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The Best Resume Outline Examples & How-To Guide

A professional resume outline can help you structure your resume and make the writing process as easy as 1-2-3. Let our resume outline examples and expert tips guide you through.

Roma Kończak, CPRW
Roma Kończak, CPRW
Career Expert
The Best Resume Outline Examples & How-To Guide

A blank page can be really intimidating, especially if you must fill it with a high-quality description of your career. It’s almost like creating a masterpiece from nothing.

But you don’t have to stare at an empty page. You can use a resume outline and then complete the rest at your own pace. It will be as easy as painting by numbers.

In this guide:

  • A definition with a resume outline example that’s better than most.
  • What to include in a standard resume outline for job applications.
  • An overview of resume outline templates you can fill out and download.

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What Is a Resume Outline?

A resume outline is a blueprint of your resume. It presents the structure of your resume created with selected sections, such as resume profile, work experience, education, and skills. Making an outline for a resume can help you plan the layout and prepare for writing the contents of your resume. 

Resume outlines can vary depending on the resume format. In this guide, you’ll see the standard resume outline for the reverse-chronological format, given its popularity. If you’re planning to write a different resume type, check these guides:

Now, let’s see a few examples of resume outlines you can adapt to your needs.

Resume Outline Examples

Here’s a quick warning: not all free resume outline templates are ATS compliant. Nowadays, 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS scans, so make sure you choose a template that will pass the screening process. Luckily, all of ResumeLab’s templates are optimized for ATS screening.

First, let’s see a resume outline you can copy and paste into any program.

Basic Resume Outline Example

Personal Information

[First and Last Name]

[Job Title]




Resume Profile 

Personable/enthusiastic/skilled/goal-oriented [job title] with X years of experience. Eager to utilize my [professional skills] to help achieve [company name] business objectives. Succeeded in [achievement from the previous job] thanks to [your area of expertise].


[Most Recent Position]

[Company Name and Location]

[Start Month and Year – End Month and Year]

  • Relevant achievements and responsibilities in 3–5 bullet points, remember to write using past tenses

Key achievements:

  • One quantifiable achievement, remember to add action verbs and resume keywords to the description

[Earlier Position]

[Company Name and Location]

[Start Month and Year – End Month and Year]

  • Relevant achievements and responsibilities in 3–5 bullet points, remember to write using past tenses

Key achievements:

  • One quantifiable achievement, remember to add action verbs and resume keywords to the description


[Degree Name/Major]

[University or School Name] 

[University or School Location]

[Graduation Date] or [Attendance Dates]


  • 6–10 relevant skills for the job you want, remember to combine hard and soft skills
  • Names of software you use regularly at work

Additional Resume Sections

  • Provide additional information that is relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • Pick 1–3 extra sections such as: certifications, associations, languages, interests, publications, volunteer work, etc.

It’s pretty simple, actually. You can copy it right away and paste this resume outline to Google Docs or any other program you prefer.

Now, here’s a quick review of five of ResumeLab’s resume outline templates. Pick the one you like most and start filling it out. You can later save these resume outlines in PDF or Doc format.


CREATE YOUR RESUME NOW resume outline cascade.

This two-column template uses a standard resume outline. You can customize it by rearranging the order of sections as well as by adding extra sections such as personal interests, professional associations, volunteer activities, and so on. You may also choose a different color for the background of the left column.


CREATE YOUR RESUME NOW resume outline crisp.

This template also features a two-column layout. Its minimalist style helps to highlight the clarity of the resume outline. All sections are easy to spot, so the hiring manager will have no trouble finding the information they need. This free outline for a resume can be personalized by adjusting the colors of headings, rearranging the placement of sections, changing the font size, and much more. 


CREATE YOUR RESUME NOW resume outline cubic.

It’s a resume outline template with no frills. Perfect for candidates who know their worth and are confident in their qualifications. This template features the basic resume outline that can be filled with your information as well as adjusted to your needs.


CREATE YOUR RESUME NOW resume outline minimo.

The name of this resume outline template says it all: it’s a minimalist layout. The classic single-column style featured the standard resume outline with all necessary sections, including personal profile, work history, education, and skills. You can add additional sections in our resume builder to display your interests, certifications, publications, etc.


CREATE YOUR RESUME NOW resume outline primo.

This is another example of our two-column resume outline templates. And just like all the rest, it’s perfectly ATS-compatible. The sections of this resume outline are highlighted using round, minimalist icons. Add your name to this resume template, and your initials will appear in the bold circle at the top of the document. An excellent way to put the spotlight on yourself, right?

Anyway, if you prefer to make a resume outline from scratch, then the next chapter will show you how.

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How to Create a Resume Outline

Making a resume outline is a pretty straightforward process. Just follow the steps below:

1. Select the Resume Sections You Want to Include

What should a resume include? Career experts agree that the standard resume sections are the way to go. Hiring managers will only glance at your resume—if they don’t find the information they need immediately, they’ll most likely discard your application.

Add the following sections to your resume outline:

  • Header
  • Profile (summary or objective)
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Additional sections

Now let’s explain each part of the resume outline in more detail.

2. Create a Resume Header With Contact Information

A resume header appears at the top of the document. This is the space for your:

You can also consider adding your address to the resume, but it’s optional.

3. Add a Resume Profile (Summary or Objective)

You’ve got two types of profiles to choose from:

  • Resume summary—best for experienced candidates; focuses on relevant experience and professional achievements
  • Resume objective—best for entry-level applicants or candidates who want to switch careers; highlights transferable skills

Your profile should be around 3–4 sentences long. Make it short and memorable. It’s like an advertisement for your job application. 

Expert Hint: Writing a resume profile can be quite difficult. Leave space for it in your resume outline, and fill it out later after you complete the rest of the application.

4. Insert the Work Experience Section

The work experience section is necessary unless you’re writing an entry-level resume, or a resume with no experience.

When describing your work history, always remember to include:

  • Position name
  • Company name and location
  • Work period
  • 3–4 responsibilities
  • One key achievement

To make a targeted resume, list only the most relevant positions and accomplishments. Remember to follow the reverse chronological order of jobs, starting with the most recent one. And when describing your key responsibilities and achievements, use action words and accomplishment statements formula.

If you’re writing a resume for your first job, you can add other relevant experience, such as freelance work, personal projects, volunteer work, etc. Or you can skip this section and focus on the education section in more detail instead.

Your relevant work experience should be listed in the form of strong resume bullet points. This ensures your application will be a resume that stands out in the eyes of recruiters. This is the common method of showcasing work achievements, and most resume outlines will be using it.

Expert Hint: Worried about employment gaps? Consider going for the functional resume format, as it highlights skills instead of work history. But be always prepared to explain them during the recruitment process.

5. Put Your Education in the Resume Outline

Another mandatory part of the resume outline, no matter what kind of job you’re applying for.

Include the following in the education section of a resume:

  • Degree
  • School name and location
  • Years of study

If you’re an experienced professional, you can keep this section limited to the above information. As a student writing their resume, you can also add these to boost your chances:

Expert Hint: Add your high school degree only if it’s the highest credential you obtained. If you have higher degrees, like college or university, the high school one becomes irrelevant.

6. Make a Skills List

Make room for a list of your skills on your resume. It’s best to combine professional and soft skills and add around 6–10 bullet points with key qualities to your resume. Start with job-related abilities, move on to interpersonal skills, and finish with computer skills.

7. Include Additional Sections in the Resume Outline

Adding 1–2 extra sections to your resume outline is always a good idea. You can use them to prove your qualifications.

Choose from the following:

  • Languages proficiency: mention the proficiency level next to the language.
  • Certifications section: add the institution and issue date or validity.
  • Associations: give additional information, such as what your responsibilities include.
  • Conferences: show the names, dates, and what you’ve done there.
  • Publications: include the titles and dates as a minimum.
  • Volunteer experience: give examples of what you’ve done to help others.
  • Personal interests: choose the ones that match your profession.

Harvard’s career experts recommend showing your interests and skills through activities. For example, saying, “Volunteered 150+ hours in the local library,” is more impactful than listing “Reading” as your hobby.

If you completed all of the steps described above, you should have a great resume outline ready to get filled in with information about your career. However, writing a professional resume isn’t super easy. If you need more support with that, check this helpful guide: How to Write a Great Resume from Start to Finish

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Key Points

Need a brief reminder of the main points of this article? Here we go!

How to create a resume outline from scratch:

  1. Arrange the standard resume sections on the page.
  2. Make a resume header with your contact information.
  3. Write a resume profile highlighting your qualifications.
  4. Describe your work experience and career achievements.
  5. Add education to your resume outline.
  6. List the key skills that are relevant to the job.
  7. Select additional resume sections.

Got any questions about the basic resume outline? Need help with creating a resume outline? Maybe you’d like to share some advice for others? Let me know in the comments below!

About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

Roma Kończak, CPRW
Written byRoma Kończak, CPRW

Roma Kończak is a career expert and a Certified Professional Résumé Writer with a background in education and humanities. She’s passionate about personal development and helping others advance in their careers. She writes guides that simplify complex HR terminology based on thorough research and factual information.

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