How to create a good resume?

For most job-seekers, a good resume is what stands between a dream job and Choice D. Get your resume right, and you’ll be getting replies from every other company you apply to.

If your resume game is weak, though, you’ll end up sitting around for weeks, maybe even months, before you even get a single response.

So you’re probably wondering how you can write a resume which leads to HR managers inviting you to interviews daily.

Are you ready to learn how to make a resume that lands you your dream job?

Step 1: Choose From 3 Formats

So you are staring at a blank page on your computer wondering, “What is a resume and how do I start writing one?” Hundreds ask this same question every day and the reason is most likely due to the fact that there is no standard rule for formatting a resume.

To get started, try organizing all your information with a resume outline. This helps you see where your strengths and weaknesses are, and what aspects of your professional history you need to emphasize. Then, decide on what resume format is right for your application.

Your formatting decision comes down to 3 choices: Reverse-Chronological, Functional, and Combination. Each format has their own advantages and disadvantages. Below, you will find which one is best for you.

For more information, you can also check out our in-depth resume format guide.

Format 1: Reverse-Chronological

This is the most traditional format, and what you’re most likely to encounter in the real world (as an applicant or hiring manager). Chronological resume formats are generally more flexible, and can be used by applicants with any level of experience.

Details about the resume sections of this format:

Contact Information – The most consistent element across all three resume formats, contact details must be outlined near the top.

Resume Objective – This type of resume introduction can be used by anyone, and allows job-seekers to tailor their resume to their employer.

Work Experience – For this format, you must have a consistent work history (or one that isn’t too patchy).

Additional Skills – Your skills section can still be used to highlight personal attributes you’re proud of.

Education – Your degrees (any) and certifications (if relevant) should be prominent.

Accomplishments – Be sure to mention your most impressive awards and honors.

I should use if:

I want to show a vertical career progression.

I want to apply to a job in a similar field.

I want to promote my upward career mobility.

I shouldn’t use if:

I have major gaps in my employment history.

I am changing my career path.

I change jobs every few months.

Format 2: Functional

While chronological places emphasis on career progression, a functional resume is for a skills-based resume. Since it heavily emphasizes the applicant’s qualifications, functional format is more suitable for those with an expert level of experience.

Details about the sections on this format:

Contact Information – Regardless of your format, this will be always near or at the top of your resume.

Resume Introduction – The functional resume uses a more robust introduction, such as a qualifications summary to highlight your strongest areas right off the bat.

Work Experience – Note how small this section is, and how time periods are omitted. This is to de-emphasize experience, and highlight other sections.

Relevant Skills Section – Skills are the greatest selling point for someone who lacks a clear work history, so this section must be robust.

Education – Include your highest degree, and feel free to list a key (relevant) certification here too.

Accomplishments – If you have any notable work-related awards, list the most significant.

I should use if:

I have gaps in my employment history.

I am changing my career industry.

I want to highlight a specific skill set.

I shouldn’t use if:

I want to highlight my upward career mobility.

I am an entry level candidate that lacks experience.

I lack transferable skills.

Format 3: Combination

As you can probably guess, the combination resume format merges bits and pieces from both chronological and functional formats. Like the functional format, it focuses on specific qualifications, yet the body of the document contains professional experience similar to chronological format. This format is generally reserved for those with a great deal of experience in a particular industry.

Details about this format’s sections:

Contact Information – Similar to the other two formats, contact details are at the top.

Professional Profile – Users of the combination format are often highly skilled, and the professional profile can highlight these skills in a concise way.

Work Experience – Experience is more fleshed out in a combination resume than it is in its functional counterpart.

Skills Section – With your arsenal of work-related skills, you can divide them into two sections based on importance.

Education – For someone using a combination format, education is less crucial. However, it’s still definitely worth placing on the resume.

I should use if:

I want to highlight a developed skill set within a specific career.

I want to change my career path.

I am a master of the subject I am applying to.

I shouldn’t use if:

I want to highlight my education.

I lack experience.

I am an entry level candidate.

Step 2: Set Up Your Contact Information

Before delving into what information you should add, it’s important to remember that the information you include will largely depend on the format you choose. With that being said, below is a general guide to what information you should add and the order in which you should add it.

Name (largest font on page, middle initial is optional)

Mailing Address

Telephone Number (Check that you have an appropriate voicemail message)

Email Address (make sure it’s appropriate.)

Link to online portfolio (optional, ensure it is relevant to the position)