How to Craft a Professional Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

November 24, 2021

Your resume is an important factor in making a positive impression during the hiring process. Crafting a professional resume can help you stand out from other candidates and gain the hiring manager’s attention. A professional resume also allows you to show all your relevant skills, experience and education. In this article. we will explain the purpose of a resume, how to craft one and provide a template and example.

What is the purpose of the resume?

A resume demonstrates all your professional history as it relates to an open position. A well-formatted and visually appealing resume can not only highlight your best professional abilities but also show your attention to detail. Here are some other purposes for a professional resume:

  • It states the objective of your career and job search. 

  • It outlines your training, skills, education and relevant experience. 

  • It illustrates the accomplishments you have made with previous employers.

  • It demonstrates with clarity, the benefits you bring to the job.

There are different types of resumes that are appropriate for specific jobs. It is important to design your professional resume to target a specific job, which means you may have multiple resumes. 

How to write a professional resume

You can follow these steps to ensure that you have a professional and polished resume:

  1. Choose the right type.

  2. Include the right sections.

  3. Make it easy to read.

  4. Use the right fonts.

  5. Keep the focus.

  6. Be concise.

  7. Proofread.

1. Choose the right type

The key to writing a professional resume is choosing a suitable resume type. There are three main resume types, and it is important to choose the most suitable for the job opening. 

  • The chronological resume is best if you’re already working in the industry, as it outlines your work history in chronological order, beginning with the most recent at the top. 

  • The functional resume focuses on skills and abilities without regard for dates or periods and is suitable for candidates without continuous working histories.

  • A combination resume is a blend of the functional and chronological resume. Both your skills and work experience are outlined with your working history listed in reverse chronological order. This type is appropriate for those with shorter working histories or those considering career changes. It normally starts with a professional profile or summary of qualifications followed by a section that outlines your skills.

2. Include the right sections

You should have certain sections in your resume that give the employer a well-rounded idea of your professional history and objectives. Here are the basic sections you should include: 

Heading

Provides your basic contact information, such as your name, mailing address, phone number and email address. 

Objective or summary

Include an objective statement if you want to focus on future career goals you want to achieve with a certain company. If you have extensive relevant work experience, you can add a summary of your main achievements. An objective or summary statement should only be one or two sentences. 

Work experience

When adding your work experience, start from your most recent to your oldest. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, you can include all the jobs you’ve held. Only include the past 10 years of relevant experience if applicable. Your work experience should include your job title, company name and the dates you worked there. You should also add a list of three to four of your most important responsibilities or accomplishments. 

Education

Add your highest level of education, including the name of the school, the dates you attended it and your degree. You can also add any awards you earned, such as making the dean’s list or a particularly high GPA.

Additional information

This information could include relevant skills, achievements, volunteer activity, internships or hobbies. Only add information that applies to the job you’re applying for to keep the attention of the hiring manager. 

3. Make it easy to read

For a uniform and easy-to-read appearance, ensure that the formatting is consistent throughout your resume. If you use bullet points in one section that describes your responsibilities, be sure to use the same formatting in other areas. Use the same fonts in the entire resume. To separate your sections, you can use different font styles or sizes, such as bold or italics. 

4. Use the right fonts

Some appropriate fonts for resumes are Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial in sizes 10 to 12. Avoid the use of large blocks of texts as they are difficult to read and avoid the use of colored backgrounds. A clean and professional appearance allows the hiring manager to review the information quickly.

5. Keep the focus

Your resume should be focused on presenting your background as it relates to the job. Keep the specific reader in mind and check for redundancy in your statements. If you have held similar positions, you can omit repeating the same details or tasks associated with the job. Instead, consider describing each function as a quantifiable achievement. For example, instead of writing, “Resolved customer issues over the phone,” you could write, “Increased customer satisfaction by 13% by quickly resolving issues over the phone.”

6. Be concise

You should be as concise as possible. Employers prefer one-page resumes since they can review information quickly. If you have a lot of relevant work experience or education, you may need two pages. 

7. Proofread  

Be meticulous when proofreading your resume. A professional resume should contain no grammar or spelling errors. Reading your resume out loud will help to review sentence structure, grammar and spelling. Ask a trusted friend or family member to review it to ensure consistency and that it is free of errors.

Professional resume template

Here’s a professional resume template you can follow when crafting your own:

[Your name]
[Your address]
[Your phone number]
[Your email]

[Objective or summary]

Qualifications

[Skill, achievement or experience related to the position]
[Skill, achievement or experience related to the position]
[Skill, achievement or experience related to the position]

Professional Work Experience

[Job title] [Company] [Dates worked]

[List duties, quantifying if possible]
[List duties, quantifying if possible]
[List duties, quantifying if possible]

[Job title] [Company] [Dates worked]

[List duties, quantifying if possible]
[List duties, quantifying if possible]
[List duties, quantifying if possible]

Education

[School] [City, State]
[Degree] [Year you graduated]
[Awards or achievements]

[Memberships/Volunteering]

[include any memberships or ongoing volunteer activities]

Professional resume example

Here’s an example of a professional resume in chronological order:

Joel Andrews
345 Main St.
Colorado, AZ 81238
Phone: 234-485-4882
joel.andrews@email.com

Objective

A dedicated communications professional seeking a position with a nonprofit organization to apply public relations skills.

Qualifications

12+ years of administrative and clerical work experience
Proficient in Microsoft Office
Excellent people and customer service skills

Professional Work Experience

Administrative Assistant, Blackbell Systems Inc., Scottsdale, CO 12/15-12/18

Oversaw budget of $6000 for purchasing supplies
Monitored and managed office inventory
Monitored front desk
Document and distributed information to affiliated offices

Assistant Consultant, McDougal Lintel, Phoenix, CO 09/12-12/14

Assisted in planning and coordinating regional sales meetings
Audited expense reports before submitting to corporate headquarters
Prepared monthly reports of 23 sales consultants

Education

Mesa College, Tempe, CO
Diploma Associate of Applied Science/Business 2012
Magna cum laude

Memberships

Colorado Administrative Professionals, member since 2013

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