How to Write a Resume in 8 Simple Steps


A Reader Writes:

I’ve recently applied for over 20 positions and have not heard back from anyone.  So I decided to re-do my resume (again) in the hopes of getting attention.  I’ve done some research and looked for examples online, but the information is overwhelming.  I also asked some trusted friends in my network to review my resume and their feedback was conflicting.   I don’t know what to do.  I really want to make my resume stand out.  But I know that the average recruiter only spends a few seconds reviewing the dozen or more resumes they receive for their openings.  At this point, I just want some basic tips to follow that could help my resume wind up on the call list.


I never give up when I encounter obstacles in my way. I just continue going until I reach my career objectives.  – Henrikh Mkhitaryah


Whether you are a seasoned professional hoping to get that big promotion or a rising college freshman trying to snag your first internship, you need to have a resume that will get you noticed. It takes dedication to do it well, but you can simplify the process by using these eight steps as guidelines.

1. Brainstorm
Your first step should be to write down any experiences you have had that could be relevant to the position you want. You can then divide these experiences into categories such as education, work experience, volunteer experience, internships, skills and activities. You should also take time to review a few industry-specific resume examples to get an idea of what sections and information to include in your own document.

2. Describe Your Accomplishments
Once you have compiled your initial experience list, it is time to revisit each point individually. For each position, succinctly describe your duties and accomplishments. In this context, you can omit personal pronouns, because your reader already knows that the information pertains to you. Be sure to use the active voice and quantify your accomplishments whenever possible (e.g. “Spearheaded advertising campaign that increased annual readership by 25 percent”).

3. Compose the Education Section
The amount of education information you need to include depends on how much experience you have. If you are still in college, then you can include some information about high school as long as it favorable. If you are a recent graduate, feel free to go into detail about your relevant courses and projects. If you have a few years of professional experience, you only need to include basic information such as what your degrees are in and where you got them. Note that you do not have to mention your graduation date if it was several years ago.

4. Consider a Summary Statement
Summary statements are most beneficial for people who are just entering the workforce or are changing careers. If you decide to include one, then it should be approximately five lines long and should showcase your most important attributes while providing a common thread that links diverse experiences.

5. Choose the Structure
One of the biggest points of confusion about how to write a resume is the order in which you should place your information. The best solution depends on where you are in your career and what your career goals are.

All jobseekers should place their contact information at the top of their resumes. If you are using a summary statement, put that next. Students and recent graduates can go into depth about their education information, but should still save room for relevant work and internship experience. People seeking jobs within their current industries should place the greatest emphasis on their work histories, while people hoping to change careers should focus on their areas of expertise.

6. Review the Job Description
To optimize your chances of getting hired, you should alter your resume to reflect the job description of every new application that you complete. Tailoring your resume to a specific job posting implies that you want to work for the company that put it out, not for just anyone who will hire you.

7. Put It All Together
After you have all of your information down, double-check to make sure it is relevant to the job you are applying for and is presented in a logical order. Then it is time to format the document using a simple, consistent and attractive style. There are countless professionally designed resume templates available on the web, and in many cases, you can access these layouts for free.

8. Proofread
Errors are deadly on job applications. If you do not proofread your resume before sending it in, then all of your hard work will have been for nothing. You should read your resume out loud, because this action forces your brain to register those tiny but critical mistakes. It is also helpful to have a friend review your writing for errors.

Get Writing

You are just eight steps away from an outstanding resume. Learning how to write a resume may not always be a blast, but it is a valuable skill that can mean the difference between getting a job you love and getting no job at all.

– Wishing you continued success!

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