How to Make a Resume in 2024 [Writing Guide & Examples]

Learn how to make a resume that showcases your unique strengths by following this step-by-step writing guide, advice and tips.

Make a Resume

CPRW, Career Advice Expert
by Gabriela Hernandez  CPRW, Career Advice Expert 
Last Updated: February 13, 2024  
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Every job advertisement receives around 250 applications. You’ll need a stellar resume if you want to be one of the handful of folks who gets a callback for an interview! We’re here to show you how to present your qualifications and skills so they stand out to potential employers and get you that coveted interview.

How to make a resume step-by-step

Writing a great resume is the key to impressing hiring managers and getting interviews. Here, we show you how to make a resume for a job that gets noticed!

STEP 1

Choose the right resume format

Choosing the right resume format and how you organize your information is just as crucial as what you include in a resume.

Here’s how to choose the best resume format for you:

Chronological resume format

Who should use a chronological resume format?

  • Anyone who is applying for an executive-level position.
  • Job seekers who have 10+ years of experience in the same industry.
  • Applicants who want to show off an impressive career progression.

Use this Resume

Functional resume format

Who should use a functional resume format?

  • Job seekers who have little to no work experience.
  • Applicants who want to emphasize skills and education over work history.
  • Those with gaps in their employment history.

Use this Resume

Combination resume format

Who should use a combination resume format?

  • Applicants who want to give equal focus to their skills and experience.
  • Job seekers who have five to eight years of experience.
  • Those changing careers, applying for a promotion or returning to the workforce after a break.

Use this Resume

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PRO TIP

Although the chronological resume is the most popular, it’s not ideal for every job seeker. Opt for the functional or combination formats if you have less than 10 years of experience.

STEP 2

Add your contact information

Employers must know how to contact you, especially if you’ve secured an interview.

Share your essential contact information in the header section of your resume.

Step 2 Contact Information

Contact information you should include:

  • Name: Include your first and last name.
  • Phone number: The best option is your cellphone number so recruiters can reach you easily.
  • Email: Make sure it’s appropriate, simple and free of nicknames. Unprofessional email addresses comprise 35% of the most common resume mistakes — which we discuss further down the page.
  • Location: Share the city and state where you reside.
  • Social media accounts: A link to your professional social media account, like LinkedIn or portfolio, if you have them.

STEP 3

Include a resume headline for extra impact

A resume headline is an optional section that states your most attention-grabbing qualifications and your intentions as a job seeker.

This section should be high in your resume, ideally between the contact information and resume summary.

Good Headline For Resume

Check out these examples of resume headlines to get a better idea of what to include in one:

Administrative assistant resume headline

Efficient Administrative Assistant with Exceptional Organizational Skills and Project Management Certification

Teacher resume headline

3x Award-Winning Educator with MS in Educational Leadership Recognized for Empowering Diverse Student Populations

Licensed practical nurse resume headline

LPN with 11+ Years of Experience in Patient-Centric Care and Proven Clinical Excellence

STEP 4

Write a strong resume summary or objective statement

Step Summary

Recruiters spend around 7 seconds scanning your resume, so include a brief but impactful opening statement. It should only be a few sentences long and show employers your resume matches the role.

You can opt for a resume summary or a resume objective. But what’s the difference between them, and which should you use?

What is a resume summary?

The resume summary, also called a summary statement or professional summary, is the recommended approach because it concisely summarizes characteristics that make you ideal for a specific job.

Your resume summary should include some of your most job-relevant skills and feature at least one career achievement. Include keywords from the job description and use action verbs; avoid phrases with “I” or “my” pronouns.

Formula to write a resume summary:

[Soft skills to describe you as a professional] + [job title and years of experience] in [area of expertise as stated in the job description]. Adept at [two or three of your best, job-relevant hard skills]. [One impressive career accomplishment and any other skills or qualifications.]

Resume summary examples

Graphic designer resume summary:

“Creative graphic designer with seven years of experience creating brand identities for over 15 clients. Experienced in creating logo typography and color palettes using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and After Effects. Created augmented reality (AR) graphics for a mobile smartphone game application which reached an audience of 2 million people.”

Accountant resume summary:

“Diligent Accountant with three years of experience working in the public and private sectors. Adept at creating detailed financial reports and establishing and maintaining budgets. Provided strategic financial planning consultations to corporate clients like Unilever and Walmart.”

In need of a stronger resume summary? Have our Resume Builder suggest a resume summary for your desired role.

What is a resume objective?

The resume objective, or career objective, communicates your goals for a job and the skills and education you have to achieve them. This statement is ideal for less experienced candidates, such as students and those relocating or changing careers.

This paragraph should contain two or three sentences mentioning job-relevant qualifications and skills that compensate for your lack of formal experience.

Formula to write a resume objective:

[Your profession] + [education or experience and top skills] seeking [desired job and company] to [your goals] with [professional skills and knowledge required in job description]. [Mention two or three soft skills and any additional qualifications].

Strong resume objective examples

Blogger resume objective:

“Blogger with experience in fashion, beauty and lifestyle writing for personal blogs and digital publications seeking affiliate writer position at Teen Vogue to provide engaging and informative shopping advice with excellent copywriting, research and trends analysis. Possess social media management skills and basic graphic design abilities.”

Physical therapy aide resume objective:

“Physical therapy aide certified by Borough of Manhattan Community College seeking physical therapy assistant job at HD Physical Therapy Clinic to offer my PTA services in recordkeeping, equipment setup and data monetization. Self-motivated, organized and responsible PTA that works with initiative.”

STEP 5

Showcase your work experience

Hiring managers will pay close attention to your work history section, so a big part of your success will lie in your work experience.

Your work history section is the bulk of your professional accomplishments.

You must organize this section in reverse chronological order so employers first see your most recent or current job.

When you’re listing each job, include:

  • Your job title
  • Name of employer or company
  • Location of company (city and state)
  • Employment dates (month and year)

Three to five bullet points describing your achievements within the job

We are hiring a dynamic and motivated sales associate for our new location in Altamonte Mall.

You will be responsible for various tasks on the sales floor, cash registers, fitting rooms and stockroom.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Deliver outstanding customer service.
  • Offer fashion styling assistance and recommendations to customers.
  • Replenish the shop floor.
  • Organize stockroom and keep inventory of items.
  • Process cash and card payments.
  • Process, restock, label and tag items delivered to the store.
  • Greet customers in a friendly manner and inform them of promotions and store credit cards.

Qualifications:

  • Prior retail experience
  • Leadership abilities
  • Basic math skills
  • Computer skills
  • Knowledge of POS systems
  • Attention to detail
  • U.S. work authorization

Once you’ve noted all the keywords in the job ad, pick the ones that accurately describe your professional experience and skill set. Check out how to use the keywords when describing your work history:

Sales associate work history example:

Work History

Sales Associate | Urban Outfitters – Tampa, FL
November 2021 – Current

  • Unload, process, restock, label and tag over 300 weekly items.
  • Organize stockroom and keep inventory of 2,000+ items, reducing out-of-stock items frequency by 39%.
  • Replenish store floor, assist clients in locating items, and organize store floor with great attention to detail.

Cashier | AVO Boutique – Tampa, FL
August 2019 – November 2021

  • Operated cash registers and processed cash and card payments for 20+ daily purchases.
  • Handled cash flow of over $7,000, ensuring register was balanced. Utilized computer skills to log sales onto spreadsheets for financial reports.
  • Utilized Clover and Shopify POS systems and trained new employees to use them.

Sales Associate | The Gap – Tampa, FL
January 2019 – August 2019

  • Greeted customers in a friendly manner and informed them of daily promotions and specials.
  • Replenished shop floor and located items for over 250 daily clients.
  • Offered styling assistance and personalized fashion recommendations to customers in the fitting room and shop floor.

Use strong action verbs

Start sentences with strong action verbs when you begin to write your work history. For example, “Developed new social media strategy” has more impact than “Was responsible for our social accounts.”

Make sure you use different action verbs throughout your work history. If you need inspiration, check out this list:

  • Acquired
  • Analyzed
  • Assembled
  • Budgeted
  • Boosted
  • Collaborated
  • Conceptualized
  • Conducted
  • Delivered
  • Debugged
  • Designed
  • Edited
  • Evaluated
  • Facilitated
  • Financed
  • Forecasted
  • Generated
  • Handled
  • Identified
  • Implemented
  • Increased
  • Launched
  • Led
  • Leveraged
  • Managed
  • Maximized
  • Negotiated
  • Outsourced
  • Planned
  • Prevented
  • Prioritized
  • Remodeled
  • Resolved
  • Regained
  • Simplified
  • Sold
  • Staffed
  • Transferred
  • Undertook
  • Updated

STEP 6

Add a resume skills section

Step Skills

Your skills section should include a bulleted list of six to eight skills describing your expertise for the desired role. Add a variety of soft, hard and technical skills that show you’re a well-rounded candidate.

10 hard skills examples

  • Copywriting
  • Graphic design
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Project management
  • Cloud computing
  • SEO marketing
  • Data analysis
  • Computer programming
  • UX design
  • Foreign languages

10 soft skills examples

  • Adaptability
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Active listening
  • Time management
  • Innovative thinking
  • Fostering inclusiveness
  • Collaboration
  • Stress Management
  • Leadership
  • Empathy

10 technical skills examples

  • Adobe tools
  • Programming languages (Java, Python)
  • Google Analytics
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Email marketing tools (Mailchimp)
  • Project management tools (Trello, Monday.com)
  • Microsoft Teams
  • POS systems (Clover, TouchBistro)
  • QuickBooks
  • CAD engineering software

STEP 7

List your education correctly

Step Education

Your education section will communicate that you have the academic training to perform your job. Always list your education, even if you don’t have a college degree.

Example elements of an education section:

  • Program name: B.A. in Special Needs Education
  • Name of the university or institution: Ohio State University
  • Location of university or institution: Columbus, OH
  • Graduation or attendance dates: Class of 2013; August 2014 – December 2016
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Example of a high school student education section:

Lincoln High School
Dallas, TX – June 2019
High School Diploma
GPA 4.0

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Example of a GED graduate education section:

General Educational Development Diploma (GED)
San Diego, CA – 08/2019

Tips to make the most of your education section:

  • If you hold two or more degrees, list them in reverse-chronological order.
  • Only include your GPA if you’ve had a consistently impressive academic record (GPA of 3.5 or more).
  • If you have a university degree, omit your high school diploma.
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PRO TIP

If your degree is older than five years, consider removing the graduation date to avoid unfair hiring bias from employers determining your age.

STEP 8

Consider including additional resume sections

You don’t have to limit your resume’s content to these sections!

Once you’ve mastered these five main resume sections, you can customize your resume with additional sections.

Some examples of additional resume sections are:

Additional Resume

Certifications and licenses

Some jobs like nurse, EMT or physical therapist require a license to practice legally.

You can create a separate section to list any licenses or certifications you possess.

Example of licenses on a resume:

  • Registered Nurse – License #000000
  • Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
  • Expires in 2024

Example of certifications on a resume:

  • RPR: Registered Professional Reporter
  • National Court Reporters Association (NCRA)
  • January 2018

Honors and awards

You can add an honors or awards section for any academic or professional recognition you’ve received.

“Honors” relates to academic achievements, whereas “awards” refer to academic and professional accolades.

Example of an honors resume section:

Honors

  • Dean’s List (2019 -2021)
  • The Regents Scholarship – University System of Maryland (2019-2021)

Example of an awards resume section:

Awards

  • Clio Awards (2017)
  • Cannes Lions Awards (2022)

Projects

You can add a section in your resume to showcase any large-scale projects you’ve led or participated in your company or even personal side projects.

Example of a projects resume section:

Projects

  • Led developers in creating an app that used mapping and market data to provide users with a list of the nearest gas stations with the lowest prices.
  • Participated as software engineer in app development project for Microsoft from 2019-2022.

Publications

If you’re a writer or an academic investigator, showcase any publications you’ve written during your career.

For a long list of publications, you might be better off with a curriculum vitae (CV) instead of a resume. If so, we can also show you how to write a CV.

Example of a publications resume section:

Publications

  • Zhang, M. (2019) Breathe in: Holistic coping mechanisms in anxious children during COVID-19 pandemic. Holistic Health, 13(3),10-12.
  • Zhang, M. (2016) How acupuncture affects children ages 6-12 with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, 17(8), 21-25.

Volunteer work

Sharing volunteer work in your resume is a great way to show you mesh well with a company’s culture and have developed skills to help you professionally. It’s also a great way to show skills you’ve developed if you’re writing a resume with no work experience.

Example of a volunteer work resume section:

Volunteer Work

Digital Marketing Volunteer

Habitat for Humanity-Restore

East Bay/Silicon Valley, CA

02/2022 – 03/2023

Languages

Including your fluency in various languages in your resume can be an excellent asset for customer service, retail and health care positions.

Writing this section is as straightforward as listing the languages you can speak. However, you can add extra information, such as your fluency level.

Example of a languages resume section:

Languages

English: Fluent

Spanish: Native language

Portuguese: Conversational

Internships

Including a section for internships is a great addition to your resume if you’re a new job seeker just starting your career.

Example of an internships resume section:

Internship

Full-stack Developer Intern | Onyx, Miami, FL

01/2023 – Current

  • Implemented RESTful APIs and integrated front-end components with Node.js and Express.js.
  • Developed responsive user interfaces using React and contributed to performance optimization.

Software Testing Intern | DEF Software Solutions, Miami, FL

08/2022 – 11/2022t

  • Conducted comprehensive testing of desktop applications and documented test cases.
  • Assisted in automating test cases with Selenium and gained experience in Agile testing methodologies.
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PRO TIP

Include additional sections if they showcase relevant skills and experience for your desired job. Don’t overstuff your resume and extend it beyond two pages with information that won’t benefit recruiters.

STEP 9

Proofread your resume and fact-check the details

Double-check information like dates and the spelling of company or school names, and ensure your contact information is accurate and current.

It won’t matter if you’re the most qualified candidate in the world if your resume contains spelling and grammatical errors.

Check each of your resume sections for typos and formatting errors. Read the page from top to bottom, run it through an online spell-checker like Grammarly or have a copyeditor friend review it before deeming it ready for recruiters.

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PRO TIP

Take advantage of our Resume Builder’s built-in spell-checker, which revises your grammar and syntax as you write.

Resume formatting tips

  • Your resume should be one page long. You can include a second page to fit all your work experience if your career exceeds 10 years. The standard rule is one page every 10 years of your career, but try to keep it to a maximum of two pages.
  • Pick a font size between 11 and 12. Your section titles can be between 14 and 16 points in size.
  • Refrain from using eccentric fonts. Stick to fonts like Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman and Georgia.
  • Resume margins should be 1 inch on all sides. This allows for a balance between text and white space, making the document easy on the eyes.
  • The line spacing should range between 1 and 1.15 inches to fit all your text without looking cramped.
  • The ideal file format for your resume is PDF. PDF is the most accessible file format for all computer systems and can be opened by virtually anyone. Also, identify your name in the document’s file name. For example, “tom_jones_resume.pdf.”

Great resume examples by job title

Now that you’ve learned each step of the resume writing process, the result should be a perfect resume.

Check out these resume examples for various jobs and career scenarios to help you visualize how yours should look.

Write a cover letter that complements your resume

Medical Assistant Cover Letter Example

Write a cover letter that complements your resume

A cover letter helps you sell yourself to the employer by providing more context to the career accomplishments showcased in your resume.

We already covered how important it is to tailor your resume for every job application to increase your chances of getting hired.

The same goes for the cover letter, another document you should continually customize to show different employers how you can fulfill the role’s specific demands.

Do you need a quick cover letter for your next job application? Our Cover Letter Builder writes full-page letters according to your desired job, matches your working style, and accounts for any gaps in your work history in mere minutes.

Build My Cover Letter Now

Key takeaways

Let’s review the major steps for writing a resume:

  • Pick a resume format that works for you.
  • Include at least the five main resume sections: contact information, professional summary, work history, skills and education.
  • Focus on your unique career achievements.
  • Tailor your skills to the job ad.
  • Double-check your resume for any errors and inconsistencies.
  • Use an online builder to simplify and speed up the writing process.

Build my resume

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a resume for the first time?

When learning how to make a good resume for a job, start with a strong summary of your qualifications and emphasize the value of your skill set and industry knowledge. If you have limited work experience, move your education section above the work history and list any academic honors. Remember, you may have internships or volunteer experiences that can make up for formal experience.

How do I write a resume to pass an applicant tracking system (ATS)?

To learn how to write a resume that will pass an applicant tracking system (ATS). You’ll also need to study the ad carefully to ensure that your content mentions the most critical keywords from the job posting. Customize your resume whenever you apply for a job to emphasize your most relevant skills and experience.

How much work experience should I include in my resume?

The amount of work experience you should include in your resume will depend on your years of experience. You don’t need to include every single job you’ve ever had. Instead, list your most recent and relevant experience for your desired role.

Job seekers with no experience: Include any internships or apprenticeships you’ve completed during your education or training. Mention your participation in college associations (especially if you occupied a leadership position) or any special projects you completed during your final year. Make these accomplishments stand out in a functional resume.

Entry-level candidates: List all your work experiences up until now and emphasize quantifiable accomplishments.

Mid-level candidates: Provide a detailed description of any responsibilities that went beyond your job description, showing you’re prepared for a promotion.

Senior-level candidates: Showcase every role you’ve had up until the past 10 to 15 years.

How to write a functional skills section?

If you’re writing a functional resume, you will choose three core skills that best reflect your abilities (even better if they’re keywords from the job ad). For each core skill, you will include two to three bullet points describing what accomplishments prove you excel in that respective skill.

Teacher functional skills section example:

Skills

Classroom Management

  • Taught 12 elementary Social Studies, English and Mathematics classes for grades 4 to 6, planned all classes, assigned and reviewed homework, performed weekly evaluations, and kept student records updated.
  • Supervised classes of 30 students, maintained order and discipline with positive reinforcement and clearly outlined classroom rules.
  • Organized parent-teacher conferences twice a year to discuss student progress and parent-teacher collaboration.

Virtual Learning

  • Imparted classes through Microsoft Teams videoconference platform.
  • Produced short video lessons as learning aid for live lectures and for student review as needed. This initiative helped increase GPA across all students by 15% by midterms.
  • Offered monthly one-on-one sessions with students to nurture individual learning and personal growth.

Problem-Solving

  • Organized a monthly classroom discussion to receive and offer feedback between students and educators, which increased student participation and fostered critical thinking, public speaking and debating skills.
  • Acted as liaison between student body council and school administration to implement lunch meals that fit various dietary needs and restrictions.

How to write a summary of qualifications?

Combination resumes can have just one listed skills section, or you can pair it with a “summary of qualifications” or “summary of skills.” In the summary of qualifications, you can share more job-relevant skills and achievements that demonstrate you’re prepared for the role. Junior and mid-level job seekers can use this summary of qualifications to show employers they’re ready for the job despite having little experience.

Customer service representative summary of qualifications example:

Summary of Qualifications

  • Highly skilled in customer retention by employing persuasive speaking techniques in combination with special offers and discounts.
  • Record of diffusing 20+ client complaints with empathy and positive language.
  • Adaptable to various customer service platforms such as chat, telephone calls, and in-person interactions.

About the Author

Gabriela Hernandez

Gabriela Hernandez CPRW, Career Advice Expert

Gabriela Hernandez is one of LiveCareer's resident writers. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in Journalism. Throughout her career, she has tackled copywriting, blog articles, journalistic writing, academic writing, resume writing, and even prose and verse.

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