Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Build a Simple Resume

February 22, 2021

A great resume is the most likely factor in landing the interview for your dream job. Your resume is the first impression of you, and if the employer likes what they see, you'll be meeting with them in no time. For an employer to like your resume, they first have to be drawn to it. The best way to stand out is with a simple, straightforward resume. In this article, we'll discuss simple resumes and provide instructions on how to create one for yourself.

What is a simple resume?

A simple resume is an easy-to-read, unembellished document that concisely presents your work history, summary and skills. This type of resume focuses solely on the text of the document, rather than the style or adornments. This minimalism helps applicant tracking systems spot the appropriate keywords and forward your resume to a recruiter, human resources personnel or hiring manager.

This type of resume is sectioned neatly, well-organized and properly formatted with a very simple font for the ease of the person scanning it. A simple resume can be beneficial in that it shows only what the employer needs to know from a preliminary glance about your top strengths, professional experience and accumulated accomplishments.

Related: Writing a Resume With No Experience

When to use a simple resume

A simple, minimalistic resume is appropriate for nearly all jobs. Presenting your qualifications in such an easily-viewable way will be appreciated by recruiters and will probably give you an advantage over other applicants when applying for a position at a corporate or another professional establishment with a conservative atmosphere, such as healthcare, education or banking, for example. A simple resume is typically preferred by most employers and is generally the most effective to find a job in nearly any industry.

Related: Resumes & Cover Letters: Writing and formatting tips to make your application stand out

How to build a simple resume

Follow these steps to create your own simple resume:

  1. Write your header
  2. Create columns
  3. Add your contact information
  4. List your work history
  5. Education
  6. Skills, certifications and competencies
  7. Additional tips

1. Write your header

The first thing on the page should be your header, including your full name and your resume summary or objective, in which you briefly state the position you're seeking and what skills and benefits you can offer the company. This should be no longer than two sentences. Consider the following example:

Penny Rosales

Database Engineer

Highly motivated professional with exceptional problem-solving and communication skills, a high level of proficiency using data modeling and normalization, data migration and performance tuning seeking an opportunity to lend these skills and experience to help an organization experience exponential growth and productivity.

2. Create columns

Optionally, you can choose to split the rest of your resume into two columns to make it easier to fit the necessary information while maintaining a minimalist layout and an easy reading experience. Your header can run along the full width of the page, with a double-column split happening right below the header. One side should be dedicated to your work history and education, while the other (smaller) side can contain your personal contact information, skills and any other relevant bits of information. Again, this step is completely optional.

3. Add your contact information

Your contact information should be the next thing the eye falls upon. Your contact information can reside in its own small section and should include the following:

  • Phone number
  • Personal email
  • Social media (optional)

Make sure that your email is simple and professional, for example, PRosales@email.com. Not only is it easy to understand and remember, but it also sets a professional tone rather than a silly or weird one. Furthermore, if you choose to include your social media, make sure your screen names are appropriate and professional, and comb through your social media posts to make sure that your potential employers won't find anything scandalous should they check your socials.

4. List your work history

Most employers want to know your work history for about the past five years. If it's less, be prepared to explain what you've been doing during gaps in work history, whether you were in college, volunteering or on an educational retreat (note: you are under no obligation to explain the details of your personal life to a prospective employer.) Keep the focus on your professional life.

When listing your work history, keep it brief but descriptive. For each role you've held, name the role and the company you worked for, with the start and end dates for that job. Create a short list with your responsibilities and accomplishments during your time with that company, using a bulleted format and keeping it to three or four bullets. Your work history should begin with the most recent first and work backward.

5. Education

List your degree, the school from which you earned it, and your year of graduation. As with work history, start with the most recent and work backward. For example:

Master of Business Administration, Pennsylvania State University, 2012

Bachelor of Science, Database Management, Wentworth Institute of Technology, 2010

If you are in the process of completing a degree, write 'anticipated graduation 2013' with the year you are set to graduate.

6. Skills, certifications and competencies

In the smaller column, under your contact information, you can begin listing your strongest skills. You can choose to put them into a single section or split your skills into separate sections for soft skills and hard skills. Try to keep the total number of skills under 10. If you have additional competencies, such as fluency in a second language or relevant certifications, you can list those underneath your skills section.

7. Additional tips

A few other things to keep in mind while crafting your resume include:

  • Fonts: Use no more than two different fonts. The font you use for your headers can be a traditional-type serif font, while your body font should be a clean sans-serif font such as Arial or Calibri. Body font size should be 10-12 point, with headers one point larger than the body to make them stand out.
  • Lists: Use bulleted lists rather than full sentences when referring to your job duties, accomplishments and skills.
  • Keywords: When possible and appropriate, use the keywords that will get your resume picked up by ATS systems.
  • Trim: Read the finished document and cut out anything that isn't absolutely necessary to describe you for the purpose of getting an interview.
  • Review: After removing the clutter and making sure you've added all of the necessary information, give your final document a careful read-through, keeping your attention focused on clarity, conciseness, spelling, grammar and spacing. A good way to check for missing or duplicated words is to read the document out loud. You might consider getting a trusted friend or family member to give your resume a quick read for proofing purposes.

Related: How to Use Resume Samples

Simple resume example

Use this resume example as a point of reference when building your simple resume.

Virgil Gomez

Phone: (467) 482-6755

Email: gomez.v@memail.com

Twitter: @gomezvirgil

Database Engineer

*Summary: Dedicated and experienced database engineer with 8 years' experience building and managing database servers seeking an opportunity to use excellent communication and problem-solving skills to bring Nexus DBM to the forefront of the technological landscape.*

Skills & Competencies

  • Database administration, design and development
  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • Troubleshooting
  • In-depth analysis
  • Time management
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Linux, UNIX, Windows
  • Solaris
  • Microsoft Office, Visual Studio and Project
  • HP-UX
  • HTML, CSS, C, C++, PHP, Java

Education

Master of Science, Information Systems

Conc. on Database Management

University of Denver, 2016

Bachelor of Science, Information Technology

University of Boulder, 2014

Work Experience

Database Engineer, Helios Tech, Inc., Denver, CO

June 2016—Present

  • Provide database support for several large corporate projects
  • Developed Oracle cloning tool and upgrade installation process
  • Improved database performance, increasing productivity by 20%
  • Oversee project managers for new or in-progress clients

Senior Project Manager, Guardian Tech, LLC., Boulder, CO

February 2015—June 2016

  • Executed RFP analysis
  • Contract presentation/negotiation
  • Managed multiple project schedules, generated financial reports, built a DBM team
  • Worked alongside C-level execs and board of directors to provide updates and results for each project
  • Streamlined processes to increase productivity and reduce waste

Senior Consultant, Mountain Analytics, LLC., Boulder, CO

June 2014—February 2015

  • Wrote shell scripts for backups
  • Data migration
  • Designed data models using ERwin 7.1
  • Built and implemented back-end database in SQL server

Certifications

  • Oracle Database Administration, 2019
  • MySQL Database Administration, 2019
  • MySQL Database Developer, 2018

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