How to Write a Resume That Will Get You the Job You Want

To land the job you want, you need a great resume. Not just any resume will do, though. Your resume must demonstrate to employers that you are well-qualified for the position in question and that you’re ready to work hard to help them achieve their goals and make the most of your own potential in the process. But how do you create this winning document? What should it include, and what should it leave out? Read on to find out how to write a resume that will get you the job you want!

How to Make a Resume


Most of us know how to write a resume, but if you want your resume to be noticed—and get you interviews—it must be well-written. We’ve all received resumes with bad grammar and spelling mistakes, or seen otherwise qualified candidates passed over because they seem sloppy. Before sending off your resume, carefully edit it for any mistakes and have someone else proofread it as well. Then take time to make sure each bullet point and skill is clearly represented on your resume before sending it out into the world. Don’t forget: making an online portfolio is also a great way to show off more of your skills than can fit on one piece of paper!


Tailor it to the job you want


A lot of people start by trying to write something like How to write a resume that will get you any job you want. This is not very specific. If you want any job, what do you need on your resume? Not much. If, however, you want a specific type of job — or if there are types of jobs for which your experience and skills don’t quite cut it — then it’s worth tailoring your approach. Start with a copy of some recent ads for similar positions. Check out how they describe candidates’ experience and qualifications: Is there anything specific they ask for? If so, make sure those details are included in your resume; if not, see whether their requirements overlap with yours and use them as inspiration to fine-tune your own writing.


Use Action Verbs


Employers want applicants who take action, so be sure to emphasize your skills. Employers will be able to tell whether you are handling or supporting an activity, so make sure you use action verbs like Create, Solve, Lead and Implement. Make sure your resume is well-organized. Use a professional format that’s easy for employers to read. Use bullet points and short paragraphs rather than long paragraphs with multiple sentences. Showcase your skills: Be as specific as possible about what you can do for potential employers, emphasizing your skillset.


Focus on Strengths and Accomplishments


The most common resume style, and it’s not just for 20-somethings. A chronological resume lists your work experience in reverse chronological order—starting with your current or most recent job and working backward. Keep in mind that you may want to consider tweaking or ditching your chronological resume if: (1) You’re switching industries; (2) You have gaps in employment history; or (3) Your employment history doesn’t align with typical entry-level positions. These scenarios could make prospective employers wonder what you were doing during those periods and why there is such a big gap between jobs/career paths, so use caution when selecting your approach.


Choose the best resume format


This is one of those things that you should know about before you get started writing your resume. There are dozens and dozens of different types of resumes out there, but there are really only two formats that employers use: chronological and functional. The choice between them can make a huge difference in how your resume gets read. Generally speaking, most people prefer chronological resumes because they list their past experience in reverse-chronological order (most recent job first). Employers like these because it’s easy for them to figure out what your past jobs have been, what you did at each job, and how long you stayed at each job. Chronological resumes also tend to be easier for applicants—since they tend to make more sense than functional ones.


Use Numbers (if applicable)


Quantifying your accomplishments can give recruiters and hiring managers another reason to hire you. For example, writing increased revenue by 20% is stronger than generating $1.2 million in annual sales. The former tells an employer that you think logically and have an analytical mind; it also tells them how you achieved your objectives, which they may be able to learn more about if they ask during an interview. If you aren’t sure what metrics to use when writing a resume, Google job-searching advice for [your industry]. Publications like Forbes publish articles regularly with tips on creating effective resumes.


Chronological resume


A traditional, chronological resume is exactly what it sounds like: It showcases your employment history in reverse-chronological order. A summary of qualifications can be included at the top of your resume or as its own separate section. If you’re a recent graduate with little experience, you may want to consider using a chronological resume. The order of your jobs will demonstrate your career progression, which hiring managers usually appreciate. However, if you have an extensive amount of experience (or if you’ve held many jobs in quick succession), then it might be better for you to use one of these other types of resumes.


Keep it Simple, Straightforward, Concise, and Professional


Employers really only want one thing from your resume: all of your pertinent information, presented as clearly and concisely as possible. Start with your most recent work experience and work backward. If you have gaps in employment or education, you can use Other Relevant Experience or Additional Education headers to provide detail. However, make sure not to give off any negative impressions by focusing on skills that are less relevant than others; if you have no experience in leadership positions, focus more on other strengths such as critical thinking and exceptional time management skills. Be honest and be consistent with years, but don’t worry about minor typos here and there.


Finish with Some Handy Tips


With some time and effort, you should be able to craft an eye-catching resume that will get you noticed. Make sure you spend some time on your first drafts and proofread them thoroughly. When it comes time for editing, make sure you have someone else take a look at it—you are too close to your own work. Take advantage of every opportunity for networking, including career fairs, conferences, alumni associations, and informational interviews. Even though these events don’t always lead directly to job opportunities, they can help make connections that do.


Resume length


A resume should be one page in length. If you are still in college, have little work experience, or have only held positions that don’t really showcase your value as an employee, consider using a one-page resume instead of a two-page resume. A single page is easier for an employer to read and it’s less work for you to put together. If there is so much relevant information that your resume cannot fit on just one page, consider using two pages – but use that second page sparingly! Most hiring managers will not even bother looking at all of your information if they see too many empty pages at first glance.


Write a compelling resume summary or objective


The resume objective is often the first thing an employer reads, so it’s important that it piques interest and clearly states what you want. Your resume summary should be about one-third of your resume. Make sure it’s short—no more than five lines—and make each line count. If you don’t have specific work experience, use another selling point: Enthusiasm, ambition or a unique skill set are all examples of selling points that can entice hiring managers to keep reading.




Your resume is an essential piece of your job search. If you don’t get it right, you won’t have as many interviews, and if you aren’t invited to interviews, then you won’t get jobs. This can lead to a downward spiral. When making your resume, make sure that it is customized for each position that you apply for and tailor each one accordingly. It should highlight your best qualities and experience while leaving out information that doesn’t pertain directly to that particular position (if applying for multiple positions at once). Make sure you have someone proofread your work before submitting it so that errors are not made in grammar or punctuation, as they will turn off potential employers who are looking at resumes.

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