Resume 101—How to Write a Resume [Templates and 25+ Examples]

Quick resume guide with resume templates, resume examples, and expert tips on how to write a resume fast.

Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer
Resume 101—How to Write a Resume [Templates and 25+ Examples]

This guide for how to write a resume solves the biggest problem with your resume.

 

Namely...

 

You send it to 300 job offers and—

 

Silence.

 

Why?

 

Because most resumes show the wrong info.

 

They make the hiring manager think, Hmmm. Not a fit.

 

Let’s put a stop to that in 6 easy steps:

 

How to write a resume:

 

1. Check out resume examples that match your career.

2. Pick the right resume template.

3. Choose the perfect resume format.

4. Write a resume summary that gets attention.

5. Add experience, education, and other resume sections.

6. List achievements that prove skills shown in the job ad.

 

Now let me show you how to make a resume that makes the phone ring.

 

Professional Resume Template

 

Carla Casaus
Graphic Designer

 

Personal Info


Phone: 646-873-6870
Email: carlacasaus@gmail.com
Portfolio: www.carlacasaus.com
linkedin.com/in/carlacasaus
https://twitter.com/carlakcasaus

 

Summary

 

Efficient graphic designer with 4+ years of experience. Seeking to use proven layout, web, and Photoshop skills to provide design excellence for James R. at Netflix. As senior designer at Elenar 5, delivered 280+ client projects, slashing costs 18% and bringing in $100K/yr in new business.

 

Experience

 

Senior Graphic Designer
Elenar 5, New York
2017–2019

  • In charge of daily production for a high-end agency.
  • Led team of five graphic designers to create client products with Photoshop.
  • Produced 280+ graphic design projects (websites & brochures).
  • Cut costs 18% in 20 months through vendor management & lean flow.
  • Brought in $100,000 a year in new sales through social media outreach.

 

Graphic Designer
Fredegar Rising, New York

2016–2017

  • Directed daily design work in fast-paced agency.
  • Mentored 2 assistant designers.
  • Increased firm revenue by 15% through better client relationships.
  • Led team that received 2017 American Inhouse Design Award.

 

Freelance Graphic Designer
Various
2015–2016

  • Designed 150+ website pages and 15 wireframes for client websites.
  • Used Photoshop and InDesign in daily production.
  • Developed 5 brochures, 11 infographics, and 12 client logos.
  • Commended 3x by clients for web design skills.

 

Education

 

BA Graphic Design, Southern New Hampshire University
2011–2015

  • GPA 3.7 (Cum Laude).
  • Pursued passion for web design.
  • Produced 150+ infographics for student paper.
  • Awarded Senior Scholar project to create working eCommerce site.

 

Portfolio: CarlaCasaus.com

 

Web design. Created website for nunya.com featured by Awwwards.com. Developed popular eCommerce site for purplenoldor.com.

 

Mobile app design. Designed MagazineRabbit app 15% under budget. Achieved UI scores 20% above targets and load times 10% faster than goals.

 

Travel book design. Created clean, engaging design for "Destinations for the Bucket List" coffee-table travel book. Design was favorably reviewed in Kirkus.

 

Additional Activities

 

  • Award: D&AD New Blood 2014.
  • Certifications in Autodesk and Adobe CS5.
  • Spoke on panel about color theory at Hang Time conference 2018.
  • Volunteer Work: Created website for homeless shelter. Boosted donations 20%.
  • Lead weekly yoga classes for fun and self-care.

 

Hard Skills: Typography, Layout, Photoshop, HTML/CSS, Illustrator, InDesign

 

Soft Skills: Interpersonal Skills, Communication, Collaboration, Time Management

 

Now here’s how to create a resume like that:

 

1. Select the Best Resume Format

 

This will make or break you:

 

Your professional resume format must show competence at a glance.

  • Use the reverse-chronological resume format. It puts your most relevant selling points first.
  • Use the best resume fonts in 10–14pt with 1-inch margins. Add plenty of white space and eye-friendly headings.
  • Write a one-page resume unless you’ve got 2+ pages of jaw-dropping accomplishments.
  • Put a resume header at the top. List your name, phone number, and email. Add portfolio and social media links. Don’t add a street address or photo.
  • Next add a resume summary, then work experience, then education.
  • Add resume extras like certifications, professional organizations, and additional activities.

 

Not sure about the reverse-chronological resume format? Here are your options:

 

Resume Formats

 

1. Reverse-chronological format. Familiar to employers. Your best bet.

2. Combination format. For career changers. Highlights transferable skills.

3. Functional format. Helps emphasize skills. May look like you’re hiding something.

Expert Hint: Save your resume as a PDF unless the job ad says not to. PDF resumes don’t lose their formatting when you send them. They’re also machine-readable in 2019.

2. Start with a Powerful Resume Summary or Objective

 

This is terrifying:

 

Most hiring managers spend six seconds with each resume.

 

They don’t read. They skim.

 

Why?

 

That’s how long it takes to decide you’re just another clone.

 

Your resume summary must convince them otherwise in seconds.

 

How to Write a Resume Summary

 

1. List one adjective (efficient, resourceful, productive) and—

2. Job title (graphic designer, sales representative)

3. Key certification if you have one (PMP, CPA, CFA)

4. Years of experience (2+, 8+)

5. How you’ll help (provide customer service excellence)

6. A couple skills that match the job offer (Photoshop, layout design)

7. Best 2–3 achievements (delivered 280+ projects, signed $100K in new work)

 

These resume summary examples show how:

 

General Resume Summary Examples 

Good Example
Efficient graphic designer with 4+ years of experience. Seeking to use proven layout, web, and Photoshop skills to provide design excellence for James R. at Netflix. As senior designer at Elenar 5, delivered 280+ client projects, slashing costs by 18% and bringing in $100K/yr in new business.
Bad Example
Hard-working, fast-learning graphic designer, seeking a new position. Highly skilled in Photoshop, Indesign, layout, color theory, and web design. Have worked for over four years as a designer at multiple agencies and firms. Very dependable and looking to start today.

No contest.

 

Only the first of those resume samples will get past the gatekeepers. It shows accomplishments that prove key skills.

 

What if You’ve Got No Experience?

 

How to make a resume with no experience?

 

Write a resume objective and show achievements from:

  • Freelance work
  • Personal projects
  • School projects
  • Volunteering (even if it’s only a day or two)
  • Transferable tasks from unrelated jobs
  • Consulting Work
  • Pro bono work

 

This entry-level resume example sparkles:

 

Entry-Level Resume Objective Example

Good Example
Enthusiastic web designer, looking to use solid Photoshop and HTML skills to boost UX scores at Angry Speicus Inc. Have designed 150+ website pages and 15 wireframes for freelance customers. Created 30+ other projects, including 5 mobile apps and 11 infographics. Commended 7x by clients for efficiency and quality of work.

Perfect.

 

That sample resume objective shows you can do the job—even though you’ve never held the title.

 

But—

 

Shouldn’t you talk about your goals in an entry-level resume objective?

 

Nope.

 

To get hired, show you’ll help reach organization goals instead.

Expert Hint: To save time, write your resume summary or resume objective last. That way, you can fill it with the best achievements from your resume.

3. Write a Resume Job Description that Convinces

 

Most resume job descriptions fail.

 

They say what the candidate did.

 

But not how well.

 

You need to pick the perfect few accomplishments.

 

Then hold a yardstick up to them to show they’re towering.

 

To match your resume to the job description:

 

1. Highlight the skills and responsibilities in the job offer.

2. Choose accomplishments from your past that show you rule those things.

 

These sample resume job descriptions show how:

 

Professional Resume Job Description—Example

 

Job ad wants these resume skills: (1) leadership (2) vendor management (3) sales. 

Good Example

Experience

 

Senior Graphic Designer
Elenar 5, New York
2017–2019

  • In charge of daily production for a high-end agency.
  • Led team of five graphic designers to create client products with Photoshop.
  • Produced 280+ graphic design projects (websites & brochures).
  • Cut costs by 18% in 20 months through vendor management & lean flow.
  • Brought in $100,000 a year in new sales through social media outreach.
Bad Example
  • In charge of daily production for a high-end agency.
  • Responsible for producing frequent graphic design projects.
  • Handled company-wide cost-cutting initiative.
  • Tasked with bringing in new sales.

The second of those resume skills section examples chokes. The first is sweet music to the hiring manager.

 

Plus—

 

Those % and $ and other numbers show your skills are Hulk-sized.

 

How to Write a Resume When You Have No Experience

 

No experience for a resume? Don’t panic.

 

Your freshers resume can still land interviews.

 

Focus on achievements, like this beginners resume sample:

 

Job wants these skills: web design, wireframing, Photoshop, InDesign, infographics.

 

Freelance Graphic Designer
Various
2015–2016

  • Designed 150+ website pages and 15 wireframes for client websites.
  • Used Photoshop and InDesign in daily production.
  • Developed 5 brochures, 11 infographics, and 12 client logos.
  • Commended 3x by clients for web design skills.

 

Skills to Put on a Resume

 

Caution:

 

Never copy-paste resume skills from the internet.

 

Hiring managers see through that like the break-room window.

 

But here are the top resume soft skills, according to a 2017 NACE study:

  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Computer Skills
  • Technical Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Self Motivated
  • Active Learning
  • Dependability
  • Perceptiveness
  • Decision Making
  • Customer Service
  • Listening
  • Persuasion
  • Adaptability
  • Work Ethic
  • Analytical Skills
  • Detail Oriented
  • Organizational Skills
  • Foreign Languages

 

What about hard skills for resumes or technical skills?

 

You know, skills like budgeting, sales funnel management, project planning, or programming?

 

You’ll need those resume keywords too. But you won’t find them in an online guide. Hiring managers list them in the job posting.

Expert Hint: When should you write a functional (skills) resume? Almost never. It’s better to write a chronological resume that proves your skills in context.

4. Turn Boring Education to a Reason to Hire You

 

Surprise:

 

Even your resume education section has to sell.

 

It has to make the hiring manager say, interesting.

 

How to write education on resume:

 

1. State your degree and college.

2. Cite the years you were in school.

3. Show your GPA if it’s recent or impressive.

4. List school accomplishments that fit the job.

 

See this professional resume example:

 

Resume Education Experience Example

Good Example

Education

 

BA Graphic Design, Southern New Hampshire University
2011–2015

  • GPA 3.7 (Cum Laude).
  • Pursued passion for web design.
  • Produced 150+ infographics for student paper.
  • Awarded Senior Scholar project to create eCommerce site.

Shiny.

 

That resume sample proves your passion caught fire years ago.

Expert Hint: Is your resume work history too thin? Show your education like a series of jobs. List positions and projects, and stock them with achievements.

6. List Certifications on Your Resume

 

Danger:

 

If employers miss your certification, they may toss your resume.

 

So—

 

How to write certifications on a resume:

 

Put crucial certifications in four places:

 

1. Near your name.

2. In your resume summary.

3. In your job descriptions.

4. In a special Certifications section near the top.

 

Is that overkill?

 

Nope.

 

It makes life easy for the busy hiring manager.

 

This resume certification section sample shows how:

 

Certification

 

  • CPA—Certified Public Accountant, NYSED 2015

 

What about non-vital certifications?

 

How to Show Lesser Certifications on a Resume

 

To show non-central certifications on a resume:

 

1. Create a certifications section lower on your resume.

2. In bullet points, list certificates and licenses that fit the job.

3. Ditch certs this employer doesn’t care about.

Expert Hint: Got a CompTIA A+ certification? That’s great—if the job will benefit from it. If not, save the resume space for something more appropriate.

7. Complete Your Resume With Other Necessary Sections

 

Question:

 

What does the hiring manager want?

 

A piece of paper? Or a great employee?

 

Use additional resume sections to show you’ll fit like a custom Kenneth Cole.

 

These resume examples show good from bad:

 

Additional Resume Sections—Example

Good Example

Portfolio: CarlaCasaus.com

 

Web design. Created website for nunya.com featured by Awwwards.com. Developed popular eCommerce site for purplenoldor.com.

 

Mobile app design. Designed MagazineRabbit app 15% under budget. Achieved UI scores 20% above targets and load times 10% faster than goals.

 

Travel book design. Created clean, engaging design for "Destinations for the Bucket List" coffee-table travel book. Design was favorably reviewed in Kirkus.

 

Additional Activities

 

  • Award: D&AD New Blood 2014.
  • Certifications in Autodesk and Adobe CS5.
  • Spoke on panel about color theory at Hang Time conference 2018.
  • Volunteer Work: Created website for homeless shelter. Boosted donations 20%.
  • Lead weekly yoga classes for fun and self-care.
Bad Example

Additional Activities

 

  • Cycling
  • Write articles about design.

Those first successful resume examples nail it. They’ll make employers hope you don’t have other offers.

 

On a resume, include:

 

But—

 

Make sure they relate to what the job ad wants.

Expert Hint: Send a resume cover letter too. It’s true most hiring managers don’t read cover letters. But almost half will toss your resume without one.

Key Points

 

Here’s a recap. How to write a resume:

 

1. View resume examples for your career.

2. Choose a professional resume template.

3. Pick the right resume format.

4. Write a powerful resume summary.

5. Add experience, education, and vital extra resume sections.

6. List achievements that prove you’ve got the skills they want.

 

Got questions on how to make a resume? Not sure how to do a resume for your career? Need to know what to include in a resume? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply.

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Tom Gerencer
Tom Gerencer
Career Writer at ResumeLab
Tom Gerencer is a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. Tom has been featured on BBC News, NBC, The Economist, Business Insider, Fast Company, and dozens of other outlets. His insights, commentary, and articles reach over a million readers every month. With inside knowledge of key industry players and in-depth research, Tom helps job seekers with advice across all professions and career stages. Tom holds a degree in English from Colby College.

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