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Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Write a Resume

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A well-written resume is your ticket to a better job. It is not enough to simply spill all your experience out on a piece of paper. Craft a strong resume to put your best foot forward. Your resume makes your first impression with a potential employer. This document highlights your achievements in a professional format. Job searches are quite competitive, so aim to create a one-page resume that attracts positive attention.

Map out a timeline of your education and job experience. List relevant dates in a month/year format. Review your transcripts and diplomas to confirm the dates.

Choose Times New Roman as the font for your Word document. Set each margin to 1 inch, and set the font size to 12. Keep the resume’s appearance professional; print it in black on white, off-white or cream-colored paper.

Put your full legal name at the top of the page, followed by your email address and phone number. Your home mailing address is optional; an email address and telephone number where people can contact you are more important. Center this section at the top of the page, and bold the text.

Add an "Education" section under your contact information. List the university or college where you graduated from, starting with the most recent education first. Do not include any education that you didn't finish, unless it shows that you partially completed studies in a specific area relevant to the job you want. If you received any honors or awards, feature them in this section, each on its own line.

Create an "Employment" section underneath the "Education" section. List all previous places of employment, starting with the most recent first. If you're presently employed, list that position at the beginning of this section.

Spruce up descriptions of your job responsibilities with action verbs and adjectives. For example, "Creatively looked at publicity and promotion issues as a member of the Marketing Committee" is more engaging than, "Served as a Marketing Committee member." Highlight any promotions based on performance.

Include a "Relevant Experience" section under your "Employment" section, if applicable. Emphasize any type of relevant experience (such as volunteer, travel) that draws attention to your professional qualities in unpaid situations.

Add a "Skills" section under the "Relevant Experience" section. List such abilities as fluency in other languages and knowledge of specific computer programs, such as Microsoft Office.

Include a "References" section under the "Skills" section with the following message: Excellent references available upon request.


Toot your own horn, but don't go overboard singing your own praises. Check and double-check your resume for any spelling and grammar errors; read your resume out loud, or have someone else read it out loud for you.


Be truthful; it is very easy to verify a person's previous formal education or job experience. Lying on your resume can cause anything from embarrassment to a pink slip down the road.


About the Author

Born in New York City, Elizabeth Carrillo has worked as a bilingual freelance writer and translator since 2009. She contributes to various websites with articles on soccer and Mexico. Carrillo holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.

Photo Credits

  • crumpled paper image by Alexey Klementiev from