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You don’t have to be a pro to build a resume that looks and sounds just like it. There are plenty of cakewalk strategies you can use to present yourself as the best candidate for the job.
So let’s discover the seven steps of how to build a resume. I’ll also tell you how to do it in our resume creator. You won’t believe how easy it can be.
Why read all that when you can jump to our resume builder and make it as you go? Find built-in tips and ready-made content created by our professional resume writers and start getting ready for the interview.
Still thinking you might blow it? Leave your worries behind and choose from 18+ pre-formatted resume templates we have in our portfolio. The Zety resume creator will guide you through it step by step.
Happy to give the article a go? The answers you’ve been looking for are right here—
How to Build Your Resume
Follow the below steps to build your resume:
Step 1: Create a Template
Have you heard of the ATS? It stands for Applicant Tracking Software and helps recruiters parse job applications. The ATS looks for keywords and information that’s relevant to the job description the candidate is applying for. If you score high enough, your resume will land on your recruiter’s desk.
Why do I mention this? Because only the correct resume layout can let the ATS scan your application. So when thinking of what a good resume looks like, consider the following:
- Resume margins and spacing: go for 1-inch margins on each side and 1–1.15 spacing between lines.
- Resume font: stick to sans-serif fonts, like Arial, Calibri, Helvetica or Verdana. Make it 10–12 points in size.
- Resume format: pick reverse chronological format as default.
- Resume sections: structure your resume to include a header, resume profile, work experience section, education, and a list of skills.
- Resume bullet points: write a number of bullets under each section instead of cramming everything into chunks of text.
- Resume length: fit your content on one page.
Thankfully, Zety’s resume templates are ATS-friendly, so you can forget about all of the above—we remember it for you. Here’s just a selection:
Cascade is the best resume template that we have in our arsenal. It’s a two-column resume template with a clearly marked side section dedicated to such resume parts as contact details, skills, and additional information, like hobbies and interests.
Concept, on the other hand, has a one-column design and works perfectly with candidates trying to build an entry-level resume. Plus, you can never go wrong with icons that add a youthful vibe to your resume.
The Crisp resume template gives just the right amount of whitespace a recruiter needs for a good read. Rounded resume icons introduce and highlight each section heading, making it even easier to flow between the important bits.
Cubic has clear-cut sectioning thanks to a bold header and tinted right sidebar. The horizontal lines also add to it. Looking for a simple resume template? That’s it.
The most fun of the five. Diamond combines the timeline layout with the diamond-shaped icons into a one-column resume design. Follow the default structure and your recruiter will thank you for it.
Read more: Resume Layout: How To Do It Well
Step 2: Make a Header
The first thing you need to put on your resume is the contact information.
Give your name, job title, phone number, and email address. This is to make sure the recruiter has an easy way to contact you. And, consider adding your residence address to your resume. Employers do look at this to figure out if they’ll need to provide you with relocation benefits. But leave the street address out of it.
If you’re in a creative industry, you can also add a link to your online portfolio.
Read more: What Goes Into A Resume Header
Step 3: Add Your Work Experience
Now it’s time to pull out the big guns.
Apart from giving out the basic information about your employment, such as job title, company name, location, and dates of employment, you should also add your biggest achievements to your resume. Responsibilities are a no-go, especially if you’re applying for a position in the industry. Your hiring manager knows what’s what.
The best way to complete the experience description is to look into the job posting and mark the keywords the employer used. That way, you’ll make sure you mention exactly what your employer wants to know about you and your previous work experience.
If you’re writing a resume with no experience, you can mention volunteering opportunities or internships instead.
The goal is to stay relevant. That’s why when you type in the job title in the Zety’s builder, you’ll see bullet points recommendations for the particular job.
Read more: How To Describe Work Experience On Resumes
Step 4: Mention Your Education
Always list the highest degree you completed first as in the reverse chronological order. If you’re an experienced candidate with substantial work history, the latest degree will suffice. Say what degree you earned, where, and when you graduated.
If you’re writing your first resume as a highschooler or college attendee, make sure to mention your academic accomplishments on top of it.
You can describe your extracurriculars in a short description underneath. Do tell if you’re continuing your education, whether you’re a member of a club, or if you’ve been elected captain of a team. You can, too, mention the relevant coursework or if you’ve been on the Dean’s List on your resume.
Read more: Education On Resumes: How-To Guide
Step 5: List Your Skills
In the skills section, you can hit even more keywords from the job description. So go over it looking for qualities and qualifications your employer requires from the perfect candidate. Then list them, mixing soft and hard skills on your resume together.
Next to each skill, you can add your proficiency level, e.g., advanced or good. In the Zety’s resume builder, you can even use special rating icons to show your aptitude. Plus, when you input your desired position into the builder, you’ll get a ready-made list of skills needed for the job. Magic!
Read more: Key Skills To List On Your Resume
Step 6: Work on Your Profile
Recruiters have little time to review every resume. That’s why it’s important to give them relevant information pretty quickly. For that reason, there’s room for a resume profile on your application. You can either write a resume summary or objective.
A resume summary is a snap description of your professional achievements and a resume objective gives recruiters insight into your relevant skill set. Both should be brief and refer to the qualifications you’re required to have. If you have years of experience, write the summary. But if you’re only kicking off, go for the objective.
Happened to have writer’s block? Just put your job title in the box and get dozens of summaries and objectives created by our expert resume writers.
Read more: Resume Profile: Why Do You Need It
Step 7: Include Extras
There are more ways to stand out from the pile. You can include additional sections in your resume and show off some of your greatest accomplishments and abilities. There are quite a few sections to add in our builder. But if that’s not enough, you can easily create your own.
Whichever section you choose, be it languages, certifications, or hobbies and interests, make sure that everything you write is relevant to the position. For example, if you’re applying for a security guard position, mentioning running and maintaining physical fitness in your interests is a great strategy to show you’re fit.
Read more: Additional Sections On Your Resume
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
This is how to build a resume in a nutshell:
- Think about the structure of your resume and design a template first.
- Move on to creating necessary sections. You can add additional parts later.
- Complete each resume section using bullet points.
- Stick to the job description. You want your resume to be as relevant as possible.
- Now add additional sections that’ll complement your application.
- Finally, proofread your contents and check whether you gave correct contact information.
And that’s it. Thank you for reading!
Please tell us—
Do you have questions about how to build a great resume? Is there anything else you’ve ever felt like including in your resume? What do you struggle with the most when building your resume?
Give us a shout in the comments! Let’s get the conversation rolling.