How To Write a Modern Resume (With Tips and Layout Options)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 16, 2022

Published August 17, 2021

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.

Resumes are an important part of your application process. Having a well-written and modern resume can help you when searing for a job and result in more invitations to interview. Understanding how to write a modern resume and learning about the proper resume layouts can help you make yours more effective. In this article, we discuss how to write a modern resume, discuss the different layouts that you can use, and provide tips to help you write your own.

How to write a modern resume

Here are ten steps to writing a resume that can help you emphasize your abilities, adaptability, and knowledge in a modern way:

1. Pick the right format

You can write your resume by using one of the three typical formats. The one you choose depends on your experience and education:

  • Reverse chronological order: this format is ideal for candidates with lots of experience, and is typically preferred by automated software for tracking keywords in job applications. List your education and work experience in reverse order, starting with the most recent.

  • Functional: this format is more skill-focused. List your skills and accomplishments before employment and educational history.

  • Combined: this is a blend of both functional and reverse chronological formats. You may use this when you have a lot of work experience or have changed your career path.

Read more: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)

2. Add header and contact information

This section includes your name and information that the employer can use to contact you. If you feel like your social media profiles, online portfolio, website, or blog may be relevant, you can include them in this section. Be sure to review the content to ensure they are professional. Only include these additional resources if you think they can help increase your chances of getting hired. Typical resumes in the past would include your name and postal address. As this is no longer as relevant, here is the contact information a modern resume requires:

  • First and last names

  • A professional email address

  • Location

3. Write a professional summary

This is an introduction to you as an individual and allows you to make a good first impression. Include two to three sentences that describe your work experience, achievements, and desired goals. This section can help to make the job recruiter interested in learning more about you, increasing your chances of getting invited for an interview.

4. Add education details

This section shows that you have relevant knowledge and experience in your field. It typically includes your program name, university or college, and years attended in bullet points. You can include achievements and honours, if relevant. Present this section in reverse chronological order, listing the most recent educational experience first. If you don't have a lot of work experience, put your education section first, especially if you are a recent graduate. Doing so gives your education section priority over the experience section, which some entry-level jobs look for in potential candidates.

Read more: How To List Education On Your Resume (With Examples)

5. Add your experiences

This may be the most important section of your resume since it shows the job recruiter how well-suited you are for the job. List your work experience and include job title or position the company worked for, responsibilities and achievements, and dates employed. Use reverse chronological order, similar to the education section. When listing your experience, it helps to use numerical figures to make your experience more impressive and measurable.

For example, instead of saying that you “managed a company's sales,” you may say that you “managed and increased company revenue by 30%.” Having measurable aspects to your achievements may help to impress the job recruiter as opposed to vague statements.

6. Include a skills section

Hard skills are measurable and include knowledge of operating specific software or using a particular device. You typically list these skills first. Soft skills are non-measurable, such as character traits and attributes. Examples of these are time management and leadership skills. Modern resumes typically show your proficiency level for each skill. Choose between beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert for each. Highlight the skills that you think are most relevant to the position you are applying for and the ones in which you are the most skilled.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

7. Add membership and associations

List the memberships that you think may be of interest to your employer or applicable to the job to which you are applying. Being part of a particular group may increase the employer's interest in you since it demonstrates your skills and professional network. Showing that you are part of professional networks may be especially beneficial when they have an impressive reputation. It also shows your ability to network within your career field.

8. Include certifications and awards

Certificates and awards show that you're passionate about the work that you're doing. They can also show that you're willing to put extra effort into developing your skills. Listing those relevant to the position you are applying for shows your future employers that you have considerable skill and experience within the field, which further increases your chances of getting an interview.

9. List your languages

If you can speak more than one language, list this skill in your resume. Even if the job description does not require knowing more than one language, it can help to make you more competitive than other candidates. Like your skills section, list the languages you know and quantify your skill level from basic to expert or native speaker.

10. Add hobbies and interests

Adding some details about who you are and what you like to do can help make your resume more effective. Include aspects about yourself and your life to show the employer that you are more than just an employee. If you sharing the same interests as your employer, it can help make you more memorable.

Related: How To Write About Interests on Your Resume

How to choose the best layout for your resume

Here are some ways that you can format your resume:

1. Keep your resume one to two pages long

Recruiters have multiple resumes to review, so ensure that yours is quick and easy to read. Limiting your resume to a page or two at most can help recruiters easily peruse your skills and qualifications.

2. Have clear sections

Ensure your resume is easy to scan by including distinct categories. Edit the sections and headers throughout your resume to help make them easier to read. This keeps your layout modern and organized.

3. Use a simple font to read

Pick an easy-to-read font. Keep your font size 11 or 12 pt. for the body and 14 or 16 pt. for the section headers. You can mix fonts, particularly between the headers and the body text, but ensure the fonts complement one another and are both simple to read.

4. Add a bit of colour

The hiring team may notice colourful resumes among typical black and white ones. Pick a colour palette that includes a lot of white space while keeping the text dark for easy-to-read contrast.

5. Save your resume in PDF format

Sending a PDF document rather than a word processing document helps to maintain the layout and design of your resume and ensure that the information you include is not deleted or altered. Send your resume in this format unless stated otherwise.

Related: The Best Fonts for Your Resume

Tips to help you write an outstanding modern resume

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you write your resume:

  • Customize your resume to the job: this makes you more noticeable as a candidate for the job position and can help you seem more relevant and qualified for the position.

  • Make your contact information as professional as possible: ensure you have a professional email address. Avoid email addresses like "jon2580games@email.com." Instead, use an email address with your first and last name. Avoid including unnecessary words to make it more professional. If you link to any social media pages or websites, ensure they are professional and suitable as well.

  • List as many relevant skills as possible: doing so shows your wide range of skills and demonstrates that you are prepared for the responsibilities and demands of the job.

  • Use colour to highlight some sections: use a layout and colours that make reading your resume easy and enjoyable for the job recruiter.

  • Use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to your advantage: use keywords listed in the job description throughout your resume. Doing this increases your chances of passing through the initial screening, especially if the employer uses an ATS programmed to identify those keywords.

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