Introduction: How to Write a Resume

Picture of How to Write a Resume

Here are quick, easy instructions on how to write a resume, and an answer to one of life's burning questions.

I'd like to thank everyone who commented below with suggestions that I've added. Along with jeffreyf for pming me his suggestions.

Step 1: What You'll Need

To write a resume, you're going to need MS Word, or any other writing software..but don't use wordpad, or notepad...they suck. You want it to have variable fonts, and things like that.

Depending on what your resume is for, you'll want some of these sections:

Computer Skills
Extra Activities
Honors and Awards
Other Qualifications
DOB (If you feel it's needed)*

Once you know which sections apply to your resume, you can continue.

*Your ability to get some jobs may depend on your age, so for a job like that, include it. If you don't think that your age is important, you can leave it out.

Step 2: Header

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It's good to have a nice, but simple header. One of my favorites is like shown. Your name is on the left, with a font like Baskerville Old Face, and larger than the rest, with a horizontal rule underneath. And then having contact information to the right. I wasn't sure how to make a horizontal rule in Word 07, so I just used the line draw tool. Make sure you don't have a border on the text box that contains contact information. Also, remember not to use any wacky fonts. Use simple, easy to read fonts.

Step 3: Add Some Sections

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I'll be writing mine as if I were applying for a photography job, in the future.

If you're just coming out of school, you will want to put your Education first, then Experience. Later on, you can switch the two around.

This is the one time when you're supposed to show off. Don't be cocky, but take advantage of it. List all the awards you've received. If you were employee of the month three months is a row, tell them!

ALWAYS spell check, and NEVER misspell the name of the company/school/anything else you are applying for. Bad grammar or spelling makes you look bad.

I like to use a different font for my section title, the the one I use for the text. I am using Baskerville Old Face, and Calibri. Many places will tell you that you should use only one font, some will say to you can use two. In my opinion, as long as they look similar, and compliment each other it's the same as using bold type on your resume. Keep in mind that in my resume, I am applying for a visual arts job, so a more visually appealing resume may help. While if you are applying for a job as an executive of some large corporation..they probably want it to be more down to business; you would do better with a single font.

The rule for numbers is as follows:
Zero to nine should be spelled out. 10 or above can be written in numerical form. Any mix of the two can also be written in numerical form.

See the picture for examples of how to write out education and experience.

When you are talking about experience, be specific. For example:

"The New York Times" - Summer of 2019-Summer of 2023
Photojournalist - I accompanied writers on the field, taking pictures to be published the next day. On over 100 occasions, my photographs were features on the front page of the newspaper. I worked on tight deadlines and handled a large amount of work.


Picture of SPELL CHECK

This is extremely important. Don't just use a spell checker, read it for clarity. Not only might a spell check say "to" is alright when you need it to be "too," but you may have something in there that just might not make sense. You should take a break before proof reading, and also, read the last line first, then the second to last line, etc. This way, you are less likely to skim over a word that is spelled incorrectly. Review your simple spelling rules, if you aren't sure. Things such as:

Their or They're
To, Too, or Two

make a big difference.

Step 5: Print and Send It!

Picture of Print and Send It!

Once you know everything is just right, print it out. Look it over, does everything look nicely the way it is laid out? If so, make more copies, and send out your new resume!


almagrbi (author)2017-03-21

add your skills

finally chick your mistakes

cavalo-vapor (author)2013-02-03

Hey... thank you.
It wil be useful. Now, have you some tips to enter in any oil companies?

Thank you

kaffeeklatsch (author)2008-05-06

Is DOB really needed in a resume?and whats better to go 1st-experience or education?

If you are right out of college, Education. If you have been out a while, you need to go with Experience. It also depends on the job and what they are looking for. The key is, the older you get and the more experience you get, the more you need to show it off.

thebatman (author)2009-01-28

I like your clean approach to a resume, however yours is atypical from most peoples. My resume is past jobs, current references and skills/qualifications. In my experience these three parts are far more important than past education or objectives.

laradioken (author)2008-04-11

Resumes should be no longer than two pages. Also, resumes with an objective shows that you're still in the 1980s. I learned that the hardway. Instead you want a two line 'career summary' to be the first thing an employer sees; then skills; achievements; experience; education; referrences.

lemonie (author)2007-06-03

This is too short for 16 years of a person's life! Don't resumes usually include DOB, and the dates you've been in education and work? I'd pad this out to two sheets, making up some positive guff to go under the work experience. And add some references at the bottom. L

thesamhill (author)lemonie2008-02-28

To me, a resume is a one page deal. Better to learn more about the job and tailor the resume than to go onto a second page. Offer to send a Curriculum Vitae if they want more, but the resume is a sales pitch, and you want to balance the resume to show that 1. You are a good match for THIS JOB (tailoring), 2. That you are a reliable and committed worker (by showing your work history) and 3. that you respect the resume reader's time (by keeping it as short, well-structured, and easy on the eyes as possible)- my $.02

Weissensteinburg (author)lemonie2007-06-03

Like I said, mine isn't actually a full resume, just a sample.

lemonie (author)2007-06-03

This file is essantially what I used for my present job (some details have been removed) L

whatup.dub (author)lemonie2007-09-10

Since we are helping each other out here, this is my actual resume (names changed to protect innocent, etc.). As a contractor I encountered some strangeness as far as resumes go. The one I post here is the one I actually use to get work. There is no particular objective section. Just a section detailing qualifications proper for the job being applied for. The company I used to work for would use a much slimmer format. Mostly what you see in just the bold sections of my resume. No real details. These were bundled together to pitch on contract bids. Sometimes hundreds would be attached for work and some poor bloke would have to go through all of them to get a good feel for what the company had to offer. Thats why no details. Anyway, feel free to yell at me for doing something wrong on it and be sure to post ideas for improvement.

lemonie (author)whatup.dub2007-09-10

You don't list any qualifications under that heading, it might be better renamed, and you could squeeze it into 2 pages. But anyway, interesting, and the sort of thing employers like. L

whatup.dub (author)lemonie2007-09-10

Thanks for the input. What sort of things _would_ you list under "qualifications?" Alternately, any suggestion on what to rename that section? Looking at it again it does look a little more like "hey look at me" than it does "qualifications."

lemonie (author)whatup.dub2007-09-10

Qualifications would be things for which you have an exam certificate, diploma etc. But if you keep getting work, why change it? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." L

whatup.dub (author)lemonie2007-09-10

Gotcha. Thanks!

royalestel (author)2007-06-15

In Step 4, I find that if I take a break for a while before proofreading, I'm much better at catching mistakes. Otherwise, when it's still fresh in my head, I tend to "complete" sentences without actually reading them and miss errors.

whatup.dub (author)royalestel2007-09-09

Same here. If I leave out a word or mis-order something and read it immediately, I tend to read it as I meant it, not read it as it is written.

Good idea, I'll add that now.

Dungeonbrownies (author)2007-09-04

Will smeone PLEASE offer an alternative to this? It's like something i ripped out of a gradebook "how to write" guide and due to my lack of experience with good resume skills (only wrote 2 before because I only had 2 jobs before and both were horrible [work and resume]) I'd really find something that'd explain how to create a respectable grade resume very useful.

killertoy (author)2007-08-28

ok, I wanna be nice, but honestly this looks like a 12 year old kid with absolutely no job experience is trying to educate us on something he/she knows nothing about. Anyone out in the workplace would see all the glaring problems with this resume. If you ever submit this to a corporate HR department it would be flagged, not to mention a violation of all age discrimination policies on revealing your age prior to employment. have you ever had a job? have you ever been to B&H;? Unless you are Hasidic and a friend of the family, I doubt you would ever work there. .. and you'd make $8/ hour if you did. I'm sorry, but we must keep instructables in check, keep it real and have a critical process in place to maintain a better level of quality on this site.

Hmm..I guess you're right, I should be taking resume advice from someone who goes by "killertoy" and can't find the time to use the shift key. It's not illegal to reveal your age, only for the job to require it. I have had a job, and I have been to BH..have you? Who are you to accuse BH of nepotism, or any other form of discrimination? Have you even started middle school yet?

Yeah, I kinda agree with killertoy. the instructable is vapid. I think of an instructable as being a source of expertise- meaning you devulge your experience, not inexperience, or how you THINK a resume should be.

Yes, people in the corp world freak out about age stuff. It's a big No No. They will say " I can't know your age, therefore have any preformed notions about a job candidate."

And B&H does hire predominantly from the Hasidim demographic. In fact, they bus in employees from their neighborhood in Williamsburg.

My 2cents.

killertoy (author)blatantimage2007-08-28

Uuuuh, yeah. I have been going to B&H; since before you were born (probably), since they were a little store on 18th St (or was it 17th?) and they don't descriminate, they just hire Hasidic folk. Yes, I finished middle school in 1978. This is about the Resume instr., not me or you. Instuctables are supposed to be to share your knowledge. It's just frustrating to uncover articles lacking experience to back up the information, which is a growing concern with many of us here on this site.

Ah yes, because you're such a senior member of the website. It seems that most other members here, and even the instructables staff liked this instructable (as I received an ibles T-Shirt for it), so, once you find a few more members that were disappointed in this instructable (and have more than two posts) i'll take your concerns into consideration. Thanks.

...Funny how this was both of your's first posts. It's also a bit funny how you two are the only two who feel that way. This instructable is based on my own experience, along with research from several resources that teach how to write resumes. It also includes suggestions from people who had commented that have more experience than I do..including people who write resumes professionally, and people who review resumes and hire employees based on them. Non instructable members in the HR responsible for hiring employees also gave me positive feedback on it. What, may I ask, qualifications do you hold? If I offer my age, it is ok, as long as they did not ask me for it (unless it's a job that requires a certain age), it's ok. While BH employees are predominantly Hasidic Jews, it is by no means a requirement, and the notion that they would not hire me for being a Reform Jew is outrageous.

NachoMahma (author)2007-07-05

. Another good job. . On something as important as a resume, I always have at least one other person proof-read it for spelling/clarity/grammar/etc.

ongissim (author)2007-06-04

There are actually two different types of resumes. Your example shows a "Skills" resume, while there is also a "Chronological" resume, which is described in the fashion that westfw showed with specific dates.

xrobevansx (author)2007-06-03

I used to make resumes for Wharton grad students.
Here are a few tips (at least for business-area jobs):


No date of birth is needed.
Years of education and work should be included.
In certain cases an "Objective" can be eliminated instead using a "skills" list.

A GREAT resource I have found is this site:


trebuchet03 (author)xrobevansx2007-06-03

DOB is not necessarily "needed" -- but you must use your own judgment. If you feel your age important to your employer -- include it. Otherwise, wait until asked.

xrobevansx (author)trebuchet032007-06-03

Age should never be of least enough to put on a resume. You should get an interview based on merit not age. 10 years of experience in a field is 10 years of experience in a field...if you are 31 or 51. Your age can and may come up in a phone interview or face-to-face interview but until then, leave it ambiguous. Let them give you a chance based on your experience and don't let your age (higher or lower) work against you. And you never know when it leave it out.

trebuchet03 (author)xrobevansx2007-06-03

I agree, age should never be of importance... but the rest of us have to deal with how important it is :/

And for those moving into a new field... without said 10 year of experience - age may help (again, depends where you're going to work). If it works against you -- well, I personally wouldn't want to work there :p While age discrimination is illegal, it happens. So for those who haven't even hit their 30's -- it's probably better not to include your age as statistically, the older person (with limits) wins :/

Now again, use your own judgment. Your employer likely went through the same thing -- so s/he is very likely to know what you're trying to do. If you feel your too young/old that you should try to hide (or just don't say anything at all) -- well then your employer might think the same thing (you're too young/old for the job).

Of course... its a rather big debate including or not including your DOB on your resume... One school of thought is it might hurt you if you include it - don't risk it while another is it might hurt you not to include it -- don't risk it. Not only are you looking for a job, but you're also probing to see if that's the job you want ;)

xrobevansx (author)trebuchet032007-06-03

In my case, I took 11 years to complete college. (Well, I *was* on the 12-year plan, so in my opinion, I was a year ahead of schedule!) So on my resume, I graduated in 2002. I am 34. it would look kind of leery to some employers if I included my age. To them, I graduated 5 years ago....I am 25!

I'll add that.

Did you find that my two fonts are too different? I thought that since they were pretty similar it was ok?

The fact one is serif and one is sanserif is not good. I mean, you can do whatever you want, *I* personally wouldn't mix the two or even two different font families.

Again, my expertise is for "business" type resumes. Artistic jobs certainly may call for resumes that are more "artistic" which inevitably will have different type fonts, spacing, etc.

westfw (author)2007-06-03
What Candia said about reverse chronological order. Dates first, usually:
Experience:1980-1981 Wharton School Computer Center: Jr Systems Programmer.  Write Supdup and XMODEM in MACRO-10 Assembler for tops10, in addition Operator and user assistance duties.1978-1980 Wharton School Computer Center: Computer Operator.  Mounted Magtapes, burst printouts, performed system Backups and Restores (on demand), assisted with user problems for DecSystem-10 timesharing system.

Resumes will (should) vary somewhat depending on where you are submitting them. When sending your resume to a large company, your resume will probably first get "evaluated" by moderately clueless drones in a Human Resources Department, using moderately clueless search software. That means your resume has to contain all the appropriate key phrases. Then it will get forwarded on to a hiring manager, at which point it probably needs to have content that is NOT just a list of keywords, and needs to give insight into what you can actually DO (and what you HAVE done.)

Be specific about what you did, especially if your job title was ambiguous and/or you have one of those "starter" jobs (like "computer operator") where what you did could vary from "I sat there and watched for the computer to catch fire" to much more impressive things.

I suppose that with employers doing web searches on applicants, you should include search terms for finding web content that you're particularly proud of: "wrote tutorials for EAGLE PCB cad software at under the username "westfw"" (but there should be enough in your description to sound good even if no one follows up...)
Weissensteinburg (author)westfw2007-06-03

Yeah, I fixed the reverse chronological order part in step three, although I forgot to write that down, I will now. And I'll also add the part about being very specific.

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-06-03

Thanks for the comments everyone, i'm about to work on updating it,

Stercus Fit (author)2007-06-03

You didn't mention the rules for numbers, so I thought I'd share, since most people don't know this: Grammar rules state that in proper writing (including resumes), numbers zero to nine should be written out. Numbers 10 and beyond take numerical form. In addition, any sentence that includes a combination of the above two categories (ie: 7 and 14), all numbers in the sentence should take numerical form. Hopefully someone somewhere can use that. :)

Thanks, I'll add that.

canida (author)2007-06-03

One usually lists education and work experience in the reverse order- most recent (and presumably impressive) positions/schools/degrees on top, so the most relevant stuff is presented first. Also, unless your role and responsibilities in each position are clearly spelled out by the job title, you'll want to delineate them.

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy photography, horticulture and carpentry, and am almost always doing something relating to of those things.
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