Creating a resume is an essential step in the job-seeking process. This document will demonstrate your experience and abilities to potential employers, helping them see why you’re the ideal fit for available jobs and opportunities.

This guide is for recent graduates who are writing a resume for the first time or overhauling an existing resume to reflect new skills or a pivot to a new career. It will cover how to format a resume, what to include (and not include), and tips for creating a strong, polished resume. It also includes examples of resumes to help guide the creation of your own.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a snapshot of an individual’s professional and educational background that demonstrates to potential employers what qualifications and qualities they have regarding a specific job. Along with a cover letter, a resume is one of the primary tools job-seekers use to apply for employment and other opportunities. Most employers require that individuals submit a resume when applying for jobs, although in specific industries, like academia or law, a curriculum vitae (CV) may be more appropriate.

The strongest resumes focus on key experiences, achievements, and skills relevant to the position for which you’re applying. As much as possible, tailor each resume you submit to the specific job posting rather than sending a generic, one-size-fits-all resume. Be mindful of length as well — particularly for early-career individuals, resumes should be no longer than one page.

General Tips

  • Be specific: While you don’t have to start your resume from scratch every time you apply for a job, it’s always wise to review the job posting and adjust your resume to be as specific as possible to that particular job. This way, you can highlight the skills, achievements, or educational experiences relevant to the position you’re seeking.
  • Utilize keywords: Carefully reading the job posting will help you identify keywords the employer may screen using Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software. Many companies use these programs to remove non-qualified applicants from the pipeline. While you want to avoid keyword stuffing, which could also be a red flag to ATS programs, adding accurate keywords where appropriate can help ensure your resume passes through the initial round of screening.
  • Keep it brief: Crafting an ideal resume is a balancing act of including enough specific details about your experience to show employers you’re a good fit for a job while not overwhelming them with information. For early-career job seekers, a resume should be one page, maximum. Include only relevant information and use language that is clear and concise.
  • Format clearly and consistently: Hiring managers typically want resumes they can understand by skimming, so formatting is important. Use an easy-to-read 10- or 12-point font like Calibri or Helvetica and define each section with bold or underlined headings. When describing job responsibilities, be consistent in your phrasing. For example, if you use a bulleted list to detail experiences for one job, use a bulleted list for all jobs.
  • Ensure accurate contact information: Once you wow a potential employer with your resume, you want them to be able to contact you. Include an up-to-date phone number and professional email address on your resume. You can also include a current LinkedIn profile if you wish, while including any other social media links on your resume is typically only necessary if you’re applying for a position related to that field. However, make sure your social media profiles accurately represent you as a professional, as potential employers will likely search for you online during the hiring process.
  • Proofread: Once you’ve finished writing your resume, set it aside and come back to read it with fresh eyes. Look for spelling and grammatical errors and that you’re referencing the correct job. If you have time, have another person read it or use a program like Grammarly to catch any mistakes you may have missed.

Resume Section Overview

Resumes typically consist of the following sections. Your name and contact information should always be in the header, and your summary or objective should always come first.

After that, the order is somewhat flexible. Work experience usually follows the summary, but there may be instances in which it makes more sense to start with another section. For example, individuals who have recently graduated from college or are still in school will likely list their education first. Those who are changing careers and may not have extensive relevant work experience may choose to highlight their skills first to show they possess the aptitudes necessary for the role.

Creating Your Resume

Header and contact information

List your full name in the header at the top of your resume, along with your location (city and state are typically sufficient), phone number, and email address. If you still need to create a professional email address using just your name or initials, now is a good time to do so. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile if you send a digital resume.

Summary and objective

Below the header, include a brief paragraph introducing you to the reader, highlighting your interest in the position, and explaining why you’re a good fit for the role. Be as specific as possible. Employers want to know that you’ve read the job posting, understand the position, and see what qualities make you stand out among applicants. The summary should be brief (two to three sentences).


Employers are often seeking candidates with specific skills, whether they’re industry-specific hard skills or transferable skills applicable to a range of positions. This is why reading the job posting carefully is helpful; it will likely include information on the skills the employer is prioritizing. Include the skills you have that match those listed in the job posting and any other relevant aptitudes. This section can be a simple bulleted list. You can format with columns to save space if you have an extensive list of skills.

Work experience

This section is where you’ll list current and past work experience, emphasizing accomplishments and responsibilities that are applicable to the job you’re seeking. List each job you’ve held with your title, the employer’s name and location, your employment dates, and a description of the tasks related to the role and any notable or measurable achievements. This can be written as a bulleted list or in paragraph form. Whichever style you choose, ensure it’s consistent throughout the whole section. Work experience can include internships and work-study jobs. List jobs in reverse-chronological order, with your current or most recent experience first.


Provide relevant details about your post-secondary education experience, including the name and location of schools you attended, the degree or credentials earned from that institution, your primary area of study, and any notable awards, honors, or distinctions. You may also include your GPA and relevant coursework, although this is optional. As with work experience, list educational experience in reverse-chronological order, with your current or most recent experience first.

Optional sections

Job-seekers may also include additional sections for volunteer experience, awards or honors, professional organization memberships, or special interests relevant to the job. If you include any or all of these sections, format that similarly to other parts of your resume. For example, if you have volunteer experience you’d like to include, list the name and location of the organization, dates of your involvement, your title, and your responsibilities.

Resume Samples

MBA resume

Paul Clark
(515) 222-4567
[email protected]
New York, NY


Experienced financial analyst with 5 years of global experience in the finance industry. Able to handle budgets of up to $500 million and find innovative ways to save money and grow revenue. Strong communication skills and ability to work with diverse teams.

Professional Experience

Financial Analyst, International Banking Inc., New York, NY
October 2021-Present

  • Lead team responsible for all financial analysis for international banking firm
  • Implemented new procedures that led to a 26% decrease in errors and a 61% increase in efficiency
  • Identified inefficiencies in the budget, leading to savings of 25%

Financial Advisor, Alpha Bank, New York, NY
July 2019 – October 2021

  • Collaborated with teams from around the world to expand Alpha Bank into new markets, including India, Brazil, and Australia
  • Created a database to identify top-performing stocks


Master of Business Administration, Finance concentration

Hofstra University – Hempstead, NY – January 2020-June 2021

Bachelor of Science in Business

Penn State University – State College, PA – September 2015-June 2019

Key Skills

  • Accounting
  • Financial modeling
  • Data visualization
  • Budgeting
  • Managing teams


  • Chartered Financial Analyst

Social work

Amy Bell
(555) 321-1234| [email protected] | Seattle, WA


Licensed Advanced Social Worker focused on helping children and adolescents. Use active listening to fully understand each person’s needs and suggest appropriate community resources. Committed to providing support for those struggling with domestic violence and substance abuse issues.

Key Skills

  • Active Listening Methods
  • Case Management
  • Client Needs Assessment
  • Client Relations & Communications
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Reporting & Documentation
  • Team Collaboration

Professional Experience

School Social Worker, Seattle Area School District | August 2021 to Present

  • Counsel students with personal or psychological issues affecting their behavior or academic performance
  • Provide treatments and resources to ensure students have every opportunity to succeed
  • Communicate with parents, educators, and administrators about ways to address each student’s challenges
  • Draft and maintain detailed reports on students’ progress
  • Offer support and guidance to students with disabilities, past trauma, or potential behavioral issues

Social Work Intern, Teen Parent Support, Seattle, WA | September 2020-June 2021

  • Assessed needs of and connected teen parents to relevant community resources
  • Facilitated group therapy sessions for new teen parents
  • Maintained detailed records of all client treatment
  • Co-developed viable case management and treatment plans

Community Services Assistant, Washington State Department of Social and Human Services | October 2017-July 2019

  • Connected families and individuals with support and resources in the local community
  • Planned and hosted quarterly educational outreach events with an average attendance of 200 people


Master of Social Work (Community-Centered Integrative Practice concentration) – University of Washington – Seattle, WA – 2019-2021

Bachelor of Arts in Human Services – Western Washington University – Bellingham, WA – 2013-2017


Licensed Advanced Social Worker, Washington State | 2022

Human resources certification

Mary Melcer
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | Baltimore, MD |


Human resources professional with a background in business administration and management. Hardworking, organized, and adaptable to new work challenges and conditions. Experienced and confident public speaker. Fluent in Spanish.

Work Experience

Intern, Casey’s General Store Corporate Office, Allentown, PA | June 2023-December 2023

[Company headquarters with 250+ employees]

  • Helped organize a virtual hiring fair and conducted remote interviews with over 30 potential hires
  • Worked with a payroll specialist to ensure each employee’s hours were correctly reconciled, leading to a payroll accuracy rate of over 95%
  • Gained strong experience in Microsoft Excel, team collaboration, and reporting and documentation

Key Swing Manager, Casey’s General Store, Towson, MD | November 2021-December 2022

[Retail store with 50+ employees]

  • Trained over 10 new employees
  • Made weekly schedules and reminded employees of shift changes, improving attendance rates by 45%
  • Completed daily closing paperwork

Key Skills

  • Payroll Management
  • Labor Relations
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Reporting & Documentation
  • Staff Recruitment & Training
  • Task Prioritization
  • Team Collaboration
  • TimeForce


Human Resource Management Certificate – DeSales University | Center Valley, PA | January 2023-December 2023

Bachelor of Business Administration, Management concentration – University of Maryland | College Park, MD | 2017-2021

3.91 GPA | Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society