How To Write A Great Resume

A man typing his resume on a laptop.

By: Dominique McCrary

Writing a resume does not have to be like pulling teeth. There are some very important things to include within a great resume. Follow this guide to present your professional self and lock yourself into your next career.

Choosing a Layout:

Layout is the first thing anyone notices about written work, including a resume. You want your resume to have a simple look that is easy to read. A resume that has a lot of clutter will not attract the hiring manager or recruiter that is looking at it.

You also want to choose a font that is easy to read. The most common font to use is Times New Roman, but there are other serif options like Cambria, Georgia, and Garamond. Some sans-serif fonts are Calibri, Trebuchet MS, and Verdana.

Most resumes should be one page long. If you do not have a lot of relevant experience but have very long job descriptions, they may need to be cut to make the resume as concise as possible.

What to Include:

Every resume needs a header, professional experience, and education. A lot of great resumes will also include a summary and skills list.

List your city, state, phone number, and email address within the header section. This helps the hiring manager know if you are in an area that they need employees and gives them alternate ways to contact you when necessary.

The summary section should be anywhere between 3 to 5 lines. This should include information about your relevant experience and skills.  This should be written using active language as well. Ex: “Authored and self-published children’s books.” “Established weekly sales goals to maximize revenue.”

A skills list should outline your most important skills that make you a good fit for the job you’re applying for. You can use hard, soft, and transferable skills when making this list. Transferable skills are important when you are changing careers or industries.

Your professional history should be listed in reverse chronological order with your most recent job first and oldest job last. Your job title, company, and dates should be listed. For people with little to no work history, educational experience can be listed as well, especially if any projects were completed for class or if you had any kind of lab or clinical experience. There should also be a description detailing the work that was done in that position. It is important to write out what was done as if the hiring manager does not know the job, or the tasks associated with it.

Be sure to include your education information. This will let hiring managers know if you received a higher education and will allow them to know if you have an educational background in their field.

What to Avoid:

Avoid using as little information as possible. When writing a resume, more is better. Do not just list out a bunch of items, tools, or software. Ensure that you explain how they were used in the job to avoid keeping the hiring manager guessing.


When writing a resume, include as much relevant information as you can. You want to make sure that it is in an easily readable format and uses an active voice. Your resume should showcase your skills in a way that shows you know exactly what you were doing and can explain that to a potential hiring manager.

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