume.
The most popular sections for a resume are:
- Contact information
- Professional Resume Summary or Goal
- Work Experience (and Achievements)
- Optional Sections – Languages, Publications, Hobbies etc.
Below, we’ll go through each resume section from top to bottom. We’ll explain what to write and how to write so you can stand out and get the work you deserve.
The most critical part of your resume is “contact information”. Even if you do everything right, you can’t go too far if the HR manager can’t contact you because you misspelled your email.
Make sure you double-check or even triple-check the contact details section and everything is correct and up to date.
Contact Information to be Included in a Resume
- Name surname.
- Phone number.
- Location – are you in the region or will the company need to sponsor the relocation?
- Title – Your professional title. Your location can be word for word or the job you want. Think “Digital Marketing Specialist” or “Young Data Scientist”.
- LinkedIn URL – If you have an up-to-date profile that can add value to your app, be sure to include the link.
- Social Media – Do you have a portfolio posted online? For developers, this could be your GitHub for a designer Behance or Dribble, and your personal blog for a writer.
- Website / Blog – Do you have an online presence? Maybe a blog that positions you as an expert in your field? If you do, don’t forget to mention this!
What NOT to Include in the Contact Info Section
- Date of Birth (unless specifically stated in the job posting) – The HR manager does not need to know how old you are. It is not important for their decision making and, at worst, can lead to age-based discrimination.
- Non-Professional Email Address – Do: email@example.com Don’t: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Headshot – The HR manager doesn’t need to know what you are like to evaluate your application, so there really is no need to include your application.
Clean? Good! Let’s examine what a successful example of the communications section looks like:
Resume Summary or Objective
It is no secret to anyone that first impressions matter, whether in your personal life or career.
If you make a bad first impression, it will likely stay there. After all, it’s very difficult to change someone’s mind about you.
The same applies to your job search – HR manager will spend around 6 seconds scanning each resume. Yes, your carefully written, handcrafted resume takes attention in just 6 seconds. Unless you make a great first impression, of course.
The way to achieve this is either a good resume summary or a goal. Both are located at the top of your resume, right next to the contact information section:
So, here’s what you need to know about the two:
What’s a Resume Summary & When to Use it
The resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your career. Unless you are a recent college graduate or change your career, you should basically use a resume summary in any case (in this case, you would use a resume goal. More on that later!).
In your resume summary you must indicate:
- Your job and years of experience. For example: Customer support representative with more than 5 years of experience in the IT industry.
- 1 or 2 best achievements (or basic responsibilities). For example: Expert in technical support, customer service and user retention.
- The desired goal (usually the passion to work for a particular company). For example: Seeking new opportunities as a support leader for a SaaS company.
And here’s how the resume summary looks on a resume:
What’s a Resume Objective & When to Use it
The resume goal is, in summary, the goal of your resume. It conveys your motivation to enter a new field. As with the resume summary, the CV goal should be around 2-3 sentences.
As we mentioned earlier, the resume goal is a must-go goal for anyone with no work experience or a career change.
Formula to Create Your Resume Objective:
(1) [SKILLS / EDUCATION / CERTIFICATION RELATED TO THE JOB NAME].
I want to apply (2) [MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE DEFINITION OF THE JOB] in the [COMPANY YOU APPLY FOR]
(3) [TYPE OF LIABILITY YOU WILL SUCCESSFULLY HELP].
Examples of Resume Objectives
1) So what would this look like if you were a student:
- “Hardworking fresh graduate with BA looking for new opportunities in Graphic Design from State University of New York. More than 3 years of practical experience in working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, creating drawings and designing UX / UI. Grow as a designer at XYZ Design Studio and I want to perfect my art. “
2) Or if you are going through a career change:
- “IT project manager with more than 5 years of experience in software development. He led a team of developers to create products for various industries such as FinTech and HR technology. I would like to benefit from my experience managing outsourced products as a Product Owner at XYZ. “
- The most important part of your resume is your work experience.
- This is where you really sell yourself, showcase your past achievements and responsibilities.
- If you manage to master this chapter alone, you will know more than 80% of what you need to know about how to create a resume.
- There are many best practices for writing your work experience. Before we dive into all the vinegars and grits, let’s start with the basics …
- How to List Work Experience in a Resume
The standard format for your work experience is as follows:
- Job Title / Position – Your job title is located at the top of each work experience entry. When the HR manager scans your resume, you want them to know at a glance that you have job-related work experience.
- Company Name / Location / Description – Next, specify the name of the relevant employer and the location of the office where you work / work. In some cases, you may want to briefly describe the company if it is an organization. not a famous household name.
- Achievements and Responsibilities – This is the core of every work experience entry. Depending on your field, you want to list your achievements or responsibilities. We will explain more about how and why this happened.
- Employed Dates – Your working time at each company. Not sure of the exact dates you worked somewhere? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be accurate day by day as long as it’s close. The standard format expected by employers and employers is mm / yyyy (this is especially important when your job application will be parsed by an Application Tracking System).
Here’s a real-life example:
As you can see, work experience lists should be listed in reverse chronological order – starting with the most recent job and going back to the past.
Now that you know how to list your experience, we’re going to talk about how to write about your experience to stand out from the competition.
Are you a student with no work experience? We’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to writing an internship resume here.
List Achievements When Possible
One of the most common resume mistakes is to list only responsibilities in your work experience section.
The thing is, in most cases the hiring manager knows exactly what your responsibilities are. For example, let’s say you are a sales manager. Your responsibilities will be:
- Reach potential customers by phone or e-mail.
- Maintain relationships with existing company customers and increase sales of related products.
- Tracking and reporting leads in CRM.
Coincidentally, this is exactly the same list of responsibilities for every sales manager. 90% of all other resumes probably talk about pretty much the same thing.
So, to stand out, you want to focus on talking about achievements in your resume instead. Or, in simple terms, the company grows, reaches quarterly quotas, etc. How exactly you helped.
- Sales team exceeded their KPIs by 30% + for 3 months.
- It generated sales of over $ 24,000 in 1 month.
- Prospects generated by cold search
- Managed existing company clients
However, keep in mind that there aren’t many achievements you can mention in some areas. Let’s say you work in a warehouse. Your daily responsibilities likely include:
- Loading, unloading and setting up equipment on a daily basis.
- Pack the finished product and prepare it for shipping.
- Help open and close the warehouse.
It is quite difficult to distinguish yourself in these types of areas, so instead sticking to responsibilities is completely okay.
Adapt Your Resume to the Job
Did you know that more than 70% of resumes posted on job postings are never read?
Yes, Application Tracking Systems (ATS) prevent your resume from being read by HR. ATS (for resume) is software that helps companies filter the hundreds of resumes they take every day.
You’re probably wondering, “What does it give?! If a robot can just say” No “and eliminate all the effort you put into it, what’s the point of perfecting your resume?”
Well, don’t worry – it’s not hard to get past the Application Tracking System as long as you know how.
The key is to tailor your resume to each job you apply for. To do this, you must specify the correct keywords from the job posting on your resume.
So let’s consider a simple example of how to do this. Let’s say after reading the job post below for a digital marketer’s position, you discover that the most critical requirements for the business are:
- More than 5 years of experience in online marketing
- Social media marketing experience with good Facebook advertising knowledge
- B.A. In Marketing or Business Administration
- Experience to manage a monthly advertising budget of 20,000 USD on Facebook
Now, to adapt your resume to these requirements, simply mention each of them in your resume, taking into account that you have the relevant achievements and qualifications!
How much work experience do you include in your resume?
If you have more than ten years of work experience, you are probably confused about how much you mention on your resume. After all, if you need to list everything you’ve done so far, you’ll end up writing a mini-novel.
Or, on the other hand, if you are new to the job market, you probably have NO experience and wonder what you can talk about.
Here’s how much information you will provide in your resume, depending on your level of experience:
- Job hunters with no experience – If you don’t have any experience it can be a little difficult to complete the work experience section.
- You can either leave it blank and focus on all other departments, or you can work in student organizations, non-profit organizations, etc. You can fill it with work experience.
- Entry-level candidates – List all the work you’ve done so far.
- Intermediate professionals – Mention ONLY work experience relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Senior professionals – up to 15 years relevant work experience MAX. If your last experience is a CEO, no one cares how you started your career as a cashier in your teenage years.
How to List Education on Your Resume
The next part we will cover is Your Education. Let’s start with the basics – how to format the training section and what to talk about there. Next, we’ll move on to tips and tricks to help you stand out.
- Program Name. E.g.: “B.A. in Business Administration”
- University Name. E.g.: “New York State University”
- Years Attended. E.g.: “08/2008 – 06/2012”
- (Optional) GPA. E.g.: “3.9 GPA”
- (Optional) Honors. E.g.: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude.
- (Optional) Academic achievements. Any interesting papers you’ve written, courses you’ve excelled in, etc.
- (Optional) Minor. “Minor in Psychology”
Here’s an example:
Tips on perfecting your education section:
- If you don’t have any work experience, mention your education department first.
- Mention your most recent educational entry at the top.
- If you have a college degree, don’t mention your high school.
- ONLY mention the GPA if you have a very impressive academic career (3.5 GPA plus).
Emphasize Your Know-How with the Skills Section
Another part that should be in your resume is the “Skills” section. Here you want to mention all your knowledge that makes you the perfect candidate for the job.
- There are 2 types of skills you can include when writing your CV:
- Hard Skills (Measurable abilities). This can be anything from coding in Python to knowing how to cook Thai cuisine.
- Soft Skills (Personal skills). These are a mix of social skills, communication skills, personal traits, career qualities, and the like. Leadership, critical thinking, management and communication, just to name a few.
- A good resume should cover both.
- How To List The Skills On Your CV?
- When talking about skills in your resume, there are 3 basic steps you should follow:
- Step # 1 – List Difficult Skills by Experience Levels. For each hard skill you list, you want to indicate your level of proficiency:
As a general rule, you can divide them as follows:
Beginner – You have some experience with this skill, whether from entry-level practice or classroom training.
Medium – You have used the skill in a work environment with good understanding.
Advanced – You are the go-to for skills in your office. You can coach other employees and have a high understanding of the skill.
Expert – You have applied this skill in more than a handful of different projects and organizations. You are your go-to for advice on skills, not only in your office but even among some of the best professionals in your field.
Make sure you NEVER lie about your skill levels. Otherwise, it will be rather odd for both you and your employer.
Imagine your first task working as an Illustrator – creating a graphic vector compatible with an article. If you hand in a hastily drawn stick figure colored with a paint bucket tool in Microsoft Paint, you’ll be fired before your trial period ends.
Step # 2 – Bring Your Skills to the Job. You may have some super rare, great skills, but these will not always be useful. For example, knowing accounting is great, but would you really need it as a line cook in your new job? Absolutely!
Take a look at the job posting and list the 2-3 essential skills required for the job.
- college degree
- Tech-savvy with a bit of a background in CMS systems like WordPress
- Thrives in a stressful environment and manages to tackle multiple tasks and deadlines
- Organization and time management skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Confident with the ability to run their own business
- I can attitude and an unorthodox thinker
- Expert in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote and Pages
Basic understanding of Office software – Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook
As you can see, the must-have skills here are Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote, and Pages. Good thing to have WordPress. You can also mention Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook, but since they are essential for most office work, it is assumed you know how to use them.
If you are qualified, be sure to include all skills relevant to the relevant qualification levels in your “Skills” section.
Step # 3 – Include Some Universal Skills – “Universal Skills” are skills that are useful for almost any job. These are both soft skills (leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, etc.) and hard skills (Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop, writing, etc.). No matter what job you’re applying for, these skills will likely work somehow, so feel free to include them even if they’re not specifically required for the position.
Not sure what skills to talk about for your field? Putting it on any resume can be one of these 100+ essential skills!
Other Important Sections
The sections we have covered so far are indispensable for any resume. These are bread and butter for any job application, and if you do them right, you’ll get into any job you’re applying for.
But the sections below can really give you a boost here and there.
Are you bilingual Or better, multilingual? You should ALWAYS state this on your resume!
Even if the location doesn’t require you to know a particular language, it can still come in handy at some point. At the end of the day, it’s always better to know fewer languages.
To list the languages on your CV, write them down and assign them the appropriate level:
- Proficient (Enough knowledge to pass by in a professional environment)
As given, you should never lie about your language skills. You never know, your interviewer can be fluent in the language, even a native speaker!
Hobbies & Interests
Would you like to add some spice to your resume? The hobbies and interests section can help show who you are as an individual, although it doesn’t change the rules of the game. Who knows, maybe you and the person you’re interviewing have some common hobbies?
If you find extra space in your resume, don’t be afraid to show off your personality with the hobbies / interests section.
If you are a person who will use your free time to help others and expect nothing in return, you are probably an employee who wants more than money. It leaves the impression that you are a loyal and loyal employee.
Several studies show that you can increase your chances of being hired simply by listing your volunteer experience. This is especially true if you are a student with almost no work experience.
Certifications & Awards
Do you have any awards that make you stand out in your field? What about the certificates from industry experts?
In any case, feel free to include it in your resume as long as it is relevant to the position you are applying for.
Let’s say you are a Microsoft Cloud Engineer. Assuming you specialize in Microsoft Technologies, you would definitely want to include all the core certifications such as Azure Solutions Architect Specialist.
Are you a freelance writer? Maybe a distinguished academic?
If you have any published works (online or in an academic journal), you may want to include them in your resume. Make sure you add a URL so HR knows where to check your work!
Working on side projects can really show your passion for your field. Whether it’s college-grade projects or part-time entrepreneurial endeavors, both are equally relevant.
Let’s say you worked on a fake software product as part of a competition at the university. You’ve gone through every step of product creation, from idea to marketing strategy.
You can mention the project on your resume and you have a better chance of getting that business internship!
Or, on the other hand, you run an Etsy store that sells handmade artworks online to customers. Tell them all!
Recruiting managers love employees who do cool work in their spare time.
Perfecting Your Resume – FREE Checklist
Have you finished your resume already? Would you like to see how it holds up? Go through our checklist to perfect your resume and see where you stand!
Free Checklist for Resume Writing
- Does your contact information section contain all the information it should have?
- Is your contact email professional? Example: name + email@example.com
- Are you using the correct resume format?
- Is your resume 1-2 pages?
- Have you added all the required sections to your resume?
- Have you listed only the most relevant work experiences?
- Did you list achievements instead of responsibilities?
- Have you adapted your resume to the job posting you applied for?
- Did you mention the right amount of work experience in your CV?
- Have you listed your education on your resume?
- Have you listed all the right skills for the position you are applying for?
- Have you added any other important resume sections?
- And finally, did you read the rehearsal of your resume? We suggest you ask a friend or use software like Grammarly.
If you knew all the points? Congratulations! You have mastered everything you need to know about how to write a resume and you are ready to continue looking for work! If you still missed some points, go through your resume once again and make it as perfect as possible.
4+ Effective Resume Examples
Knowing how to write a resume is one thing, actually creating a standout resume is another thing entirely. Without inspiration, even the best career professionals may face a hurdle or two.
To get a better understanding of what a good resume looks like, check out some effective resume examples below …
Would you like to see more examples? Check out our compilation of over 20 resume examples for different fields.
Next Steps After Your Resume
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about creating a resume, let’s talk about cover letters and interviews.
After all, your resume is just the first step in your job search. To truly get the job you deserve, you need to make a killer cover letter and be successful in the upcoming interview.
How to Write a Convincing Cover Letter
Each job application consists of 2 parts – a resume and a cover letter. Now that we have covered the first one, let’s briefly explain the second one.
Many job seekers are startled when they hear that they need to write a cover letter. What are you talking about in a cover letter anyway? If you are good at writing cover letters, you would apply for a writing job!
In reality, writing a cover letter is pretty straightforward if you know its purpose.
You should think of a cover letter as a direct message to the hiring manager. You will briefly explain why you are so suitable for this position. It doesn’t sound that difficult when we put it this way, does it?
Here’s a format you could follow:
- Introduce yourself (and make an impression) – To start, give a brief description of your work experience and state why you are interested in working at the company you are applying for. You can also mention 1-2 of your best professional achievements to make a good first impression.
- Here’s how to excel – Identify the 3 most important requirements in a job posting. Then devote a paragraph to explain how to fulfill each requirement. For example, if the requirement is “Facebook Ad Experience”, state how you have done Facebook ads in the past and how you perfected it.
- Wrap it up and thank it – Thank the reader for reading your cover letter and suggest next steps. For example, “If you want to know more about my experience with Project XYZ, I’d love to chat!”
All clear? Just in case, you can also check out a real-life example below:
Does writing a cover letter still seem a little complicated? In fact, to really explain everything you need to know about cover letters, we need to write a completely new guide on the subject. We did this – thank you later! If you want to learn more about writing a cover letter, see our full guide. Or if you need a little more inspiration, check out these 5+ cover letter examples.
How to Ace Your Next Interview
- You have perfected both your resume and cover letter. Now is the time for the next (and last) step – the terrible job interview.
- Whether you’re extroverted or introverted, you probably hate the interview process. After all, it’s not the most fun experience to sit there and turn you into hell while someone is nudging your past experiences.
- Still, did you know that most interviewers ask the same questions? Yes – all you have to do is learn how to answer the most common interview questions and you’ll be away from getting your dream job!
- Would you like to learn more? Check out our complete guide to Job Interview Questions and Answers.
…And let’s wrap it all up!
If you’ve followed all our advice so far, congratulations! You are probably an expert on how to make a resume.
To sum it all up, let’s brush up on some of the most important lessons we’ve learned so far …
- Use the right resume maker. You don’t want to spend hours on formatting before you start working on your resume!
- Focus on achievements. Talk about your achievements rather than responsibilities to stand out from all other candidates.
- Add the must-have sections. So, continue with the summary, work experience, education, and skills.
- Tailor for work. Everything listed on your resume should be relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Perfect your cover letter. It is as important as your resume, so make sure you pay close attention to it!
At Novorésumé, we are committed to helping you get the job you deserve every step of the way! Follow our career blog to stay up to date with industry leading advice. Or check out some of our best guides…