How to Make a Resume in 2024 (Tips, Tools, & Examples)

|
Calendar Icon
January 25, 2024
|
Edited by
|
Clock Icon
19
min read

3 key takeaways

  • Where to start to make a resume
  • What to include on your resume for effective content management
  • How to write a resume with a tool like the free Teal AI Resume Builder

Your resume is your single greatest professional asset. 

Not only is it one of the primary ways to get your foot in the door, land an interview, and get hired, but it's also the culmination of your career history and experience—showcasing your skills, achievements, and impact.

Whether you're just starting out, have years of work experience, or are a new job seeker, understanding how to make a resume leading into 2024 is a crucial skill for the foreseeable future and throughout your career. But there's a lot of misleading information and conflicting advice about resume organization

In this guide, you'll find research-backed methods for how to make a resume the right way. The tips and tools below will walk you through the process step-by-step, including nuances like how to prepare, the best way to build your experience section, and the important role of relevance across every section. 

How to make a good resume in 2024

Whether you're creating your resume from square one or working on updating an outdated document, streamlining this process all comes down to your execution. 

Below, you'll learn the right way to:

  • Prepare yourself for making a resume
  • Select the best resume format
  • Present your contact information
  • Create your resume title
  • Write your professional resume summary
  • Build your work experience 
  • Focus on your education and certifications
  • Include specific skills
  • Incorporate other optional details such as projects, awards, volunteer work, and more.
  • Update your resume
  • Compliment your resume with a cover letter

Before you get started, one guideline to remember is that the job of your resume is to showcase the top 10% of your skills and experience that are 100% relevant to the role you're applying for. Every section outlined below will focus on how to write a resume for a job in a way that aligns with this principle. 

Let's get started! 

Step #1: Prepare to make a resume

Before diving into the details of resume writing, getting your proverbial ducks in a row is crucial. 

Understanding how to prepare a resume can streamline the entire process, making it smoother (and faster!). 

Here are five things to do before you start writing a resume :

  1. Gather your career details: Make sure you have current and accurate company information, employment start and end dates, job titles, and your tangible achievements and skills. Take note of schools attended, degrees earned, and all certifications. If you're a recent graduate, include courses studied, relevant accolades, your GPA, or outstanding projects. Make a list of up-to-date, relevant online profiles, including LinkedIn, personal websites, or portfolio links.
  2. Organize your information: Create dedicated folders for each resume section, e.g., Certifications, Work Experience, Education, etc.. (If you have hard-copy credentials like certificates, organize them in a file for easy access.)
  3. Adopt the right mindset: Revisit your past roles, not just for the details but to understand the value you brought. This will help you position each experience as you add them to your resume.
  4. Seek inspiration: Look at resume examples from your industry. Understand trends and take note of compelling ways to present similar information.
  5. Set the stage for tools: If you're considering intuitive tools like the Teal AI Resume Builder, familiarize yourself with what it can do. Know what information it needs and how it can best showcase your experience. 

Step #2: Select the right resume format

The layout of your resume serves as its foundation, with the format playing a critical role in shaping the presentation of your credentials. 

The best resume formats ensure you highlight your qualifications in a way that grabs attention and matches the expectations of hiring professionals. Here are a few considerations:

  • The most widely recognized format is the reverse chronological resume. It presents your work experience in a clear, linear progression, making it easier for hiring managers to trace its course. This format is straightforward, clear, and direct.
  • If you're just starting out, pivoting careers, or working in an industry where tools and software reign supreme, a hybrid resume might be more appropriate. This format starts with a professional summary, followed by a "Skills" section that immediately spotlights hard skills.
  • In choosing the perfect format, consider where you are in your career, the nature of the roles you're applying for, and which design best conveys your strengths and achievements.
Choose the right resume format to highlight your qualifications.

Get your resume design right

Your resume presentation goes beyond the content—it's also about how you frame that content. 

The look, feel, and overall aesthetics shape a first impression. A glance can determine if your resume gets the attention it deserves in seconds.

As you start to create your resume, you need to consider the design. 

If you're using a robust, intuitive tool like the Teal AI Resume Builder, a lot of these design elements are considered for you—offering some customization after you've input your experience and other key details. But, if you're building a resume on your own, below are some best practices you need to be aware of upfront.

Best practices for creating a clean and professional resume

Resume templates

Opt for a simple resume template that's clean and modern.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) cannot scan overly designed templates with images or heavy graphics. 

In case you don't know, the ATS is a digital filing system hiring professionals use to organize the application process. They can also search these systems for specific skills and keywords—but more on that later. 

Because resumes scan into these systems, choose a modern resume template that can be easily scanned without formatting issues.

Pro Tip: Explore this collection of the best resume templates—a carefully curated selection that balances professional design and ATS-compatibility.

Resume structure

Your resume should have a logical flow—starting with your header and contact details, followed by a professional summary, then detailing experience, education, and other relevant information. 

Resume length

How long a resume should be depends on your career span and depth of experience. 

New graduates or those in the first ten years of their career might be best off with a one-page resume, while seasoned professionals may require up to two pages. 

The key is to prioritize relevance and clarity over length.

Resume header and headings

Your resume header should prominently feature your name, making it the focal point. Essential contact details are directly below. Remember to keep it minimalistic, avoiding decorative elements.

Your resume headings should be used to identify each section. They stand out from the rest of your resume in bold and with slightly larger text than the rest of your content. 

Resume aesthetics

  • Margins: Consistent resume margins give structure to your resume. Typically, one-inch to one-half-inch margins on all sides is best practice.
  • White space: Use enough white space to break up your text to improve readability and prevent the document from feeling cluttered.
  • Bullets: Use resume bullet points to break down information—especially in your work experience achievements.
  • Fonts: Stick to professional and legible resume fonts regardless of industry or field. Arial, Times New Roman, Poppins, and Calibri are timeless choices.
  • Colors: While using colors for emphasis is okay, keeping them subtle and legible is essential.

Start your resume with Teal

Before you start making a resume (or updating an outdated version), you need the right tools.

The free Teal AI Resume Builder is a game-changer, offering one platform to create, write, update, analyze, and improve your resume. And you can jumpstart the entire process by uploading your LinkedIn profile or outdated resume to get a head start.

With Teal, managing your career history becomes organized, functional, and straightforward, simplifying your resume writing, one step at a time.

Build a resume with Teal
Make your resume with Teal's dynamic, intuitive builder.

Step #3: Add your contact information

Before a prospective employer can reach you, they need to know how. 

Writing your resume contact information is the gateway to potential opportunities. It should be prominently and correctly displayed. 

Your name and contact information should include:

  1. Full Name
  2. Phone Number
  3. Location
  4. Professional email address
  5. LinkedIn profile URL 
  6. Portfolio or personal website URL (if applicable)

The correct contact information structure:

Full name as your resume header

Location | Phone number | Email address | LinkedIn URL | Portfolio or website URL

What to Exclude:

  • Your address: You no longer need your street address—just city and state.
  • Personal information: Social security number, marital status, age, or other private details.
  • Unprofessional email addresses: It's time to reconsider addresses like sparkleponi8362768@email.com and opt for something more professional.
  • Irrelevant social media accounts: For example, your personal Instagram with non-professional content.

Step #4: Write your resume target title

Your target title isn't about communicating where you've been but showcasing where you're headed. You should tailor it to every role you apply to, meaning it may vary across every resume you submit with a job application.

Positioned prominently at the top of your resume, your resume title plays a strategic role in grabbing the attention of potential employers or recruiters—allowing you too craft the narrative for the rest of your resume.

While adjusting your title to align with every job posting is a strategic play, the rest of your resume also needs to align. If you label yourself a "data scientist," the experiences, skills, and achievements listed below should validate and support that claim.

A target title is essential when considering what to write in a resume, as it helps you:

  • Tell your story
  • Make strong first impressions
  • Align experience with job descriptions

In addition to the details above, if a company is using an ATS and hiring personnel searches for that specific title, they can easily find your resume because you've included that particular job title as a keyword.

Pro Tip: If you're looking for titles that align with the roles you've held in the past, try ChatGPT resume inquiries and see what insights materialize.

Step #5: Write your resume summary

Your resume summary, often called your professional summary or short professional bio, is a brief snapshot of who you are professionally. 

Think of it as an elevator pitch or your highlight reel, showcasing your career in aggregate—zeroing in on top achievements, skills, and qualifications in a concise way. 

Hiring managers only have so much time to take a first pass at every resume. Because of this, your professional summary alone can make or break your chances of landing an interview. The overall objective? To generate enough interest to ensure they want to (and will!) keep reading.

Now, let's get into how to build a resume summary. Your professional summary should:

  • Be tailored to the job you're applying for using language and keywords from the job description to highlight your relevant skills, impact, and qualifications. 

For example, let's say you're a project manager, and a job description mentions a tool like Airtable; you could say something like, "Successfully managed and tracked over 50 projects in Airtable with a 95% on-time completion rate."

  • Incorporate a time-based statement like "Growth Marketing Manager with 7 years of experience..." 
  • Include at least two relevant skills and how you used those skills to have an impact. For example, "I created intuitive interfaces that increased user engagement by 25% and reduced bounce rates by 50%."

Below are 5 best practices to help you get started writing your summary.

  1. Keep your summary brief; between 3-5 sentences is ideal.
  2. Always use the first-person voice.
  3. Use action verbs that demonstrate motion. For example, words like "generated" and "achieved."
  4. Avoid using generic buzzwords or clichés. Instead, focus on specifics that distinguish your relevant experience.
  5. Align your summary with the rest of your resume. The skills and qualifications should speak to what the reader will find in the rest of your content.

Writing a professional summary with no experience

Unlike mid-level job seekers, if you're new to your career or are pivoting roles or industries, writing a professional summary without relevant work experience can feel daunting. But remember, you have plenty of other applicable life experience outside of a traditional job that can speak to your abilities. 

Consider incorporating:

  • Coursework where you gained tangible skills
  • Projects you completed as part of your education or previous role and the outcome
  • Relevant volunteer experience—highlighting the right skills
  • Leadership roles that can attest to skills like teamwork, management, or organization
  • Professional certifications that align with your career path
  • Software or tools you're familiar with

Pro Tip: Remember you should always be tying these elements back to the requirements of the job description. Check out these resume summary examples for inspiration across roles and industries.

Write your resume summary with Teal

Summing up your experience, skills, and impact in just a few lines can be hard, let alone striking the right balance between confidence and humility. (And sometimes, just getting started is half the battle.) 

With the Teal Resume Summary Generator you can use artificial intelligence to create the foundation for a summary that grabs attention, aligns with the role you're applying for, and makes hiring professionals want to dig deeper. 

How to make a resume professional summary
Write your resume summary with Teal.

Writing a resume objective

If you're trying to decide between a resume objective and a professional summary, you should know a few things before you start. 

A resume objective is similar to a professional summary with one major difference: a resume objective also includes career goals, aspirations, and what you want to achieve in the role you're applying for. 

Modern resume practices indicate an objective can be perceived as outdated or even generic—especially when they aren't tailored effectively to a specific job. So, if you're deciding between a resume summary or objective unless you feel you have absolutely no relevant experience to include (you do!), steer clear of a resume objective and write a professional summary instead. 

Step #6: Build your resume work experience

After your professional summary, it's time to build out your work experience. Your resume work experience bridges the bridge between your professional history and the role you're applying for. 

Arguably, the most important section of your resume, "Work Experience," emphasizes your career's depth, relevance, and impact.

Best practices for how to set up a resume work experience section

Let's get into some best practices for how to put together a resume "Work Experience" section. 

Relevance

First, remember every position and achievement you highlight in your work experience section should be relevant to the role you're applying for. And if possible, each of these should also include skills and numbers, data, or metrics. 

For example, let's say you're a special education teacher; you might be qualified to apply for a position as an on-site director of specialized services or as a remote curriculum developer. 

While your classroom management skills, with a 50% reduction in behavioral incidents, are valuable in the director position, they might not be as relevant when applying for the remote curriculum development job.

Consistency 

Next, remember consistency is key when making a resume "Work Experience" section. Formatted in reverse chronological order, with your most recent position at the top, every relevant role should showcase the same information:

  1. Company name
  2. Job title
  3. Location
  4. Dates of employment
  5. 3-5 work bullet point achievements per role

Format

Finally, the heart of your experience is your achievements. But you aren't alone if you're wondering what to write in a resume achievement. 

The best way to write each achievement is using the following formula (or something similar).  

Success Verb + Noun + Metric + [Strategy Optional] + Outcome = 1 bulleted achievement 

Examples of how to write a simple resume work experience 

Strategic initiatives
Achieved sales growth by 35% by implementing a new digital marketing campaign, increasing annual revenue by $500,000.
Project success
Led the Green Energy Initiative project and delivered it 2 months ahead of schedule, which reduced client's carbon footprint by 20%.
Process improvements
Designed and implemented a new inventory management system that reduced product waste by 15%—saving the company $200,000 annually.

Create your most important resume section with Teal

In one click, the AI within the Teal AI Resume Builder can help you craft resume achievements for your work experience without the frustration of staring at a blank screen or toggling between platforms. 

Starting with Teal gives you a solid foundation to work from with tailored, metric-focused accomplishments to maximize the impact of your experiences in a streamlined, efficient, and professional way.

Make resume writing seamless, one achievement at a time.

Tailoring your experiences to the job

Learning how to make a resume for a job is one of the most important skills you can have as a professional.

Think of the work experience you're creating now as the foundation; then, when you apply to different roles, you'll tailor your resume accomplishments to each specific role. Let's look at an example.

Suppose you previously worked as a marketing manager and are applying for a role in content strategy. In that case, you'd highlight your experience creating content calendars, overseeing the creation, and analyzing engagement metrics rather than focusing on broader marketing initiatives that may not be as relevant. 

While you might have a diverse range of achievements and work experience, creating a targeted resume is crucial to emphasize the parts of your career most applicable to the role at hand. This makes it clear to the hiring manager that you have the specific skills they're looking for.

Pro Tip: Remember the ATS? The best way to get found by hiring professionals within that system is to be qualified for the jobs you apply to and demonstrate that qualification by aligning your skills and qualifications using precise keywords and language from the job description. 

Step #7: Create a resume Education Section

Learning how to create a resume "Education" section is pretty straightforward. 

Sitting just below your work experience, this section highlights your academic background and shows prospective employers you have the foundational knowledge or specialized training needed for the position.

Your resume "Education" section should start with your highest level of education first, then move backward, listing each subsequent degree or educational qualification. 

Include the degree earned, the institution's name, and the graduation or completion date. If you're still pursuing a degree, "In Progress" or "Expected Graduation Date: [Month, Year]" gives clarity on your current status. 

If you're a recent grad looking to provide a more dynamic picture of your skills and background, consider  including:

  • Your GPA (if it's above 3.0)
  • Relevant honors
  • Coursework
  • Projects
  • Academic achievements
Making a resume education section
Structure resume education in a clean, concise format.

You can structure this like a "Work Experience" section with 3-5 bullets highlighting the top skills and their subsequent impact.

Ultimately, if you're offering an in-depth look at your academic experience because you have limited professional experience, the goal is to present these details in a clear and organized way that aligns with the position you're seeking.

As a note, because your resume should only be 1-2 pages, if you find yourself with a limited resume real estate, only including your highest level of education is acceptable. 

Step #8: Include a dedicated spot for certifications

How do you make a resume that includes your certifications? With a dedication section that highlights the details of these specific achievements in one concise, well-structured, consistent format.

Certifications on a resume highlight your qualifications, offering insight into your dedication, discipline, and commitment to professional development. To incorporate them into your resume, include:

  1. The name of the certification, any common acronyms or abbreviations it may be known by (such as PMP or CPA)
  2. The certifying agency using the full business, institution, or organization name
  3. The start date and date of completion using the same date format for each

And while, in some professions, certifications are more of a "nice to have," certifications are part of the foundation for many careers.

Sitting beneath your "Education" section, "Certifications" should look something like this:

Certifications
Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) | Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)
June 2023
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional | Amazon Web Services
October 2022

Step #9: Add your skills

If you made it this far, you already know that your skills should be incorporated throughout the other sections of your resume, like in your professional summary and work experience. So where does the concept of a resume "Skills" section fit in? 

After Certifications (or Education if you don't have any relevant certificates) comes Skills. Think of this section as a snapshot of your overall strengths, allowing hiring managers to assess your fit for the role without reading your entire resume in detail. 

But there's a caveat. 

While resume soft skills are, of course, part of your skillset, this section actually isn't the best place for them. Soft skills (communication, collaboration, organization, and time management) are difficult to measure objectively. Without showcasing how you used those things for impact, they're just words on paper. It doesn't mean you can't include them; just keep in mind they have very little merit without context

Resume hard skills, on the other hand, are tangible assets. And the best way to write a resume "Skills" section is to list these technical skills or abilities (like programming languages or the tools you use to collaborate and communicate, like Jira or Loom), making them easily identifiable. 

Pro Tip: Listing these abilities in specific categories will not only help you stay organized but will also help hiring professionals easily understand just what you have to offer.

How to create a resume Skills section
Categorize your resume skills.

Manage your skills with Teal

To optimize your resume "Skills" section, the Teal AI Resume Builder has a Skills Management feature to customize, organize, and categorize your abilities for a clean, tailored presentation—every time.

In just one click, add or remove specific skills or even entire categories so your resume aligns with every job description.

Don't manually adjust your skills for every application. Streamline, optimize, and impress. Sign up for Teal for free today.

Now that you've learned about the fundamental sections of a resume let's talk about a few optional sections that might be relevant.

Step #10: Create a Projects section

Whether you've been in the same career for some time, are an independent contractor, or have a minimally relevant career history, traditional work experience might only partially capture your capabilities or potential. 

In instances like those above, adding relevant projects in a resume can demonstrate your applied skills, initiative, creativity, and ability to drive results.

Sitting beneath your "Skills" section, follow the resume guide below to incorporate and format relevant projects correctly: 

  1. Name of the project 
  2. The organization you were with while completing that project
  3. Dates started and completed
  4. The scope (for example, the size of the team, project duration, or budget)
  5. Measurable results and any feedback received

Here's how it looks on a resume:

How to write a resume Projects section
Add projects help you showcase skills and qualifications.

As a note, you can also include specific and notable projects as part of your professional summary or work experience. 

Just remember to incorporate them in a concise, clear way—including specific skills and impact and using a similar format as you would for writing a resume achievement. 

For example, as a work experience bullet, it would look something like: 

Using data analysis, identified audience preferences and designed and executed a social media campaign targeting millennial consumers, resulting in a 50% increase in brand followers across various platforms, a 25% boost in organic reach, and a 10% rise in conversion rates.

Step #11: Build out additional sections 

If you want to know how to write a simple resume but also have additional relevant information you wish to include, like volunteer experience, publications, and awards, creating dedicated sections for these details is the key to keeping everything straightforward. 

Awards and Scholarships 

Adding scholarships and awards on a resume offers concrete evidence of your skills, dedication, and exceptional performance.

And whether or not you've earned "employee of the year" or received a scholarship for academic excellence, if these achievements are relevant to the position you're applying for, here's how you show them off:

  1. Name of award or scholarship
  2. Organization 
  3. Month and year of receipt 

Volunteering and Leadership

Resume volunteering and leadership experience highlights your commitment to service, capacity to work in a team, and ability to manage, inspire, and guide others. 

These experiences reflect qualities like selflessness, initiative, and accountability. And remember, as long as they're relevant to the role you're applying for,  just because you weren't paid doesn't make the skills you picked any less valuable.

Depending on the additional sections you've incorporated, "Volunteering and Leadership" will come after "Skills" and possibly below "Projects."

Here's how to put together a resume "Volunteering and Leadership" section. 

How to build a resume with volunteer experience
Relevant volunteer experience is a valuable asset.

Publications

Understanding how to make your resume stand out also means thinking outside the box from time to time. Adding publications to your resume showcases expertise. And whether you were the subject of an interview or the published author, if the content of your publication is relevant to the role you're applying for, adding it to your resume will ultimately boost your credibility. 

Below is the correct format for listing a publication on your resume.

  • Publication name
  • Publisher
  • Date 

Interests

Finally, the last optional section of your resume are your hobbies and interests. 

Adding hobbies and interests on a resume can strategically showcase your character. But including activities you enjoy outside of your professional journey needs a specific approach: Only add them if they're relevant to the role you're applying for.

Whatever you do, keep this section brief and relevant. List the hobbies that correlate to the job (you can also categorize them like you may have your "Skills" section), and that's it! 

Step #12: Strengthen your resume

Whew! That was a lot, but you're almost done! Below are some tips and resume best practices for strengthening your content to ensure it's concise, compelling, and credible. 

Double-check resume format consistency

Ensure you used consistent font size, uniform bullets, date and location formats, and style throughout.

Eliminate any redundancy

If you've repeated any information, skills, or achievements. Consolidate similar points.

Tweak the language

Use active rather than passive voice. Also, replace overused words (e.g., "helped" or "used") with more dynamic action verbs (e.g., "collaborated" or "utilized"). (Check out these resume synonyms for inspiration.) 

Check for grammatical and spelling errors

Proofread your resume with a tool like the Teal AI Resume Builder with built-in spelling and grammar review. 

A screenshot of Teal's spelling and grammar tool
Use Teal to check your resume's spelling and grammar as you write.

Trim and tighten

If your resume is longer than two pages, make it more concise. Aim for one page if you have less than 10 years of experience and two at most if you have more.

Resume examples

Below are a few resume examples to help you get started building your resume.

Step #13: Add a cover letter

A cover letter is more than just an attachment; it's a powerful tool to emphasize your qualifications and make a strong impression.

The best cover letter examples are tailored specifically to the job, making applications stand out. Here's how to get started:

Conduct research: Deep dive into the company's culture and the role you're applying for.

Always personalize: Address the hiring manager by name if you can. Avoid generic greetings if possible.

Highlight relevant experiences: Dig into the most relevant experiences and skills that align with the position you're applying for.

Include a strong call to action (CTA): End your letter by expressing your eagerness to schedule an interview or conversation. A CTA makes the hiring manager's next steps crystal clear and easy.

How to create a great resume: takeaways and tools

Creating a great resume is all about showcasing your unique story in a way that captures your qualifications and skills clearly, concisely, and consistently.

Remember, it's not just about ticking boxes; it's about keeping your content relevant to the job you're applying for, ensuring consistency in resume format and tone, and judiciously choosing the right sections and achievements that best mirror your experience and how it aligns with each job you apply for. 

The Teal AI Resume Builder is a dynamic tool that will help you create a resume with precision. Not only will an intuitive tool like Teal simplify the process, but it also has features to help you generate your summary and achievements with AI, customize each section, double-check your content, and so much more.

Ready to make a resume from start to success today?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make my own resume?

To make your own resume, start by choosing a clear and professional template (like one of Teal's!), then fill it with your personal information, work experience, education, skills, and more relevant to the job you're applying for.

How do I write a resume?

To write a resume, focus on concise, bullet-pointed descriptions of your achievements in past roles, tailoring the content to highlight skills and experiences relevant to the job you're applying for.

Where can I make a simple resume?

To make a simple resume for free, Teal offers a user-friendly and dynamic platform with the tools and features to make a simple, standout resume. You can also opt for Teal+ which includes Unlimited AI, Advanced Resume Analysis, and Unlimited Keywords.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

We help you find
the career dream.