How to Write a Good Resume That Impresses Employers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for jobs, you typically need a resume. A resume is a document that highlights your education, skills, and experience so employers can determine whether you're a good fit for the position. Knowing how to write a good resume is important, as it can help you gain the attention of a hiring manager and improve your chances of getting hired. In this article, we explain how to write a good resume, review a list of tips to help you write an effective resume, and explore an example of an effective resume to help you create your own.

How to write a good resume

Here's a list of steps you can take if you are interested in learning how to write a good resume:

1. Choose a resume format

There are several types of resume formats you can choose from, including:

  • Traditional resume: This is the most commonly used resume format, where you list your work experience details in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. Your contact information comes first, followed by a summary, work experience, skills, education, and any additional sections, such as accomplishments.

  • Functional resume: You can use this type of resume to highlight your skills rather than job experience. This format uses a detailed list of your skills at the top of the resume.

  • Combination resume: Use this type of resume when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills section and job history section.

  • Non-traditional resume: Non-traditional resumes are a good way of showing your creative skills. For example, you can create a video resume or an online portfolio, which is useful if you're applying for a creative role.

Related: What Is the Standard Canadian Resume Format? (With 7 Tips)

2. Include your personal details

Once you choose a format, begin your resume with your personal details. Include your first name and last name, your phone number, email address, and city and province or territory. This shows employers you're located close to the business or willing to relocate. Placing your contact information at the top of your resume helps employers immediately know who you are so they can easily contact you for an interview.

3. Write a resume summary or objective

Next, include a resume summary or objective statement. A resume summary is two to three sentences discussing your career and qualifications. If you have little work experience, you can write a resume objective instead. A resume objective is two to three sentences discussing your motivation for getting a job and any relevant skills or experience you have that make you suitable for the position. Here's an example of a resume summary and objective to help you differentiate them:

  • Resume summary: Seasoned, detail-oriented civil engineer presenting 10 years' experience managing design and full life-cycle construction of billion-dollar public works, including buildings, tunnels, bridges, and roads.

  • Resume objective: Recent university graduate with a keen attention-to-detail and strong communication skills seeking a position as an ESL teacher for children.

4. Include your education

If you have any relevant education or credentials, include them on your resume. This can be any degrees, diplomas, licenses, or certificates you have earned. Some jobs may require certain education or training, so including your credentials on your resume shows prospective employers you're eligible to work with them. Include details about your education or training, such as the school you attended, the dates of the program, and any achievements you had. Here's an example of what this section may look like if you graduated from university:

University of Green Hills, Caledon, Ontario

  • Bachelor of Arts - June 2020

  • Double major in English and linguistics

  • Overall GPA: 3.7

  • Graduated with honours

5. List your work experience

Typically, the most important part of your resume is the work experience section. It shows employers you have proven experience in the industry or role. This can help encourage them to interview you for the position. Include the following information for each relevant position you have held:

  • Job title: Highlight your previous job title by increasing the font size or using bold font so employers can easily identify the role.

  • Company, city, province or territory: Include the name of the company and the city, province, or territory it's located.

  • Dates employed: Include the month and year you started each role and when you finished. If you still work for a particular company, include your start date and include "present" instead of an end date.

  • Key responsibilities: List three to five responsibilities you held in each position to show employers exactly what type of experience you have. Try to include similar responsibilities to the job for which you're applying.

6. Mention relevant skills

If you have little work experience, include your list of skills at the top of your resume. Write a bullet point list of any relevant hard or soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills that aid you in a specific role. For example, if you are a software developer, you may have skills and knowledge in various coding languages. Soft skills are transferable skills you can typically develop on your own and use in any role. For example, communication, time-management skills, and interpersonal skills are useful in any role.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

7. Include additional sections

If there's any other important information you want to include, you can create additional sections on your resume. For example, you can include the names of organizations you volunteer for, a hobby that is interesting, or a club you're proud to be part of at the bottom of your resume. Any activities that show skills related to the job position or your work ethic are good to include in your application documents.

Related: The 5 Essential Parts of a Resume (With Examples)

Tips for an effective resume

Here's a list of tips you can use to help make your resume more effective:

  • Show your contact information clearly. Make sure employers can easily find your contact information at the top of the page so they can identify who submitted the document and contact you for an interview.

  • Focus on design. It's important that your resume has a clean and professional design. Use a font that's 11 points or larger, and keep the design minimal so it doesn't distract from your information.

  • Customize your information. Customizing your resume to the job you're applying for can help you convey how you are suitable for the role and the company. Be sure to align your skills and job history section to the requirements listed for the role to help increase your chances of getting invited for an interview.

  • Use data. If possible, use figures and data to show evidence of your success in your previous roles. For example, if you were a sales manager, you can include percentages and statistics on the company's growth while you were in the role.

  • Keep it short. Try to limit your resume to one or two pages. This helps make it easy for employers to review your application quickly.

  • Use keywords. Many employers use applicant tracking systems to save time, as they filter resumes that don't include specific keywords. Be sure to review and include keywords that are included in the skills or experience requirements of the job description.

Example of a good resume

Here's an example of a resume for a recent university graduate to help you write your own:

Lina White
Toronto, Ontario
416-896-5863
linawhite@email.com

Objective statement
Recent honours university graduate, fluent in English, French, and Spanish, with several years of experience teaching and tutoring students how to speak French. Seeking a position as a translator at a top firm in the GTA.

Education
Meadow Hills University, Brampton, Ontario

  • Bachelor of Arts in Education, June 2020

  • Double Major: French and Latin American Studies

  • Minor: Spanish

  • Overall GPA: 3.88

  • Honours and Dean's list every semester

Related experience
Lexitor Tutoring, Mississauga, Ontario - French Tutor, January 2018 to present

  • Tutor students of any age in how to speak, read, and write in French.

  • Talk to parents of young students to discuss their progress.

  • Create worksheets for students to complete at ho**me.

Trinity Library, Toronto, Ontario - Library Assistant, September 2016 to December 2017

  • Perform general administrative duties to support staff and assist students with research.

  • Created a presentation published on the library's website, showing how to use the library's facilities effectively when undertaking a research project.

  • Received award for “Best Student Employee of the Year” due to excellent customer service and research skills.

Skills

  • Teaching

  • Student assessment

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software

  • Organization skills

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