How to Write a Resume in 2023

Learn how to write every section of your resume so that your unique strengths shine through. Follow our tips to maximize your resume sections and customize your resume for each role.

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Career Advice Contributor
by Gabriela Hernandez  Career Advice Contributor 
April 06, 2023  

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Every job advertisement receives around 250 applications*, so if you want to be one of the handful of people that get a callback for an interview, you’ll need to do more than just pack your resume with your best skills and most impressive career achievements.

Our detailed step-by-step resume guide will teach you how to create a resume from scratch with all the necessary sections to make your unique strengths stand out.

However, if time is of the essence and you want to apply for a job ASAP, head to our Resume Builder, which writes a personalized and professional resume for you in minutes.

The 5 main sections every resume should have

Assistant Principal Example Resume
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Contact information

    The resume header should include:

    • Your name
    • Phone number
    • A professional email address
    • City and state of residence
    • Links to your LinkedIn profile, personal website or portfolios (if applicable)
  • Professional Summary

    The resume professional summary should include:

    • A two-to-five sentence introduction to your resume
    • Your most impressive professional accomplishments
    • Your most relevant hard and soft skills

    If you’re starting your career and have little experience, you might want to use a resume objective instead.

  • Work Experience

    The work experience section should include:

    • Your previous job titles in reverse-chronological order
    • Employer
    • City and state for each role
    • Start and end dates for each role
    • Depending on the resume format you choose, a brief list of accomplishments and responsibilities
  • Skills

    The resume skills section should include:

    • 6-8 skills listed in bullet points
    • A mix of hard, soft and technical skills
    • Skills specific to the role you want
  • Education

    The education section should include:

    • Type and title of your degrees or certifications
    • Full name of each school you’ve attended
    • Any education-related awards or distinguishing accomplishments

Our Builder makes writing a resume quick and easy!

Just pick one of our professionally-designed resume templates, fill in your contact information and tell us your desired job title and years of experience. The Resume Builder takes care of the rest!

Build my Resume

Our Builder makes writing a resume quick and easy!


Choose the right resume format

Now that you have a clearer idea of the elements of a resume, you must choose the resume format that best fits your level of work experience.

Choosing the right 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:


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.


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.


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 who are changing careers, applying for a promotion or returning to the workforce after a break.


Share fundamental contact information

Employers need to know who you are.

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

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 any 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.

Optional contact information:

  • Social media accounts: If you have a professional website, blog or portfolio and are applying for a creative role, we highly recommend you include links to those in your contact information.
  • LinkedIn: We suggest you include your LinkedIn account since it makes you seem more legitimate, and it’s an opportunity to remain in the employer’s network whether you get the job or not.
  • Job title: You can let employers know your current role so they can get an idea of your area of expertise.

Contact information you should leave out:

  • Date of birth: You should never include your birth date since this can lead to age-based discrimination. Only jobs like bartender will require you to be at least 21 years old.
  • Photo or headshot: There’s a lot of debate surrounding profile pictures on resumes. In the United States, they can pose a liability for corporations because of hiring bias. However, including a photo on your CV is standard practice in the international market.
  • Full residential address: Never include your street and house number on your resume for security reasons.


Open with a strong resume summary or resume objective

Step Summary

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

There are two ways you can write this opener; 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 a couple 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 on 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 logo typography and color palette creation 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 consist of two or three sentences that mention 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.”


Showcase your work experience milestones

Step History

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 see your most recent or current job and work your way down.

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

Highlight relevant experience

You don’t need to include every single job you’ve had in your resume, but beware of creating gaps between roles!

You should include up to 10 years of career experience in your resume. Focus on the jobs that showcase a logical progression of your career.

For instance, if you’re applying for a graphic design job and spent three years babysitting during your bachelor’s degree, you shouldn’t include this role.

However, if the skills you gained in a job help you excel in the role you’re applying for, include the job in your work experience.

For example, someone who babysat for years can include this experience in their resume if they’re applying for an elementary school job.

Focus on accomplishments, not daily tasks

Your work experience should tell employers what you’ve achieved in each role; they want to see the impact you’ve had. A boring list of responsibilities isn’t going to cut it.

Instead, focus on unique achievements that show you’ve gone above and beyond your role. For example:

  • “As a waitress, I consulted the restaurant’s floor and table plan reorganization.”
  • “Cofounded new school garden project utilized by science classes of all grade levels.”
  • “Led record digitization project for university library’s historical archive”

Use quantifiable metrics to add credibility to your resume

Numbers speak louder than words!

When writing your work history descriptions, include numbers and metrics to highlight your success. When recruiters scan your resume, dollar amounts or percentages quickly catch their eye.

Some examples of quantifiable metrics on your work history are:

  • “Achieved $35,000 in total sales in the first quarter, up from $7,000 in the prior quarter.”
  • “Garnered 57% increase in page visits after implementing new strategy.”
  • “Managed and trained 35 waitstaff.”

Tailor your resume to the job with keywords

Prove you’re an excellent fit for the role by using resume keywords. You can find keywords by scanning the job ad for skills and qualifications.

You must use these skills and keywords precisely as they appear on the job ad since recruiters and applicant tracking systems (ATS) will scan your resume for them.

However, don’t clutter your resume with buzzwords like “team player” or “people person,” as these will look insincere, and ATS will flag duplicate content.

Look at this fictional job advertisement for a retail sales associate and highlight the keywords. Then, let’s see how you would include these keywords in your resume’s work history section.

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.


  • 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, 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 some 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


Highlight a variety of skills on your resume

Step Skills

Your skills section should include six to eight skills describing your expertise for the desired role. You should have various skills that showcase you’re a well-rounded candidate; therefore, you need hard, soft and technical skills.

What are hard skills?

Hard skills refer to the specialized knowledge you need to perform a job. You gain hard skills through education or training, so they will vary depending on the job you apply for.

10 hard skills examples

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

View more hard skills 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are personal abilities that help you interact professionally with your teammates and ensure you do your job as efficiently as possible. You can find these soft skills in candidates across all industries.

10 soft skills examples

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

View more soft skills 

What are technical skills?

Technical skills are a subcategory of hard skills, and they reference your ability to use digital tools and technology for your job’s daily tasks. These skills also vary according to role and industry.

10 technical skills examples

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

View more technical skills 

How you present your skills on your resume will look different depending on your resume format. You can check out the FAQ on this page to learn more about how to write skills sections or reference our functional and combination resume guides.


List education that proves you’re prepared for the job

Step Education

Your education section will communicate that you have the academic training to perform your job. Although some companies are dropping college-level educational requirements, the education section provides recruiters a trusted reference for your knowledge and skills. Besides, jobs in education, law, finance and health care will always require some education or licensing.

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

Examples of optional education information:

  • GPA: 4.0
  • Minor: Minor in Psychology
  • Honors: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, Valedictorian
  • Relevant coursework: If you’re a recent graduate without formal experience in your field, add classes and seminars you’ve taken that show you have the knowledge and practical experience to succeed in the role.

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.

Now let’s review a few education examples:


Example of a high school student education section

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


Example of a GED graduate education section

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

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.


Example of a BA graduate’s education section

University of California – San Diego
San Diego, CA
B.S. in Marine Biology

Relevant Coursework:

  • Marine Mammal Biology
  • Parasitology (Lab)

Example of a postgraduate law student education section

Columbia Law School
San Diego, CA
New York, NY – Expected graduation in June 2023
Juris Doctor


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.

Instead, include as many achievements as you can in designated custom sections.

Some examples of additional resume sections are:

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.

Even if your role doesn’t require it, you may voluntarily add licenses or certifications that show you have formal training in your field.

The way to list licenses or certifications in your resume is by including:

  • Title of license or certification
  • Name of certifying organization
  • Date of obtainment
  • Date of expiration (if applicable)
  • Mention “In Progress” and expected date of completion (if applicable)

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” tend to relate to academic achievements, whereas “awards” refer to academic and professional accolades.

Types of honors and awards you can include on a resume

  • Degree distinctions (magna cum laude, summa cum laude)
  • Dean’s List
  • Scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • Honor society membership
  • Academic achievement honors
  • Industry awards for excellent performance
  • Employee distinction awards
  • Individual and team sports awards

Example of an honors resume section:


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

Example of an awards resume section:


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


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.

This “Projects” section benefits less experienced candidates who want to show employers they have experience in specific areas of expertise relevant to the role.

Example of a projects resume section:


  • Led team of 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 gas prices.
  • Participated as software engineer in app development project for Microsoft from 2019-2022.


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

Depending on your field of study, you will use different citing methods such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

If you’re working in academia and have a long list of publications, you might be better off with a curriculum vitae (CV) instead of a resume. If that’s the case, we can also teach you how to write a CV.

Example of a publications resume section:


  • 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.

Common Resume Errors You Must Avoid

Now that you’ve mastered how to do a resume, it’s time to clean up your resume’s content and design.

Fact-check the details and proofread

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

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 before deeming it ready for recruiters.

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 ten years. The standard rule is one page for every ten years of your career, but try to keep it to a two-page maximum.
  • Pick a font size between 11 and 12. Your section titles can be between a 14 and 16-point 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 it 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.”

Resume Templates that ensure you stand out.

With dozens of options and endless ways to customize, we have Resume Templates for every role, industry, and experience level.


Resume examples and resume
templates for any job or industry

A great way to make sure you’ve learned how to write a good resume is to check out some resume examples. They show you what a finished resume looks like for your job or industry.

Also, our examples are made with our professionally designed resume templates, which offer clean and visually engaging designs appropriate for any industry.

Check out this selection of resume examples for common jobs and industries:

Did you know our Resume Builder takes care of all these steps in minutes?

Making a resume takes a lot of steps. So, use our Resume Builder to take off running!

6 reasons why you should use our Resume Builder

Here are some features:

  • Automation that makes it possible to create a resume in 15 minutes
  • A selection of 35 resume templates designed by professionals
  • Pre-written content suggestions for your summary, skills and work history sections
  • Easy to adjust customizable formatting
  • Spelling and grammar check
  • Resume-writing tips

Build my Resume

Key Takeaways

To wrap up, 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.

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 so you can 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, all in mere minutes.

Build My Cover Letter Now

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write a resume for the first time?

When learning how to make a resume, 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 ATS, you’ll need a clean, easy-to-scan resume template. 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 every time you apply for a job to emphasize your most relevant skills and experience for the role.

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 that shows 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 best 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:


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 and 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.


  • 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 in efforts 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 in various customer service platforms such as chat, telephone calls and in-person interactions.

What is a resume?

A resume is a document that informs employers of your professional background, career achievements and skills. It comprises five sections for your contact information, resume summary or objective, work experience, skills and education.

At LiveCareer, we’re passionate about how a good resume can impact your career and life. This is why we created an innovative Resume Builder that helps job seekers of all backgrounds achieve an impactful resume.

How to make a resume for a job?

When making a resume for a job, you must include experiences and skills that directly correspond to what the employer is looking for. We call this tailoring a resume to a job, meaning you may have some core information in all your resumes, but there are certain parts that you change with each job application.

For instance, instead of listing generic job responsibilities in your work history, replace them with resume accomplishments demonstrating why you’re perfect for that role.

How to write a resume for the first time?

If you’re writing a resume for the first time and have no experience, you’ll need to showcase relevant skills for the position. A lack of experience doesn’t have to disqualify you from a job if you can compensate for it by featuring other professional experiences.

For instance, you might not have had your first full-time job yet, but you may have worked summers as a lifeguard or at a fast-food restaurant to save money for college. These experiences gave you valuable knowledge and skills, which you can mention in your resume to convince employers you’re a worthy candidate.

If you’re a student, a recent graduate, or any applicant with no formal experience, learn how to stand out in our no-experience resume writing guide.

How to make a good resume that will impress recruiters?

If you want to impress recruiters with your resume, you need to follow these key tips:

  • Always tailor your resume to the specific job opening.
  • Incorporate resume keywords that demonstrate you’re perfect for the role.
  • Use numbers to showcase your impact on the job by including measurable accomplishments.
  • Have a balanced selection of soft and hard skills.
  • Pick an eye-catching yet professional resume template.

What is the format of a resume?

All resumes follow one of three resume formats: chronological, functional or combination. These resume formats organize your sections to showcase your professional strengths and minimize limitations. Depending on your years of experience and career goal, you’ll benefit more from one format than another.

How do I write a resume for my first job?

When writing a resume for your first job, you should do the following:

  • Consider using a functional resume to showcase your skills and downplay your lack of formal experience.
  • Opt for writing a resume objective where you can share your career goals and what skills enable you to achieve them.
  • Think back to college internships, part-time or freelance work related to your degree to select career achievements to highlight in your work experience or skills sections.
  • Place a heavier emphasis on your education and mention any minor, associate’s degree or certification you completed.

How do I write a cover letter for a resume?

A cover letter should complement your resume, not repeat what your resume says. Your cover letter contains a pitch of yourself as the best person for the job. To write an effective cover letter, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Organize your header with your and the recipient’s information, and address the hiring manager by name.

Step 2: Tell the hiring manager about yourself and why you want this job in the intro paragraph.

Step 3: Mention career achievements demonstrating why you’re the best fit for the role in the body paragraphs. You can format this paragraph in sentences or with bullet points.

Step 4: Prompt the hiring manager for an interview in your closing paragraph, and finish with a sign-off, your name and signature (optional).

Learn more about cover letters in our how to write a cover letter article, or go into our Cover Letter Builder for a customized cover letter in minutes.

Can I update my resume in your builder?

Yes, you can update your resume in our Builder by uploading your existing resume. The Resume Builder will read through your resume’s content and organize it into your chosen resume template. It will also suggest improvements to your work experience descriptions and hundreds of skills to choose from.

If you already have a resume and just want to prime it for a new job search, check out these five tips for updating your resume.

How far back should a resume go?

Most applicants’ resumes go back 10 to 15 years. Because your resume should only include your most relevant experience, you don’t have to include every single job you’ve ever had, especially if it has nothing to do with the job you currently want.

To avoid employment gaps in your resume, you can opt for a functional format and use your skills section to share achievements from those less relevant jobs. If you have a lot of work experience unrelated to your desired position, you can add value to your resume by featuring transferable skills.

How to write a minor on a resume?

If you want to include a minor degree in your resume, do so in the education section along with your bachelor’s degree.

Here’s an example of how to write a minor on a resume:


B.S. in Psychology with a Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies

Loyola University – Baltimore, MD

How do I write a resume for a high school student?

A high school student’s resume should include all the main resume sections.

You should opt for a resume objective where you can share your career goals and what skills you possess to achieve them.

You can use a combination or a functional resume format depending on how many years of experience relevant to your desired role.

Place heavy emphasis on the education section, and feel free to add additional information, such as relevant coursework and GPA.

Nervous about life after high school? Start preparing with these tips for high school seniors or consider a vocational or trade school to develop more skills for your professional life.

How do I write a resume for an internship?

Suppose you’re a college student or recent graduate applying for an internship. In that case, your resume should focus on experiences and skills that have prepared you to tackle professional challenges in the real world.

Be direct and ambitious when sharing your career goals in your resume objective. Mention what skills you’ve acquired during schoolwork that enable you to perform a particular job. If your work experience is limited, you can choose a combination format to prioritize your skill set and showcase your valuable experience.

Consider applying with a cover letter as well since it’ll give you a chance to share more about your passions and career aspirations. Recruiters want to hire someone capable but also someone that is genuinely motivated to be there. Get tips on making your cover letter stand out in our 30+ examples of cover letter opening paragraphs for students and new grads.

About the Author

Gabriela Hernandez

Gabriela Hernandez Career Advice Contributor

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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