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Resume Writing Guide

Updated: 4 days ago

How to Build a Good Resume


A resume should include information about your background and qualifications, communicating the most important and relevant details to employers. The goal is to demonstrate how you are qualified for the position while keeping your resume relevant and easy to read. Think of your resume as a marketing document to showcase your experience and make a solid first impression to land the job of your dreams. Here's how to write a resume to land the job of your dreams!

 

 

Formatting

  • Choose a Chronological Format: This is important because it places the most recent position first.

  • Customization: Tailor your resume for the target job.

  • Font: Use a clean, easy-to-read font. Font size should be between 10-12 points, except for your name and headers, which can be up to 14 points and bold if you choose.

  • Simplicity: Your resume should be clear, clean, and elegant.

  • Line Length: Vary line lengths to avoid crammed text.

  • Margins: Keep 1-inch margins. 

  • Bullet Points: Use bullet points for the professional history and education sections.

  • White Space: Include enough white space to keep the reader’s attention.

  • Length: Limit your resume to two pages.

  • File Format: Save your document as a PDF or DOCX file.

 

 

Contact Information

Place your contact information at the top of your resume so it is highly visible. If a hiring manager can’t reach you, the rest of the resume is irrelevant. Resumes should begin with:

  • Your full name

  • A reliable phone number

  • A professional email address

  • A link to your professional social media account, website, or portfolio (if applicable)

 

 

Headline

If your resume has limited professional experience, include an objective statement that quickly explains your career goals. Alternatively, if you have extensive relevant experience, use a resume summary that showcases your unique value to the position you are applying for. This section is your opportunity to summarize your most relevant and important skills, experience, or assets to capture the hiring manager’s eye.

 

 

Professional History

List jobs in reverse-chronological order, with the current or latest position at the top, and provide a short description that includes:

  • Company name and location

  • Dates of employment

  • Job title

  • Achievements / Responsibilities

  1. Highlight impressive measurable accomplishments and contributions from previous positions.

  2. Include relevant learnings and growth opportunities that you experienced while employed there.

  3. While it may be tempting to add every place that you have ever worked at, narrow down your history to only list relevant roles and experiences. 

  4. Use numbers to measure impact, when possible, to help potential employers understand your direct potential value.

  5. Use action words and keywords from the job description while remembering to keep descriptions concise and relevant.


Tip: Hiring managers want to see examples of accomplishments that show how you can make a difference in their position, not just a list of duties.

 

 

Education Section

The education section is a key section employers look for on a resume and can set you apart from other candidates. List degrees in reverse chronological order:

  • Highest degree on top (usually sufficient)

  • High school (if no college)

  • Name of College and/or Graduate School

  • Location (City/State)

  • Graduation (Month/Year) or expected graduation date

  • Degree received or expected to receive, or course of study if you did not complete a degree

 

 

Certifications / Licenses / Training

Create a section for certifications, licenses, or professional training you have completed that is directly related to or required for the position you are applying for. This section should be located directly below the education section.

  • Title of the certification, course, or license

  • Name of certifying agency or body

  • Date obtained

  • Expiration date (if applicable)

 

 

Skillset Listing

Adding skills that are relevant to the employer and the job description can help make you a great fit for the job. Types of skills to include are:

  • Technical skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Transferable skills

 

 

Optional Section

An optional section should only be included if the content is relevant and cannot be tied into the previously mentioned sections of your resume. Remember, be selective when adding optional qualifications because you only have so much space on a one- to two-page document.

  • Volunteer Work

  • Awards

  • Honors

  • Publications

  • Languages

 

 

Proofreading

Reviewing your resume for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors is an important final step in making sure your resume leaves a lasting impression. Check for typos and spelling errors and make sure there are no alignment, font, or spacing issues. Attention to detail is crucial!

 

 

Bonus Feature: Cover Letter

Cover letters matter and are the best way to supplement your resume.

  • Create a header with your contact details.

  • Introduce yourself and explain your interest in the role.

  • Summarize your professional background without copying your resume. Focus on why you are the best candidate and sell your skills, achievements, and relevant professional experiences.

  • Conclude your cover letter professionally, mentioning future plans and thanking the reader.

  • Keep the cover letter between 250-400 words.

 

Don’t forget to periodically update your resume with all your latest experiences and accomplishments so that it stays up-to-date. With a well-written resume and an intentional cover letter, you’re bound to make a great first impression with hiring managers.

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