How to Make a Resume That Lands Interviews (2023)
You have the experience. You have the skills.
Now you just need the job.
And for that to happen, you need a stellar resume to help your application stand out from the competition.
That’s why, in today’s article, we’re giving you an in-depth guide on how to make a resume.
Before we dive in, though, we should mention that this isn’t a resource you’ll want to consume in one sitting.
Instead, bookmark this page so you can quickly refer to the following information:
- What is a resume?
- What should you include in your resume?
- What should you NOT include in your resume?
- Where should you create your resume?
- How to make a resume
Like we said – this isn’t your standard starter post.
By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to create a highly personalized resume to get you that much closer to landing your dream job.
Ready to start? Let’s dive in.
A resume is a document used by most job seekers to showcase their education, skills, work experience, achievements, and other relevant information to potential employers.
Resumes are usually the first point of contact between a job seeker and a hiring manager.
They’re used to make a positive first impression and convince the employer that the candidate is a good fit for the job.
What makes a strong resume?
The best way to create a strong document is to tailor your resume to a specific job and company and highlight the most relevant information regarding your professional experiences/interests.
They are typically one to two pages long and often accompanied by a cover letter.
One-page resumes are ideal, so you’ll want to prioritize only the most relevant work history and achievements based on the role you’re applying for.
There are many benefits to adding a personalized resume to your job application because resumes can:
- Showcase your qualifications
- Highlight your professional achievements
- Differentiate you from other candidates
- Provide an overview of your experience
- Meet a hiring manager’s basic expectations
That last one is particularly noteworthy.
For better or worse, most employers ask for a resume and cover letter as a requirement to apply for a position.
So let’s look at a few reasons hiring managers still ask for resumes in the application process.
Curious what a winning resume looks like for different roles and seniority levels? Explore in-depth example resumes here for over 700 individual job titles.
Why do you still need a resume in 2023?
In 2023, having a resume is still a common expectation in the job search process.
While some job applications let you apply with non-traditional formats, like with a LinkedIn profile or an online portfolio, most employers still expect a polished resume.
And it’s easy to see why.
A clear resume helps hiring managers get a faster glimpse of whether or not an applicant is suitable for the role. Plus, it shows a candidate’s attention to detail and personal standards for excellence.
A resume filled with typos, grammatical errors, or poor formatting implies a general lack of professionalism.
So whether you create resumes because you want the personal advantage or because it’s required for the job you want, consider this:
If you need to make a resume for your application, why not make it the strongest resume in the bunch?
After all, 90% of candidates don’t take the time to personalize their resume or cover letter. Doing so on your applications gives you an immediate advantage over other candidates.
On that note, let’s start breaking down the common elements that make for a stellar resume.
Unless expressly stated otherwise, your resume should include the following:
- Contact information
- Target titles
- Professional summary
- Work experience
- Certifications and licenses
Since resumes are best kept to a single page, this should give you more than enough sections to flesh out.
But before diving into our tips on making a resume, let’s make sure we’re clear on some things you should avoid adding to your resume.
There are certain things you should leave out of your resume, as they won’t help connect your work experience with the job you want.
That means the hiring manager makes lightning-fast judgment calls about each resume that passes her desk, so everything you include must be on point.
Avoid adding the following to your resumes:
- Irrelevant personal information: Do not include your age, marital status, or religion.
- Irrelevant work experience: Leave out work experience unrelated to the job or industry you are applying to.
- Hobbies or interests: Unless your unique hobbies or personal interests are directly related to the job, do not include them in your resume.
- Salary history or expectations: Avoid including your salary history or expectations in your resume.
- Negative information: Do not include negative information about yourself or previous employers.
- Lies or exaggerations: Be truthful in your resume, and do not exaggerate your skills or experience.
- Photos: Do not include a photo unless specifically requested by the employer (and even then, make sure there’s a clear reason why they need it).
- Fancy fonts or formatting: Keep your resume simple and easy to read. Avoid using fancy fonts or formatting that may be difficult to read.
Remember, the purpose of your resume is to highlight your professional qualifications and make you stand out for a specific job.
Stick to information related to the position you’re applying for and avoid adding personal details that aren’t relevant to the job.
Now you understand what a resume is, what should be included in a resume, and – more importantly – what to leave out.
Now let’s look at a few ways to make a resume.
There are many tools that people use to make their resumes. In this section, we’ll briefly look at the main pros and cons of the following tools:
Make a resume with Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is one of the most common ways job seekers make resumes.
Here are some of the pros of using Microsoft Word:
- Advanced features: Microsoft Word offers a wide range of advanced features and formatting options (including pre-designed templates) to help you create a professional resume.
- Compatibility: As one of the most widely used word processing software, Microsoft Word is compatible with most systems and software potential employers use to review resumes.
- Offline access: Unlike Google Docs, Microsoft Word can be used offline, meaning you can work on your resume even if you don't have an internet connection.
And here are some of the cons of using Microsoft Word:
- Cost: Microsoft Word is not a free tool and requires a subscription or purchase of the Microsoft Office suite, which can be expensive. If your main goal is to build a resume, other paid tools are likely a better option.
- Learning curve: While Microsoft Word is a widely used and user-friendly tool, it may require time/effort to use it effectively and efficiently – especially for resume formatting.
- Limited accessibility: Microsoft Word is often installed on specific devices, meaning you may be unable to access your resume from other devices or locations without additional setup or tools.
It's important to consider the potential limitations and drawbacks of Microsoft Word before investing in the software.
That way, you can ensure it aligns with potential employers' expectations and preferences.
Make a resume with Google Docs
Google Docs is essentially Google’s version of Microsoft Word.
The main difference? It’s free.
Here are some of the pros of using Google Docs to create a resume:
- Accessibility: Google Docs can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easy to work on your resume from multiple devices or locations.
- Collaboration: Google Docs allows you to share your resume with others and collaborate on it in real time, making it easy to get feedback and input from others.
- Cost: Google Docs is a free tool, making it a cost-effective option for creating and editing your resume.
- Automatic saving: Google Docs automatically saves your work as you go, reducing the risk of losing your progress if your device crashes or you forget to save.
Here are some of the cons of using Google Docs to create a resume:
- Limited features: Google Docs may offer fewer advanced features than other resume-building tools or software, such as templates or advanced formatting options.
- Security concerns: As with any online platform, there may be security concerns when using Google Docs, particularly if you include sensitive personal information on your resume.
Using Google Docs to create a resume can be a convenient and cost-effective option, particularly if you need to collaborate with others or work on your resume from multiple devices.
But if you want to stand out from the crowd, the templates offered may not be visually appealing enough to grab the hiring manager’s attention.
Make a resume with Canva
Here are some of the pros of using Canva to make a resume:
- Easy to design: Canva has a drag-and-drop editor that makes design easy, even for those without experience.
- Includes built-in fonts and layout options: Personalize your resume’s look and style with pre-built templates and eye-grabbing fonts (make sure they’re easy to read).
- Encourages collaboration: Since all your work is automatically saved, others can jump into the account and give you some resume makeover tips.
Here are some of the cons of using Canva to make a resume:
- It doesn’t help with content: You’ll need to write each section of your resume on your own, as Canva doesn’t provide guided tips.
- Tedious to personalize: Job seekers find more success with personalized resumes. Canva is easy to use for images, but changing individual text elements can be tedious.
- Confuses applicant tracking systems: ATS software needs help to understand the images and icons used in Canva resumes.
- Requires another tool for cover letters: Microsoft Word and Google Docs can be used for resumes and cover letters. Canva wasn’t built for longer text-based content, so that it wouldn’t be ideal for cover letters.
For a more detailed discussion, check out this post on Canva resume templates.
Canva’s strength is enhancing your resume’s design.
But most hiring managers ultimately care more about your resume's content than how it looks.
Make a resume with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the most used social media platforms for professionals.
It boasts 900.2 million users and helps job seekers find new opportunities daily.
Here are some pros to using LinkedIn to build your resume:
- Wide reach: LinkedIn has over 900 million users worldwide, so making your resume on this platform can help you reach a large audience.
- Easy to use: LinkedIn's resume builder is user-friendly and can generate a professional-looking resume quickly.
- Highly customizable: You can customize your LinkedIn profile and resume to showcase your skills, experience, and qualifications to fit your needs best.
Here are some cons to using LinkedIn to build your resume:
- Privacy concerns: When you make your resume on LinkedIn, your personal information, such as your work history and education, is visible to anyone who views your profile. This may raise privacy concerns for some users.
- Limited formatting: LinkedIn's resume builder is easy to use but may offer fewer formatting options than other resume-building tools.
That limited formatting holds you back when creating a resume with LinkedIn.
It’s a good way to get started, but it isn’t easy to personalize for each position you apply to.
It can also come off as “lazy” to hiring managers if other resumes were built and designed with more professional tools.
Make a resume with resume builders
Resume builders (like TealHQ) can be an ideal solution for job hunters.
It often allows you to create personalized and high-impact resumes for an affordable monthly subscription.
Here are some of the pros of using resume builders to create your resume: :
- Easy to Use: Resume builders are user-friendly and can help you create a professional-looking resume quickly.
- Customizable: Many resume builders offer a variety of templates and customization options, allowing you to create a unique and tailored resume that fits your needs.
- Saves Time: Resume builders can help you save time by automatically formatting and organizing your information.
- Accessibility: Many resume builders can be accessed online, allowing you to work on your resume from anywhere with an internet connection.
Here are some of the cons of working with resume builders to create your resume:
- Cost: Resume builders usually require a monthly subscription to give you access to all the resume-building features – though tools like Teal have a freemium option.
- Requires separate tools for cover letters (sometimes): Some resume builders only help you format and build your resume but can’t help with cover letters.
We should clarify that the last point would depend on the resume builder you’re working with.
For example, Teal leverages generative AI to help you write personalized cover letters in minutes.
Research the right resume-building platform to ensure it covers all your needs before investing in a solution.
Ok, we’re almost at the point where we’ll start building your resume.
Before we can, you’ll need to decide which resume format you want your resume to have.
There are two main types of two main types of resume formats you should be familiar with:
While there are technically more formats for resumes available, these are the two most used (and the best places to start).
Let’s look at each in more detail.
The chronological resume format
The chronological resume format for a resume is one of the most common and traditional types used.
In this format, your Work Experience section of the resume gets presented in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position held and working backward in time.
Many employers prefer this format as it provides a clear and easy-to-follow account of the candidate's work history, first highlighting the most recent and relevant experience.
It also allows employers to quickly assess a candidate's career progression and longevity in previous roles.
A chronological resume typically includes all the usual resume sections, such as education, skills, and any relevant certifications or professional development.
The functional resume format
The functional resume format for a resume is a type of resume that focuses on the candidate's skills and abilities rather than their work history.
In a functional resume, the candidate typically includes a summary or objective statement at the top, followed by a section highlighting their key skills and areas of expertise.
This section may be organized by skill category, such as communication and interpersonal skills, technical skills, or leadership abilities.
The Work Experience section of a functional resume is often condensed, with less emphasis on specific job titles or employers and more emphasis on the candidate's accomplishments and transferable skills.
This section may be organized by relevance to the job the candidate is applying for rather than by date.
Why use a functional resume?
A functional resume is often used by candidates with gaps in their employment history, changing careers, or having a non-traditional work history.
It can also be used by candidates who want to emphasize their skills and accomplishments over their work history.
For example, someone may be relatively new to the workforce, but they’ve already made a measurable impact in their company.
When looking for a new role, this candidate may want to emphasize what they’ve achieved rather than how long they’ve been actively working.
So far, we’ve covered everything you need to know about resumes, what information you should include, and how to format resumes for the best results.
Now, let’s get to the heart of this post: how to make a resume.
At this point, you have all the tools you need to organize, format, and write your resume.
And you have a list of platforms where you can start building immediately.
Now, we will look at how to make a personalized resume.
And at the end of each section, we’ll also share how Teal makes the process totally pain-free.
If you follow along with Teal, you could have a personalized resume built in 10 minutes from right now!
Let’s get started.
When creating your first resume, it's important to include contact information so potential employers can easily reach you.
Here are some essential pieces of contact information to include:
- Full name: Start your resume by including your full name at the top of the page, preferably in a larger font.
- Mailing address: Include your complete mailing address, including your street name, city, state/province, and zip/postal code.
- Phone number: Provide a phone number where you can be easily reached, including the area code. Make sure the number is active and professional and that you have voicemail set up in case you miss a call.
- Email address: Include an email address that you check regularly and that looks professional. Avoid using email addresses that are overly personal or unprofessional, such as "email@example.com."
- LinkedIn profile: If you have a professional LinkedIn profile, you can include the URL in your resume.
- Personal website or portfolio: If you have a personal website or online portfolio that showcases your work, you can include the URL in your resume.
Make it easy for potential employers to contact you by only including professional contact information that’s accurate and up-to-date.
How to add contact information with Teal
With Teal, you can actually modify which contact information you include/exclude for each resume you build.
Once you enter your Contact Information, you can add or remove these as necessary with the click of a button:
This helps you quickly tailor your resume to what a unique job description asks for.
A target title is the job title for which you are applying, and it should appear prominently on your resume.
The reason target titles are so important is often misunderstood.
Many applicants believe that employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes for keywords and job descriptions that match their open positions.
While employers do use ATS software, it usually isn’t to eliminate candidates based on keywords.
Instead, your target titles are important because they’ll jump straight out to the hiring manager reviewing qualified applications.
For that reason, your target title should be the same as the title of the position you’re applying to.
This is another reason why you should have personalized resumes for each position you want.
Related Post: Check out this article if you want to learn how to find the best ATS keywords for your resume.
How to create a Target Title with Teal
Adding target titles to your resume is easy with Teal.
Simply go to the Target Title section and click Add Target Title:
Then insert the specific title of the position you’re applying to and click Save.
A professional summary is a brief section at the beginning of a resume that provides a high-level overview of your skills, experience, and career objectives.
It's typically a few sentences long and serves as an introduction to the rest of your resume.
The purpose of a professional summary is to grab the attention of the hiring manager and give them a quick snapshot of who you are as a candidate and what you can offer.
Here are some resume-writing tips for your professional summary:
- Personalize your summary to the position you’re applying for
- Write it in the first-person voice
- Outline the information you want to include
- Concrete, measurable, and notable accomplishments,
- Any work you’ve done with well-known brands
- Include your target title
Your short professional bio is likely the first thing a hiring manager will read. Make sure it hooks their attention and immediately addresses what makes you the best person for the role.
How to write a professional summary with Teal
Writing professional summaries couldn’t be easier with Teal – mostly because our software will write it for you.
Teal includes generative AI directly in your dashboard to let you beat writer’s block and craft the messages you need to land interviews.
When you go to the Professional Summaries section in your resume builder, you’ll have the option to Generate with AI:
Then, with a single click, Teal will generate a professional summary for you:
You can polish the wording to your liking and have this section completed in 60 seconds flat.
Work experience demonstrates that you have practical knowledge and have applied your skills in real-world situations.
Employers look for candidates who have relevant work experience in their field or industry, as it helps them to identify the right person for the job.
When listing work experience on your resume, focus on the types of work experience that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
List work experience that showcases your skills and expertise in a particular field or industry.
This includes any paid or unpaid work experience, such as internships, part-time jobs, volunteer work, or freelancing.
Be sure to also include details about your job responsibilities and accomplishments.
This helps employers understand the level of responsibility you had in your previous roles and the impact you made in those positions.
How to add work history with Teal
With Teal, you have two options for adding work history:
- Import information from your LinkedIn profile
- Manually add work history
Importing your LinkedIn information is a great way to move the resume-writing process along, as it can be done with a click.
But remember, getting your dream job will mean personalizing every aspect of your resume if you really want to land an interview.
Teal lets you manually enter information with an intuitive and user-friendly dashboard.
In the work experience section, click Add Work Experience:
Then fill out the required information (company, position, length of employment, etc.).
When you’re done, click Save.
Under each position you save, you’ll also be able to add any noteworthy achievements while you held a specific position:
And as we saw with professional summaries, Teal’s generative AI can help you craft the right wording to highlight this achievement to hiring managers:
While you should never rely on AI to write the entirety of any message (professional summaries, achievements, cover letters, etc.), it drastically speeds up the process.
Use AI to generate the first draft of your achievements and manually personalize them to the role you’re applying to.
Education demonstrates that you have acquired the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in your field, and it can also help distinguish you from other candidates.
The educational section of your resume relates more to where you went to high school, college, and any graduate work you may have completed.
Include information about the degree you earned, the name of the institution, and the date you graduated.
You can also include additional information such as your GPA, academic honors or awards, relevant coursework, and extracurricular activities.
Pro-Tip: See what the job description asks for regarding educational requirements. When you meet those requirements, show this clearly on your resume using the same language in the job description.
How to add your education with Teal
Teal breaks everything down in an intuitive way. For the Education section of your resume, simply fill out the following fields:
- Educational institution
- Field of study
- Start and end date
You’ll also have a place to include written information for outlying scenarios (to explain why a GPA was low, for example, or to share extracurriculars completed while studying):
Adding certifications and licenses to your resume provides employers with tangible evidence of your knowledge, training, and expertise in a particular field.
This goes beyond general education (high school and college) to show that you’ve achieved a certain level of competence in a specific field.
Both are important, but certifications take your educational section to the next level by showing how you’re trained for the unique job.
When listing certifications and licenses on your resume, the process is pretty straightforward. Include the name of the certification or license, the issuing organization, and the date you received it.
You can also include additional details about the specific skills or knowledge that the certification or license demonstrates.
How to add certifications and licenses with Teal
Go to your Resume Builder and head to the Certifications section. Click Add Certification:
Then add the relevant information about your certification in each field as necessary:
Each certification will be saved to your Career History, so you can pick and choose which ones to include.
From there, Teal will handle all the formatting for you!
Relevant skills can demonstrate your suitability for a particular job and show that you have the necessary qualifications to excel in a specific role.
When listing skills on your resume, it's important to include both hard and soft skills.
Hard vs. soft skills
Hard skills are specific technical or job-related abilities, such as proficiency in a programming language, data analysis, or using a specific software program.
Soft skills, or interpersonal skills, are personal attributes and qualities that enable you to work effectively with others. They emphasize skills like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, or adaptability.
The types of skills you should list on your resume depend on the job you are applying for. You should review the job description carefully and identify the skills that the employer is looking for.
Here are a few pro tips for getting the most from your skills section:
- Search through the original job posting to find keywords related to skills (hard and soft skills)
- When you can, add those skills with the same wording as found in the job description
- Reiterate those skills in the achievements portion of your working history section
Consider the role you’re applying for and research which type of skills would most strengthen your resume.
How to add relevant skills with Teal
By now, you probably understand how user-friendly Teal is.
And you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that adding relevant skills with Teal is just as simple as anything we’ve seen so far.
Head to the Skills section of your resume and click Add Skills:
Then add your skill and hit Save:
Use Teal's AI Resume Builder to customize each resume with the option to select and deselect all the skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Adding interests to your resume sets you apart from other candidates and gives employers a better understanding of your personality and character.
Including interests on your resume can also establish common ground with potential employers and make you a more relatable candidate.
The main thing to remember here is that you should only add interests relative to the position you’re applying to or some massive achievement (qualifying for the Boston Marathon, for example, shows extreme discipline and dedication outside the office).
How to add interests with Teal
Head over to the Interests section of your Resume Builder, and click Add Interests:
And add your relevant interests as necessary:
When you’re done, click Save, and add new interests as needed.
This is one of the most important aspects when making a stellar resume.
Six in ten resumes contain at least one mistake. That’s nearly two-thirds of your competition.
You’ll have an instant advantage over other candidates by turning in an error-free resume.
In other words, you need to review your work to ensure it’s free from typos and grammatical errors if you’re serious about getting an interview.
If you’re using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you’ll have a built-in spell checker that’s pretty accurate – but not perfect.
We’d recommend using another tool like Grammarly with a second pair of human eyes.
Ideally, you’d have someone in your industry (a mentor, supervisor, colleague, etc.) review your resume.
That said, getting feedback on a resume from colleagues can be difficult if people don’t know you’re planning to transition jobs.
In a pinch, you can always ask friends and family to review your resume looking specifically for typos and grammatical mistakes.
Cover letters are an essential piece to most job applications. Like resumes, many employers expect personalized cover letters from each applicant.
Here are some best practices for writing your cover letter, many of which are similar to constructing your resume.
- Add a professional header with relevant contact information
- Greet the hiring manager by their first name (when you can)
- Make your first paragraph attention-grabbing – that’s your hook
- Explain how your relevant experience and professional work history make you the best candidate for the role
- Include relevant keywords and target titles to be scanned by ATS
For most job seekers, writing a cover letter is one of the more tedious aspects when applying for new roles.
Related article: If you need some help getting started, check out this resource on how to write a cover letter with ChatGPT.
But if you’re using Teal to build your resume, then you can have generative AI write a personalized cover letter, too.
How to make a cover letter with Teal
In Resume Builder, click the Cover Letter icon (it looks like a page of text that’s been dog-eared):
Again, it’s important that your cover letters are personalized to the position you’re applying for. That’s why Teal lets you match the job you want with the resume builder.
Then, by leveraging built-in generative AI technology, you can make a custom cover letter in seconds.
First, make sure you’re writing a cover letter for the right job. If not, click Switch Job:
When you’re sure you’ve got the right job for your cover letter, click Generate with AI:
And just like that, you’ll have the first draft of your cover letter written and tailored to a specific job in under 60 seconds.
From there, you can polish your cover letter until it truly reflects what makes you the best candidate for the position.
In this article, we’ve taken an in-depth look at how to make a resume.
We also explored a few options people can use to create resumes, which begs the question: Why get started with Teal?
Tools like Google Docs and Microsoft word help with the text portion of your resume but can be clunky and limiting in terms of formatting.
It’s also harder to personalize/track each of your resumes if you’re applying to multiple positions at the same time.
A resume builder like Teal, however, is the best and most affordable place to start. With Teal, you can:
- Import work history from LinkedIn for faster resume building
- Generate multiple resumes in a click so you can tailor each one to the position you want
- Leverage generative AI for multiple sections of your resume (and the entirety of your cover letter)
- Track all your jobs to help you manage communication and follow-ups
- Gain access to our Career Knowledge Base to stay current with the best job-hunting tips (also included within the app!)
If you’re ready to start building some serious resumes, get started with Teal 100% free.
You’ll get a sense of how powerful our resume builder is and learn first-hand why job seekers everywhere are landing their dream role with TealHQ.