What Does a Good Resume Look Like?

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 8, 2021

A resume gives you the opportunity to present your background, experience and abilities to an employer before meeting with them. A well-written resume should highlight your qualifications for the position you have applied for. In this article, we’ll review what makes a resume look good and provide some examples.

Read more: Resume Samples and Templates To Inspire Your Next Application

Why is it important to write a good resume?

Since employers often have a large number of job applications to review, they may only be able to spend a few minutes, or even a few seconds, scanning each resume. Due to this time limit, your resume should capture an employer’s attention right away. This means that the way you write your resume can have a large impact on the success of your job search.

How to write a good resume

A great resume should have the right content in an easy-to-read format. Moreover, when designing a resume for job portals and online submission, you should also optimize it for easy browsing and search engine visibility. Follow these steps to write an effective and engaging resume:

1. Choose the right formatting

There are three major formats to write a resume: chronological, functional and combination. Although most resumes follow a chronological format, the correct format may depend on the industry, your job title and personal preferences.

Restrict the length of your resume to a page or two. Depending on your work history, it may benefit you to focus on the most recent position you held and the most important educational qualifications you hold. Keep the descriptions about older jobs and less relevant qualifications as short as possible.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)

2. Use a simple and readable design

To keep your resume readable for an employer, include some design elements in your resume that make it simple and easy to scan. You can easily achieve this by clearly marking the headings, using bullet points, keeping the paragraphs short and highlighting certain words by bolding or italicizing them.

Use a clean, professional font. For example, fonts like Times New Roman, Georgia and Tahoma are usually easy for most people to read. Make sure the font you choose has consistent spacing and looks good both on-screen and printed. Keep the font size between 9 and 12 points in order to maintain readability and presentation.

Use color strategically to make your resume visually appealing. For example, you might use a different color for headings and monogram the rest of the resume. You can also use color to draw in the reader to a certain important point. However, use additional colors sparingly. Selecting one color to use with a primarily black and white resume should be enough.

3. Focus on your achievements

While it’s important to describe your job history, you should present it from the perspective of your achievements rather than what your job required you to do. For example, explain how you used your creativity to find a unique solution to a problem. Think of such specific, quantifiable results you achieved, and include them in this section.

Use the same approach to describe your skills. Instead of a simple list of skills, employers are more interested in knowing how you have successfully applied those skills in a practical situation. There is no need to have a separate section of skills unless you are applying for a position that requires certain hard skills (for example, an IT specialist). Instead, consider including the skills within the descriptions of your work experience.

4. Include a summary and your contact information

The first few lines of your resume are among the most important when grabbing an employer's attention. You can make a good first impression with a compelling summary. At the top of your resume, the summary or overview section should highlight your key skills, experience, qualifications and achievements.

You should also add your name and email address at the top of your resume so that it’s easy to find. Making your contact details readily available will help a hiring manager who wants to contact you. It’s usually enough to include only your city, state and zip code in your mailing address.

5. Use keywords

Using the right keywords in your resume can help you stand out to hiring managers. It also helps you get through the automated applicant tracking and filtering systems that many employers use in the first steps of the hiring process. The keywords should be relevant to your desired job profile and the position you’re applying for.

6. Proofread for errors

Proofreading gives you a second chance to make your resume error-free before it reaches an employer. Check and correct the resume for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and readability issues. You can also ask a friend to look over it for you. An online spellchecker can also help you find and correct some of the more common spelling errors.

What should a resume look like?

The content and design of a resume depends on the industry, job title and various other factors. You can use these example resumes as guides:

Sample resume 1

James Parker
Phone: (555) 999-9999
Email: jamesparker@email.com

Summary

Detail-oriented medical lab technician seeking to work in the trauma emergency department of a reputed hospital. Strong skills in problem-solving, analysis and communication.

Skills

  • Processing various diagnostics and tests including urinalysis, microbiology culture and gram stains.

  • Drawing blood from inpatients and outpatients before and after surgery, and preparing specimens for testing. Skilled in taking blood specimens from children and hard-to-draw patients.

  • Strong interpersonal skills to help patients stay calm and informed.

  • Maintaining laboratory equipment to hospital standards.

Employment History

Medical Laboratory Technician
Reliable Medical Center (February 2007–October 2018)

  • Increased the efficiency of laboratory through improvement in procedures, advanced lab equipment and optimized layout.

  • Maintained lab performance at peak level. Processed blood samples in emergency room tests within three minutes.

  • Worked in the research and development team involved in the development of a proprietary resuscitation mask used in emergency care.

Phlebotomist
St. Mary Children’s Hospital (March 2001–Jan. 2007)

  • Drew blood for patients and helped them stay relaxed during the process

  • Kept accurate records of blood samples and patient information

  • Kept lab equipment sterile for daily use

Education

  • American Society of Clinical Pathologists certified (2000)

  • Completed Medical Laboratory Technician program from PIMA Medical Institute (1998)

Sample resume 2

Ronald Bandell, CAPM
206 Concord Street
Orlando, Florida 32826
Email: ronaldbandell@email.com
Mobile: (555) 888-8888

Summary

Highly motivated professional with over seven years of experience managing technology-based projects. Supported senior consultants in successfully executing several high-profile projects. Tech-savvy and exceptional analytical skills. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

Skills

  • Project setup, monitoring and coordination

  • Strategy formulation and execution

  • System analysis and design

  • Word processing and presentation software

Professional Experience

Senior Administrative Assistant
2015 to present
Hugh Consulting, Inc.

  • Coordinate planning, scheduling and execution of high-profile projects during the absence of project manager.

  • Streamline the company’s project management system to provide more actionable information and better customer support.

  • Research and prepare best practice guidelines to simplify the process of archiving and managing project documents.

  • Conduct training for staff on document versioning to facilitate proper tracing and timely retrieval of documents.

Administrative Assistant
2007–2011
Hitech Project Solutions, LLC

  • Coordinated a project involving research and creation of proposal documents.

  • Streamlined the process for proposal development. The new process brought a significant reduction in time, labor and cost of proposal development.

  • Researched and prepared presentations and other material for high-profile clients.

  • Developed and implemented a client tracking system.

Certifications

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) – SharePoint

Education

Master of Business Administration
University of Dallas, 2005

Professional Associations

  • Project Management Institute

  • American Management Association


Browse more articles