Resumes

What Does a Resume Look Like?

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A well-crafted resume can be an opportunity to show your talents and make a powerful first impression. Recruiters often look at your resume first, so it’s important to know what to include and how to format your resume to get their attention. This article provides tips for creating a standout resume that can get you closer to a job offer. 

What does a resume look like that will impress recruiters?

Recruiters may only get to spend a few seconds scanning each resume they get, so you need to make sure yours contains only contains information that relates to the job. With limited time to impress them, your resume needs to stand out more than any of the others. 

Examples of questions that recruiters try to answer while reviewing your resume:

  • What is this applicant’s overall experience?
  • What was this candidate’s most recent role?
  • Are there any gaps in their job history? If so, why?
  • Does the candidate have the skills and education needed?

Your resume should clearly and concisely provide an answer to each of these questions with a short glance. The information should be easy to find and understand.  

Tips for getting your resume started

Consider these top tips to get started: 

  • White space. Make your resume easy to scan by including a lot of white space. Margins should be between seven-tenths and one inch to avoid clutter. 
  • Contact information. Your contact information should be at the top of your resume with no chance of missing it.
  • Simplicity. Focus on your experience and skills by keeping the design minimal with high-contrast visibility.

Not only are you responsible for the information on your resume but also for how you present it. As you can gather, a simplistic resume design can get recruiters to pay attention, while your experience and skills hook them into calling you for an interview.

How to create a perfect resume

Follow these steps to create a perfect resume:

1. First, choose a design 

There are many resume designs you can use that fit the type of job and your personality. Whatever design you choose, it’s important that it’s easy to read and hiring managers can quickly find all of the information they need. 

For your contact information and section headers, you can use a larger or stylized font, such as bolding or italics. This can make it easier for hiring managers to jump to the section they find most important. For the rest of your content, use a smaller font, like 10- or 11-pt, so you can include all of the needed information.

2. Next, add your contact information

Make sure the contact information you provide is accurate and up to date. It should be easy for recruiters to reach you to schedule an interview. Make sure your contact information is easy to locate by putting it near the top of your resume. Ensure that your phone number is correct, your voicemail outgoing message is appropriate and states your name and your email address is professional.

3. After that, describe your relevant work experience

The experience section of your resume should include the jobs you’ve held for the past 10 years. List the name of each company you’ve worked for along with the title you held. It should also include the starting and ending dates for each and a short, bulleted list describing your main responsibilities and key accomplishments. Whenever possible, quantify your accomplishments to give the recruiter an idea of your contribution to the overall success of the project, team or company. 

If you’ve held positions that aren’t directly related to the one you’re currently applying for, relate the skills you learned while working in those positions to your desired role. If you can’t find any direct relations, consider leaving the experience out so hiring managers can focus on relevant details.

4. Next, include your education

List your education beginning with the most recent first. Name the degree you earned, your school, the location along with the year you graduated. If you’re currently attending school, you can add your expected graduation date.

If space allows, consider adding 2–3 bullet points describing your notable accomplishments, and (for recent graduates) consider adding your GPA if it’s higher than 3.5.

5. Then, list your skills

Create a list of all of your hard and soft skills. Then, review the job description to see if the employer is looking for specific skills. Match your skills to the ones in the job description, and include those in your skills section. If you feel there are any other skills that the employer would find useful, add them toward the bottom of your list.

6. After that, add optional sections

There are a few optional sections you can add to your resume:

  • Accomplishment/achievements
  • Certifications
  • Hobbies/interests

Use these sections if you have relevant information that impresses hiring managers. 

7. Finally, review and update

Make sure you proofread your resume multiple times to avoid overlooking mistakes. Have a trusted friend proofread for spelling, grammar and overall accuracy. It’s important to review your resume periodically to ensure your information is up to date. 

Resume template

Personalize this template to create a simple, attractive and legible resume for your next job search:

[Your name]
[Your address]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]

Objective (or summary)

[Summarize your desire for the specific role you’re pursuing and 2 to 3 skills that you will bring to the company. For a summary, describe your experience and how it relates to the role.]

Experience

[Position title] | [Company name] | [City and State]

[Dates of employment]

  • [3-5 bullet points describing your responsibilities and any key accomplishments]

Education

[Name of your most recently earned degree | Name of school | City and state]

[Date of graduation]

  • [2-3 bullet points of notable accomplishments]

Certifications

[Name of certification]

[Name of certifying body, date of certification or expiration date of certification]

Skills

Soft skills 

  • [List your most relevant soft skills]

Hard skills 

  • [List your most relevant hard skills]

Hobbies and interests (optional)

  •  [List one or two hobbies that relate to the role]

Resume example

The following example can guide you when you write your resume:

Mary Chen
Valdosta, GA
555-555-5555
mary.chen@email.com

Summary

IT professional with 12+ years’ experience specializing in project management seeking a role with Georgia Analytics, Inc. in which skills such as vendor management, strategic planning and process improvement can contribute to the company’s success.

Experience 

Senior Project Manager | Aerotech Engineering | Valdosta, GA

June 2013–present

  • Maximize cost-efficiency over 20 clients’ projects
  • Ensure each project is completed on time and under budget
  • Provide technical expertise for cost estimates, contract negotiation and establishment of project objectives
  • Hold regular meetings with clients to discuss project progress

Project Manager | LiteCloud | Valdosta, GA

June 2010–May 2013

  • Managed over 10 software development projects per year
  • Developed and maintained budgets of up to $500,000
  • Created project teams, oversaw progress and performed quality assurance on work

Education

Master of Computer Science, Georgia University, Macon, GA 

May 2010

  • Completed postgraduate fellowship in advanced project management techniques
  • Managed a team for an ongoing project to conceptualize, write, research and present a weekly podcast for class credit

Certifications

Project Management Professional, Project Management Institute

  • Issued February 2011, maintained continuously, renewal every 3 years

Skills

Soft skills

  • Written and verbal communication 
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Strategic planning
  • Business leadership

Hard skills

  • Business process improvement
  • Vendor management
  • Project budgeting
  • Value assessments

Hobbies 

  • Volunteer leadership instructor at Valdosta Young Adult Business Center