The ultimate guide to learn how to quickly create a resume utilizing best practices to help you land your next job.
We’ve all been there. You’re ready to apply for a new job or looking for a career change, and you haven’t updated your resume in quite some time. Or it’s your first job, and you’re not sure where to start. Resumes are a standard part of the job application process. Not having one - a good one - makes it very difficult to near impossible to land your dream job.
Unless you have some incredible connections that can help you bypass the interview stage, which is pretty rare, we highly recommend you give your resume a second look (or first!).
Your resume is a way for you to market yourself and promote your career experience. Creating a resume lets hiring managers see how you'll bring value to their company.
It's important to know that your resume doesn't need to present all there is to know about you. It should summarize the most important aspects of your professional experience. As well as your education, interests and activities - when applicable. We recommend you tailor your resume to the position you're seeking. This means highlighting specific accomplishments and skills to the job you're applying for.
In this guide, we'll walk you through the following sections to help you craft the perfect resume:
Tip: Use an online resume builder
Don't use Microsoft Word. Always use an online resume builder. You'll never have to worry about finding files and you can export your resume as a PDF.
So you’re ready to get started on your resume. The most obvious of choices is to open up Microsoft Word, create a new document and get writing. If you haven’t already done this before, formatting in Microsoft Word is a painful experience.
You'll end up with an ugly resume template that has poor legibility and incorrect margins. Or due to the lack of design options, you’ll end up with a resume that looks standard and boring. In both cases, the chances of potential employers overlooking your resume are pretty high!
Crazy isn’t it? You've spent years building job experience but have to use Microsoft Word to tell that story. And if you can’t navigate around complicated tools, it'll lead to poor results. You might miss the opportunity to land your dream job. That doesn’t sound fair, and it isn’t.
Luckily, there are other options that exist. We’ve created the fastest and easiest resume builder available online. With a variety of pre-existing templates that are professional and field-tested. And there’s no messing around with font sizes, margins or colors. We’ve taken care of all that for you.
The benefits of using an online resume builder like the one we’ve created are much higher. Here are some of the top reasons to use a resume builder:
The other benefits of using Easy Resume’s online resume builder are:
Let’s break down the different types of resumes that employers generally look for.
Tip: When in doubt, use a reverse chronological resume format.
About 95% of resumes use the reverse chronological format. Hiring managers are used to this as it lets employers see how your career has progressed.
The most common is the Reverse Chronological format. It’s the most used and formatted to tell the story of your work experience in a chronological way. Employers prefer this format, as it gives them a historical overview of your career. Including the different job titles and responsibilities that you’ve had.
You have had a lot of prior work experience. This means either the number of jobs or the amount of work experience you’ve had.
You want to show how your career has progressed. For example, if you started as an associate and worked your way up to a senior-level position. The reverse-chronological format is a great way of showing your progression.
This is a very common question that we often receive. It’s usually in the form of:
“I’ve been out of work for 6-7 years after a certain life situation (i.e. having kids). The last job I had was in 2012, but recently I'm starting to apply for jobs again in 2019. What’s the right resume format for someone like me?”
First of all, no worries. This is a very common situation and happens with many people. As a hiring manager, having a gap like this can lead to questions and uncertainty about your resume. Which is why we recommend that you use a combination format.
The second type of resume format is the Functional or Skills-Based resume. This can be common for students and recent graduates starting to apply for their first job.
Reasons why this is common for students and recent grads is due to their lack of prior experience. Given the fact that they’re starting to enter the workforce and apply for their first job. It’s well understood amongst employers that students won’t have a huge depth of work experience. There are other ways to let them know what you can help bring to the role you’re applying for by showcase the list of skills that you excel at.
It usually depends on the role you’re applying for. But there are some common ones that you can try to focus on like: Communication, Organization, Customer Driven, Effective Listener, Teamwork, etc.
We recommend adding some extra activities for your career. Even if you haven’t attained any professional work experience yet. The few ways you can do that as a student is:
Not only will you have more examples of experience to show on your resume. You can show employers how much initiative and leadership you’ve performed on your own. This helps you stand out much better than a candidate who only lists generic skills.
For example, instead of only listing skills like:
An employer might prefer to move forward with a resume that looks like this:
Fear not, your chances towards landing your first job can still be within grasp. We recommend taking an approach that explains the skills you’ve acquired. And how you’ve applied them in real-world settings.
Here’s an example of adding depth to your skill sets:
Do you see how this can be more effective than listing out a set of skills? Taking this approach will let employers know that you’re not only listing skills. But have also demonstrated how you were able to apply these skills and put them into action.
The final type of resume that we mentioned earlier is the Combination or Hybrid format. This combines concepts from both reverse chronological and functional/skills-based formats.
We recommend this format for jobs that expect relevant experience and technical skills. An example might be a Graphic Designer who has experience working in design agencies. As well as necessary skills like Branding, Sketching, Illustration, and Adobe Creative Suite.
Now that we know which software to use and the most common resume formats, let’s break down the actual template. This is the make-or-break deal. Picking the right resume template can be the deciding factor if a hiring manager gives you a call. Or if they skip past your resume and never bother to read it.
Our mission here at Easy Resume is to make sure that never happens to you! We’re working hard to make sure your resume is high quality and presented in a way that will impress recruiters.
When speaking with hiring managers, we found that 78% of the time they skip your resume is because of the design. Again, we don’t think that’s fair.
We always use this checklist whenever creating any new resume template.
Whew, that was a lot of information. Let's quickly summarize what we've learned.
Let’s take a closer look at the resume itself now. Resumes are typically broken down into the common sections:
Resumes tend to have some common sections that employers are used to seeing. Here's a list of what's generally expected as best practice:
Of course not all people are alike. There’s no one-size-fits-all model for resumes. Depending on your job, you might want to include more unique sections. Remember any information you include on your resume should have valuable insight into your experience. Employers want to know why you would be a great hire.
If you don't have enough information for the sections described above, you can try to add some of these sections below. Keep in mind that you should only add it if it's relevant to the position you're applying for.
As you can see, there are many sections to add depth to your resume. So don’t be alarmed if you’re lacking skills or experiences, there are other ways to let employers learn of your potential.
Tip: Only add information that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.
As a best practice, always remember that the most valuable details is the information that recruiters are specifically looking for in the job description that you’re applying to.
Let’s break down each of these sections and how to add the most value to them.
Information about yourself is a critical element for your resume. It provides a brief description of who you are, where you're based and how to get in touch with you.
There are quite a few ways to add your contact details, but here's what's most necessary.
If you have accounts on social networks, you might want to include them depending on how relevant it is. This will let employers know that you're active and knowledgeable about commonly used platforms online.
Tip: Only add social media profiles if they showcase your professional experience.
Normally, you shouldn't add your personal social media profiles on your resume. Unless you're using social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest to demonstrate your expertise and interests, there's no reason to include them on your resume. For example, if you're a web developer, you might want to include your Github or if you're a designer, you can include a link to your Behance portfolio.
Your resume summary or objective gives employers a very brief overview of your goal and what kind of position you're looking for. It should always be at the very top of the resume. Usually placed directly below your name and contact information. It's always important to leave a great first impression. Remember, hiring managers are spending only 6 seconds scanning your resume.
Here are the key pieces of information that your resume objective should include:
e.g. 10+ Years
e.g. Managed parties and events upwards of 250+ guests and maintained customer satisfaction rate above 98%
e.g. Looking for new opportunities to bring expertise to fine-dining establishments
e.g. Looking to gain new skills and further develop fine-dining expertise at an upscale establishment like Janes Riverside Restaurant
Personalizing your resume objective to the specific company you're applying for can be a great way to make a first impression. We highly recommend tailoring each resume objective to the specific job and company you're applying to.
This checklist will help summarize your experience into a resume objective that leaves a good first impression.
Putting all this together, a bad example of a resume objective might be the following:
I am an experienced registered nurse, that has worked at large hospitals with experience taking care of patients and providing medical expertise. I'm looking for a position to help grow my nursing career.
Let's turn that into a better example of a resume objective, based on our guidelines:
Experienced and veteran RN with 12+ years of experience taking care of patient health. Skilled in providing high quality patient care in ER situations under intense pressure. Hired and trained a staff of 27 nurses and nurse assistants. Looking for a new role to bring empathetic care to the patients at Lincoln Hospital.
Take a look at our guide on how to write a killer resume summary or resume objective to learn more.
Your resume experience section is the most important aspect of your entire resume. It's a summary of your career experience and progression that outlines your responsibilities and achievements.
This is the section that you'll most likely spend most of your time on. It's good practice to make sure you consistently jot down any new experiences you've had, even if you're not looking for a job.
For example, if you recently landed a $200,000 deal by bringing on a new client at your firm, write that down somewhere you can remember. Over time, you'll have dozens of bullet points you can copy over to your resume when you are ready for a new job.
Here are the key pieces of information that your resume objective should include:
e.g. Red Lobster
e.g. November 2018 - Present
e.g. New York, NY
e.g. Made recommendations and answered questions about our food, beverages and other restaurant functions and services.
This is a simple example, but it can be improved by adding more detail.
These principles will make your resume look more professional, relevant and attractive to hiring managers. This is where most job-seekers have the toughest time when writing their resume.
We highly recommend emphasizing your experience section with these guidelines:
Showcasing skills on your resume lets employers understand the variety of your strengths. While skill sets can vary, the best approach is to use keywords from the job description to show how your skills are relevant.
In general, there are two types of skills you should consider adding to your resume.
Soft skills (sometimes known as "transferable skills") are self-developed skills that will be valuable to employers to many different types of jobs. Some examples of these include communication, teamwork, organization and leadership. Listing soft skills is recommended if you're thinking about a career change where your skills would serve both industries.
For example, there might be a job that requires candidates to be very strong in teamwork skills. If you’ve worked in team settings, and enjoy collaborating with other group members, this is a skill that you might want to call out.
Hard skills (also known as "technical skills") are specific skills that are learned to perform a certain task or master a craft. These skills are often completed during your job, and sometimes require specific education or training to learn and master. For example, some technical skills can include computers or hardware for jobs like a Web Developer or an IT person.
Adding technical skills to your resume will let employers know how you can solve different challenges using these skills you've acquired. We recommend using your career experience, as described above, to show real examples of how you applied your hard skills at your job. Make sure to keep them relevant to the job you're applying for.
The education section of your resume is an important call-out for showing your school experience and the degree(s) you've received. It's important that the education section of your resume is relevant to fit the position you're applying for.
Here's an example of the information you should add for your education.
e.g. Harvard University
e.g. B.F.A in Arts & Literature
e.g. Minor in Spanish
e.g. Fall 2004 to Spring 2008
e.g. 3.8/4.0 GPA
e.g. Magna Cum Laude
The most important information to include is your degree (multiple if you have more than one), the schools you attended and during which dates. If relevant, providing more specific pieces of information like your major and minor can also help.
Tip: Always be truthful on your resume.
It's not worth lying on your resume. Employers will quickly find out whether you're telling the truth or lying during an interview if they ask specific questions that you are unable to answer. Same goes for your Education. Employers can request a transcript to verify that your school information is correct.
You'll notice we also added GPA and Honors as optional. For GPA, it's not necessary nor required, and should be generally avoided unless you have a high GPA (greater than 3.8). Adding honors and achievements is also likely to be ignored by recruiters. Only add it if you have plenty of extra space on your resume. Otherwise save that space for more important and relevant information.
Now that we've learned about the most important sections to add on your resume, let's explore some other ways to demonstrate your full potential to future employers.
Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all model. Every person, every situation and every job is different. Your resume should be tailored based on a variety of these circumstances.
Keep in mind, that you should only add these sections if 1) you have extra space or 2) it's very relevant to the job you're applying for.