A resume is a short document that summarizes your work history and skills.
It’s also much more than that. A resume markets your qualifications to hiring managers and lets them know whether you’re right for the job.
Job seekers often struggle with resume writing, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create a great resume. This article gives you the tips you need to write the perfect resume.
Whether you’re looking for a position in an office, retail, hospitality, or construction environment, or you want to work from home, we have a resume template to help you land that job interview.
Read on to discover the four most common resume types. Plus, we have five industry examples to show you what a strong resume should look like, including some of the best resume templates you’ll find anywhere.
All resumes have the same purpose — to stand out and highlight the skills and experience that make you a good fit for the position.
There are a few different ways you can structure your professional resume. Let’s take a look at four resume styles:
This is the most common type of resume. Each section of this simple resume is written in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job and working back to older ones.
This is a great resume format if you’ve recently worked in the same field as the job you're applying for.
One problem with chronological resumes is that they can draw attention to employment gaps or a lack of work experience.
If you have gaps in your work history, are changing careers, or you’re inexperienced, you might want to consider a functional resume.
A functional resume is organized by skill rather than by date. For example, you might have a category for “customer service skills” and another for “administrative support skills.”
The downside of a functional resume is that most employers expect to see your past jobs listed clearly on a resume. If you use a functional resume, they might worry that you’re covering up a spotty work history.
A combination resume blends elements of functional resumes and chronological resumes. It’s a good way to focus on your relevant skills while still showcasing your professional experience.
The only negative side of a combination resume is that it can get too long. If you’ve had a lot of jobs in your field, it might be best to stick with the chronological resume format.
A targeted resume is tailored to a specific job. All resumes should be customized, but a targeted resume takes it to the next level. Any job experience listed on your resume should relate to the job description.
A targeted resume can be chronological, functional, or combination. Targeted resumes are often used for professional positions like teaching, management, law, engineering, medicine, and architecture.
There are also other, less traditional resume formats, including video resumes, infographics, or resumes on business cards.
You should only use a modern resume format if the employer asks for it or if it’s common in your industry.
Want to write the perfect resume? Here are our top tips:
If you’re applying to multiple jobs, you should customize your resume for each one. That doesn’t mean you have to redo everything — just make some minor tweaks.
A good start is to look at the job description or company website. The things you emphasize in your resume should match the main focus of the position.
If you need a cover letter and resume, always try to address them to the hiring manager. You should also add the job title to your cover letter. Stick to a consistent muted color scheme for your resume and don’t make it too flashy.
Recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds reading each resume.
To make sure they see the important parts of yours, only include your most relevant experience and skills.
Try to put your most impressive qualifications near the top of the resume in case the hiring manager doesn’t have time to read the whole thing. If you can, keep your resume under one page in length.
Before a hiring manager can evaluate your resume, it often has to go through applicant screening software called an applicant tracking system (ATS).
The applicant tracking system scans your document, looking for specific keywords, and only those who meet the criteria make it to the next level. In fact, 75% of resumes are never seen by a real person.
You can increase your resume’s chance of making it past the ATS filter by using keywords directly from the job description.
Fancy resume design elements or interesting fonts might look pretty, but they could hurt your chances of getting hired.
When you upload your resume to a job application system, the formatting is usually stripped out, and some of your text might be lost with it.
A creative design also makes it hard for the ATS to screen the document. Choose an easy-to-read font such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Avoid borders, emojis, and other tables.
Spelling errors and bad grammar in a resume are a deal-breaker for 59% of hiring managers.
It’s never a bad idea to get a friend to proofread your resume or run it through an online grammar checker.
You should always read your clean resume out loud before hitting send. Don’t forget to check your contact details.
Take a look at these stellar resume samples for ideas about how to write yours. Even if you’re in a different industry, your resume layout will follow a similar format.
Note that each resume starts with a summary of the applicant’s qualifications and strong points. Use the introduction to catch a hiring manager’s attention before they even read the details of the resume.
If you’re looking for a job in an office setting, your resume should demonstrate that you have:
Time management skills
Communication and customer service skills
Basic computer literacy
While abilities like the ones above are transferable across most industries, make sure you read the job description carefully and tailor your resume to the specific skills required for the position. These should all be included in your skills section.
Only include your educational background if it’s relevant to the job. For example, you may have a certificate in business, bookkeeping, or administration.
Sample resume for an office job
Administrative assistant with six years of experience handling tasks like scheduling, invoicing, and communications. Aiming to find a managerial role at your company.
JMD International, 2017–present, Boston, MA
Coordinated meetings and scheduled calendars
Scheduled travel and helped plan corporate retreats
Set up and maintained filing systems
Compiled yearly reports
Bob's Cleaning, 2015–2017, Boston, MA
Answered and directed phone calls
Wrote emails, memos, and letters
Acted as the point of contact for clients
AA in Office Administration from Southwestern College, 2014
MS Office Suite
Retail jobs require a wide variety of skills. You should be able to provide excellent customer service and make sales. You might also need some technical skills like operating a cash register or POS (point of sale) system.
Each retail job calls for a different mix of these skills.
Read the job listing to find out which retail skills are important for the job you’re applying to, and emphasize those on your resume.
If possible, try to use scenarios from previous jobs. For example, mention your typical sales numbers or how many customers you helped in a day.
If it’s an entry-level position, you can showcase demonstrated skills from school, extracurricular activities, or volunteer roles.
Sample resume for a retail job
Accomplished and resourceful sales associate who loves helping customers. Experience in clothing and furniture sales. Three-time highest performing sales associate of the year.
Handling money and transactions
L&G Fashion Outlet, 2014–present, Austin, TX
Actively engaged customers by providing knowledge on fabrics, fit, and function of the products
Met and regularly exceeded sales quotas
Assisted with replenishing merchandise, store layout, and merchandise recovery
Responsible for closing store three nights per week
Sales Floor Team Member
Anderson Furniture, 2009–2014, Austin, TX
Gave prompt and friendly service to 20+ customers per day
Answered guest questions about merchandise
Helped keep sales floor clean and attractive
Northern College BA in Communications, 2005
The hospitality industry includes food and beverage services, travel and tourism, lodging, and recreation. Although these categories all require different skills, all hospitality jobs are essentially about service.
Hospitality employees often interact with customers closely, so emphasize your people skills and communication ability.
If you have experience serving drinks or working in a kitchen, add these skills to your resume. For those who have never worked in hospitality before, you can highlight transferable skills such as cash handling, customer service, and inventory management.
Sample resume for hospitality job
Hotel manager with 20 years of experience. Excels at leadership, managing operations, and guest services.
Hotel General Manager
Grand Royal Hotel, 2010–2020, Minneapolis, MN
Sold hotel rooms through direct client contact
Managed the front office, housekeeping, and food and beverage operations
Hired, mentored, and led teams
Ensured property was in accordance with all brand standards and legal compliance.
Guest Services Specialist
Grand Royal Hotel, 2003–2010, Minneapolis, MN
Answered phone and email
Handled check-ins and check-outs
Communicated with guests about hotel features, services, and rates
Bear Lake Lodge, 2000, Big Marsh, MN
Assisted guests by phone, email, and in person
Helped guests find items in gift shop
Prepared rooms for arrival
East College of Business
BA in Hotel Management, 1999
There is a range of different construction jobs, from general laborer to construction manager. For most of these positions, you’ll need to be physically fit and comfortable working outdoors.
Hiring managers are looking for hardworking candidates with demonstrated hard skills. For example, experience in bricklaying, roofing, fencing, or installing insulation can be beneficial.
They’re also looking for soft skills such as reliability, close attention to detail, and manual dexterity. Most construction workers need a driver’s license.
If you’re applying for a senior construction position, include any education on your resume.
Sample resume for a construction job
Summary of Experience
Hardworking construction worker with over three years of industry experience. A team player with bricklaying, excavating, and roofing experience.
Has worked on both domestic and commercial projects. Available for long-term or short-term work.
Trevor Ford Building (Austin, TX)
Worked as a general laborer
Used a range of building equipment and construction materials
Performed excavation duties
Assisted with bricklaying
The Building Co. (Austin, TX)
Assisted senior team members
Prepared trenches and footings
Transported materials between worksites
Erected temporary fencing
Occupational Health and Safety (2019)
Driver’s license and forklift license
Getting a work-from-home job can be competitive, so you’ll need an effective resume. A potential employer wants employees who have good time management skills and self-motivation.
Most remote positions require computer skills and typing skills, so you should include these in your resume. The job description will highlight any essential and desirable skills. If you have experience in data entry, customer service, social media, or word processing, it can be beneficial.
Try a chronological resume or a functional resume format. Start with a professional summary and follow with your key skills and experience.
Sample work from home resume
An experienced and self-motivated remote agent who can work efficiently from home. Proficient in using computer programs, including the Microsoft Office suite. Excels in customer service, both online and over the phone. Confident in bookkeeping and data entry.
Social media management
Alliance Marketing Pro (Austin, TX)
Assisted customers via email and social media
Made outbound phone calls to existing customers
Offered technical support over the phone and email
Used Microsoft Excel for data entry
Created and sent invoices
Mary Robbins Virtual Services (Austin TX)
Freelance Virtual Assistant
Assisted clients with data entry
Managed social media accounts
Answered customer queries over email
Operated a virtual help desk
Created customer invoices
Prepared financial reports
Associate degree in business
Typing speed of 70 words per minute
Once you’ve selected the best resume sample for your application, it’s time to customize it to the job. Before you apply, read these resume FAQs:
Not necessarily. The purpose of your resume is to demonstrate why you’re qualified for the position. If an old job isn’t relevant to the job you’re applying for, leave it off of the resume and save space for more important information.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t include jobs from a different industry if you think those jobs highlight relevant skills.
For example, if you’ve worked in an office, your customer skills will be transferable to a retail position.
Most resumes should only be a single page. If you’ve been in the workforce for a long time and have held many relevant jobs, it’s okay to have a two-page resume.
A great resume is never longer than two pages unless it’s for an academic role. Hiring managers are busy and want your resume to be a quick read.
Your resume and cover letter work together. The resume details your work history and abilities, while the cover letter explains how those qualities make you perfect for the job.
Your cover letter is also your chance to explain anything in your resume that may raise questions, such as gaps in employment. You can personalize your cover letter with the job title and flag any desirable skills from the job description.
Some recruiters care more about the resume, while others focus on the cover letter. Also, cover letters are sometimes optional, while a resume almost never is. But for best results, you should always submit both.
An effective resume is short and sweet. Most hiring managers don’t expect you to list your hobbies.
Your resume should focus on relevant work skills. What you do in your personal time has no bearing on your ability to get the job done.
The only time you should list your hobbies is if they’re relevant to the job. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a writer, one of your hobbies could be writing ebooks. If you want to be a personal trainer, your hobbies may include running in marathons and competing in fitness tournaments.
If you’ve submitted a resume and haven’t had any feedback, it’s appropriate to follow up on your application. The job listing may include a hiring timeframe, but you should expect to hear back within two weeks if it doesn’t.
After two weeks, you can address the hiring manager in an email. Keep it brief, with a professional subject line. Try to address the hiring manager by name and include the job title.
Be courteous and thank them for their time. At the end of the email, include your personal contact details. If you don’t hear back, it’s time to apply elsewhere.
Your resume is an important part of your job search. When you use a modern resume template, you can get noticed by a potential employer.
There are four resume types: chronological resume, functional resume, combination resume, and targeted resume. Chronological is the most common and lists your job history, starting with your most recent role.
Using our office, retail, hospitality, construction, and work-from-home free resume templates, you’ll be able to create a resume of your own. Your dream job could be closer than you think.
Did you know we have a resume builder? All you need to do is sign up and create a profile.