How To Write A Resume In 7 Steps (With Examples)

By Matthew Zane
Mar. 27, 2023

Summary. To write a resume you want to start with a format, create a header, choose an introduction, and then list your work experience, your education, your skills, and any additional relevant qualifications.

A resume is the most important document in your job search. And with hiring managers looking at each resume for an average of six seconds, you’d better believe you need to go the extra mile to convince them to give you the time of day.

This article will cover how to create an effective resume that lands more job opportunities.

Key Takeaways:

  • A resume is a short document that details your professional history in a way that tailors your experience and skillset for the particular job you’re applying for.

  • Resumes follow a few standard formatting practices, which hiring managers and recruiters expect to see.

  • Highlighting your work experience, skills, and educational background with relevant keywords can help you get past applicant tracking systems and into more interviews.

How To Write A Resume

How To Write A Resume

  1. Format Your Resume.

    To start, use a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google docs. Standard resume formatting calls for:

    • 0.5-1 inch margins

    • 10-12 point font

    • A professional, commonly-used font

    Additionally, there are three resume formats that are commonly used. Most people should stick with a chronological resume format, but the combination and functional resumes can be effective for more advanced workers or those who have significant gaps in their resume.

    To learn more about resume formatting and formats:

  2. Write a Resume Header.

    It doesn’t matter if you have the best resume in the world if the hiring manager can’t contact you. Every single resume should include the following contact information:

    • Your full name: First and last.

    • Your phone number: Use a personal phone number, and make sure your voicemail is set up properly.

    • Your email address: Nothing inappropriate — is a safe choice.

    • Location: City, State, Zip Code is fine, but you can include your full mailing address if you think it’s appropriate.

    • Your social media (optional): LinkedIn is the obvious one you’d want to include, but make sure your profile looks good. If you have an online portfolio, either on a personal blog/website or on a site like GitHub, feel free to include that here as well.

    • Your job title: Also optional, but can be useful for applicant tracking systems.

  3. Resume Introduction.

    You have four options for your resume introduction: a resume objective, summary statement, resume profile, or qualifications summary. For most job-seekers, a resume summary statement is the best choice. Regardless of which resume introduction you choose, never use any first-person pronouns (I, my, me, mine).

    • Resume objective. A resume objective is the goal of your resume. Since the objective of every resume is to land a job, this is not the most original or impressive opener you can have.

      On the other hand, it’s a good choice for an entry-level applicant or someone who is changing career paths. This should be a 1-3 sentence summary of why you’re motivated to get the position you’re applying for.

      Who should use a resume objective: Entry-level applicants, career-changers, and recent college graduates.

    • Resume summary. This is the best opener for most job-seekers. As the name suggests, aresume summaryhighlights the most salient aspects of your resume.

      It should include your current position, how many years of experience you have, some of your biggest achievements, and possibly your career goals. Again, this should be a 1-3 sentence spiel and should include some quantifiable experiences.

      Who should use a resume summary: Most job seekers; anyone with quantifiable accomplishments to emphasize and a broad range of skills.

    • Qualifications summary. A bullet point list (4-6 points is the sweet spot) of your qualifications for the position. It’s best used by applicants going for jobs that require a fixed skill set. It’s not a great choice for entry-level applicants who lack quantifiable achievements.

      You’ll notice that a qualfications summary takes up more space than a resume objective or summary, but it can actually save the hiring manager time if you provide a bunch of valuable information right off the top.

      Who should use a qualifications summary: Those applying to a job with requirements for certain skills and job-seekers who have a lot of experience in their industry and/or field.

    • Resume profile. A resume profile is similar to a resume summary, but goes into more detail about your accomplishments at your current or former job, while also telling the reader about your career goals. Think of a resume profile as a section that pulls all the best parts of your work experience section into one place.

      Who should use a resume profile: Anyone with significant accomplishments under their belt, expertise in a niche field, or applying to a job in the same industry that they have lots of experience in.

    • Resume headline. Resume headlines aren’t necessary, but you can include one alongside any of the four types of resume introduction listed above. A resume headline comes between your contact information and the resume introduction of your choice.

      Headlines can be used by entry-level applicants and experienced job-seekers alike. The important point is that your headline should be short and to the point. Additionally, you should use title case when writing your reusme headline (capitalize words as you would for a book title).

      Who should use a resume headline: Any job-seeker who wants to showcase their experience or unique value right off the bat.

  4. Work Experience.

    Your work experience section is the place to let hiring managers know that you have relevant experience that would allow you to handle the job you’re applying for.

    Your work experience section would come after your resume summary/objective if you’re using the chronological resume format but would follow your skills section in a functional resume. In either case, work experience should be listed in reverse-chronological order (most recent experience at the top).

    You can title your work experience section “Work Experience,” “Professional Experience,” “Relevant Experience,” or even just “Experience.”

    When listing your work experience, you should include all of the following information:

    • Job Title: Start by stating the position you held at the company. These are easy queues for the hiring manager to look at and determine whether your past positions would help you succeed at their company.

    • Company Info: Include the name of the employer, the location where you worked, and perhaps a brief description of the company, if it isn’t a well-known name.

    • Dates Employed: Use the mm/yyyy format if you want to be sure that most applicant tracking systems (ATS) will pick it up. Whatever format you use for dates, be consistent, or your resume will look sloppy.

    • Job Description: Don’t just list your job’s responsibilities; hiring managers and recruiters already have an idea of your duties based on the job title. Instead, list your most important and impressive responsibilities/achievements at the job with bullet points. Determine which of these are most relevant for your new role based on the job description.

      Ideally, each bullet should be no longer than a single line. However, two lines is acceptable, if used sparingly.

      Always start with a strong action verb, followed by a quantifiable achievement and a specific duty. For example: “Developed ad campaigns for clients, increasing sales by an average of 27%.” Each job title should include 3-5 bullet points.

    The order that you include this information can be changed around, as long as you are consistent throughout your resume. However, the bullet points detailing your job’s achievements should always be the last item for each entry.

    It’s important that you tailor your resume’s work experience section to the job you’re applying for. We recommend reading the job description carefully and highlighting the action verbs in one color and the skills, adjectives, and job-specific nouns in a different color.

  5. Relevant experience

  6. Educational Background.

    In almost all cases, your education section should come after your professional history. However, if you’re a recent college graduate with little or no work experience, you may choose to put your educational achievements first. As you get further along in your career, you might also consider putting your education section after your skills section.

    Like your section on professional history, educational experiences should come in reverse-chronological order, with your highest level of education at the top. If you have a college degree, you don’t need to add any information about your high school experience. If you didn’t finish college, it’s okay to give a list of what credits you did complete.

    Each educational experience can be listed in the following format:

    Degree/Program Name
    College/University Name
    Dates attended

    You don’t need to add anything else, especially if your resume is already impressive enough. But if you’re struggling to fill up the page, or you feel that aspects of your educational experience will help make you a standout, you may consider also including:

    • Minor: If you think it rounds out your not-exactly-relevant-to-the-job major nicely.

    • GPA: Only if it was 3.5 or higher. Otherwise, it’s not going to do you any favors to include this.

    • Honors: Dean’s List, Cum Laude, etc.

    • Achievements: If you wrote a killer thesis/dissertation that showcases intimate knowledge relevant to the job to which you’re applying, you can include its title and a very brief description.

    • Extracurricular activities: Only include if they’re relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a management position and you were president of your student government.

    • Certifications/Licenses: If the job you’re applying for requires/likes to see certain certifications or licenses that you have, you may include them in this section as well.

  7. Skills Section.

    Your impressive skills may be scattered logistically throughout your professional history section, but you should also include a section solely dedicated to highlighting your skillset. Skills can be broken down into two categories:

    • Hard skills are skills you learn through training and indicate expertise with a technical ability or job-specific responsibility.

    • Soft skills are your personality traits, interpersonal abilities, and intangible qualities that make you more effective at your job.

    Your resume should have a healthy mix of hard and soft skills, as both are essential to job performance. However, since soft skills are harder to prove in the context of a resume, we recommend leaning more toward hard skills. Additionally, whenever you list a soft skill, make sure that it has a correlating item in your work experience section.

    For example, if you say you are skilled in collaboration, you should mention a time when a team project was a major success somewhere in your work experience section.

  8. Optional Sections.

    If you still have space left or there’s more you want to show off that doesn’t quite fit in any of the above sections, you may consider adding an additional section covering one or more of the below categories:

    • Language: Being bilingual is always impressive, and can be included on a resume for any company. Highlight this more if your position involves liaising with international distributors and/or clients. Don’t lie about your proficiency level. But also consider skipping if you’re just a basic speaker who can, like, totally understand most of what goes on in Narcos without subtitles.

    • Volunteer experience: Always a good thing to include. It shows you’re a team player who behaves in a way that promotes the greater good, without thought of personal gain. Especially good for entry-level candidates and those applying for jobs at a non-profit. If you have gaps in your work history, you can also consider including volunteer experiences in your work history section instead.

    • Personal projects: A personal blog, published works, or a portfolio of your past projects are all good things to include. They show you take initiative, enjoy and take pride in your work, and that you can handle the responsibilities of the job, if relevant.

    • Certifications/Licenses: If you didn’t include these in your education section, this is another good place to list relevant certifications or licenses that you have.

    • Interests: Kind of just a space-filler if your resume is light in other areas. But hey, if you and the interviewer share some hobbies, that can’t hurt, right?

    If you have several seemingly random items that are valuable, but don’t warrant creating a whole separate section for, you can also make a section called “Additional Experience.” Here you can include all of the above categories in one place. Just make sure that each item is clear and easy for readers to understand.

    More on additional resume sections:

Resume Samples

Now that we have a good idea of how to write a resume, let’s take a look at some example resumes:

  1. resume example zippia resume builder

    Chronological Resume Example

    Jack Pilgrim

    Washington, DC 14015 – (555) 444-3333 – –

    Resume Summary

    Graphic designer with 3+ years of experience creating and implementing promotional materials and social media graphics. Worked with sales and marketing teams to increase inbound calls by 23% YoY through compelling digital media. Adept at planning, managing, and prioritizing multiple deadlines at once, and thrives in fast-paced work environment.

    Work Experience

    Creative Designs | Washington, DC
    Lead Graphic Designer | June 2018-Present

    • Worked with sales and marketing teams to create landing pages, sales proposals, and supporting media elements to drive sales by over $250,000 per quarter

    • Trained, managed, and mentored team of 4 junior designers to fulfill 40+ project orders on a weekly basis

    • Conducted UX research through surveys, usability testing, and data analysis to plan content marketing strategy, driving organic search traffic by 12%

    • Presented proposals, results, and status updates to set of 4-7 clients, ensuring customer satisfaction at or above 95% for 3 years straight

    Happy Place | Alexandria, VA
    Junior Graphic Designer | July 2016-May 2018

    • Translated client needs and branding strategies into design and content strategy, increasing client retention by 22%

    • Reduced project turnaround time by 8% by Utilizing web-based ticket system for completing and archiving finalized pieces

    • Posted digital artwork to network IPTV using web interface to produce high-end infographics and other materials

    Happy Place | Alexandria, VA
    Marketing Intern | September 2015-July 2016

    • Assisted marketing team with data collection, analysis, and presentation using Google Analytics

    • Drew up storyboards for new marketing campaigns alongside sales team, increasing brand awareness through social media

    • Wrote 500-1000 word articles to pair with graphical elements on page, leading to a 40% boost in engagement on company website


    Savannah College of Art and Design | Savannah, Georgia
    May 2016
    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design


    • Adobe Creative Suite

    • Typography

    • HTML/CSS

    • WordPress

    • Collaboration

    • Organization

  2. Functional Resume Example

    Allison Neederly

    Chicago, Illinois, 60007 | (333) 222-1111 | |

    Resume Summary

    Dedicated customer service representative with 4+ years experience resolving customers’ needs in-person, online, and over the phone. Top achiever at XYZ Inc. with a 100% customer satisfaction rate for Q1 of 2020. Friendly personable, and knowledgable about company’s products and services.

    Relevant Skills

    Customer Service

    • Responded to upwards of 200 customer queries daily with XYZ Inc., reducing the average wait time by 56% and increasing customer satsifaction rates by 13%

    • Ability to resolve conflict and create a positive atmosphere for shopping for both new and existing customers through technical proficiency

    • Expert product knowledge and communication skills, and experience training and mentoring new customer service staff

    Web Chat and Phone

    • Skilled in 3 web chat platforms for helping online customers resolve their queries quickly and accurately

    • Achieved fastest call resolution rate at XYZ Inc., with an average resolution time of under 5 minutes per customer

    • Performed outbound calls for customer satisfaction surveys, as well as writing web-based surveys for 10,000+ customers


    • Detailed product knowledge allowed for customer technical issues to be resolved at rate within top 5% of all customer service associates at XYZ Inc.

    • Created manual for step-by-step directions for troubleshooting that was implemented for team of 100+ customer service reps

    • Positive attitude took average tech-related negative response from 1/5 stars to 4/5 stars, increasing trust in brands and services

    Work Experience

    XYZ Inc. | Philadelphia, PA
    Customer Service Associate
    New Look Global | Burlington, VT
    Junior Customer Service Representative
    L.L. Bean | Burlington, VT
    Sales Associate


    University of Vermont | Burlington, VT
    May 2012
    Bachelor of Arts in Humanities

  3. Combination Resume Example

    Priya Laghari

    New York, NY | (222) 111-0000 | |

    Resume Profile

    • Strategy Development: Grew John Deere’s international sales by 13% by tapping into underserved countries in Southeast Asia

    • Management: Oversaw a team of managers representing marketing, sales, and product teams. Streamlined collaborative, cross-functional communications through agile and scrum management system

    • CRM: Developed, customized, and implemented new custmer relationship management database for accounts totalling over $10M in value

    Work Experience

    Business Development Manager
    Microsoft | Redmond, WA

    • Developed product strategies and roadmap for Google AdWords, increasing inbound traffic by 26% YoY

    • Reduced time training on new software by 50% for new and existing employees by implement e-learning programs

    • Spearheaded digital marketing campaign worth $1M that saw a return of 200% in first year by qualifying leads earlier in the sales funnel

    Regional Sales Manager
    Big Things Inc. | St. Louis, MO

    • Managed territory encompassing 29 regional locations with an annual revenue of approx. $55M

    • Worked with C-level executives to plan business strategies, resulting in 20% reduction in overhead costs

    • Increased client retention by 12% in first year by implementing a CRM approach based on accouunt profiling and elevating levels of relationship selling

    Account Manager
    Solutions Corp. | Chicago, IL

    • Implemented and developed CRM strategic plans, increasing retention of long-term clients by 22%

    • Maintained 50+ accounts totaling over $35M in value

    • Generated leads through one-on-one consultation via phone inquiries, online check-ins, and meeting office walk-ins

    Relevant Skills

    • CRM: Proficient with Salesforce, Zoho, and HubSpot; some experience with Keap. Used various CRM software over a decade to successfully manage customer relatinos and quick to adapt to new software and tools that aid in quality of customer experience.

    • Salesmanship: Negotiated and closed over several deals worth $1M+ and skilled in upselling and cross-selling. Adept at working closely with marketing and product teams to maximize the efficiency of the sales funnel for both inbound and outbound traffic.

    • Presentation: Represented Microsoft Northwest Region at quarterly board meetings, ensuring all stakeholders were kept abreast of new developments and opportunities. Also deliver monthly presentations to big clients and vendors to maintain positive relationship.

    • Data analytics. Expert at integrating data from various analytics platforms, inclding Google, Microsoft Power BI, and SAP BusinessObjects


    Colgate University | May 2008

    Fordham University | May 2006
    Bachelor’s Degree in Business

    For more resume examples and templates:

Resume Headers Samples:

  1. header-1

  2. header-2

  3. header-3

Tip: Never put your contact info in the header of your document; some applicant tracking systems might miss it.

For more on how to write a resume header:

Resume Introduction Examples

  1. Entry-Level Resume Objective.

    Recent graduate with a bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of Virginia seeking an entry-level role in content marketing. Excellent copywriter with 2+ years experience editing content as a member of the UVA Writing Center.

  2. Career Change Resume Objective.

    Eager to apply 7+ years of experience with customer success management to make successful outbound B2B calls, deliver customized business solutins to new and existing customers, and provide expert product knowledge in the role of Account Manager for XYZ Inc.

  3. Example Resume Summary Statement.

    Accountant with over 8 years of experience in the medical industry. Adept at advising on management of cash deficits, reconciling departmental accounts, and creating new accounts and codes. Coordinated invoice preparation system for ABC that reduced contractor overhead by 19% YoY.


    English teacher with a love of language and 6 years of experience teaching high school students. Developed new curriculum that boosted freshman reading comprehension scores by 12% and created after school book club for AP Lit class, resulting in 100% of participating students achieving a 5 on the AP Lit test.

  4. Example Qualifications Summary.

    • Executive assistant with 5+ years experience helping maintain efficiency in an office of 25 employees

    • Communicated directly with internal and external stakeholders, helping Senior Vice President manage projects worth $5M+

    • Proactively managed office schedules, identifying and prioritizing changes to ensure client satisfaction

    • Recognized in a company of 500 for “Outstanding Achiever” in May 2019

  5. Example Resume Profile.

    Detail-oriented IT Specialist with 4 years of experience overseeing and improving the infrastructure of IT systems. Adept at building and running troubleshooting systems and testing services. Decreased security risk by 47% through continual optimization, while also imrpoving the speed of client portal by 22%. Excellent communicator both internally and for client-facing discussions. Achieved 98%+ customer satisfaction ratings through weekly and monthly check-ins with accounts valued cumulatively at $500,000.

  6. Entry-Level Resume Headline.

    Bilingual College Graduate with 80 WPM Typing Speed and Tutoring Experience

  7. Experienced Resume Headline.

    Business Development Specialist with 6+ Years Experience Scaling Start-Up Tech Teams

For more on resume introductions:

Sample Resume Work Experience Sections

  1. sample resume work experience section

  2. Work Experience

    XYZ Indsustries | Seattle, WA
    Marketing Associate | May 2019-Present

    • Delivered weekly presentations to client-base to communicate brand messaging, increasing client retention by 11%

    • Served as liaison between marketing and product teams, resulting in projects finishing 2 weeks early, on average

    • Leveraged Excel skills to create and maintain spreadsheet to track consumer insights, emergent trends, and inform decisions of marketing team through competitive analysis

    • Managed team of 5 contractors to juggle multiple priority projects simultaneously, never missing a deadline

    • Initiated an affiliate referral program that PR team went on to turn into a revenue-generating stream valued at $30,000 annually

    ABC Corp | Seattle, WA
    Marketing Intern | September 2018-May 2019

    • Developed, maintained, and processed 20+ digital consent forms and distributor forms

    • Worked collaboratively with a team of 10 marketing professionals, closely aligning our goals with the PR team

    • Provided data analysis using Google Analytics and performed keyword research to increase blog traffic by 56% over six months

    • Answered up to 50 customer queries by phone and email each week

For more on building the perfect resume work experience section:

Examples Of Education Resume Sections

  1. Graduated recently from a 4-year program.

    Western Illinois University | Macomb, Illinois
    May 2020
    Bachelor of Arts in Sociology | Minor in Psychology
    3.95 GPA magna cum laude
    Dean’s List all semesters

  2. Two degrees.

    Fordham University | Bronx, New York
    April 2016
    Master of Chemical Engineering
    Stony Brook University | Stony Brook, New York
    April 2014
    Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

  3. Anticipated graduation date (not yet graduated).

    DePaul Univeristy | Chicago, Illinois
    Bachelor of Arts in History – Degree anticipated May 2021
    Current GPA: 3.8

  4. Older job seeker (graduated 10+ years ago).

    University of Chicago | Chicago, Illinois
    Bachelor of Business Administration

  5. High school graduate (no college degree).

    Johnston High School 2016-2020
    Head of Computer Club

More on crafting the perfect resume education section:

Examples Of Skills For Resume

  1. Examples of hard skills include:

    POS systems CRM Software
    Microsoft Office Tecnical writing
    HTML/CSS Auditing
    Coding languages A/B Testing
    Agile software Cloud computing
    SEO/SEM AdWords
    Google Analytics CMS like WordPress
    Data modeling Microsoft Visual Basic
    Adobe Creative Suite Data mining
    UX Design Video production
  2. Examples of soft skills include:

    Leadership Problem-solving
    Organization Decision-making
    Communication Work ethic
    Active listening Negotiation
    Time management Innovation
    Creativity Patience
    Collaboration Critical thinking
    Reliability Empathy
    Adaptability Attention to detail
    Conflict resolution Integrity

Here’s more information on how to incorporate skills into your resume:

Resume Writing FAQ

  1. What Is a Resume?

    A resume is a one to two-page document that focuses on professional experience, past achievements, education and certifications, and specific skills tailored to the job you’re applying for.

    Almost every job application requires a resume, and hiring managers use them as a first impression in determining which applicants get a shot at an interview.

    Whether you’re fresh out of college or have 30 years of professional experience, this guide should help craft a resume that stands out from the crowd and get you one step closer to landing your dream job.

  2. What is the format for writing a good resume?

    Most people will want to use a chronological or reverse-chronological resume format. This format is compatible with most applicant tracking systems (ATS) and is easy for employers to read. Additionally it helps highlight your experience, which helps prove your qualifications.

  3. How far back should a resume go?

    A resume should go back no further than 10 to 15 years. However, it is important that all your information is relevant. Therefore, do not include job experience that is irrelevant to your application, even if it’s fewer than 10 years old. Save that information for later discussions.


  1. State of New York Department of Labor – Resumes, Cover Letters and Job Applications

  2. Harvard University – Create a Resume/CV or Cover Letter

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Matthew Zane

Matthew Zane is the lead editor of Zippia's How To Get A Job Guides. He is a teacher, writer, and world-traveler that wants to help people at every stage of the career life cycle. He completed his masters in American Literature from Trinity College Dublin and BA in English from the University of Connecticut.

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