Resume Writing The Definitive Guide

Resume Writing The Definitive Guide

A professional resume is an essential part of any job search. It provides potential employers with a snapshot of your qualifications and experience. But how do you go about writing a resume that stands out from the competition and convinces the hiring manager that you are right for the job? This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the key techniques to keep in mind when creating a professional and successful resume.

Format & Layout

When it comes to creating a standout resume, the format and layout you choose to use are just as important as the content itself. It should be simple, visually appealing, and easy to read and navigate. Use a standard resume font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, and stay consistent with the font throughout. To break up the text and make it easier to read, use bold subtitles for each section. Carefully align text and make use of whitespace to your advantage.

Tailoring Your Resume

To make sure your resume gets the attention it deserves, tailor it specifically each time you apply for a job. Begin by reading through the job description carefully. Make a list of the skills, qualifications, and accomplishments required for the position and use this as a roadmap for customizing your resume. This way, you can quickly point out how your credentials align with the position and the employer's needs.

Structuring Your Resume

To ensure a clear structure, divide your resume into five key sections: contact details, profile, experience, education, and skills. Use a consistent format for each section - for example, experience should always list dates, job titles, organizations, and primary responsibilities. Don’t be tempted to include every minor task you’ve ever been responsible for - focus on the most relevant and impressive achievements.

Proxy Metrics

Proxy metrics are quantifiable pieces of information that demonstrate your value and show your potential. They include metrics such as budget or project size managed, ROI, cost savings, awards, and certifications. If you are including proxy metrics on your resume, make sure they are verifiable so the employer can double-check the credentials you have provided.

Compelling Content

Good resume content grabs attention and sells your qualifications in a compelling way. Use clear, concise, and active language to make sure your content is strong and to the point. Avoid passive language and try to focus on the benefit your skills and accomplishments have had, rather than simply listing them. Make sure you don’t go overboard with jargon and acronyms, as this can take away from your message.


To ensure your resume is as effective as possible, make sure you optimize it for both human and machine readers. Keywords and phrases help your resume rank higher on applicant tracking systems, so try to include these when possible without sounding spammy. As for the human reader, remember to keep your resume concise by avoiding long, drawn out sentences and incorporating strong action words to express yourself.


No matter how perfect you think your resume is, it’s always beneficial to get a second opinion. Ask a friend or family member to read through your resume for any typos, grammar, or formatting mistakes you may have missed. Always double check that the contact information you provide is up to date. Finally, to make sure your resume passes the ATS test, run a test in an online resume builder before submitting it to any potential employers.


Writing a resume can be a daunting task, but following these simple steps can help you create an effective and stand-out resume. Always focus on what you can contribute to the role, rather than what you have done in the past. Make sure you display your experience in a way that will capture the reader's attention, and ensure the layout and formatting of your resume is clear and organized. And some simple proofreading won't go astray. With this in mind, you're well on your way to creating the perfect resume for any job.

Use our free resources to create a RockStar candidate profile recruiters and companies want to see!

Start your journey here »