Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Create and Use a Resume Outline (With Examples)

February 22, 2021

Oftentimes, your resume is the first impression that hiring managers get of you and your qualifications. The more organized and well-structured your resume, the better your chances are of impressing hiring managers and landing a job. Resume outlines help you draft and prioritize the most important details of your job experience and qualifications to present it as effectively as possible.

In this article, we define what a resume outline is, how to create one, the benefits of using one and provide you with a template and examples to help guide you when creating your own.

Related: Resume Samples and Templates

What is a resume outline?

A resume outline is essentially a blueprint for your resume that outlines where you'll list your relevant experience, skills and overall qualifications for the job you're applying to. An outline lets you see what information you'll need to include on your resume and gives you a basis to work off of. Within the resume outline, you can change the fonts you plan to use, the sections you'll include, the order of the sections and more.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)

How to create a resume outline

When you create a resume outline, it's important to consider the job you're applying to, the industry you're in and what experience or qualifications you want to highlight. Though there are some sections you should always include, you should tailor your resume to fit your specific field. Here are the steps to take when creating a resume outline:

  1. Think of the sections you want to include.
  2. Consider how you'll format your resume.
  3. Include a space for your contact information.
  4. Include a space for your resume summary or objective.
  5. Include a space for your education.
  6. Include a space for your resume's experience section.
  7. Include a space for your skills section.
  8. Consider adding other sections to your resume.

1. Think of the sections you want to include

Before you create an outline for your resume, consider the job you're applying to. This will often dictate how you want to present yourself to recruiters. Think of your personal experience and expertise for the job you're applying to and the sections you might want to include on your resume outline and final resume. Some examples of sections to include are your work experience, skills, achievements, education, volunteer work and more. Make a final list of the sections you plan to use for your outline and work off of this list.

2. Consider how you'll format your resume

Next, it's important to consider how you want to format your resume. For example, if you've been steadily advancing in your field over time, a chronological format would suit your resume outline the best. You can also consider constructing a skills-based functional resume if your career trajectory was non-traditional. This would be appropriate if you changed careers, you're a recent graduate or are in another unique situation.

3. Include a space for your contact information

Now you can begin creating your resume outline. Start by creating a section where you'll detail your contact information. This includes your first and last name, phone number, street address and email address. You can also add a place for your online portfolio, career title or social media handles. Having a contact section provides hiring managers with the information they need to get in touch with you.

4. Include a space for your resume summary or objective

Next, you'll need a section to write a resume summary or objective. This will allow recruiters to know your career goals and will help them determine if they want to continue reading your resume.

5. Include a space for your education

It's also important to include a space for your education. Employers often want employees that have formal education in the industry they're in. Within this section, you should include the university name and location where you attended, your degree, major and if applicable, your minor. You can also include any awards you received at the time as well as your grade point average (GPA).

If you haven't graduated from a university, you can include an expected completion date or detail your high school information.

6. Include a space for your resume's experience section

You'll then need a place for your relevant experience to the role you're applying for. This section will typically be in chronological order with your most recent position at the top. When you list your prior job duties and responsibilities, it's important to use action verbs or numbers that highlight the impact you made in each of your past positions.

7. Include a space for your skills section

Next, you'll need a place to highlight your relevant skills and expertise. A skills section is a great way to show how you meet certain job qualifications. Refer to the job posting when filling out this section.

8. Consider adding other sections to your resume

Finally, depending on the industry you're in or the job you're applying for, consider adding other sections to your resume outline. You can include a language section, volunteer work, certifications, hobbies, awards and more.

Related: 10 Resume Writing Tips to Help You Land a Job

Importance of using resume outlines

Though creating a resume can seem daunting, a resume outline will help you organize your thoughts and help you consider how you'll go about creating your final resume. In other words, they are a great way to guide the flow of your resume. It's important to use a resume outline because it will help to ensure your resume is well-structured and well-written. Having a carefully crafted resume can help recruiters notice your resume among the other stacks of applications from other candidates. In addition, using a resume outline will help save you time by eliminating the need to create a resume from scratch.

Template for traditional resume outline

Here is a template to help guide you in the creation of a resume outline:

[Name]
[Contact information]

[Resume summary or objective]

[Education]

[Experience]

[Skills]

[Other sections]

Examples of resume outlines

Before you create a resume or resume outline, consider the following resume outline examples and their structure. Depending on your job, you'll be able to consider how to organize the sections on your own resume:

Graphic designer resume outline

Here is an example of a resume outline for a graphic designer role:

Name

  • Full first and last name

Contact information

  • Phone number
  • Street address
  • Email address
  • Link to your online portfolio

Resume objective

  • Include the title of the graphic designer position you're applying for, what your qualifications are, your relevant design software and typography skills and your overall career goals.

Experience

  • Experience 1 (most recent job title)

    • Company name
    • City and state
    • Start and end date
    • Job duties
  • Experience 2

    • Company name
    • City and state
    • Start and end date
    • Job duties
  • Experience 3

    • Company name
    • City and state
    • Start and end date
    • Job duties

Education

  • Degree
  • Major
  • Concentration or minor
  • Start and graduation date
  • Design awards
  • GPA

Skills

  • Design software skills
  • Photography skills
  • Soft skill 1
  • Soft skill 2
  • Soft skill 3

Reporter resume outline

Here is an example of a resume outline for a reporter position:

Name

  • Full first and last name

Contact information

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Link to your blog
  • Link to your online portfolio with writing samples

Resume summary

  • Summarize any relevant experience to this role and what you're looking for. This should give a brief overview of your experience as a reporter.

Experience

  • Experience 1 (most recent job title)

    • Company name
    • City and state
    • Start and end date
    • Job duties
  • Experience 2

    • Company name
    • City and state
    • Start and end date
    • Job duties
  • Experience 3

    • Company name
    • City and state
    • Start and end date
    • Job duties
  • Experience 4

    • Company name
    • City and state
    • Start and end date
    • Job duties

Education

  • Degree
  • Major
  • Concentration or minor
  • Start and graduation date
  • Reporting awards

Skills

  • Hard skill 1
  • Hard skill 2
  • Soft skill 1
  • Soft skill 2
  • Soft skill 3

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