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  • How to Make a Resume:...

How to Make a Resume: Beginner's Writing Guide with Examples

30 min read · Updated on May 22, 2024

Marsha Hebert

Your dream job is one resume away!

Your resume is arguably the most important financial document you'll ever own. And before you think, “Yeah – right” let's consider for a moment. Without a resume, you don't get the job, so you can't pay bills, support a family, go to the big game, have that weekend trip, or plan for retirement. Your resume is the doorway to your future, so let's make sure it's perfect.

Part of making it perfect is remembering that it's a targeted career marketing document – not a chronicle of your life. So, how do you write a resume? In this beginner's writing guide, we'll show you how to make a resume and provide examples of what each section should look like. 

Grab a cup of coffee and strap in, because you're about to learn everything you need to know about how to make a new resume!

Table of contents:

The purpose of a resume

Avoid rejection by the ATS

What is your career target?

Build your personal brand, what should your resume look like, how to make a resume – the layout.

How long does it take to put together a resume?

A major resume no-no: typos

How to make your resume more professional

Theory in practice – resume examples

The most basic purpose of a resume is to sell your skills , achievements , and qualifications to prospective employers. This one document can financially make or break you. Let's take a quick look at what being unemployed costs you per day (assuming a five-day workweek):

If you make $40,000 per year, you lose about $155 every day that you're out of work

If you make $50,000 per year, you lose about $190 every day that you're out of work

If you make $75,000 per year, you lose about $288 every day that you're out of work

If you make $100,000 per year, you lose about $385 every day that you're out of work

Clearly, finding out how to make a resume for a job is critical so that you can properly sell your skills, qualifications, experiences, and achievements to prospective employers. 

The job market is tough and highly competitive; you have to stand out in a sea of qualified candidates by creating a compelling narrative that tells a story of value, keeping in mind that your resume is supposed to do a few things for you:

Introduce you to a new company

Underscore how your experiences and education are relevant

Showcase how your skills and competencies will benefit the new company's team

Win interviews

Avoid rejection by the ATS 

What do you know about applicant tracking systems? Job seeking can be compared to throwing your resume into a black hole. You can go through 100 listings on any job search website and complete the online application with zero results. 

Ever had that happen? It's okay, it happens to everyone at some point or another! 

The problem is that you're probably not putting the correct keywords into your resume. When you hit “Submit” on an online application, it isn't magically emailed to the hiring manager. 

Oh, no! 

It goes through a computer system that scans your resume for specific keywords that can be found in the job description posted by the company. And, just so you know, approximately 90% of companies use ATS scans , including everything from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies. 

The companies use these programs because they just don't have time for a human to go through all the resumes they receive. Depending on the job opening, a company can get between  250 and 500 applicants . Can you imagine being the person who has to sift through all those resumes? 

Here is where the ATS steps in. It's designed to weed through candidates to narrow the applicant pool, so that the human hiring manager has a more reasonable resume load to go through. It ranks the remaining candidates in order based on how much of a match they are for the position that's open. 

Being overlooked by the ATS is one of the number one reasons job seekers get ghosted by companies.

Once your resume makes it through the ATS and gets into the hands of a hiring manager, don't think they're going to sit down and read each one. Who has that kind of time? You should expect that the first round of resume sorting will consist of them flipping through the stack to pick the ones that stand out within about 6 seconds of glancing at them. 

PRO TIP: Put your resume on a table, stand up, and look at it from a little distance. Is it eye-catching? Can you tell the position you're seeking just by glancing at it? Set a timer if you have to, but no more than 10 seconds.

Speaking of eye-catching, don't make the same mistake as a lot of your rival job seekers by being too generic with your resume. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that being non-specific will open doors to more opportunities. The problem is that the hiring manager won't be able to tell exactly where you'll fit within their organization. 

The first step in winning an interview is being sure that your resume actually makes it into the hands of a human being at the company you apply to. Start by defining what you want to do.

So the first, and most important, step in crafting the perfect resume is to narrow down your target career path. The more specific you are with this first step, the more response you'll receive from hiring managers because they'll be able to tell exactly how you fit within their organization. There are four areas to focus on as you begin to chart your career path:

Industry: Do you want to work in private sector, nonprofit, government, or public roles?

Geography: This one is more in-depth than choosing rural vs urban. It also includes whether you want to work in a dynamic or static environment.

Company size: You may not think it, but having an idea about whether you want to work in a small company or one with thousands of employees is important. 

Role: Saving the best for last, you have to know what position you want.

On the surface, it may seem like these things are only important for the job search aspect of landing a new position, but you have to know what voice to write your resume in, too. Part of that is knowing your audience. When you understand your audience, you can build a personal brand that resonates with what they're looking for in a new staff member.

Now that you've gotten your target career path nailed down, the next step is to brand you. Think of yourself as a product and your resume is the packaging. Companies spend a lot of time on their branding and packaging - you have to do the same thing.

The best place to start is with a  career assessment . Taking one of these tests can help you to identify your strengths, what sets you apart from others, and key themes of your professional identity. Just like Nike and Coca-Cola have timeless taglines and catchphrases that succinctly define what they have to offer to consumers, your personal brand has to tell a concise, yet compelling, story. This is where your resume comes in.

Your resume isn't just a piece of paper you give to a hiring manager or upload to a website that says, “I'm interested in this job.” Your resume is a personal marketing tool. You shape that tool with words that describe your experiences and achievements, to impress and grab the attention of the hiring manager. 

Unlike Nike's “Just Do It” phrase, your personal brand isn't something you build and forget. It is fluid and should be revisited and refined as you gain new skills, experiences, and achievements. Weave the elements of your brand into every section of your resume.

There is a common misconception that entry-level resumes look different than executive resumes. The reality is that the only difference is how much content is available to write about. 

Obviously, someone who has little to no experience will have a  short resume  – generally one page. 

When you start to get up to 10 years of experience, then you've earned the second page, so go ahead and use it. 

It's not incremental though

Just because you have 20 years of experience doesn't mean you can have a three-page resume. As you work through how to make a resume, remember that a three-page resume should be avoided, unless you have a lot of career extras like publications, research, patents, publications, or public speaking engagements to talk about. 

Other than the number of pages, your resume should use the same format and layout no matter if you're applying to a job as someone fresh out of college or seeking to be the CEO of a company. 

Chronological resume 

The  reverse-chronological  is the most popular, traditional, and well-known resume format. Its focus is placed on achievements from your career history and is defined by listing your work history starting with your current or most recent job and working backward 10-15 years. 

Employers like this type of resume because it tells them what, when, and where you worked. It's best to use this if your work history is steady and shows growth and development. If you're looking to make a career change, have had frequent job changes, or if you're seeking your first job, this may not be the best format to use.

Pro Tip: You could also get lost in the ATS if your  resume is over-designed . Many resume writers will tell you that you need to stand out in the sea of sameness by adding some personality to your resume through design. While that's true, you need to avoid heavily formatted resumes which are often rejected by computer scanners as being illegible.

Functional resume 

This resume type focuses more on skills and experiences rather than on your work history. It's more of a “what you know and how you apply that knowledge” than a simple list of where you got the knowledge. It plays down gaps in work history and makes frequent job changes less noticeable. If it isn't done properly, though, it can be confusing for the hiring manager to read and understand. There's also a bit of a stigma behind it, because employers know that job seekers use this style to downplay job-hopping. So, the first thing they do when they get a functional resume is check employment dates. If you can avoid using this style, it's best to do so.

Combination resume 

There is another resume format that focuses on skills first and then experience last. It's the combination resume, which is sometimes called a hybrid resume. This is the most complex resume type and the best resume for mid-career professionals who are transitioning into another career or for people who have special skills and a strong track record of accomplishments. These types of resumes do take a long time to read and some hiring managers won't take the time unless they're looking to fill a hard-to-fill position.

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin and means “course of life.” It's a little different from a resume, but some positions require a CV over a resume. The first thing you would notice is that a CV is significantly longer than a resume.  A resume is a self-branding document meant to portray your experience and achievements in a concise and easy-to-read format. A CV goes much further into the depth of your education and accomplishments (think publications, awards, and honors) and even has a section for you to include "Areas of Interest."

The best way to describe a CV is that it's a career biography. The biggest significant difference is that a CV is arranged chronologically in a way that gives a complete overview of your full working career. It also doesn't change based on the career or position for which you're applying.

Layout 

To make things easier for the hiring manager to digest the content of your resume, it should be laid out in a specific way to ensure that the right information is in the right place. 

Hiring managers don't  READ  resumes. They skim through until they find something that piques their interest and then they stop to read

Contact information

Title 

Professional summary , core competencies, experience , education and credentials , awards, certificates, and volunteer work .

Since the reverse-chronological resume is the one that the majority of people will use to apply for jobs, and because it's the format that hiring managers want to see, we'll focus this article on showing you how to make a resume using that style. 

Current contact information 

Location | Phone | Email | LinkedIn | Portfolio (if applicable)

You can be creative and use bold font in your  contact information  and even put a border under it to separate it from the body of your resume. 

  • Name: Be sure to list your name the same across all professional documents (e.g., resume, cover letter, thank you note, LinkedIn profile). Don't get hung up with whether to use your legal name (i.e. the name on your birth certificate or driver's license). Write your name in the manner you want people to address you. Also, if you use any abbreviated credentials after your name (e.g. Jane Smith, MD), remember to include them on all professional documents.  You can also include any shortened versions of your name in quotations (e.g. Christopher "Chris" Smith). Just make sure to list it the same way everywhere you put your name.
  • Address: It is no longer customary to include your full address on your resume. There have been instances of discrimination against job seekers based on their address. As far as your address is concerned, all you need is the City, State, and Zip Code. A lot of people leave off the Zip Code; however, hiring managers can query the ATS for all resumes within a radius of a Zip Code. If you exclude the Zip Code or put something like, "Greater New York Metro Area," your resume won't be included in the query.
  • Phone and email: Put the telephone number and email address where you can easily be reached. Also, be sure that your email address is professional. Using something like [email protected] just won't cut it. The best idea is to use some form of your name. If you're paranoid about having your name in your email address, then you can use some form of the type of position you seek, like [email protected].
  • LinkedIn URL: You don't have to spell out the entire URL on the contact line. You can put the words “LinkedIn URL” and hyperlink those words. Before you include your LinkedIn URL, be sure that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for the career you want - because you can bet if they have access to it, the hiring manager will look at it. 
  • Portfolio: If you're applying for a position like Graphic Designer or Software Designer, you may have a portfolio of work that you want to make available to someone reviewing your application for employment. Include a hyperlink to the portfolio in your contact information. 
  • Headshot / photo: There is no reason to include a  headshot on your resume . Actually, it's seen as taboo and could be the thing that gets your resume rejected, because the hiring manager might assume you think you can get the job based on your looks. However, there are some exceptions, like if you're applying to be a model or actor. 

Do you want a hiring manager to be able to tell immediately what type of candidate you are? Put a title at the top of your resume. Center the text on the line, put it in bold font, and put a blank space above and below. The white space and the small amount of words will help it to jump off the page and immediately be noticed. It will also be the first step in helping you stand out in the sea of sameness.

Also, be sure the title on your resume mirrors the title on the job description that you're applying to, but add a bit of panache to it so that it's not too boring. For example, instead of writing “Financial Services Associate,” write “Client-Centric Financial Services Associate Dedicated to Customer Engagement and Revenue Growth.” Just remember to keep it on one line. 

The very next thing on the page should always be your Professional Summary. But how do you write a summary for a resume?

It's a three to five-sentence statement about you. Where you've been in your career, where you're going, and how you'll use your experience to get there. 

While the professional summary is sometimes referred to as the resume objective , you must remember that the days of writing a  resume objective are dead . Never, ever include an objective on your resume. They are a waste of space and don't relay any information that markets you as the best candidate for an open position. 

Let's take a look at an example of each:

Sales Representative seeking a challenging position that will use my skills and provide opportunities for growth in a dynamic and rewarding company. 

As you can see, the objective is very inward-facing and only talks about what you want out of your career. It provides no value to the hiring manager and eliminates any possibility for them to be able to tell what you bring to the table for them. 

Professional Summary:

Ambitious sales professional offering 10+ years' experience in customer retention and aggressive revenue growth. Conquers goals and quotas through a keen awareness of the human buying motive that allows for quickly overcoming objections. Used historical data and consumer trends to reach new customers and grow territory by 24%. Innate ability to work independently or as a member of a cross-functional team.

The best use of resume space is to write a summary of your career. The effectiveness of this summary comes from the fusing of three things:

Relevant keywords – customer retention, revenue growth, and quotas 

Hard and soft skills – overcoming objections and working independently

An achievement – 24% territory growth

With this professional summary, the hiring manager will be able to tell in an instant what you have to offer their team. 

Even though the skills section of your resume is small, it packs a powerful punch! The skills you list in this section highlight your key abilities and show potential employers what you bring to the table. 

It should contain approximately 12 ATS-friendly keywords and phrases that align with the keywords in the job description. Meaning, this is a fluid section that will need to be  tailored to every job  that you apply to. Technically speaking, your entire resume should be customized to align with each job description. That's one thing that will help you get past the ATS. 

Be sure to include a good mix of  hard and soft skills  because prospective employers not only want to know that you can perform the tasks related to your job (hard skills), but they also want to gain a clear understanding of how you'll fit within the culture of the company (soft skills). 

Tips for building your Core Competencies section:

Include skills that are relevant to the job that you're applying to

Avoid creating a laundry list of everything you know how to do – be selective so that the section is more impactful

Group similar competencies together using categories – technical skills, soft skills, and languages

Prioritize your top skills based on their relevance to the job you want

Update frequently

Be consistent with the formatting

Here is a sample Core Competencies list that contains both hard and soft skills:

Core Competencies

Project Management | Data Analysis | Cross-Functional Collaboration | Digital Marketing Strategy | Python Programming | Customer Relationship Management (CRM) | Negotiation | Team Leadership | Business Development | Financial Modeling | Articulate Communication

This section is meant to show how your career history lends itself to the skills you have that make you the perfect candidate for a given job. There are some general rules of thumb on how to make a resume with a great professional experience section:

Don't go further back than 10 to 15 years

Use no more than 3 to 5 bullets per work listing

Incorporate at least 5 measurable achievements per 10 years of experience (the more the better)

Use stacking for companies where you held more than one role

10-15 Years

The 10-15 years of experience is the most relevant – you can list more than that, but avoid using bullet points for roles over 10 years old. Begin by listing your most recent position first and work your way backward to your oldest position, within that 10-15-year range. If you have 30 years of experience, you can use achievements or skills you learned during that time as talking points during the interview. Listing those older experiences on your resume will only dilute the content.

As you write out your bullet points, keep two words in mind: “so what?” The hiring manager is going to be thinking it, you might as well be thinking it, too. Every time you write something on your resume, think, “So what? Why am I writing this? What value will it bring to my new employer? Will this be THE THING that lands me an interview?"

Achievements

Remove “Responsible for…” from your resume-writing vocabulary. That's because it's crucial that you talk about what you achieved, instead of just what your responsibilities were. Let's face it, there are a lot of things that people are “responsible for” that never get done. So, be sure to talk about things you actually accomplished, as that will be the proof the hiring manager needs to take the next step and call you for an interview.

1. Use numbers whenever possible

The best way to call attention to your career accomplishments is to use numbers. Numbers add credibility to your claims and provide a clear picture of what you bring to the table. 

Don't write this:

  • Conducted cold calls to expand client base

Write this instead:

  • Increased sales by 15% by making approximately 20 cold calls per day to expand the client base

The latter makes an unmistakable assertion that you had a positive impact, not only in your role but on the company as a whole. You can take it a step further and talk about things like problem-solving skills and how you addressed challenges to lead to team success. These types of  soft skills are highly valued by employers  and could be the thing that lands you an interview.

PRO TIP: Use the  CAR method  for building achievement statements into your resume.

2. Use action words to convey accomplishment

A lot of people make the mistake of copying bullet points from the job descriptions of the roles they've held. This practice makes you sound detached from achievements and focuses more on responsibilities. Using passive language is too generic and doesn't allow a hiring manager to see what you'll be able to accomplish in the new role. 

It's better to use action language to show that you're an achiever rather than a doer. Here are some examples of action words you can use on your resume: 

Worked with others: Advised, Aided, Assisted, Chaired, Coached, Collaborated with, Consulted with, Helped, Instructed, Interacted with, Mentored, Motivated, Supported

Communicated: Addressed, Advertised, Answered, Briefed, Corresponded with, Debated, Explained, Facilitated, Informed, Interpreted, Interviewed, Persuaded, Responded to

Analyzed data: Assessed, Appraised, Audited, Calculated, Computed, Estimated, Evaluated, Forecast, Inspected, Measured, Researched, Surveyed, Tested

Operated equipment: Installed, Maintained, Programmed, Ran, Serviced, Used

Worked with money or contracts: Administered, Appropriated, Authorized, Balanced, Controlled, Directed, Enforced, Financed, Funded, Governed, Invested, Monitored, Oversaw, Purchased

Organized something: Arranged, Assembled, Catalogued, Compiled, Coordinated, Itemized, Routed, Scheduled, Stocked, Tracked

Created: Composed, Customized, Designed, Directed, Established, Founded, Illustrated, Originated, Shaped

Researched: Analyzed, Collected, Criticized, Detected, Diagnosed, Evaluated, Tested

How to make your professional experience section: The formula

There's a formula for writing your professional experience section in a way that focuses on achievements. You'll start by asking yourself these questions about every job you've had:

What was the name of the company?

What was the title of your role?

What dates were you employed? (*Hint: use the MM/YYYY format for your dates)

What did you do every day? (*Example: Leveraged management skills to direct operations of 5 separate but concurrent projects by delegating tasks to staff based on employee acumen and monitoring / controlling budgets)

What is one thing you did at the company that you're really proud of?

What is another thing you're really proud of?

What is one more thing you did that you're really proud of?

When you put all of that together, it should look like this:

Company Name | MM/YYYY to Present

Position Title

Balanced competing priorities on multiple and concurrent projects and program management initiatives using data-driven strategies in Agile environments. Managed key accounts, onboarded new accounts, and oversaw organizational process adoption for nursing facilities, emergency departments, and pharmacies.

Developed $2M Provider Incentive Program that increased community provider partnerships

Saved $800K by using Six Sigma skills to implement DMAIC approach

Coached and mentored 2 direct reports, creating an open environment of communication that facilitated future-facing decision-making

Many people will create separate sections for education history and certifications. That's not necessary. You can include all of it in one section. You can also include extras like  relevant coursework , projects, and achievements. These extras can be truly beneficial for your application if you have little to no work experience. 

There are some general rules of thumb for the education section: 

Spell out acronyms (BS, MS, PhD) and school abbreviations

It is no longer customary to include graduation dates unless you're still in school or graduated within the last year

Never include high school, unless you're still in high school - listing high school doesn't say “ I finished high school, ” it says, “ I didn't go to college .” 

List your degree first and then your school, unless you've obtained multiple degrees at the same institution. 

Here's what a regular education section looks like:

EDUCATION AND CREDENTIALS

Master of Business Administration (MBA) | ABC University

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) | XYZ University

Six Sigma Black Belt | Council for Six Sigma Certification

If you don't have a lot of experience and need to include some relevant coursework or major projects to inject relevant keywords into your resume, then this is what that would look like:

Relevant coursework:  Marketing, Operations Management, Accounting, Corporate Finance

Capstone project:  Let a team of 4 to execute a market analysis project to expand the Brooms and Handles company into new regions. Used market and consumer analysis data to identify gaps and achieve a 15% projected revenue increase and a 20% increase in customer satisfaction within the pilot program. 

You can include educational information about a degree program even if it's still in progress. Here's what that would look like:

Expected completion:  05/2024

Capstone project:  Let a team of 4 to execute a market analysis project to expand the Brooms and Handles company into new regions. Used market and consumer analysis data to identify gaps and achieve a 15% projected revenue increase and a 20% increase in customer satisfaction within the pilot program.

It is important to list what you do outside of work and school. It helps to demonstrate that you're a well-rounded person. 

Were you the president of a fraternity or sorority? 

Did you get involved with showing new students around campus? 

Have you headed a sales team that produced top awards? 

Were you an employee of the month? 

Do you speak multiple languages?

Did you volunteer for an organization?

Did you perform some major research that ended up being published?

All of these extras allow prospective employers a sneak peek into your life outside of work. They can also go a long way to breaking the ice during an interview, especially if something you do outside work is important or interesting to the hiring manager. 

Keep in mind to list only those volunteer positions, projects, or affiliations that are related to your career goals. 

How long does it take to make a resume?

If you're going to use the resume wizard that MS Word has, you can slap your information together in a day or two. It will get to employers. The bad thing is that it probably won't get a whole lot of attention. 

The "just right resume" can take weeks, because of how much background work goes into it. You'll write it, rewrite it, and write it again, and may even have multiple versions. Ultimately, the exact amount of time that goes into putting your resume together depends on your level of experience, how complex your history is, and the specificity of the job you're applying to. 

Entry-level resumes take the least amount of time, simply because there's less information to include

Mid-level resumes take a few days because of the amount of detail in your work history

Executive resumes, or those for specialized positions, can take weeks - especially if you have to do some digging to come up with accomplishments from your previous positions

Updating an existing resume that's well-maintained can be done in just a few hours

While the time spent can seem like a lot, if you're truly marketing yourself for that “just right” position, do you want your resume to say “This was thrown together in a couple of hours using a template” OR do you want it to say “I know this document is important and a significant amount of time was spent on it to make it perfect?”

The first and foremost thing that will get your resume tossed in the garbage can are typos. The number of resumes with errors that are turned in every day to employers across the globe is so astounding that it bears discussing. 

You must proofread your resume!

The major problem with typos and grammatical boo-boos is that your eyes will read what you intended to type. So, after you've read through your resume a few times and think it's perfect, get a friend to read it. Make sure the friend is one of those brutally honest types. It's better to get it back marked all over with bright red ink so you can fix it before you send it out, than to send it out and then realize there's a mistake in it.

How to make your resume seem more professional

Lazy words: Do you see words like "etc" or “other duties as required” on your resume? Delete them immediately. If you take shortcuts in the language of your resume, hiring managers will wonder if you'll be taking shortcuts at work. 

Cookie cutter resumes: Your resume has to stand out. Because of that, you should avoid throwing something together that you find a sample of online. Make it yours, make it represent you. Many people rely on the resume wizard that comes loaded with MS Word and, while that is a good tool to use to help you remember the sections to include, it shouldn't be the end-all-and-be-all of your resume design. 

Specificity: You've had three jobs in the last 10 years and you've listed every detail of everything you've done during your tenure at those jobs. That makes you a Jack (or Jackie) of all trades, but a master of nothing. You have to be specific to the job for which you're applying. What value do you bring to that employer for that job? What achievements can you highlight?

Tailoring: Considering the rampant use of ATS by companies big and small, you have to take the time to customize your resume so that it gets past those scanners. Remember to use relevant keywords from the job descriptions throughout your resume. 

PRO TIP: You can check to see how to make your resume better! Have it checked against an ATS and get a free, personalized, and  professional resume review . 

Theory in practice – 10 resume examples

It's one thing to have someone tell you how to make a resume, it's another thing to see an example – proof that all of this information can come together in a practical way that makes sense. 

1. Software Engineer resume example

Click here for an example of a Software Engineer resume.

2. Data Scientist resume example

Click here for an example of a Data Scientist resume.

3. Cybersecurity resume example

Click here for an example of a cybersecurity resume.

4. Digital Marketing Manager resume example

Click here for an example of a Digital Marketing Manager resume.

5. Nurse Practitioner resume example

Click here for an example of a Nurse Practitioner resume. 

6. Finance Director resume example

Click here for an example of a Finance Director resume. 

7. Attorney resume example

Click here for an example of a Attorney resume.

8. Administrative Office Assistant resume example

Click here for an example of an Administrative Office Assistant resume. 

9. Information Technology Expert resume example

Click here for an example of an Information Technology Expert resume. 

10. Chief Executive Officer resume example

Click here for an example of a CEO resume. 

Now you know how to make a resume for your next job!

It may seem like it takes a lot of work to make a good resume, but if you've followed along this far there are a few things that should be ingrained in you that will help you write a professional resume:

Know what you want to do – be specific

Make your resume with the right format 

Use a standard layout, whether you are writing your first resume or 50th

Use action words to make your resume stand out

Quantify your achievements to prove that you have what it takes to succeed in a new role

Tailor your new resume to each job

Double and triple-check for errors, typos, and grammar mistakes

If you're still unsure how to make a perfect resume, TopResume has you covered. Our team of  professional resume writers  has the know-how and experience to write a resume for you that will win interviews.

Recommended reading: 

Resume Tricks That Don't Work

What Does Your Resume Really Say About You?

Bad Resume Advice You Should Completely Ignore

Related Articles:

Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

How to Create a Resume With No Education

Why You Lose When You Lie on Your Resume: Learning From Mina Chang

See how your resume stacks up.

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How To Write a Resume In 2023 | The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

A step-by-step guide covering everything you need to know about how to write a resume in 2021, with resume templates, examples, and hacks you can steal. 

A good resume is critical in job hunting for job seekers and recent graduates seeking new jobs and a career change. It acts as the first point of contact between a recruiter or potential employer and boosts your chances of getting hired. 

With a poorly written resume, you’ll be sitting around missing out on fantastic employment opportunities. So you’re probably wondering how to make a resume that captures the HR’s attention and lands you interviews with the best potential employers. 

This guide will help you make an outstanding resume and understand the process of crafting a great resume. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a resume in 2021. 

How to Write a Resume – Step by step

  • Pick The Correct Resume Template
  • Choose The Correct Resume Format
  • Choose The Correct Layout
  • Build Your Resume Content

Resume Summary or Resume Objective 

how to write a resume

1. Pick The Correct Resume Template

The first step in writing a resume is deciding how to write the resume. Critics often discredit resume templates for reasons such as the absence of uniqueness and creativity. The myth is that every job seeker goes online, finds a template, and uses it to craft their resume. As such, recruiters see the same templates in every talent recruitment session. 

However, these myths about resume templates are far from the truth. Resume templates are diverse and customizable to fit your needs. Furthermore, more than 100+ free resume templates are circulating online. Also, your resume is your work experience and is, therefore, unique. 

The alternative for resume templates is a basic text editor. This method consumes time and requires creativity and originality, which you may struggle with. When you use a text editor, you spend countless hours working on the format, only to lose it when you make the slightest change. 

Instead of struggling with resume formats and building resumes from scratch, we recommend using our 33 most used professional resume templates . You’ll find it easy to summarize your career information when the template is already laid out for you. 

What’s more, we have a broad selection of resume templates for recent graduates, interns, and experienced professionals. 

modern resume template

2. Choose The Correct Resume Format 

After selecting StylingCV for your resume template needs, you need to choose the correct format for your resumes . Resume templates follow three main formats. 

1) Reverse chronological resume format : This is a popular resume format among job seekers with extensive careers and work experience. 

2) Skill-based/ Functional resume format : A skill-based resume format is excellent if you lack relevant work experience because you are a student/ recent graduate. This format is also great for workers seeking a career change. 

3) Combination resume format : A combination format is great for you when you need to showcase your skills and experience in several fields. For example, this format is useful if you have worked in legal, banking, and finance departments and wish to apply for a senior management position in a company. 

The reverse-chronological format is the most popular and an excellent choice for all. This means that your latest work experience appears first, and then you date back to your first work experience. The same reverse-chronology is also applied to your education and certifications. 

Reverse chronological resume format

Fortunately, you can also pick a resume based on your specialty in StylingCV. 

3. Choose The Correct Layout 

The first thing any recruiter notices about your resume is the layout. Is it appealing, crowded or cluttered? Is it too spaced out or boring? Does it capture the recruiter’s attention?

There are several tips to consider when choosing a resume layout.

  • Use clear section headings and keep them consistent to guide the reader. For example, you can choose the H2 format for all resume headings. 
  • Have ample white space around the text to reduce clutter and create a neat appearance. 
  • Use an easy-to-read font. Examples include Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Helvetica, and Didot. 
  • Use the right font size. Use font size 11-12 for text and 14-16 for headings. 
  • Always save your resume as a pdf to avoid changes when you transfer the document. 
  • Select the format based on the industry you’re applying to. For example, more traditional sectors such as legal and finance may appreciate the Alfred resume template, while modern industries such as tech may appreciate the Catics resume template more. Check our site for more templates . 

traditional vs modern resume

4) Build Your Resume Content 

Your resume is a summary of your career, skills, and accomplishments as far as your career is concerned. It’s also a contact card and an opportunity to showcase your personality and uniqueness. As such, what you include in your resume matters. Let’s discuss the most popular sections for a resume. 

Contact Information

One critical section in your resume is the “contact information”. Your contact information should include:

  • Your name, preferably the first and last name 
  • Address/ Location 
  • Phone number 
  • Your professional title, if any
  • LinkedIn URL- This directs the recruiter to your LinkedIn profile, where you share detailed information about your accomplishments and responsibilities. 
  • Social media handles, especially if you have a published portfolio. This could be Medium if you are a writer, Behance if you are a designer, or Github for developers. 

You do not need to include a headshot to show the recruiter your appearance. Also, avoid using unprofessional emails. 

contact section on a resume

Recruiters and employers spend an average of 6 seconds scanning your resume. Therefore, you have exactly 6 seconds to capture the recruiter’s attention and impress them with this resume section. This means that no matter how many “how to write a CV” searches you do, you’re wasting precious time if your summary does not tick the right boxes. 

The resume summary is 2-3 sentences long and lists your strengths, accomplishments, responsibilities, and desired goals for working for the company. However, you should avoid resume summaries if you’re a recent graduate with no job experience. 

resume summary

Tips for writing a resume summary:

  • Describe yourself: A “hardworking”, “motivated”, “fast-paced” etc. employee 
  • Your job expeirnce: A certified developer with two years of experience
  • Achievements: Specialized in software development, UX, and customer care 
  • Desired Goal: Looking for an opportunity to work as the lead designer and leverage my experience in managing design teams 

Work Experience 

Your work experience is an opportunity to list your accomplishments, responsibities, and roles. You can list your work experience as follows:

  • Job title: For each job entry, state your work title as the first part. 
  • Company name: State the name of the company and the location where you worked in a specific role.
  • Achievement/ responsibility: Either list your achievements or responsibilities in the role. Be as detailed as possible. For example, “Created a new keyword and title template for organic inbound marketing and boosted blog engagement by 20% within 3 months”. 
  • Employment dates.

When you explain your experience, be detailed instead of listing the general responsibilities in your role. You want the recruiter to know what you accomplished and distinguish yourself from the crowd. You can also state your proficiency level based on the NIH Proficiency Scale . 

Remember to tailor your resume to the role. 

When you submit your resume to a job board, an Applicant Tracking System filters the resumes before any recruiter sees them. The ATS (for resume) is software that helps recruiters filter through hundreds of resumes submitted to job boards. 

You should tailor each resume to the job you’re applying for to cross the first filtration process. You can do this by including the right keywords in your resume. Peruse the job description, note the crucial education, skill, and experience requirements, and mirror them in your resume. 

For example, if the job description asks for more than five years of experience in software development, your resume should state, “5+ years of experience in software development”. 

If the job description is looking for a digital marketer with social media experience, campaign management, and organic marketing, list these keywords in your accomplishments or skills. 

The work experience you list depends on your current situation. For example, for job hunters with no experience, it’s better to focus on other sections. However, it’s better for CEOs with decades of experience to list the five most recent roles relevant to the job you’re applying for and ignore your first experience as a cashier. 

List your education in reverse chronological order. For example, an education entry may appear as follows. 

  • Program Name: Bachelor’s Degree in Education 
  • Name of Institution: Warren State College
  • Years of Attendance: 2000-2014 
  • (Optional) Honors:Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude
  • (Optional) Academic achievements: Papers you’ve written and have been published
  • (Optional) GPA: 3.5 

The education section is vital if you have no work experience. Always start with the latest education achievement, and generally, avoid mentioning your high school education if you have a university education. Lastly, only mention optional features if they help you stand out and are impressive.  

The skills section is a must-have in any resume. You can list hard, measurable skills . Examples of hard skills are coding in Python and JavaScript or knowing how to make a latte. 

With Styling CV resume templates , you can mention your hard skills and show your expertise level. For example, beginner, intermediate, advanced, or expert. 

You should also mention transferrable soft skills such as excellent communication, team management, critical thinking, and social skills. Overall, remember only to mention skills that are relevant to your job application. For example, coffee-making skills are great but not crucial for accountant positions. 

Other Sections 

You can expand your resume by listing other sections such as:

  • Languages: Are you native, basic, intermediate, proficient, or fluent in the languages?
  • Hobbies and Interests: This section is great for job seekers with little to no experience, especially because you can use it to showcase your skills. 
  • Volunteering Experience: Volunteering experience showcases your philanthropy, loyalty, devotion, and values. 
  • Certification and Awards: Have you received certificates and awards for participating in competitions and events? List them. 
  • Projects and publications: If you have personal projects relevant to your job and publications worth showcasing, you can list them and link to their respective sites. 

1- What does a resume look like in 2023?

There are three standard resume formats: functional, reverse chronological, and combination (or, hybrid). In 2023, the reverse-chronological format will be the most widely used, thus we usually advise using that one.

2- What is the best resume format for 2023?

Reverse-Chronological Resumes

Reverse chronological resumes are now the most popular resume style among job seekers. They are also likely the simplest for hiring managers and recruiters to understand at a glance, which is in and of itself advantageous.

3- How many pages should my resume be 2023?

In 2023, how long should a resume be? There isn’t a perfect response. Your resume should be one or two pages long, depending on the position and your work history. A multi-page resume performs better than a one-page resume if you have more than ten years of relevant experience.

Get Your Dream Job Now 

At StylingCV , we help you get your dream job by helping you with your resumes, CVs, and cover letters. You can explore our resume examples , cover letter examples, and resume builder to help you get your desired position. If you need help writing a cover letter, exploring job interview questions and answers, and crafting the best resumes and CVs, look no further. 

Create your resume now!

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How to Write Your First Job Resume [For 2024]

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So there you are, sitting in front of a screen, staring at a blank Word page for hours, with one task at hand: writing your first job resume.

Where do you even start?

And most importantly: How do you fill those 1-2 pages when you have no work experience?

We feel your struggle and we’re here to help!

In this article, we’re going to guide you through the entire process of creating a first job resume from start to finish.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

How to Write Your First Job Resume

  • Pick the right resume template
  • Write down your contact information (correctly)
  • Include a resume objective
  • List your education (in detail)
  • Instead of work experience, focus on…
  • Highlight your skills
  • Mention optional sections
  • Stick to the one-page limit
  • Get inspired by a first-job resume example

Don’t worry, we’re going to cover all of the above in detail!

Starting with the first step:

#1. Pick the Right First Job Resume Format and Template

There are 3 main resume formats you can pick from. Each of them highlights a different part of your resume.

  • Reverse-Chronological Resume - In this format, your work experiences and education are listed in reverse-chronological order. 
  • Functional Resume - Instead of work experience, this format focuses on your skills and achievements.
  • Combination (or Hybrid) Resume - This format focuses on both your skills and work experience.

For 99% of job-seekers, we recommend sticking with the reverse-chronological format.

While a functional resume can sometimes help for career changers or recent graduates, it’s still nowhere near as common as the reverse chronological one.

Plus, recruiters world-wide are familiar with the reverse-chronological format, making it a safer bet.

A reverse-chronological resume looks as follows:

reverse chronological format for first job

Once you’ve picked the format, the next step is to perfect your layout, font, and the like. Here’s what we recommend for that:

  • Use a Two-Column Layout. A two-column resume layout allows you to fit a lot more content into your resume.
  • Pick a Common Font. We recommend Ubuntu, Overpass, or Roboto.
  • Use Bullets to Describe Your Experiences.
  • Don’t Go Over One Page. Unless you’re a professional with a decade of work experience, we recommend sticking to the one-page resume limit.

Want to avoid all the hassle of formatting your resume layout? We don’t blame you - if you wanted to build a good-looking resume from scratch, it would take you hours before you could even start filling it in.

Thankfully, there’s an easier way out: using a resume builder.

With Novoresume, all you have to do is pick a template, and fill in the contents. It’s that simple.

And on top of that, Novorésumé resumes are ATS-friendly . Meaning, your resume won’t be swallowed up by an applicant tracking system just because it can’t read it.

Want to get started with Novorésumé? Browse our resume templates .

first job resume examples

#2. Write Down Your Contact Information (Correctly)

It’s important for the recruiter to have at least two ways of reaching back to you.

Meaning, you should always provide your contact information in your resume . That includes: 

  • First and last name
  • Phone number

Apart from these must-haves, you can also provide:

  • LinkedIn URL - This is a good way to complement your resume. It also makes the recruiter’s life easier since they usually check your LinkedIn profile anyway. Make sure all information is updated and consistent with your resume, though.
  • Relevant social media (like Quora or StackOverflow) - Any social media that is related to the job position and puts you in good light should be included in your resume. In most cases. If you’re a developer, it could be projects on GitHub. Writer? Personal blog.
  • Website or blog - Again, this should be something related to the job. It shows your interest and dedication to the industry and how you spend some of your free time.

When it comes to your contact information, the key is to write everything correctly . Double-check you’ve spelled your name and email right, make sure the phone number you’ve listed can be reached, and that the accounts you have linked to are up to date . 

Something else you should know regarding location is how much detail you should be providing. 

The reason recruiters want to know your location is so that they have an idea of whether you’re in the vicinity of the company or not (and if you’ll need to relocate for work). 

That means, providing the city and country where you live will be enough. No need for your full home address. 

#3. Include a Resume Objective

Recruiters spend on average 7 seconds scanning each resume before deciding if it’s worth more consideration or not. 

That means your resume has about 7 seconds to leave a great first impression and convince the recruiter you’re the person they’re looking for.

A good resume objective does that for you. 

A resume objective is a 2-3 sentence snapshot of your skills, achievements, and career goals . Its purpose is to communicate your motivation for getting into the field and your interest in this particular position. 

This makes it ideal for the first job resume of a recent graduate or somebody who’s changing careers. Basically, any resume with no work experience . 

Your resume objective should be tailored to the position you are applying for and highlight skills that will help the company achieve its goal. Use as many facts and numbers as you can to back up any statements or achievements. 

  • Creative and motivated recent graduate with a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Michigan. Seeking permanent employment in the field of marketing after completing successful internships in 2 major media companies. Looking to further develop my market analysis skills and contribute to future marketing strategy developments at XY Company.
  • I am looking to put my marketing skills into action by initially working for the marketing department of a well-known company until I can finally get to an executive position.

#4. List Your Education (In Detail)

For starters, you should know how to list your education entries correctly in the following format:

  • Program Name e.g.: B.A. in Information Systems
  • University Name e.g.: University of Chicago
  • Years Attended e.g.: 07/2013 - 05/2017
  • GPA (only if really high)
  • Honors (If applicable) e.g. Cum Laude

Exchange Program (If applicable) e.g. Exchange program in Berlin, Germany

Apart from your skills, your education is the biggest selling point in your first job resume. This is not the place to be humble and play down your achievements!

Write down your GPA (if it’s something impressive), emphasize your honors, and most importantly, highlight your academic achievements by describing them in detail.  

What you can also do is list specific courses that you have taken that are relevant to the position you are applying for. 

Here’s an example of what an entry on the education section should look like:

B.A. in English Literature (Cum Laude)

Boston University

07/2014 - 05/2018

  • Courses: Advanced Topics in Literature: Shakespeare’s Work 
  • Clubs: Boston University Drama Club
  • Exchange program in London, UK

job search masterclass novoresume

#5. Instead of Work Experience, Focus On This

As a recent graduate, the recruiter knows you don’t have any work experience - and that’s OK. As long as you’re applying for a junior or entry-level position, the experience isn’t something expected from you.

Instead, the recruiter will be looking for other experiences that enrich your profile, like:

  • Internships
  • Extracurricular Activities

When talking about these experiences, format them just like you’d format your work experience. 

Business Analyst Internship

AAA Company

Milan, Italy

05/2019 - 12/2019

  • Ran weekly and monthly analysis on diverse areas of the business
  • Created insightful reports of the analysis to present to managers and teams
  • Defined strategic KPIs, in order to monitor the efficiency of commercial operations

When possible, try to focus on listing your achievements and not your responsibilities. This will help you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Haven’t done any internships? Include extracurricular activities.

More often than not, an applicant with extracurricular activities and an average GPA will impress the recruiter much more than a 4.0 GPA student with nothing else to show. When listing your extracurricular activities, each entry should have the following format:

Moot Court Club Member

2017 - 2019

  • Participated for two years in a row at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, making it to the finals in 2019
  • Researched and prepared written pleadings, called memorials addressing timely issues of public international law
  • Helped train the new club members in topics of international law

Finally, you can also list independent projects, if you have any. Think, something you did on the side just for yourself. This can be a personal project, small business or startup, side-gig, blog, etc.

Amy’s Book Club Blog

2018 - Present

  • Created my own book club website for reviewing and discussing the latest books.
  • Curated a monthly book calendar for my followers to follow, combining trending, relevant, and classic books.
  • Created over 40 book review articles.
  • On average, received 2000 visitors per month to the blog.

#6. Highlight Your Skills

The two types of skills you can mention on your resume are soft skills and hard skills.

Soft skills are attributes that help you adapt to work environments, work in a team, and apply your hard skills effectively. They are related to your personality, social skills, communication, attitude, etc.

Hard skills refer to technical knowledge and specific tools. They are skills that one learns and applies directly to the job. Some examples of hard skills include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Adobe Illustrator

Although soft skills are becoming more and more in demand by employers , for your first job resume, we recommend sticking to hard skills. 

Sure, attributes like “teamwork” or “critical thinking” are much appreciated by just about any employer. 

The thing is, though, the recruiter can’t really tell if you actually have critical thinking skills, or just listed it on your resume to fill space.

Hard skills, on the other hand, are very easy to test.

Tailor Skills to the Job Ad

Not sure which skills to mention in your first job resume?

The simplest way to find the essential ones is to check the job ad.

The recruiter themselves mentioned the skills they’re looking for - the only thing you need to do is mention them in your resume (as long as you have them, anyway).

Let’s say you’re applying for a graphic designer position that wants the following qualifications and skills:

  • Adobe Creative Suite proficiency, particularly InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat; XD, Animate and/or After Effects are a plus
  • Working knowledge of presentation software (Canva, PowerPoint and/or Keynote)
  • Ability to work under pressure, manage work on multiple projects daily, manage a large workload and meet deadlines.
  • Detail-oriented, highly organized

Based on that, your skills section should include the following:

  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Acrobat
  • After Effects and Cinema4D
  • Canva and Keynote
  • Time management
  • Detail-oriented

If the job ad isn’t too descriptive, you can also check out these 101+ most in-demand skills for 2024 . 

#7. Mention Optional Sections

Still have some space on your resume?

That’s not a bad thing! You can use this space to your advantage and add some other useful sections.

Here are some ideas:

  • Volunteering - If you have some volunteering experience, make sure to include it in your first job resume. Such a section shows commitment, dedication, and a sense of purpose, something most recruiters will appreciate.
  • Languages - With companies becoming more and more international, additional languages are always appreciated.
  • Hobbies - You can show your genuine interest in the industry or field by listing some relevant hobbies/interests.
  • Awards & Certifications - Whether it’s an award from an essay competition in college or a certificate from an online course, anything that flatters your profile should be added.

#8. Stick to the One-Page Limit

“ How long should a resume be? ” seems like an eternal dilemma at this point. 

Generally, the answer is: it depends. 

Since you’re making a first job resume, the answer is: definitely one page . 

Unless you have an extensive employment history that can’t fit into one page, there’s no need to go over that limit. 

It’s unlikely that the recruiter will want to look at two pages of extracurriculars and hobbies. 

#9. Get Inspired by This First-Job Resume

Need some inspiration for your resume? Check out the resume examples below.

resume for first job

First Job Resume FAQ 

Still have some questions on how to write a convincing first job resume?

We’ll answer them here.

1. What do I put on my no-experience resume?

There’s plenty of other things you can include in your resume instead of work experience. For starters, you should:

  • Focus on your education, making sure the entries are formatted correctly.
  • Pick the right skills that match what the employer is looking for.
  • Talk about internships, personal projects, or extracurricular activities. Describe your achievements in detail.

If you still have some space left, you could use it to your advantage and add extra sections like volunteer work, languages, awards & certificates, or hobbies.

2. Is a resume necessary for a first job?

Depending on the region, a resume or CV is always necessary for a job application, be it the first or the 20th. 

Before deciding if they should call you for an interview, the recruiters need to have some insight into you and your skills.

3. Do I need work experience to land my first job?

Short answer: You don’t! 

If you’re a recent graduate, it’s a given that you won’t have any work experience. Most employers don’t actually expect years of work experience for an entry-level or junior position. 

Instead, they’ll be looking at your other types of experiences (internships, extracurricular activities, etc.) to decide on whether you’re a good fit for the job or not.

4. How do you write a resume for your first job?

The process is quite similar to the one for writing a regular resume, but with a few tweaks.

The exact steps for creating a first job resume are:

  • Instead of work experience, focus on extracurricular activities, internships, projects, etc.

Key Takeaways

Writing your first job resume doesn’t have to be stressful!

Remember the following tips and you’ll do just fine:

  • Pick the right format and template to avoid the hassle of formatting your resume. Make sure to pick an ATS-friendly resume template.
  • Write a concise and attention-grabbing resume objective. Show the recruiter that you’re relevant for the role and that they should read the rest of your resume.
  • Instead of work experience, include information on your internships, projects, and extracurricular activities.

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How to write an entry-level resume.

how to write a resume beginner

Senior Associate, JPMorgan Chase

how to write a resume beginner

As a recent college graduate, you’ll likely have to craft an entry-level resume before you start applying for jobs . If you’re stressing over how to go about it, particularly because you don’t have much work experience to include at this stage in life, know there are ways to craft a resume to set yourself up to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.

Just as a quick refresher, entry-level jobs usually refer to roles geared toward people entering the workforce for the first time – like recent college graduates. These roles are often designed for people who don’t have a lot of work experience.

Continue reading as we break down what to include on a resume if you’re an entry-level candidate, how long your resume should be, and more.

What do I include on a resume for entry-level jobs (and in what order)?

While there isn’t one resume template guaranteed to get every recent college graduate a job, there are some elements to consider including.

You may want to consider a specific order as you build your resume as an entry-level candidate that’s slightly different from what you’d do if you were further along in your career, too.

Your contact information

Make sure you have your contact information listed on your resume and that it’s easily accessible to anyone viewing it. If employers or recruiters want to contact you or refer you to another hiring manager, it’ll be important that they know a way to contact you and don’t have to dig around for that information. Many experts suggest that you put your contact information at the top of your resume.  

Your education and relevant coursework you’ve completed

“Early in your career, when you get out of school, your education needs to go on top,” Stacie Haller, Chief Career Officer at Resume Builder, told CNBC. “That flags you as entry-level.”

If you’re a recent college graduate, employers don’t expect you to have several full-time roles on your resume. They often want to see information about your education, your major, and any relevant coursework you have under your belt that may relate to the job you’re applying for. Depending on your college grade point average (GPA), you may want to include that information in this section as well.

Consider putting this section at the very top of your resume, underneath your contact information.

Professional experience

If you have internships, part-time, or even full-time roles under your belt, you'll want to build a section on your resume listing this experience. You may want to list each professional experience , with your title, the months or years you worked in each role, and key accomplishments for each.

Writing this section may feel tricky if you’re an entry-level candidate. You may not have work experience that feels relevant to the roles you want to apply for. Because of that, as you think through your work experience, consider thinking about the transferable skills you’ve gained with the work experience you do have. For instance, highlighting that you gained leadership, project management, or technical expertise may be as impactful to share with hiring managers as the tasks you were responsible for. Chances are you have more transferable skills than you think you do, too.

Relevant skills

You may consider including a relevant skills section on your beginner resume that includes a combination of technical and soft skills. From spreadsheet prowess to AP-style writing expertise, every industry prioritizes different skills, and you may have some of them without having gained them from work experience.

What top skills do recruiters and employers want to see on a beginner resume?

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), problem-solving is the number one skill employers seek on a candidate’s first job resume. In fact, according to the NACE’s Job Outlook 2024 report , 88.7% of employers said they value problem-solving skills, while less than half value skills and traits such as strategic planning, an outgoing personality, creativity, and fluency in a foreign language.

Other top skills employers look for from recent college graduates include:

  • Ability to work in a team (78.9%)
  • Written communication skills (72.7%)
  • Strong work ethic (71.6%)
  • Flexibility or adaptability (70.1%)
  • Verbal communication skills (67.5%)

If you’re applying for roles where a portfolio or personal projects may help showcase your skills, you may choose to include a portfolio link on your resume or figure out how to showcase a personal project.

Let’s say you’re applying for an entry-level social media content position. In this situation, if you’ve built up your own social media following, you may decide to highlight this on your resume, as well as the skills you’ve gained as you’ve done this.

Extracurricular activities and volunteer experience

In addition to listing your professional experience and skills, you may want to include an extracurricular activities and volunteer experience section . This section is where you can include that you participated in collegiate clubs, sports teams, theater, a volunteering role, or other activities you did during your time as a student (along with those outside of school).

Languages you speak

Some roles look for candidates who know another language besides English. If you speak another language other than English, you may want to consider including that information on your resume, as some hiring managers may find value in that.

What’s the best resume format for a beginner?

While there isn’t a “best” resume format that all successful job applicants or recruiters expect, several experts advise against one that includes your picture.

“You don’t want the reader to be distracted by your photo,” according to Amanda Augustine, a counselor at TopResume told CNBC .

Beyond that, stick to a clear and concise format that you think matches the experience and skills that you have to share. Keep the design simple and professional and avoid any distracting fonts or colors.

You may want to search online for a resume template to use as your base. There are many options to consider, and finding a template may be helpful as you go about crafting a resume.

How long should an entry-level resume be?

For entry-level job candidates, a resume should ideally be one page long. This length encourages conciseness and will allow you to focus on including only your most relevant experience. Keeping it to one page makes it easier for hiring managers to assess your qualifications quickly without having to sift through too much information as well.

As you progress in your career and gain more experience, you can then consider extending your resume beyond just one page.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to writing a winning entry-level job resume. As you craft your resume, you may consider tailoring it to specific jobs you want to apply for. That may mean slightly changing language and what you’re choosing to highlight on your resume as you apply for jobs. 

More From Forbes

How to tailor your cv for the executive job market.

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Recruiters in search of their next executive-level candidate have high expectations. They are looking for someone who can make an impact and add real value to the business. With that in mind, you need to successfully prove that you’ve got what it takes.

Your CV is your first opportunity to impress them, so an entry-level application won’t cut it.

As you enter the executive job market, your CV needs to reflect not only your skills and experience but also your expertise and achievements.

Here are five key enhancements you can make to your CV to help you navigate the executive job market and secure your next exciting role.

Level up your skills

It’s time to go through your CV and remove entry-level skills and cliché phrases that no longer add value to your executive application.

Recruiters will assume that you have the basic skills as you’re applying for a more senior role, so don’t waste pressure space on simple transferable skills. Instead, emphasise core competencies that reinforce your suitability for an executive position.

For example, skills like team leadership, strategic planning, change management, decision-making and business development.

Of course, you should also do your best to match your executive skills to those listed on the job description as this will enable the recruiter to quickly determine that you’re a good match for the job.

Communicate your unique value

Before you begin writing your CV, take some time to think about what makes you stand out from other candidates; what you would consider your unique selling point (USP)? Once you know what it is that makes you special, you can market yourself more effectively on your application.

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This enables you to build your personal brand and through keywords, facts and figures, you can communicate your unique value.

Start doing this right away in your personal profile, outline the experience or achievements that are most impressive. You can then build on this in your employment history.

Identifying your USP and focusing on this throughout can help you to stand out in a competitive job market and prove your executive-level competencies.

Your executive CV needs to reflect your skills, experience, expertise and achievements.

Prove that your impact with results

It’s not enough to merely list your daily responsibilities, instead, your executive CV needs to prove that you can deliver results. You can do this by providing examples of achievements from your past roles and quantifying these wherever possible.

For example, you might have increases productivity by 25% within 6 months, or maybe you reduced department spending by £10,000 per month.

Whatever results you've achieved in each role, make sure you highlight them clearly to ensure that you prove the return on investment that a company will make from hiring you.

Add professional affiliations and credentials

As you grow and develop in your career, it’s likely that you’ll start adding professional affiliations, memberships and industry associations to your name.

So, as you update your CV, make sure to include information about these affiliations, for example, The Chartered Institute for IT or CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma.

These can help to show your professional development and credentials, as well as your dedication and involvement in your industry. This can also help you to stand out from other candidates, as roles become more competitive at an executive level.

If your professional credentials are particularly relevant, you might wish to put them alongside your name at the top of your CV or mention them in your profile.

Otherwise, you can include these in your employment section or even create a dedicated section for affiliations and memberships. But only do this if you have space.

Rethink your format and structure

Finally, in the early stages of your career, your CV might have been just a page long and it’s likely that you placed more focus on your education, hobbies or interests.

But at an executive level, your CV format should be two pages long, placing more focus on your experience and achievements in past roles. It also needs to be professional and polished and most importantly, easy to read.

Avoid choosing a design that is too colourful or ‘quirky’ and make sure you use a clean, easy-to-read font. You should also improve readability by utilising headings, sub-headings and bullet points, making it easier for the hiring manager to scan through and find the key information. And with 70% of businesses using ATS to filter out unsuitable CVs, be sure that relevant keywords are easy to spot for both robots and humans.

If you follow these steps to enhance your executive CV, you can increase your chances of standing out from the competition.

By choosing your content, keywords and power verbs carefully, you can showcase your unique value and effectively demonstrate your executive skillset, improving your chances of securing an interview.

Andrew Fennell

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