34 resume writing tips

If you’re looking to land a new job, you need a quality resume that will impress employers.

From formatting and style to content and language, it’s crucial that every element of your resume is flawless.

So, we’ve rounded up the best resume writing tips to help you land plenty of job interviews in 2024 and beyond.

 

 

Use a logical structure

How to layout a resume

 

Recruiters and hiring managers except to see certain information in your resume, and it’s important you include the correct detail in a logical order.

These are the sections you should include in your resume:

  • Name and contact details – Add these to the very top of your resume to ensure recruiters can get in touch with you if they want to invite you to interview.
  • Resume summary – An introductory paragraph which is designed to grab readers’ attention and encourage them to read more – This section should be tailored to the specific roles you’re applying for and should highlight why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
  • Work experience – List your previous roles, responsibilities, and achievements. Use bullet points and metrics to make this section easy to read and demonstrate your impact in each role.
  • Education – Your education and qualifications section should list your academic achievements and any relevant certifications. This helps recruiters understand your level of education and any specialist skills you may have.
  • Additional info – This section is optional, but if you have anything else relevant to your target jobs, then add it here at the bottom; including hobbies, interest and languages.

 

Format for looks and functionality

resume format sections

Of course, your resume should look good, but it also has to be functional

This means that it must be easy for time-strapped recruiters to read quickly and find key information easily.

To make your resume look good and read well, using the following features;

  • Simple font – Don’t be tempted to go for an elaborate font – stick with something clear and crisp at a size that makes your text a breeze to read.
  • Large font headings – Ensure hiring managers can navigate the page with big bold headings for each section.
  • Bold sub-headings – Further divide each section with bold headings (for example, each job should be headed with a bold title)
  • White space between sections – add plenty of white space between each section to make the reading experience even easier.
  • Bullet points – Big chunks of unbroken text will give recruiters a headache – break the information into manageable chunks with bullet points

 

Do your research

One important tip to consider comes well before you start writing your resume… Researching your target roles.

For your resume to be successful, it needs to contain the skills and experience that your desired employers are looking for.

Hit the job boards, scan through lots of relevant job adverts and make a list of the most sought-after requirements for your target roles.

 

resume writing requirements

 

Once you have this list, you know exactly what skills and knowledge you should be highlighting in your resume.

This is a crucial step – without it, you will simply be using guesswork to create your resume

 

 

Break text up

Huge chunks of text are off-putting for readers and make it difficult for recruiters to pick out the information they need.

If you were reading hundreds of resumes every week, would you want to wade through a paragraph like this one below?

 

Resume paragraph vs bullet points

 

Make it easy for recruiters to spot your talents by breaking text up into easily digestible sections.

 

 

Add a punchy summary to your resume

The top of your resume is hugely important, as it the very first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will see upon opening it.

Make a big impact by selling yourself with an attractive resume summary.

 

resume summary

 

Keep it short and sharp in order to hold readers’ attention, summarize your most valuable skills and highlight the benefits of employing you.

Check out some good examples of winning resume summaries here.

Quick tip: If you worry that your spelling and grammar might not be correct, try using our partner’s resume builder to eliminate the risk of making mistakes.

 

resume builder

 

Use a core skills section

A core skills section is a bullet pointed list that sits just under your summary.

It can include anything from industry experience and qualifications to skills and IT knowledge.

 

resume core skills

 

The purpose is to give readers a very quick snapshot of your offering so that they can see that you are a good fit for their vacancy at first glance.

For best results, tailor these points to reflect the requirements of the jobs you are applying for.

 

Use a professional email address

Every part of your resume will be judged by employers, so it needs to reflect your professionalism at all times.

If you’ve labelled the top of your resume with an email address like badboy247@gmail.com, it won’t create the best first impression.

 

Resume email address

 

Use something simple like your full name to keep the document looking professional, For example AaronSmith89@hotmail.com

 

 

Show your impact

When writing your resume role descriptions, it’s important to show your responsibilities.

But it’s even better to show what impact your actions have for your employers.

 

Impact of achievements

 

For example, instead of just writing:

“Sourcing and approaching potential customers.”

Expand to show your impact:

“Sourcing and approaching potential customers to generate leads for the sales team and build pipeline.”

You may not be able to do this for every point on your resume, but always try too where possible.

The infographic below shows some great ways you can show your impact

 

Layout your resume for easy navigation

With recruiters often receiving hundreds of resumes for every job they advertise; it pays off to make yours easy to read.

Use the diagram below to structure your resume and ensure it is minimalist, easily navigated and readers can find the information they want without any hassle.

 

How to write a resume

 

 

Give a high-level summary of your roles

Delving into the nitty gritty details of your roles without first setting the scene, can be confusing for readers.

Give your role descriptions some context by heading them up with a high-level summary that explains what the employer does, where you sit within the organisation and how your role benefits the employer.

 

Role summary

 

Now the details of your roles will make a lot more sense to recruiters, because they will be able to see how your work feeds into the overall success of your employers.

 

 

Avoid generic clichés

Resume clichés are terms like:

“hard working”

“team player”

“enthusiastic”

“out-of-the-box thinker”

These phrases may appear impressive at first glance, but they don’t actually tell recruiters anything factual about you.

If you want to show employers that you are a hard-working team player, don’t simply state the fact; instead use examples of the results you have achieved within team settings to prove it.

 

 

Tailor your resume to every job you apply for

Although your resume will be tailored towards the general type of roles you are applying to, you can give each application a boost by tweaking the resume even further, every time you apply for a different role.

Assess each job advert before applying and make sure that your resume is highlighting the most important requirements for each one.

If you are hiding any crucial skills that are required for a particular role, at the bottom of your resume, then make sure you move them up to the top of the resume for that application and make them prominent.

One quick and simple way to tailor your resume is by swapping your core skills around to reflect the requirements in the job advert.

 

 

Use a simple font

Don’t over complicate your resume by using an over-elaborate font. This is a really basic but important resume writing tip.

Keep your font simple to allow easy reading and a professional outlook.

 

Resume fonts

 

A font like Arial, Tahoma or Calibri will work well

 

 

Add a professional title

Head up the top of your resume with a professional title next to your name, to instantly show recruiters what type of candidate you are.

Resume title

 

Tailor your title towards each role you apply for, and you will appear as a suitable candidate from the very moment your resume is opened.

 

resume builder

 

Do not add a photo to your resume (unless required)

Photo on resume

 

Unless you are applying for an acting or modelling job, a photo is unnecessary and can even look a little cheesy.

Employers are interested in the skills and knowledge you can bring to them; they are not too bothered about what you look like.

However, there are some regions (like the Middle East) and industries (such as film and creative) that do like to see photographs.

 

 

Do not use logo images

There is no need to include the logos of the companies you have worked for; they will make your resume file size unnecessarily big and often confuse resume scanning software.

Keep your resume simple by writing the names of all your employers

 

 

Include plenty of detail on your current or most recent role

Your most recent role is the area of your resume that will be scrutinized the most by recruiters and employers, so it’s imperative that you provide enough detail to explain it fully.

The resume below gives an example of roughly how much space your current role should take up.

 

Recent job bullet points

 

 

Shorten older roles

If you are an experienced candidate with years of experience, there’s no need to write huge amounts of detail on your older roles.

Recruiters will be focusing on your recent work to understand your current capabilities, so shorten older roles down to brief summaries to give readers an idea of your career path.

 

Resume older roles

 

Keep colors conventional

You want your resume to stand out, but make sure it stands out for the right reasons.

Using neon colors in an attempt to grab attention is a big mistake will cast doubts over your judgement.

 

Resume font colors

 

It’s OK to add a splash of color (especially when applying to create a modern resume look) but don’t go crazy with it.

Keep the color coding professional looking and don’t use more than 2 font colors throughout.

 

resume builder

 

Avoid using skills graphs

Skills graphs like the one below are designed to give recruiters an idea of your levels of proficiency in certain areas.

The problem with them, is that they offer no real tangible scale to readers.

 

Skills graph

 

If somebody tells you they rate themselves as a “15/16” in Photoshop, you still don’t really know how good they are.

Instead of using skills graphs, quote real tangible facts that recruiters can relate to.

Such as:

Length of experience – “3 years HTML coding experience”

Qualifications and training – “Windows certified”

Scale of tasks – “Led a team of 5 in the management of a $50k event”

 

 

Tidy up your page transitions

Your resume is a professional document, so it needs to look immaculate.

Keep your page transitions nice and tidy.

Don’t allow them to look sloppy like this one:

 

Page transition

.

 

Keep your resume to around 2 pages in length

Resume length

Whilst there is no set-in-stone rule regarding resume length, it’s best to try and keep your resume to around 2 pages.

2 pages is just enough space to tell readers your story without boring them.

Busy recruiters and hiring managers often see hundreds of resumes in a week, so they won’t want to read a 7-page resume. If yours is coming in too long, you need to shorten it down by cutting out irrelevant information.

If your resume goes a tiny bit over or under 2 pages, don’t panic… It won’t cost you the job – just try to keep it as close to 2 pages as possible.

 

 

Use professional language

Your resume should be a gleaming example of your written communication skills, so ensure that you write in a consistently professional manner.

Recruiters will assume that your resume language reflects the way you will communicate in the workplace, so construct your sentences properly and use a wide vocabulary.

 

Quick tip: A poorly written resume will fail to impress recruiters and employers. Use our partner’s resume builder to create a winning resume in minutes with professional templates and pre-written content for every industry.

 

 

Use bullet points in your roles

Number of bullet points per job on resume

 

Use bullet points in your roles descriptions to make them easy for recruiters to skim read.

Nobody wants to wade through a big chunk of unbroken text to find the information they want.

 

 

List your roles in reverse chronological order

Employers are mostly interested in your recent work to assess your current capabilities, so start your resume with your most recent role to ensure it receives immediate attention.

Avoid using a functional or skills-based resume structure, as recruiters will always prefer to see a time-line based resume.

 

 

Explain gaps in your employment

If you have taken time out to travel, study, complete a personal project, or even due to illness; be transparent and include it on your resume.

Leaving an unexplained gap will make recruiters suspicious, and trying to cover gaps by falsely extending other roles may land you in trouble when it comes to reference checks.

Time spent outside of work can often involve plenty of skills (for example travelling requires organisation, planning, social skills etc.) so you can always put a positive spin on a career break description.

 

resume builder

 

Send your resume in Word or PDF format

MS Word is the most commonly used resume format, so sending in Word will ensure that your resume can be read and passes through any resume scanning software.

Also, there will be occasions where recruiters need to quickly make edits to your resume before sending on to hiring managers. For example, some organisations require recruitment agencies to transfer all candidates’ resumes into a company standard format before submitting – and sometimes they will just need to remove contact details before forwarding.

Sending your resume in Word means it is readily editable and recruiters will be able to get your resume across to hiring managers more quickly than if you had sent in PDF.

However, if you are sending your resume directly to an employer, you can send in PDF format.

 

 

Give your resume document a professional file name

The filename of your resume will be visible when sending applications, so take a few seconds to name it professionally.

Something simple like first name – surname resume will suffice.

Avoid using a messy name like Daves resume first draft 030934

 

resume file name

 

Use space wisely

You have limited space on your resume, so make every square inch count.

Set your page margins fairly small so that you have lots of room for text and try not leave any big blank spaces through poor resume formatting.

 

 

Proofread your resume

It only takes one spelling or grammar mistake to make a recruiter doubt your credibility, so proofread your resume 2 or 3 times before taking it to the job market.

If English isn’t your first language or you are simply not confident in your use of grammar, try our quick-and-easy resume builder to create a winning resume in minutes with professional templates and pre-written content for every industry.

 

 

Do not include unnecessary personal details

contact_details_on_resume

 

Details like your full address, date of birth and marital status are surplus to requirement in your resume and take up space unnecessarily.

The only details you need to include are your name, email address, phone number and general location you are looking to work in.

You can also add a link to your LinkedIn profile if you feel it will benefit your applications.

 

 

Be truthful

Don’t be tempted to falsify qualifications or make up jobs that you haven’t done.

A white lie may get you through to interview stage, but the interviewer could quite easily catch you out if you don’t appear to know what you are talking about.

Also, most companies will run reference checks after making a job offer, so it’s not worth risking your reputation.

So yes, use a bit of creativity and sell yourself, but don’t overdo it.

 

 

Divide your resume sections clearly

Headings

 

To allow easy navigation of your resume by recruiters, ensure that each section and sub-section is clearly separated and divided.

Use bold heading and page borders for best results.

To add a border in Word simply click the design button in the tool bar, and then ‘page borders’… see below

 

Adding border in Word

 

 

Include facts and figures

Backing your achievements up with tangible figures is a great way to quantify your value to employers.

The examples below are the kind of figures that employers like to see in order to gauge the level of impact you make.

 

Resume achievements

 

  • Managed a budget of $100k
  • Led a team of 6 staff
  • Increased revenue by 10%
  • Worked across 5 locations
  • Resolved 95% of complaints within 2-day guideline

 

 

Further resume writing tips

Hopefully, the above resume writing tips should give you plenty of guidance for writing your own resume.

If you need any further help, you can check out our ultimate resume writing guide and examples of good resumes.