How To Write A Resume

How To Write A Resume

Resumes and cover letters are critical tools for finding work. They are your elevator pitch on paper for why you deserve the job.  A quick, yet concise, snapshot of all you’ve done and all you have to offer. They are also usually your first impression on a company and first impressions always count. Having a great resume and cover letter will help you get more interviews and land more jobs.

This article will focus on all you need to know to make the perfect resume.  It’s the how-to and best practices I’ve learned from 15 years of crafting my own and others’ successful resumes.  Welcome to the ultimate guide for how to write a resume.

(Looking for my guide to cover letters?  CLICK HERE!)

What Your Resume Is and Why It’s Important

A strong resume is a necessity for job hunting.  Unless you happen to have a network connection who can get you into a job without having to jump through all the regular hoops of hiring, the resume is typically the first step in the process. It’s square one for where to start when applying for new jobs.

This is because the resume is a document that contains an individual’s name, contact information, and brief summary of their education, qualifications, professional strengths, and work experiences.  It’s a representation of you that showcases how you may be a good fit for the job you are applying for.

The most important thing to know about a resume though is the understanding that your resume is truly a marketing document for selling you.

You craft a resume that helps “sell” you for the positions you’re applying for and send it in with your job applications.  This means highlighting your strengths, achievements, and qualifications with the goal of selling yourself as the best fit for the role.  Hiring managers and employers then review the resume and decide based on the information if they want to move forward to interviewing you or not.

Because the resume is often your one chance to get noticed, you want to craft your resume to be the best it can be.

Important Considerations for Resume Writing

Your Resume Needs to Catch Attention QUICK

A study once highlighted that hiring managers and recruiters will generally only spend 6 SECONDS screening your resume. This is the initial review where employers scan resumes quickly for key qualifications in the hopes of significantly narrowing down the pool of qualified candidates.  Many “yes” or “no” decisions are made during this very brief review. Unfortunately, this is where most job applications end… in the trash bin. Employers are looking for the few standout applicants who they can move forward to further interviewing.

This review process of 6 seconds may sound unbelievable, but considering your resume is basically a one-page marketing brochure for you, it’s not implausible to believe someone can get the key info they need that quickly.  Even truer when it’s possible that any open position could have hundreds, if not thousands of job applicants! Employers need to screen these masses of applicants as quickly as possible so they can spend more time interviewing those who are better fits.  In some cases, it might even be computer software doing this initial screen which can make things even trickier.

But don’t get too discouraged.  Instead, I see it as a challenge to rise to.  I’m telling you now that employers are most likely only going to give your resume a few seconds glance before making the decision that either moves you forward or gets your application binned.  As you read through this guide… remember, you have 6 seconds.  Do what you can to stand out and make an impression!

Resumes SHOULD Typically Be Customized for Each Job You Apply To

This is not a hard and fast rule (though some will insist it is…), but I do agree that in most cases it’s best to customize your resume for every position you apply for.

This sounds worse than it actually is.  Make a template.  Perhaps make a couple of templates!  Your template will have the structure, style, and static information all ready to go.  Then all you need to do is simply open the template and delete, add, or edit a few things to customize your resume perfectly.

How should it be customized?  In most cases, you simply need to look at the job you’re applying to and then match up as many of the experiences and qualifications they are looking for with the ones you have.  Voila, the customized resume is ready to go!

You can also opt to get fancy for certain positions that really matter to you, potentially adding additional sections that are relevant, or changing the entire structure of your resume to stand out.

That being said, I’m not against using a generic blanket resume as well. Applying for jobs is a very time-consuming process and the last thing we want to do is have to make unique resumes for each position.  Plus, applying for jobs can be a numbers game sometimes and the shotgun approach (applying to as many jobs as possible in hopes you’ll get at least one) can work.

If you’re not particularly invested in whether you get a certain job or not, there is absolutely no harm in sending out the same generic resume to multiple employers.  As long as your starting generic resume is well done, you’re good to go!  If a position does matter a lot to you, however, or it’s critical to find a job quickly, I do recommend customizing your resume for those applications so you can represent yourself as strongly as possible.

Don’t Write General Descriptions, Write About Your Achievements!

This is one of the most common mistakes I see on resumes.  Whether it’s an entry on the resume for education, work, volunteer experience, or anything else, so many people just include a super generic description of what it is.  You’ll see a college degree listed with something like “4 years of coursework in “degree” area.  You’ll see a job listed on a resume followed with the same plain bullet list of responsibilities the original job requisition might have had.

This is not what employers are looking for!

Most of these generalized descriptions are redundant if you think about it.  An employer can make a safe assumption that if you list a B.S. Computer Science degree on your resume that it included coursework they would have expected it to include.  An employer recognizes that if you list a job on your resume as “Sales” that you “made sales to customers”…  These generalized descriptions are a waste of space.  If an employer really wants to know more about the specifics of your resume, the interviews are the place for that, not the resume.

What employers do want is quantifiable proof of your strengths and skills.  They want to see your achievements.  They want to see how you stand out.  This could be listing that you were Valedictorian for that college degree, or that you broke the yearly sales record at your company by over $250,000. It could be something where you describe how you introduced and implemented a new process that saved the company 20% on labor expenses, or maybe that you helped create a new policy to increase employee morale which led to 30% increased retention in the first year.  The more specific you can get, the better.

If you can’t think of any achievements to list on your resume for each entry, you just need to think harder.  There is surely something that stands out.  There is almost always something you can quantify in some manner.  Even if you can’t think of many, it’s perfectly fine to take the approach of listing a couple of general job descriptions and then a couple of achievements.  You don’t need a lot, but list as many of your achievements as you can, especially the ones that relate most to the job you’re applying to!

Include “Keywords” in Your Resume to Beat Hiring Software

Many companies now use hiring and talent management software to automate many parts of the hiring process.  One part that is most frequently automated is the initial resume screening that determines if you get into the first stage of interviewing or if your resume gets put in the trash bin.  These systems use computer algorithms to scan resumes for matches to “keywords” the employers set.  If a certain percentage of the keywords are not found, the resume is automatically binned.

It’s certainly frustrating knowing our applications may get rejected before a real human ever looks at them. Unfortunately, the use of this software is becoming increasingly common so it’s yet another rule we need to play by.  Thankfully, once you understand the game, it’s not hard to get your resume past this screening phase and into the interview pile.

The way it works is simple.  Employers might tell the software their important requirements are a Bachelors Degree in Marketing, 5 years of experience, and proficiency in a certain software program.  If someone is missing one of these, employers tell the software to bin the application.

The good thing for you is that the requirements the computer will be looking for will almost always be included in the job description.  They will likely even be tagged as “required” in the job listing.

This is where your part comes in.  Copy and paste as many of these requirements as you meet (do not lie on your resume!)  Don’t reword them, don’t rephrase them.  The software may be looking for an exact, or close to exact match.  If a job listing asks for “proficiency in Microsoft Office”, list that verbatim on your resume somewhere.  Add these matches to your resume in the appropriate sections as applicable and you’re good to go.  You got the keywords you need to beat the software.

How Many Pages Should Your Resume Be?

One page, whenever possible.  Employers won’t have time to flip through multiple pages of your resume, no matter how impressive it may be.

Not to say that one page is a hard limit, but it is your best choice 90% of the time.  The other 10%?  Multiple page resumes might be necessary for individuals who have worked more than five important positions, have extensive credentials across multiple areas, or maybe have a gigantic list of credits, patents, awards, etc. Even in these cases, however, I think it’s important to try to slim the resume down to one page.

This could mean listing all your work experiences but being more succinct with the details you list about them.  It could be listing only your most prominent and relevant qualifications, credentials, credits, etc, and then providing a link to a website to view more (this is something we’ll talk more about soon).

Think very carefully if what is written or included adds value to your resume.  If it doesn’t, cut it out or slim it down.  One page should always be the goal and it’s an important one to meet.

The Parts of A Resume

Name (Always Required)

Don’t make the mistake of making your name too discreet on your resume.  I see a lot of people list their name in 10pt font the same as everything else on their resume.  In these cases, it becomes very difficult to even figure out where the person’s name is. Instead, your name should be the first thing to catch someone’s attention on your resume.

Use a larger font.  Position it so it’s easily distinguishable and not smushed in with other text. It’s generally placed at the very top of the resume.

You can catch the attention of employers easily when your name stands out.  I’m not saying making it 50pt font or something ridiculous, but it should generally be the largest font on your resume.

Address

In most cases, you should at least include your city and state on your resume. This is usually placed at the top of your resume near your name.  Unlike your name, however, your address doesn’t have to stand out as much so you can opt to use a smaller font for it.

Including your location shows some transparency and also helps employers verify your proximity to their company. Often employers prefer to hire local applicants, so by highlighting your city and state, it can greatly strengthen your resume.

That being said, if you were applying for a distant or out of state position, you might actually want to NOT include any address information at all. That way employers won’t toss out your resume immediately if they were preferring local candidates.  This gives you a chance to get in there to say something like you’re perfectly OK with relocating.

Lastly, many people opt to include their street address.  I never find this necessary.  You can leave it off.  City, State, and Zip Code is plenty.

Contact Info (Always Required)

This is the last piece of information that should generally be included near the top of your resume along with your name and address.  This is likely the phone number and email to reach you at.

Like your address, it doesn’t need to stand out as much, but it is always required.  How else can employers get in touch with you?

Picture of Yourself

A growing trend with resumes is to include a professional photo of yourself on your resume. It will help your resume stand out even more and people always like to put a face to someone. It’s also easier now than ever since more resumes are digital rather than paper-based.

If including a profile photo, it should generally be at the top of the resume along with your name, address, and contact info.

Just make sure your photo is high quality, professional, and shows you at your best.  A picture is worth a thousand words, make sure yours speaks positively of your character.

Objective Statement

The objective statement on resumes is very old school.  This is usually a couple of sentences that state what your current work goal is or why you’re applying for certain positions. Sometimes, it may be a short, narrative summary of your background, skills, and experience.

For example, an objective statement may say something like. “Experienced Engineer well-versed in all facets of Mechanics Industry seeking a Senior Engineering position to achieve new professional growth and development.”  The summary objective statement may say something like, “I am a Teacher with 10 years of experience teaching in both public and private school systems. I am experienced with curriculum design and have received high ratings from the positions I’ve worked.  I’m currently looking for a new role in the area due to the relocation of my family.”

In my opinion, they are fluff.  Some people insist you need them, but I feel that they take up a lot of precious real estate on your resume for very little benefit.  They were more relevant decades ago but today’s technology and job environment have made them somewhat obsolete.

I don’t feel there is any harm in adding an objective statement, especially if you have extra empty space on your resume and are looking for filler (to get one full page). Otherwise, this is usually one of the first sections I suggest getting rid of so you can add more valuable parts to your resume or keep your resume at the one-page goal.

Qualifications and Skills (A Must Have)

The qualifications and skills section is one of the must-haves for your resume. This is ideally where you would include some type of bulleted list highlighting all your relevant skills and qualifications, both specific to the job, and more generalized as well.  It might be stuff like “Proficient in Microsoft Office”, “7 years of Management Experience”, or “Excellent Written and Verbal Communication Skills”.

Think of this as the place to highlight technical skills, proficiencies, soft skills, years of work experience, certification, education or training credentials, or other relevant qualities that would strengthen your application for a position.

In addition to any qualications you had in mind to include, ALWAYS refer to the job listing to see what requirements or qualifications the employer is looking for. If you meet or match any, add them to your resume. This is also critically important due to hiring software and the need to match keywords to avoid being filtered out.  As always, do not lie or exaggerate your qualifications, but otherwise, list as many relevant ones as you can.

Work Experience

Listing all relevant work experience is another vital part of the resume.  Note how I said “relevant”.  You do not need to list every single job you have ever had.  In fact, you’ll want to selectively choose which positions you list here.  More is not better and the quality and relevance of the experience is what matters the most.

For example, if a certain position you worked was completely unrelated to the field/jobs you’re applying for, you may want to leave it off your resume.  Another example could be if you only worked in a position for a short period of time.  Employers might question a three-month tenure at a job unless there was a justifiable reason for that such as an internship or contract/temp position.  Remember you are trying to market yourself.  Does the work experience you’re listing make you an attractive choice for the position?  If not, leave it off!

As for listing your individual work experience, you generally want to include the position title, the company name, location of the company (city and state is fine), the start and end dates for employment, and lastly, a summary of responsibilities and achievements.

We discussed above how it’s VERY important to phrase work experience in terms of achievements versus just a summary of what you did in the role.  Remember that the summary of what a job does is often understood without needing to write it out, so you want to focus on your achievements the most.  That is what makes you stand out and separates you from the thousands of others who have had a similar title/job.

That being said, I do recommend including a few bullet points summarizing your work experiences, just in case there was any doubt about what you did in that job.  This is especially important if you have a certain title but your work responsibilities were not typical of what’s done in that job.  As a good rule, I like to split it 50/50 between job responsibilities and achievements.  When in doubt though, favor having more achievements listed than just listing out a job description.

Last but not least, you want to list work experience from most current to oldest.  If you’re still working in a position, you’ll want to list “present” as the job’s end date so it is clear you’re still working there.  I’ve also seen “currently employed” listed for the end date.

Education

If you have relevant education, add it to your resume!  Generally, this would be post-secondary education in the form of college, vocational programs, apprenticeships, or other special training programs.  I generally would not recommend listing high school unless you are a teenager or recent high school graduate applying for jobs.  It’s especially not needed if you have college experience since completion of high school or a GED is a pre-requisite for college.

In terms of how to list your education, I would include the school or program name, what was earned from completion of the program (degree, certificate, license, etc), and the location of the school or program (city and state).

There are also extra details you can add that can strengthen this section of your resume, but you must use them strategically.  For example, listing the time period for the education or the date you finished/earned a certain educational achievement is not 100% necessary and should only be used selectively.

If you do want to list a time reference, I often recommend only listing the finish date.  Please note however this is very situational!  You may want to include the start and finish dates if it helps explain a big time gap on your resume.  On the flip side, if you completed your education decades ago, you may want to withhold any time frames altogether to avoid dating yourself or risking employers thinking your education is outdated.  If you are a new graduate though, you likely will find it advantageous to list the finish date so employers can see you’ve recently completed an educational achievement which is a desirable quality.

Other extra details would include certain honors, achievements, and awards such as a 4.0 GPA, being the valedictorian, or being part of a distinguished organization.  In some cases, it may also be beneficial to include some bullet points describing what skills or knowledge you gained from each education item you list on the resume.  Lastly, like other sections, keep it relevant and don’t be nervous to leave things off that don’t add value to the job you’re applying too.

Certifications and Licenses

This section would be for any relevant certifications or licenses you have earned or actively hold.  Some individuals include this within the education section, but I like to make it stand out by listing it in its own part of the resume.  It’s best to keep it simple, however, by using only one line per entry.  Certification or license name, issuing organization (when appropriate) and date earned or dates active.

This could be anything from being a registered nurse, having a teaching license, certifications in trade work, professional certifications, or anything in between.  Certifications and licenses are relevant in many positions and they can be your golden ticket to the work you want to do. Definitely list them if you’ve earned them.

In fact, it can potentially be beneficial to break the “relevant” rule here and list certifications/licenses that don’t directly relate to the position you’re applying for.  You never know if they will catch someone’s eye.

For example, I once had a friend who was CPR / First Aid certified. They expressed interest in taking that off their new resume because they didn’t feel it was relevant to the professional Business roles they were applying to.  They had extra space on their resume so I recommended keeping it on there.

Wouldn’t you know that it ended up being a big win for him?  He told me several employers brought it up during interviews and spoke very highly of it.  The manager who eventually hired him even told him down the road that his CPR certification was a “tie-breaker” between him and another qualified candidate. The interview team all thought it would be great to have someone in the office that could potentially save others in the office with CPR or administer first aid if needed, and they also just thought it showed great initiative by his earning of it in the first place.

The moral of the story is that you just never know how your certifications might be viewed by interviewers but in most cases, there are more benefits to gain than lose by listing them.

So definitely list your relevant certifications and licenses.  If you have extra space, it may not hurt to list the non-relevant ones as well!

Organizations (Political, Military, Professional, etc.)

This section should only be used when relevant, but it could be valuable to list organizations you belong to.  Someone who served in the military may find it advantageous to include their military/veteran status as a company may favor this distinction, especially if they are applying to a government position.  If you are applying to a professional role and you belong to a professional organization in that field, it’s probably a good idea to list that!  If a political or religious organization is relevant to the position you’re applying for, it could very well be worth listing that.  Even hobby organizations can be beneficial in some cases.

If the affiliation to your organization is relevant to the job you are applying to and/or strengthens your position as a good fit for the role, list it!

Volunteer Experience

Volunteer experience can always be beneficial to have listed on your resume, especially when it maybe lends experience to the work you’re applying to.  Even if it doesn’t directly relate though, Volunteering is always a positive and it shows a certain virtuous quality that is attractive to employers.  List your volunteer experience when applicable!

Awards, Credits, Patents, etc.

This one may be more suited to folks in certain fields like design, media, or art, but it can certainly apply to any role.  If you have certain industry awards, list them.  If you received credits on certain works, list them.  If you have patents, list them when applicable.  This is certainly an optional section for most people, but it can be necessary if the position you’re applying to deals with these types of items.

Language Proficiency

If you are proficient in multiple languages, list them! This can be a big win for your resume as many businesses are transitioning to global operating levels and cultural diversity is quickly on the rise in many developed countries.

Include what the language is, your proficiency with the language, and any achievements earned if you tested your proficiency level.  If there is a difference between your writing, reading, and speaking skills, you may want to distinguish between those varying skill levels as well so there are no false misconceptions.

Web Links to Other Professional Profiles You Have

I always recommend including a link to external portfolios/online profiles such as your LinkedIn profile, a website that hosts your portfolio, or maybe even a personal website when relevant.

These can be a great resource to use because you can often include more details on these external websites than you could on a resume.  I like to think of it as giving employers an opportunity to “learn more” without bombarding them with all the details up front.

LinkedIn can especially be great for this as you can have recommendations and endorsements shown, more detailed descriptions of your qualifications/experience, a photo, and the strength of your network and communities all present.  It’s a great way to keep your resume short and succinct but also give employers a chance to explore your background more so they can see all your strengths.

The best part?  This takes up minimal space.  I usually like to include the link in either the header or footer of your resume.  Short and simple!

References

It is important to have a professional reference list available to share with employers, but you don’t need to list them directly on your resume. What I suggest is just adding a small note on your resume that says “References available on request.”  Add it to the bottom of your resume or perhaps in the footer of the document.

This will let employers know you have references available to provide if and when needed without you having to take up precious space on your resume by listing them all out. Alternatively, if you have a portfolio or other online profile that serves as your resume or reference list, you could opt to include that link on your resume and employers can navigate there if they want to view more.

What’s the Best Order to Put All These Parts On My Resume?

With all the parts we talked about above, it can be confusing to figure out what’s the optimal order to put these sections in.  If you were thinking (or hoping) it didn’t matter, it actually does matter quite a bit.  After all, we only have 6 seconds to catch the attention of whoever is viewing our resume.  Thankfully, the trick to this is quite easy.

The more important or relevant a section is, the closer to the top of your resume it should be.

That is the easy part.  Determining what is more important can be a bit trickier.

Your header with Name, photo (if used), and Address/Contact should always be at the top.  If you are using an objective statement, that generally comes next.  Otherwise, your qualifications section where you match up your skills with the requirements for the job would be at the top or directly following the objective statement.

Work experience and education are two other very important sections that deserve prime real estate near the top of your resume.  If your work experience is stronger than your education (more dated or less relevant), list work experience first.  If your education is stronger than your work experience (career change, recent college graduate, etc), I would recommend listing education before any work experience.

All the other sections can then come after and be placed in the order you feel they are most important.  It may help to list them all down on pen and paper and try to rank them in order of your perceived importance.  This can help organize the process and visualize things a bit better.

Lastly, wrap it up with your footer where you’ll often include that link to your online profiles or references.  You’re free to use other items as well in the footer as you feel it’s appropriate.

A Few More Important Considerations

Lying on a Resume

Let’s just get this out of the way.  DO NOT LIE on your resume.

Others will do it.  You may be encouraged to do it by friends, family, and acquaintances (I’ve even heard horror stories of career coaches who recommended this!!!).  You might just be tempted to do it.

DON’T DO IT.

I can promise you that the truth always has a way of making itself known and a lie revealed can tarnish your reputation for a lifetime.  It is simply never worth the risk.  Plus, companies now have many ways to check backgrounds and verify what you put on a resume so it’s a lot harder than ever to hide a lie.

Maintain your integrity and ethics and do the right thing.  Represent yourself honestly and success will follow.

Neatness and Grammar Counts!

Some people may say this is not very important.  I disagree wholeheartedly.  Your resume is a reflection of yourself.  Do you really want that to be littered with typos, or presented in a format that looks like trash?

Can an employer trust you have great attention to detail or business skills if you misspell your job titles, your address, or even your name!?  (I’ve seen it done…)  This is especially significant considering the resume is a prepared document and not just an ad-hoc report or quick email you’re sending off.  If you make mistakes on something you’ve had unlimited time to prepare, that does not bode well for you in any situation.

Now certainly proper grammar and punctuation may be less relevant in certain positions, but good grammar and punctuation will never hurt regardless of the position.  That is why you should always strive to spell check, triple check, and really scan your resume over for any typos or grammar errors whatsoever.  There are so many free tools now like Grammarly (and many similar grammar tools out there) that make this a breeze.  It can also be helpful printing out your resume or reading it out loud line by line as you may often catch errors that are less obvious while viewing it on the computer.

This leads to my next point.  The way your resume looks and how it’s formatted is also very important.  I’ve seen FAR too many horrifically messy and disorganized resumes in my career.  Different text fonts, sizes, and colors all in the same document.  Irregular spacing.  Odd section and column layouts.  Sometimes random text boxes inserted in extremely odd places of the document.  In all cases, these look atrocious and will most likely result in your resume being trashed before even being reviewed.

Neatness counts.  Look at examples of great resumes online and review several to get an idea of what is professional looking and what is not.  In most cases, this includes using only one font style and color, using header and footer space appropriately, using font accents like bold, underline, and italics for emphasis, and sticking to simple and neat document layouts.  It is something that takes practice, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  Your resume is a reflection of you and neatness and proper formatting allows you to look your best on paper.

Best File Formats

A PDF file is best.  This will maintain all your document formatting in the way you meant for it to be as a pdf is essentially like a picture of your document.  Many people opt to provide their resumes just as the file type of the word processor they used (Microsoft Office, Mac Pages, etc) but the issue here is that formatting can get changed from computer to computer.

Someone may have an older or newer version of the software and the conversion process may make your really nice resume look quite bad.  Others may not have the software needed to open whatever file type you sent them and things can get really ugly looking if the software tries to convert the file at this point.  It’s just way too easy for your nicely formatted resume to turn weird when sending it to others.  Thankfully, most word processors these days do allow you to save as PDF, so this is really the best way to go.

Thank being said, I do actually recommend having other file formats available of your resume.  I would keep a copy of the native file format used by your word processor on hand, especially if it’s a Microsoft Word file as many businesses use this program.  Some may even request this file type over a pdf.

I also recommend having your resume saved as a PLAIN text file.  Literally a “notepad” like .txt file.  This is useful to have on hand as some online job applications require you to input your resume into a silly text box of all things.  I would say just copy and paste your resume from your pdf or word processor file, but I’ve found this never works the way you intend and things with formatting get really screwed up.  By having a plain, unformatted text file available that still looks neat, you can easily just copy and paste this when needed into applications that request this.  I’ve seen it requested enough that’s it’s definitely worth your time to make this and have it on hand.

Lastly, you’ll want some print copies of your resume as well!  Print some out and make sure it still looks good.  After all, employers will often print your resume for interviews and you want it to look just as good on paper as it did digitally!  It also is a great practice to always bring 5-10 copies of your resume with you to interviews as your interviewers will often appreciate your preparedness and may need some additional copies if they haven’t made their own or didn’t make enough.

Create Templates and Save Every Old Resume

Pro-tip time and a simple one.  Create templates for your resumes so you can easily create different ones for various positions by setting up the template so you only need to plug in certain information rather than start from scratch each time.  Even if you don’t create a specific template file, at the very least just make a copy of your latest resume and use that to create an updated or modified resume as needed.

Which leads me to another pro-tip.  Save every single resume you make.  If you are modifying your resume, I highly recommend you do so by making a copy first so you can retain the old version of the resume.  You never know when you may need to go back and reference an old resume.

Adding Special Touches to Your Resume, Or Not?

While the tried and true text-based resume will always get the job done, there has been a growing trend to get creative with resume making.  This might include using infographics, videos, music, photos, websites, games, and other nifty presentations.  It not only helps a resume stand out to employers but it can often demonstrate skills in a field as well.

For example, I’ve seen Programmers code small interactive programs that contain their resume or use coding syntax in their text-based resumes.  I once knew an Accountant who masterfully set up their resume like a financial statement balance sheet.  I’ve seen Designers put together gloriously beautiful and flowing resumes and Artists who illustrated parts of their resume with skilled drawings.  A Project Manager might set up their resume like a project pipeline, a Marketing professional set it up like a campaign draft, or a Teacher set it up like a lesson plan.

These are only limited examples, of course, but there’s really a lot of ways someone can get creative with their resume and make it relatable to their position or role they are applying too.  When done well, it can really set you above anyone else.

The question is… should you actually do this?

Honestly, I do not recommend it.  It can potentially be something that wins the day, but it can also be something that can be terribly misinterpreted by employers.  This uncertainty about whether an employer will love it or hate is very much an issue.  My philosophy is that when in doubt, take the safest route, and that is sticking with the traditional text-based resume.

Resume Tools

I’m personally a fan of breaking out the word processor or google docs file to write a resume the traditional way.  There are, however, tons of nifty resume tools available now that can help you easily create very neat and professional-looking resumes with minimal effort.

Here’s just a small sample of some tools you can use as well as some great articles from other bloggers who have more extensively used these tools.  Feel free to do your own exploration of the tools and resources available as well.  You might just find something great to use!

https://www.resume.com/

https://resume.io/

https://zapier.com/blog/resume-building-tools/

https://zety.com/blog/best-online-resume-builders

Next Up – Your Cover Letter!

Your cover letter is just as important as your resume!  If you liked this post, be sure to check out my guide for how to write the perfect cover letter, too!  If you have any questions about resumes not covered in this guide, feel free to reach out or leave a comment!

How To Write A Resume

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