Writing a Resume in Microsoft Word
Writing a resume in Microsoft Word offers a step-by-step guide for creating a new resume or revising an old one. If you already have the program installed on your computer, it’s a free way to get a resume. A resume is your introduction and first impression to a prospective employer.
The Microsoft Word program includes useful templates for users. The templates serve as guides with structure and formatting already in place. Choose a basic resume, curriculum vitae or job-specific resume. Insert your information by typing it in the template. You’ll be able to make edits to the document and change the formatting details to make it your own. Examples are provided to give you an idea of what a polished resume should look like.
The Style of Resume
As you make changes in the design and edits in the template, keep in mind the image you want to project. The resume is a first-hand look at your personal brand. If you’re looking for a creative job, you might want a creative-looking resume. For a high-level professional position, you may want to keep it more formal. Fonts and colors can vary based on your preferences, but most employers agree that simple and basic are best.
Information to Include
There are important details that should be included in any resume. This includes your contact information including your name, address, email address, social media contact info and phone number. Your employment history is key, but it’s usually recommended to only go back 10-15 years. Give enough info to describe your former jobs, but not so much detail that the reader gets bogged down. Include awards and achievements that make you stand out.
Review the Resume
Once you’ve written your resume, review the details to make sure you didn’t leave anything out. Proofread and check the spelling of the entire document. Ask someone you trust to look over the resume. Your resume is the ticket for an interview, so it needs to be correct.
After your proofreading is complete, name the resume document and save it to the computer. When you apply online through a website application or email, you can attach the resume document. Print a few copies on good quality paper stock to take with you to an in-person interview. Having a hard copy in addition to the digital copy can be advantageous and shows that you’re prepared.
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How to Write an Engaging Professional Background (Step-by-Step Guide)
How do you introduce yourself to the hiring manager in a way that’s impactful and memorable?
It’s quite simple – you summarize your professional background.
In other words, a summary of your career timeline and highlights. That means letting your employers know who you are in the corporate world as well as showcasing your credentials such as:
- Work experiences
Besides playing the part, you also need to look the part.
Which is why it’s important to present your professional background effectively to increase your chances of landing your next job interview.
What a Professional Background Includes
Your professional background is made up of the things you’ve achieved or developed over the course of your career.
This includes things such as:
- Work experience
- Academic qualifications
To put it another way, it summarizes the highlights of your corporate life including your how to list education on resume . For instance, the previous jobs you’ve worked at and the university you graduated from.
As opposed to looking back at your professional value and everything you’ve achieved, it may also sum up the purpose of your career choices.
Either way, it explains in a few sentences your skill sets and strengths, and why you’re qualified for the job vacancy you’re applying to.
The 5-Step Guide to Clarify Your Professional Background
Before writing your professional background, the first thing you need to know is your own strengths and values. Without a good understanding of why the hiring manager should choose to employ you, it’s difficult to put together a compelling profile.
That being said, follow the steps listed below.
List Your Top Skills
What are the skills you’re most confident in? Are there any that’s relevant to the job description?
Take into account your soft and hard skills , as well as your best qualities that indicate why you’re a strong asset in the workplace.
These can range from the skills you’ve spent time committing to and continuously working on such as programming. Or, it could be a quality you’ve always been naturally good at, e.g. leadership and communication.
When showcasing your level of ability, this should also be similar to the reasons why you were selected for your previous job positions.
Write Down Your Most Significant Achievements
This relates to your biggest achievements in both your work and personal life.
There’s more meaning in showing than just telling – which is why it’s effective to demonstrate what you’re capable of doing.
Talking about your skills and qualities is one thing. But proving your value by including the specific results and differences you’ve made as a result of your efforts is another.
Each of these shows the challenges you’ve overcome and the outcomes you’ve been responsible for. Not only does it add to your credibility since you’ve made a direct impact. It’s something that can catch the attention of your readers.
Think About Your Career Goals and Objectives
Instead of focusing on everything you’ve accomplished over your years of experience, consider your career resume objectives .
How have these influenced your choices and led you to who you are today?
In other words, what’s the long-term vision that motivates you to move forward as a professional?
This shows employers that you have a genuine interest and curiosity in what you’re pursuing.
Meaning, you’re more likely to commit because you’re self-driven.
When hiring teams are looking to recruit someone for a full-time or permanent position, it’s preferred to have a candidate onboard that won’t just quit within the first few months of being employed.
Know Your Personality Type
Knowing your personality type probably isn’t something you would mention in your resume or in a job interview.
However, the point of identifying your personality type is to get insight into your own:
For example, you may realize that you’re an extravert who gains more energy when working together in a team environment. On the other hand, you may be an introvert that can work as a team but would rather work independently.
Anyhow, you’ll get an insight into your own character as well as clarity of your own values. It’s especially helpful on the journey to self-improvement.
Who You Are Now vs Who You Want to Be
If you’re a job seeker with how to make a resume with no experience , then you may want to focus on the future aspects of your career.
So, ask yourself:
- What skills are you looking to develop?
- Who’s the type of person you want to be in 5 years?
By looking at who you are now and the person you want to become, you get to see the gaps stopping you from reaching the ideal version of yourself.
Alternatively, for those of you who are seasoned professionals, use this opportunity to reflect on how you can align the person you’ve worked hard to become with the ideal candidate recruiters are looking for.
How to Write a Professional Background to Stand Out
After following each of the previous steps, you should have more ideas of what to talk about and a better understanding of your values.
So now, we'll get into the step-by-step process to write and structure your professional background to impress your hiring manager. Keep in mind that this belongs to the summary section of your resume.
1. State Your Work Experiences
To start off, mention your most significant work experiences that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Here are a few points to include:
- Specific job titles
- Duties and responsibilities
- Years of experience
Your skills should be mentioned too as you’re providing an overview of your employment history.
If you’d like to add a few more intricate details, feel free to do so as long as it’s significant. For instance, the exact years of experience you have or an area of the industry where you specialize in.
It’s also impactful if your work experience is listed in reverse chronological resume since it emphasizes your career progression.
2. Mention Key Accomplishments
Once you’ve mentioned your work experiences, the next step is to mention your accomplishments.
It’s not as impactful to make a statement without having anything to support them. After all, actions speak louder than words. That’s another reason why it’s important to include any significant results you’ve been responsible for in your previous job positions.
As mentioned earlier, it adds to your credibility because it indicates you’re capable of making a real difference.
Resume tips is to use data and statistics to make it more authentic and compelling at first glance.
3. Emphasize Your Biggest Strengths
As you’re how to edit resume your professional background, focus on highlighting your strengths.
Look at what your biggest highlights are and what’s most valuable to your employers. Use your selling points as a guiding principle. So, when they’re skimming through your resume, they’ll immediately notice your areas of expertise.
4. Make it Relevant to the Hiring Manager
To put it another way, how to tailor your resume to a job to fit the needs of the company you’re applying to.
You’ll need to relate back to the job description to show you’re a good match for the role. While you should be talking about yourself, you should also be linking back to the expectations of the hiring manager to prove you’re the best candidate.
5. Keep It Short and Concise
Since you’re summarizing your corporate life, it shouldn’t be more than 3 sentences long.
Keep it short, concise, and straight to the point. It’s more compelling when there’s no fluff included since you’re focusing on your strongest points.
6. Consider Your Unique Selling Points
Your unique selling points are transferable skills that have a positive effect on your job skills and performance.
Try to differentiate yourself from the other job seekers by mentioning the skills, knowledge, or qualities you have that they probably don’t. This helps you stand out from the crowd and implies you’re capable of carrying out the job responsibilities to a better standard.
3 Ways You Can Use Your Background to Help Your Career
At this point, you know how to introduce and present your professional background on your resume. But there are still ways you can apply the steps in this article to further progress in your career.
A resume is essential if you’re looking to get a new job to progress in your career.
Having a well-presented professional background makes it likely to catch their interest with what you have to offer. On the spot, you’ll know your strengths and weaknesses when asked by an employer or as you’re writing your CV or cover letter .
There are two key events where you may be asked to introduce yourself:
- Networking events
In an interview, you could be asked to tell the hiring manager about yourself. This typically refers to your professional background and skills, including what makes you uniquely qualified for the role.
In terms of networking events, it’s always good to make connections in the corporate environment. You never know who you might be speaking to and when it could lead to a new opportunity.
Understanding Your Values
Understanding your values in full transparency could lead to a higher job satisfaction because you know what’s most meaningful to you. When you get to work every day on something you’re passionate about, it tends to lead to better mental health.
It also has an influence on your ethics and decision-making.
Examples of a Strong Professional Background
Customer service resume.
Chief Marketing Officer Resume
Corporate Rotational Graduate Resume (Interviewed by Sony)
Medical Assistant Resume
Marketing Project Manager Resume
A Shortcut to Present Your Corporate Value Effectively
The first few words on your resume have a factor in where you stand amongst all the other applicants on the list.
However, it takes time to put the pieces together since you’ll have to:
- Outline your ideas
- Research the company
- Draft your notes
- Edit and proofread
It’s common to go through writer’s block or analysis paralysis during the process.
Most times, you’ll want to write a high-quality resume without having to spend hours on your application.
Rezi has made it easier for job seekers to get more job offers faster by making use of AI in their resume builders to ensure you’re not missing anything important. You won’t have to worry about what to write next since they’ll give you inspiration based on your own situation.
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Hopefully, after following the steps in this guide, you’ve gained insight into your:
- Best skill sets
- Core values
- Interests and preferences
- Strengths and weaknesses
Knowing how to present your professional background the right way improves your perceived value and credibility. Therefore, you’re more likely to leave a strong first impression and mark your spot on the list of potential employees.
But even if you already know what your best selling points are, it’s just as important to communicate them in a way that matches your hiring manager’s success criteria.
How to Write About Your Professional Background
Published: July 12, 2023
A great way to share more about your background is to have a prepared document, like a professional bio .
A professional bio can be shared with prospective employers, shared with your colleagues, included in your social media profiles, used for speaking engagement announcements, or used as an author bio on a blog.
Here, we'll explore some tips to help you feel more comfortable when writing your own professional background.
Let's dive in.
- What's a Professional Background?
- How to Write One
Professional Background Examples
What is a professional background.
A professional background is a summary of your professional experiences — coupled with any relevant personal information, including interests or passions — that you'll use throughout your career as you network with industry peers, apply for new roles, or seek thought leadership opportunities.
Your professional background includes previous jobs you've had, successful projects you've worked on, significant accomplishments like promotions or awards, professional networking organizations you belong to, and anything else you'd share with someone who wants to know more about you professionally.
Not only is sharing more about your background a great way to tell more about yourself to others, it's also an opportunity to wholly reflect on your professional journey and the goals you've achieved — plus, what you hope to achieve in the future.
Writing about your professional background for the first time may feel challenging or awkward, but it doesn't have to be. Next, let's dive into how you can get started.
How to Write A Professional Background
- Don't start from scratch.
- Know your audience.
- Choose first or third-person.
- Show professional progression.
- Highlight your accomplishments.
- Be personable.
- Ask for feedback.
1. Don't start from scratch.
If you're having trouble figuring out where to start, try using a professional bio template to guide you. Templates, like the ones featured below, make it easier for you to focus on your personal information and accomplishments, without having to worry as much about the structure.
Featured Resource: Professional Bio Templates and Examples
Download the Templates
2. Know your audience.
Take into consideration who will be reading your professional bio and cater to your reader.
You may also want to draft different versions of your document to best fit specific audiences. For example, the version you post on your LinkedIn may not be as detailed as the version you post on your personal website, and if your reader is a potential employer, it would help to include details that specifically highlight why you're the best candidate for the role for which you're applying.
HubSpot Founder Dharmesh Shah uses different bios for different platforms. On Twitter , for instance, Dharmesh's bio is short and sweet, which is perfect for Twitter's character limit.
Alternatively, on INBOUND's website , Dharmesh's bio is written in third-person for attendees. This bio makes Dharmesh's current role clear while providing some key background information.
The best part about this approach is that you can create as many versions of your bio as you'd like, or simply recycle a general version whenever you need it.
3. Choose first or third-person.
Knowing your audience will help you determine the best tone for your background. For instance, first-person is more casual and personable — great for social media and anytime you want to convey that you are speaking directly to the reader.
However, depending on your profession or who the document is being sent to, it may be better to go with writing in the third person. If you’re working in a more formal industry or applying for grants using the third person will give a more authoritative tone that emphasizes your expertise.
As mentioned before, it’s great to have multiple versions of your professional background so you can swap tones as needed.
4. Show professional progression.
As you're writing, think about structuring your professional bio in a way that creates a timeline to show your progression. Explain what your different roles were like, and emphasize responsibilities that set you up for success in your latter roles.
It's important to note that your timeline doesn't have to be linear. As Forbes notes, non-linear career paths are quickly becoming the new normal. The goal is to create a narrative that sums up your strengths and ties them all together.
"Look for a theme that runs throughout several of the jobs you've held, and present your choices in a way that shows common threads running through each of your career decisions," explains career strategist Jenny Foss.
The goal is to clearly show your audience the different roles you've had, and how all of your experiences have contributed to your overall professional development.
5. Highlight your accomplishments.
One of the best things about writing your professional background is that it's the perfect opportunity to brag about yourself — and I don't mean humble brag.
Think of the most successful projects you've been part of, the strategies you've helped develop and execute, the deals you've closed, the revenue you've generated, and anything else that stands out as a major accomplishment.
"A former manager once told me to keep a 'brag sheet' in a document on my computer. The idea was to create a running list of noteworthy accomplishments, media mentions, awards, and letters of recommendation that I could reference to make it easier to write about myself. It also doesn't hurt to open up this document whenever you're having a tough day to remind yourself what you're capable of,” Carly Stec, HubSpot's Team Manager of Content Conversion, told me.
It's also important to consider how success was measured in your previous roles — and how that might shape the way you write about it.
If success for you tends to be measured in quantifiable metrics, include strong statistics. It might look something like this:
- "In my first six months, I was able to sign up X amount of customers that generated an average monthly recurring revenue of $X."
- "I helped boost customer retention by X percentage."
- "With the strategy I developed, my team was able to lower customer acquisition costs by X percentage."
If your role is primarily measured through qualitative goals, share a highlight that speaks to skills you excel at. For example:
- "I successfully executed a major project using strong time management skills and communicated the results to C-suite stakeholders."
- "I was able to complete a project that was projected to take an entire quarter in half the time because of my organizational skills."
- "I was selected to lead a database cleanup project due to my attention to detail and strong team collaboration skills."
6. Be personable.
Timelines and accomplishments are great, but being personable is even better.
Readers should feel like they're getting some sense of who you are from your professional background. This gives readers the opportunity to know more about you beyond a professional scope. If you have any cool niche hobbies that you enjoy outside of work, this would be the time to share.
Here's a list of prompts to help you brainstorm the right "fun facts" to highlight:
- What TV show are you currently binging?
- Do you have any pets?
- What's something most people don't know about you?
- What languages do you speak?
- What are you most proud of yourself for?
- What’s something you've done that’s bucket-list worthy?
- What do you do to relax?
- What are three of your must-have apps?
- What would your favorite colleague say about you?
- What's the best advice you've ever received and how do you apply it to your life?
Being personable is also a great opportunity to address any unconventional moments in your professional background. For example, maybe you've made a drastic shift in your career path, or you took a sabbatical at some point.
These types of stories can make you more relatable to your audience, and you never know who you may end up connecting with over one of your hobbies or more personal moments.
7. Ask for feedback.
Constructive feedback is key when you're writing about yourself. While many choose to source feedback after completing a draft of their bio, it's just as beneficial to get feedback from your peers at earlier stages of your drafting process.
Oftentimes, our peers can help identify our strengths and where we have opportunities to improve. If you're having trouble developing a clear timeline or pinpointing which highlights you should mention, get together with a peer to brainstorm ideas.
Reflect on successful assignments that you've collaborated on and ask your peer to provide honest feedback about what you did best — and include that feedback in your bio.
If you need help getting started, here's a list of discussion questions to use with your peers to uncover professional strengths you might be overlooking in your own self-assessment:
- What role do you think I tend to play in group work?
- How have I helped you be more successful?
- What do you think my most impressive project has been?
- What was your first impression of me?
- What do you think my strengths are?
If you're feeling stuck, don't be afraid to leverage our free professional bio templates to help you get started.
Next, let’s go over professional background examples from both tenured and early-career professionals.
1. Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John opens her biography by covering her most recent role at Netflix, then goes all the way back to the beginning of her career. From there, she provides a detailed overview of her accomplishments, inserting the names of the most notable organizations she has worked with.
Notice how she familiarizes us with her by using her nickname, “Boz,” throughout her professional background. In the same way, you can use your nickname throughout your bio (if you’re writing it in third-person).
We’d recommend writing a background like Saint John’s if you’re seeking speaking or presenting opportunities.
2. Jim Kowalski
Jim Kowalski walks us through his passions before describing his work experience and accomplishments. He makes it a point to connect his love of the automotive industry to his ethos in his work. Another notable feature of his professional background is that he mentions a brand he invigorated (it was “almost dead,” he asserts). He closes with his fascinating adventures around the world, including building a home in Thailand.
Mention ways that you’ve prevented clients and other companies from failing. If you’ve had noteworthy adventures, consider bringing them into your professional background as well. A background bio doesn’t have to be wooden; it can be fun, too, as long as you remain within reason. Plus, it gives the reader a chance to connect with you.
3. Katherine Gundlach
If you’re a college student, you might not have a long list of professional accomplishments, but you can take note from Katherine Gundlach’s example and write about what you love to do — and why you love to do it.
Katherine Gundlach opens her professional background with her current status as a college student, then goes into an anecdote that describes why she became a photographer. In the latter half of the bio, she describes her mission when photographing others. In your own bio, describe the purpose of what you do (or the reason why you want to pursue a certain field).
She also says where she’s from. Mentioning personal information in your professional bio can be a way for readers, hiring managers, and colleagues to relate to you.
4. Erick Rheam
Erick Rheam’s professional background effectively outlines his path to becoming a motivational speaker. He also cements his expertise by stating that he speaks regularly across the U.S. After, he outlines his vision and purpose for doing what he does. Like some of the other examples on this list, he includes personal information about himself: that he’s a runner.
This professional background is done well because it’s succinct and balances professionalism, expertise, and personality. Consider achieving a similar balance in your own background document by dedicating 1-2 sentences to each aspect of your professional and personal life.
5. Dr. Houyuan Luo
Dr. Houyuan Luo’s professional background is a classic example of a bio that’s inspirational, professional, and persuasive.
In the medical industry, education is immensely important — how long you studied can determine your level of expertise. Dr. Luo immediately lists his academic background, then details how passionate he is for his field. He emphasizes his humanitarian values most, cementing him as an excellent candidate for clinical training and speaking opportunities.
If you work in the healthcare, non-profit, legal, educational, or environmental industries, consider emphasizing your values and ethos in your professional background. Like Dr. Luo, you can leave a mention of your current position for the last sentence.
6. Claire Buswell
Claire Buswell immediately establishes herself as a relatable persona by going over her personal history first — then connecting that to her role today. Because she was once in the same position as her clients, Buswell is better prepared to help them professionally. She makes that clear in her professional background and is vulnerable about how hard it was to find a job.
If you’ve created a business that solves a problem that you experienced, consider bringing that into your professional background. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. In fact, being vulnerable can make you more relatable, and your level of success now will be a testament to your methods’ effectiveness.
Ready to start writing?
Keep these tips and examples in mind as you're writing about your professional bio. Your final product should be a written statement that boasts your most notable skills and achievements. As you continue to progress in your career, take time to update your bio like you would your resume, and continue to impress your readers.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Don't forget to share this post!
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How To Write a Professional Background (With Tips)
- Top 10 Importance of professional Background
- 1. Educational Qualifications
- 2. Work Experience
- 3. Skills and Expertise
- 4. Certifications and Professional Development
- 5. Awards and Honors
- 6. Professional Affiliations
- 7. Volunteer Experience
- 8. Publications and Presentations
- 9. Projects
- 10. Personal Statement or Summary
- 11. Languages
- 12. Additional Information
- Professional Background samples
- 2. Personal Statement or Summary
- 3. Educational Qualifications
- 4. Professional Experience
- 5. Skills and Expertise
- 6. Certifications and Professional Development
- 7. Awards and Honors
- 8. Professional Affiliations
- 9. Volunteer Experience
- 10. Publications and Presentations
- 11. Projects
- 12. Languages
- 13. Additional Information
- Tips for Structuring:
- 1. Start with a Strong Opening:
- 2. Be Concise and Relevant:
- 3. Highlight Achievements:
- 4. Use Action Verbs:
- 5. Tailor Your Content:
- 6. Showcase a Range of Skills:
- 7. Include Certifications and Continuous Learning:
- 8. Professional Affiliations and Volunteer Work:
- 9. Ensure Readability:
- 10. Proofread Thoroughly:
- 11. Use a Professional Tone:
- 12. Update Regularly:
- 13. Include Keywords:
- 14. Add a Personal Touch:
- 15. Be Honest:
- Where to put your Professional Background
Ah, the art and science of narrating our professional tales! “How to write a professional background” becomes a pivotal query, especially when we find ourselves standing at the crossroads of opportunities, doesn’t it? Imagine crafting a narrative that isn’t merely a chronicle but a vibrant mosaic of your journey, skills, and aspirations. Your professional background isn’t just a static list of jobs and qualifications; it’s a dynamic, evolving story that encapsulates your personal brand and journey in the corporate arena. As we delve into the intricacies of creating a compelling professional background, we’ll explore not just the ‘how’ but also sprinkle in some inspiring professional background samples to illuminate our path. Together, let’s weave a tapestry that doesn’t just enumerate our experiences, but resonates, reverberates, and etches our professional anthem into the minds of potential employers, partners, and peers alike!
A professional background refers to the professional experience and work history of your previous job. This is used during the job application process. The professional background gives a highlight about your work experience, positions and relevant achievements. When you apply for a new job, the potential employer gets an overview of your previous roles and experience that makes you suitable for the positions.
Importance of Professional Background
- First Impressions Matter: Your professional background often serves as the first impression you make on employers, clients, or colleagues, showcasing your expertise and experience in a nutshell.
- Career Narration: It succinctly narrates your career journey, highlighting pivotal moments, achievements, and transitions in a coherent and compelling manner.
- Skill Demonstration: Clearly illustrates your skill set, expertise, and areas of knowledge, providing a snapshot of what you bring to the table.
- Credibility Establishment: A well-crafted professional background enhances your credibility by showcasing your qualifications, certifications, and experiences in a structured format.
- Networking Tool: Acts as a powerful networking tool, enabling you to connect with like-minded professionals, potential employers, or collaborators by showcasing your career trajectory and aspirations.
- Opportunity Magnet: Attracts relevant opportunities by aligning your demonstrated experience and skills with the needs of potential employers or clients.
- Personal Branding: Plays a crucial role in building and reinforcing your personal brand, helping you stand out in the competitive professional landscape.
- Confidence Booster: Having a well-articulated professional background boosts your confidence during interactions, interviews, and presentations, as it serves as a reminder of your accomplishments and capabilities.
- Career Development: Aids in career development by helping you reflect on your professional journey, identify gaps, and plan future career moves strategically.
- Global Reach: In the digital age, a professional background can traverse geographical boundaries, enabling you to connect with international opportunities and global networks.
- Reflection and Goal Setting: Writing and updating your professional background encourages reflection on your career path and helps in setting and refining career goals.
Adding a professional background to your application can help you to make your application stand out from others. Depending on the company, employers or the hiring managers often have thousands of applications to review for a particular role within a limited time frame. Going deeply with each application is not possible during the first phase of the hiring process. The professional background section on your application will help employers or hiring managers to get an idea about your qualification and work experience.
On average, a recruiter or hiring manager takes 6-8 seconds to screen each resume, which means they don’t have enough time to waste on reading the whole content. It’s your responsibility to grab the attention of the reader and sell yourself as the best candidate for the job. It will also help recruiters to save their time when they are dealing with hundreds or thousands of applications from other candidates.
The professional background shows almost everything that an interviewer or hiring managers want to know about the candidates regarding their previous work experience and qualifications. It also demonstrates that you are an organized person and explaining things clearly. As a result, it is easier to explain your qualification and professional journey to the interviewer.
Also Read: 20 Free Resume Templates to download
Professional Background Information
A professional background encompasses a broad spectrum of information related to an individual’s career journey, skill set, achievements, and experiences. It serves as a comprehensive overview that reflects not only where a person has been in their career but also provides hints about their future trajectory. Here’s a breakdown of the key components typically included in professional background information:
- Degrees obtained, institutions attended, and years of graduation.
- Relevant coursework, thesis, or projects.
- Academic honors, awards, and scholarships.
- A chronological or functional list of positions held, including company names, locations, and dates of employment.
- Descriptions of roles, responsibilities, and key achievements in each position.
- Technologies used, methodologies applied, and skills gained.
- Technical, soft, and hard skills relevant to the industry or role.
- Proficiency levels and any certifications obtained in specific skills.
- Examples of projects or tasks where these skills were applied.
- Certifications, courses, and workshops attended.
- Names of certifying bodies, dates of certification, and validity.
- Skills or knowledge acquired through these certifications.
- Professional awards, recognitions, and honors received.
- The awarding bodies and the reasons for receiving the awards.
- Memberships in professional organizations, societies, or groups.
- Positions held within these organizations, if applicable.
- Contributions to these affiliations, such as articles published, events organized, or committees served.
- Organizations worked for, roles undertaken, and duration of service.
- Skills utilized and experiences gained during volunteer activities.
- Articles, blogs, research papers, or books published.
- Conferences, webinars, or events where you presented.
- Topics, dates, and locations of your publications and presentations.
- Significant projects worked on, including roles, responsibilities, outcomes, and technologies used.
- Project duration, team size, and your contributions.
- A brief overview of your career, highlighting key achievements, skills, and career aspirations.
- Your professional philosophy, areas of interest, and what you’re seeking in your next role or project.
- Languages spoken and the level of proficiency in each (e.g., native, fluent, intermediate, basic).
- Any other relevant information that doesn’t fit into the above categories, such as hobbies or interests that are pertinent to your professional persona.
Crafting a comprehensive professional background requires a blend of factual data, strategic presentation, and a touch of personal branding to ensure that it accurately and compellingly represents your career journey. It’s essential to keep it updated, accurate, and tailored to the opportunities you’re seeking, ensuring it remains a relevant and powerful tool in your professional toolkit.
Creating a professional background involves blending your educational qualifications, work experience, skills, and achievements into a cohesive narrative. Below are a few samples tailored for different roles:
How to Structure your Professional Background
Structuring your professional background effectively is crucial to presenting your career journey, skills, and achievements in a coherent and compelling manner. A well-organized professional background can significantly enhance your visibility and appeal in the professional realm, whether it’s on your resume, LinkedIn profile, or a personal website. Here’s a guide on how to structure your professional background:
- Full Name: Clearly stated.
- Contact Information: Including phone number, email, and LinkedIn profile or portfolio link.
- Professional Title: Such as your current role or area of expertise.
- A concise, impactful paragraph that encapsulates your career trajectory, key skills, and professional aspirations.
- Tailor it to align with the role or opportunity you’re targeting.
- List your degrees in reverse chronological order.
- Include the degree title, institution name, and year of completion.
- Mention any relevant coursework, thesis, or honors.
- Present your work history in reverse chronological order.
- Include job title, company name, location, and duration of employment.
- Detail your roles, responsibilities, achievements, and impact in bullet points.
- Highlight any key projects, clients, or campaigns you worked on.
- Enumerate technical, soft, and industry-specific skills.
- Consider including a mix of skills that align with your career and targeted opportunities.
- List relevant certifications, courses, and workshops.
- Include the certifying body and date of completion.
- Mention any awards or recognitions received in your career.
- Include the awarding body and date.
- Detail memberships in professional organizations or societies.
- Mention any active roles or contributions within these affiliations.
- Include any relevant volunteer work, specifying the organization, role, and duration.
- Highlight skills utilized and any noteworthy outcomes.
- List any articles, papers, or presentations, including the title, publication/forum, and date.
- Provide links or citations for accessibility.
- Detail significant projects, specifying your role, technologies used, and outcomes.
- Include the project duration and any notable achievements.
- Mention languages spoken and your proficiency level (e.g., basic, intermediate, fluent).
- Include any other pertinent information, such as hobbies, interests, or additional qualifications that may be relevant to your professional persona.
- Be Concise: Use clear and concise language, avoiding jargon and overly complex terms.
- Use Bullet Points: Enhance readability and scan-ability.
- Tailor Content: Customize the content to align with the specific role or opportunity you’re targeting.
- Use Action Words: Start bullet points with action verbs, such as “led,” “developed,” or “achieved.”
- Quantify Achievements: Where possible, use quantifiable data to highlight your impact and achievements.
- Update Regularly: Ensure your professional background is current and accurately reflects your career.
Also Read: Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid on Your CV
Tips for writing Professional Background
Writing a compelling professional background requires a blend of strategic presentation, authenticity, and a dash of personal branding. Here’s a collection of tips to guide you through crafting a professional background that not only narrates your career journey but also resonates with your target audience:
- Craft a compelling personal statement or summary that encapsulates your experience, skills, and aspirations.
- Tailor it to align with your career goals and the opportunities you’re targeting.
- Use clear, concise language and keep information relevant to the role or industry you’re targeting.
- Avoid jargon and ensure your background is accessible to a broad audience.
- Focus on accomplishments and impact, not just responsibilities.
- Use quantifiable data to showcase your achievements (e.g., “increased sales by 30%”).
- Start bullet points and sentences with action verbs like “led,” “developed,” or “achieved” to convey your contributions effectively.
- Customize your professional background for specific opportunities or industries.
- Highlight experiences and skills that align with what your target audience is looking for.
- Include a mix of technical, soft, and hard skills.
- Provide examples of how you’ve applied these skills in your career.
- Mention relevant certifications, courses, and workshops that showcase your commitment to continuous learning.
- Ensure to include the certifying body and date of completion.
- Include memberships in professional organizations and any active roles or contributions.
- Mention relevant volunteer work, highlighting skills and experiences gained.
- Use bullet points, headers, and short paragraphs to enhance readability.
- Avoid large blocks of text and ensure your background is easy to skim-read.
- Ensure your professional background is free from typos, grammatical errors, and inaccuracies.
- Consider asking a colleague or mentor to review and provide feedback.
- Maintain a professional and positive tone throughout.
- Avoid using slang or overly casual language.
- Keep your professional background updated with recent experiences, skills, and achievements.
- Ensure all information is current and accurate.
- Integrate keywords relevant to your industry and role to enhance visibility on online platforms and ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems).
- While maintaining professionalism, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
- Mention interests or experiences that add a unique flavor to your professional persona.
- Ensure all information is accurate and verifiable.
- Avoid exaggerating achievements or qualifications.
Your professional background is a pivotal tool in your career development, acting as a window through which potential employers, clients, and networks view your career journey and potential. Crafting it with diligence and strategy can significantly enhance your professional appeal and open doors to new opportunities.
You can put your professional background at the top of your application. It can be put below the contact details but above the list of previous experiences. By doing this, the recruiter or the hiring managers will see your professional background first which will give the most important details about your work experience right away.
You can also put your professional background in smart places such as on your LinkedIn profile. Around 90% of recruiters scan LinkedIn profiles to search for candidates. You can add your professional background in the “About” section of your LinkedIn page; it will make a good impression on the recruiter. If you have your own personal website then you can add the professional background to the “About Me” page. Most of the recruiter or employer can learn about you easily on this page. You can define your professional background summary, along with bullet points of your experiences and key skills.
Now you have got a clear understanding of your professional background, it’s time to create your own summary. Professional background is not important only for job search, so you can also add on the things if you are not looking for the opportunities. A professional background summary may force recruiters or hiring managers to read the rest of your resume. Additionally, a perfect professional background summary demonstrates your professionalism and etiquettes, which are in demand interpersonal skills that employers are looking for. So take your time to compose your professional background summary to express yourself better during the interview.
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Ultimate Resume Background Guide: Dos and Don’ts
Recent research shows that an average recruiter spends only six seconds reviewing a resume. So you should do your best to attract the notice of your employer. Recruiters mostly follow a visual path. Thus, a resume background becomes extremely important.
Below you can find some helpful tips gathered by our resume specialist on designing a successful resume background.
Enclose a Photo of the Resume
Many Americans are aversive to including a photo on their resume. The reason is the threat to be discriminated against by your appearance. So if you attach a photo, you can stand out in a pile of faceless resumes.
According to CareerBuilder, 43-55% of recruiters check the social media profile of a candidate anyway. So it is better to choose the photo and present yourself in it as professionally as possible.
Your picture should reflect the culture of a profession . For instance, if you are applying for the position of sales manager, it would be right to look confident.
On the other side, if you are looking for a psychologist job, you should look calm and trustworthy.
A picture speaks a thousand words. If you attach your picture, your resume can get shortlisted.
Take Advantage of Columns to Have More Space
Resumes that exceed one page are a nightmare for recruiters. Write in detail only about the training or workshops that are relevant to this job.
Highlight only the most important details of your experience. Stay organized and concise.
Several columns allow you to run through the names of companies where you worked, positions, educational institutions, and other key facts.
Columns allow you to store information compactly, adding more space to enumerate the things you’ve done.
How should one page be enough for the whole life description? Split the layout of your resume into two sections. Put shorter parts of information (short biography or the languages you speak) together with the photo in the first column.
Make it distinctive while changing the background images. The second column should comprise education and working experience.
Keep in mind that a poor structure may prevent your resume from beating the applicant tracking system .
Layout Structure Is Significant
To design a successful resume, the format should be organized properly. When the resume comprises one page, divide the information into parts.
Use columns and headings to separate all the given information . The employer will use these definite parts of the resume during the interview.
This tip may seem obvious, but you cannot imagine how many candidates lump the information in their resumes together.
A well-organized resume structure will be a good sign for your recruiter — the organizational skills you display are also a virtue.
Keep It Simple
If your future job is administrative, your resume design should be simple and minimal. Do not add any photos or graphics. That’s a piece of advice from our graphic design resume-writing experts .
If your job is not creative, do not use a resume background image. Leave it just white.
Also, make sure you are familiar with the difference between a resume and a cover letter to send the right application document.
Generate a Personal Brand
If you are applying for a creative profession, your resume should be unified. If you display your branding skills in the resume, it will both raise the probability of being chosen and show the recruiter your creativity while following a list of brand rules.
The same strategy can be applied if you are trying to craft a professional graphic design resume .
The steps to produce your brand are:
- Think about its logo. Apply it to the cover page of every document.
- Format your text according to a typeface.
- Use the same formatting of headers and body text throughout all your applications.
- Use the color consistently. Use geometric shapes to compile all the information pieces.
Design and visual organization are extremely important to catch the eye of your recruiter. But the content is essential as well.
An eloquent resume background summary should demonstrate your professional qualifications to get the job.
How to Write a Professional Background (With Examples)
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On job applications, including a professional background section may make a huge impact on hiring managers and help you stand out from the crowd. Investing the time to compose it can help you demonstrate that you are the best applicant for the position.
While it is important to include this part, it can be tough to know where to begin. In this post, we'll go over why having a professional background is so important, as well as how to get one.
What's a professional background?
A professional background is a synopsis of your prior work experience and performance. It's most commonly utilized throughout the application process for a job. This should be more than a list of previous roles held; it should emphasize your most significant and relevant accomplishments.
When applying for a job, this summary should demonstrate to the potential employer how your prior positions prepared you and made you a strong contender for the job.
Why is a professional background/bio important?
Including a professional background in your application might help it stand out from the crowd. Hiring managers sometimes have hundreds of applications to examine in a short period of time, so they may only skim through them.
Having a separate professional history section on your application will give them all they need to know about your qualifications in one glance.
It's also a wonderful approach to demonstrate to potential employers that you can arrange data and clearly describe your worth.
In addition to helping you prepare for job interviews, writing a professional background may help you enhance your performance.
This is because you took the time to review your background and craft a narrative about how your experiences qualify you for the position.
As a consequence, you'll probably have an easier time describing your professional path and qualifications to the interviewer without faltering or missing crucial information.
What information should be in a professional background?
The positions/job title and responsibilities that are most relevant to the position you are applying for should be highlighted in your professional history. You should stress the talents you employed in various jobs and how they contributed to your success as an employee.
You can provide particular information like:
- Previous employers' names
- The dates when you worked
- Your previous job titles
- Your responsibilities and their duties
- Education or training in a relevant field, including certificates
- Promotions, awards, and other forms of acknowledgment are examples of accomplishments.
How to write your professional background
Here's how to write a professional background. Your career history should be concise, no more than a few pages long. One way to organize this part is to include your work experience in chronological order, beginning with your current or most recent position.
Another option is the functional format, which emphasizes the responsibilities most relevant to the position you are applying for first and focuses on the sort of experience you have.
Your professional background should be written in the first person, since this will give the section a more natural and authentic tone.
Write down your experience
This is your draft phase, so jot down as many past positions, responsibilities, and accomplishments as you can think of that best emphasize your abilities and credentials.
If at all feasible, give measurable evidence of how your work impacted previous companies.
For the time being, don't think about the relevance of this information to the possible new job—the goal of this stage is to generate a long list that you may pare down to the most important details later.
Don't start from scratch
If you're having problems deciding where to begin, consider utilizing a professional bio template as a starting point. Templates, such as the ones shown below, allow you to concentrate on your own information and accomplishments rather than worrying about the framework.
Consider who you're writing for
You could also wish to create many versions of your paper to cater to different audiences. For example, the version you publish on LinkedIn may be less thorough than the version you put on your own website, and if your reader is a potential employer, including information that particularly emphasize why you're the best fit for the position for which you're seeking would be beneficial.
Show progression in your career
Consider arranging your professional bio in such a manner that it provides a chronology to demonstrate your growth as you write.
Explain your various roles and underline the tasks that prepared you for success in your later ones.
It's crucial to keep in mind that your professional timeline doesn't have to be in chronological order.
Emphasize important details
Now that you've jotted down your most important work experience, it's time to pare it down to the specifics that make you the greatest candidate for the position.
It's best to choose a few amazing items rather than ten unimportant ones for your professional past because it's about the quality of your experiences, not the quantity.
Compare your list to the job description and highlight the elements that are most relevant to the talents the potential employer is looking for.
These will very certainly become your main arguments, and they should emphasize your worth as an employee.
Use key skills, points, and other competencies
Skills and experience matter in a job search. There is no set structure for a professional background, so you may need to experiment to see what works best for you, whether it's ordered chronologically or by function.
What matters most is that you link your experiences in a natural and succinct manner, bearing in mind that you want to demonstrate your abilities and knowledge.
Ask someone else to read it over and offer you comments if you're not sure how it comes across or if you need help reducing it down any further.
Timelines and achievements are excellent, but being approachable is much better.
Readers should feel as though they're getting a sense of who you are based on your work history. This allows readers to learn more about you outside of your work life. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about any unique specialized hobbies you have outside of work.
Here's a list of questions to assist you come up with the proper "fun facts" to emphasize:
- Do you own any animals?
- What is a fact about you that the majority of people are unaware of?
- What languages are you fluent in?
- What do you think you're most proud of?
- What's a bucket-list-worthy experience you've had?
- What are your favorite ways to unwind?
- What are your top three must-have apps?
- What would your favorite coworker think of you?
- What's the finest piece of advice you've ever gotten, and how do you put it into practice?
Being personable also provides an excellent chance to address any unusual events in your work history. For example, perhaps you've made a significant job change or taken a sabbatical at some time.
These sorts of tales may help you connect with your audience, and you never know who you'll meet through one of your hobbies or more intimate experiences.
Look for feedback
When writing about oneself, constructive criticism is crucial. While many people prefer to seek feedback after they've finished a draft of their bio, getting input from your peers earlier in the process may be just as useful.
Our peers may often assist us in identifying our strengths as well as areas where we can develop. Get together with a peer to explore ideas if you're having difficulties creating a clear chronology or deciding which highlights to include.
Consider successful collaborative tasks and ask a peer to offer honest feedback on what you did well — and incorporate that input in your profile.
If you need some assistance getting started, here's a list of conversation questions to utilize with your peers to identify professional skills you may have overlooked in your own self-evaluati on:
- What do you think I'm like in a group setting?
- What have I done to assist you in becoming more successful?
- What do you consider to be my most remarkable project?
- What was your initial reaction to me?
- What qualities do you believe I possess?
Where should a professional background go?
If you're include a professional history on your resume, it's preferable to put it towards the beginning. It should be listed after your contact information but above your previous work experience. This way, when a hiring manager looks at your resume/CV, one of the first things they notice is your professional background, which gives them the most crucial information about your job experience straight immediately.
A professional history can also be included in other areas where potential employers could see it, such as the "About" section of your profiles on job-related social networking sites or your own website.
On an application for a job
When filling out a job application, you'll frequently come across a section asking for details about your professional experience. According to Indeed.com, you may be requested to submit a list of jobs you've held, including start and finish dates, wages, and general work responsibilities.
How to include it on a resume
Your resume may be divided into various sections, beginning with an overview, followed by a professional background section, awards, licenses, and certificates, and finally your academic background.
The summary part comprises only a few words or phrases that connect to your most essential professional abilities and experience, but it is devoid of specifics. The information is included in your professional background section.
Professional experience section
When a potential employer is looking for information about your professional past, they want to get directly to the point. They'll want to know about your academic background, credentials, participation in professional organizations, and honors you've received, but only after they've seen your job history.
This includes any jobs you've held or internships you've completed. Even if you work in finance and have a finance degree, it does not contain your academic background.
In your professional background area, include the following information:
- Employers and job titles
- Dates of start and end
- Accomplishments in the job description
If the potential employer already understands what this position requires, you don't need to provide a description of common occupations you've had, such as bookkeeper. Your accomplishments are more essential and distinguish you from other prospects.
Instead of describing the tasks of a bookkeeper, mention accomplishments such as lowering accounts receivables by nine days on average or generating the company's first cash-flow statement when applying for a bookkeeping employment.
Other professional background information
In the professional background part of your resume, you might wish to highlight non-job-related professional experience. This might be a certificate directly connected to the position you're looking for, a license you have, or proof of liability insurance.
You can mention your professional background experience if you've visited trade exhibitions or conferences, or if you've spoken at events.
You may include information in your professional background if you've written articles, created professional films, or appeared on TV shows or podcasts.
Job skills that are unrelated
You may need to mention your general job background depending on how much professional experience you have in your industry.
Does your work experience as a summer lifeguard or a restaurant server, for example, count as professional background if you're seeking for a job in human resources?
It may, depending on what an employer is looking for in terms of work experience and how you characterize this unrelated experience. Were you, for example, in charge of any employees who worked under you?
If that's the case, you've worked in a low-level managerial position before. Did your employment require you to create schedules, submit expenditure reports, or complete any other paperwork? If that's the case, you've had some administrative experience at a low level.
Tips for writing a professional background
It's important to remember that building your professional background isn't only for job hunts; you should continue to do so even if you're not searching for work.
Here are some pointers to consider when you construct your professional background:
Make a draft
Make a draft and save it. Try to preserve a draft version of it so that you may add it to your collection of possible information to mention when a big project or accomplishment emerges at work.
Take the time to edit your professional past to reflect that experience and maybe eliminate anything that no longer fits or appears relevant if it is an accomplishment you know you want to highlight.
Use it when networking
When networking, bring up your professional experience. You may utilize your professional experience as a tool for networking talks in addition to presenting it on your social media profile or personal website.
You will maintain your background story and be able to readily express your abilities and qualifications when trying to impress potential employers or coworkers if you revise or review it on a regular basis.
Use it for LinkedIn or press
It's perfect for biographies. In a more particular circumstance, if you are ever required to create a biography about yourself for work or another professional context, your professional experience can serve as a great beginning point.
Make sure your professional background has a brief version to use for articles, company about pages, and for interview purposes, too.
Professional background examples
Here are examples of professional backgrounds. Use these as a guide to help you write your own.
Andrea Darling is a sales leader, engineer, and person of industry. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2011. And started her career at Netflix. From there, she gathered some impressive achievements and academic accolades. From her Master's Degree at Yale. To her speaking engagements across the country.
She is interested in consumer marketing, believes heavily in the power of demand marketing. And desires to boost all of the key company KPI's that she's involved in.
Scott Disc is a professional leader with more than 12 years of industry experience and career experience in human resources. He's been the majority engineer and engineering lead for a number of large startups. From Indeed to eBay. Scott began his career in Silicon Valley in 2011.
Scott has gotten featured in a number of large publications including Inc, Forbes, The Balance, and much more. He's traveled to more than 12 countries performing speaking engagements for the youth. Helping them to find their place in the corporate world.
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- Resume Summary Examples
- Language Proficiency Levels
- Professional Background
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- Skills List for the Resume
About the author
Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes , Glassdoor , American Express , Reader's Digest , LiveCareer , Zety , Yahoo , Recruiter.com , SparkHire , SHRM.org , Process.st , FairyGodBoss , HRCI.org , St. Edwards University , NC State University , IBTimes.com , Thrive Global , TMCnet.com , Work It Daily , Workology , Career Guide , MyPerfectResume , College Career Life , The HR Digest , WorkWise , Career Cast , Elite Staffing , Women in HR , All About Careers , Upstart HR , The Street , Monster , The Ladders , Introvert Whisperer , and many more. Find him on LinkedIn .
Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more .
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How to Write a Professional Background for a Resume?
A professional background section on your resume can be a powerful tool to reel in the hiring team. If written right, it will highlight your key skills and achievements and leave the hiring manager wanting more .
Below, we look into some best practices for writing a professional summary on your resume.
Table of Contents
What is a professional background on a resume?
A professional background is a short summary of your experience at previous companies that is usually placed at the top of your resume. The purpose of the professional background section on a resume is to show your potential employer that you are the best candidate for the job because your previous experience matches the demands of the new position.
How Far Back Should a Resume Go in 2022?
Why should I include professional background on my resume?
We strongly suggest that you include a professional background in your resume. Here’s why.
Hiring managers in big companies have to go through hundreds of resumes. This means that they rarely have the time to go over each application in detail. A professional background section at the tip of your resume will make the hiring manager’s job much easier and will gain your points.
It can also be a great eye catcher. A professional background is basically the gist of what makes you good for the job. Having it at the top of your resume is a great way to get the hiring manager to notice your application among others and go over it in more detail.
It’s also a way to show your employer that you are organized, are good at presenting information and explaining your value.
Using AI powered resume builder you can automatically generate specific sections, including summary and resume objective.
What should I include in a professional background?
The main purpose of a professional background on your resume is to explain what makes you the best candidate for the job. You can showcase your competency by talking about the responsibilities you had previously and the skills you’ve acquired in the process. Make sure that the information you include here is relevant to the position you are applying for.
A good trick here is to go back to the job offer and pick out the keywords that are emphasized in the job description. You can then use these same keywords when writing your professional background.
This trick will also work if the hiring manager of the company you are applying to is using an applicant tracking system , or ATS. These tools are designed to scan applicant resumes for specific keywords, set by the hiring manager.
Here are the details one would generally include the professional background section:
Where should I put professional background on my resume?
The best place to put your professional background would be at the top of your resume. This is where the hiring manager will see it first. This will give them a good introduction to the rest of your resume and, hopefully, get them interested in going over your application in detail.
Another great place to have your professional background is your LinkedIn account. Most recruiters will check your LinkedIn page if they are interested in your application. You can add the information on your professional background into the About section on your LinkedIn. If you have a professional website, it’s also a good place for your professional background.
How to structure my professional background section?
Here are a few quick pointers for composing your professional background section:
Start with a draft
First, prepare a draft where you list your most notable professional experience. Consider your responsibilities, accomplishments, the skills you have gained along the way and more. If you can, add quantifiable evidence of your professional success — the number of projects you have completed, client accounts you’ve won, positive feedback you’ve received, etc.
Highlight key details
Now that you have your most significant work history in front of you, trim it all down to only those details that will show your employer that you are the best choice for this job. Make sure the experience and skills you list are relevant to the job you hope to get.
What Is Relevant Experience? Definition and Efficient Examples.
Keep it brief
Focus on the relevance and quality of the information you include instead of quantity. It’s best if your professional background summary contains two to three lines of truly relevant experience rather than ten lines of general work history for the hiring manager to sift through.
Should a Resume Be One Page
Tell a story
It’s best if the professional background section on your resume isn’t just a collection of facts — but rather tells a story of your professional growth that has led you to apply for this position. Think about the best way to arrange the information in this section: it may be chronological (where you started and where you are now), skill-based (your journey of developing the necessary qualifications in your field), accomplishment-based (highlighting your key achievements at work) — and so on. If your professional description tells a story, it will do a much better job of presenting your value as an employee.
Professional background examples
Here are some professional background summaries examples. Go over them to get some ideas for writing your own professional summary.
Determined sales professional with over 5 years of experience. Eager to help XYZ Corp in boosting its sales figures via outstanding customer loyalty-building and people skills. Brought in over 20 new accounts in my previous sales position i creasing annual sales volume by 20%.
Detail-oriented industrial engineer and project manager with over 7 years of experience and a passion for finding solutions to complex product designs problems. Seeking to use my skills and proven project am whenever ability to improve the quality, cost and metrics of new product launches.
Dedicated English language teacher with over 6 years of experience in creating tailored curriculum for corporate language courses. Prepared over 100 students for international language courses and achieved a 98% success rate. Eager to join Smart Consulting and use my extensive ESL experience and unique teaching methodology to design and deliver effective language training courses.
How to Write a Professional Background for a Resume: summary
So, let’s sum up.
- You should include a professional background section in your resume to give the hiring manager a good idea of who you are professionally and pique their interest.
- Keep your professional background short and to the point. Include only skills and experience that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Try to include keywords from the job description when describing your professional background. This will not only catch the eye of the hiring manager but will also place your resume on the good side of ATS (applicant tracking systems)
Learn more about crafting an efficient job application: How to List Educational Background on a Resume in 2022
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How to write a professional background summary that gets you noticed
Jul 16, 2020 | Updated Jul 29, 2020 by Jennifer Bridges @JenBridgesRD
- What is it?
- Why you need one
- How to make a good one
- Where to use it
Talk to an expert
To succeed in today’s tight job market, you need to be able to quickly communicate the highlights of your work history (and the things that set you apart from your competition) to those who matter. A great way to do this is by creating a professional background summary —otherwise known as a career summary or a professional summary .
Read on to learn:
- The definition of a professional background summary
- Why a professional background summary is so important
- How to create an effective professional background summary
- Where to use a professional background summary
- What a powerful professional background summary looks like
What is a professional background summary?
A professional background summary is usually a brief paragraph or five to seven bullets at the top of your resume that sum up your qualifications for a job opening. However, this section is much more than just a list of all the jobs you’ve had. Instead, it is a carefully crafted overview of your career accomplishments that is designed to convince recruiters and hiring managers that you are the perfect fit for a particular position.
A good professional background summary should tempt busy recruiters to read the rest of your resume.
Why you need a professional background summary
A professional background summary can help you make a strong impression in a short amount of time. Eye-tracking studies show that recruiters only spend an average of 7.4 seconds screening each resume. This means that you don’t have any time to waste when it comes to grabbing the reader’s attention and selling yourself as the best person for the job, especially when you’re competing against hundreds, if not thousands, of other candidates.
Additionally, a well-constructed professional background summary is a solid demonstration of your organizational and communication skills, which are in high demand with employers.
You can also leverage the clarity and insights you’ve gained from all the time spent composing your professional background summary to help you express yourself better during interviews.
How to create an impressive professional background summary
Follow these steps to ensure that your professional background summary boosts your chances of getting hired:
1. Scan the job listing to find the most important keywords —Look for the words or phrases that best describe the position, the ideal candidate, and the job’s required skills and try to match them with your own experiences and abilities. Using these keywords in your professional background summary will increase your odds of making it through the company’s applicant tracking system.
2. Write down all your important achievements —Go beyond just your job titles and include everything you’ve done that shows off your abilities, with a special focus on statistics and numbers. If you hit 93% of your sales targets four years in a row, for example, then you should put this at the top of your list. Be sure to be as specific as possible. For example, instead of saying that you’re a published writer, you should state that you’ve had articles published in The New Yorker and Fast Company . (Don’t worry if this list gets really long. You will trim it in the next step.)
3. Narrow down your list —Review your list and keep only the items that are most impressive and most relevant to the position you’re applying for. This may take some time. The goal is to make the biggest impact with the smallest number of achievements.
4. State how you can add value —This is your opportunity to sell yourself to the person reading your resume. Explain how your skills and experience will benefit the company.
5. Hone your wording —Now that you’ve picked out which items to write about, it’s time to craft your sentences or bullet points. Make sure to use as few words as possible and carefully proofread for typos and spelling/grammatical errors. When you’ve completed your first draft, let it sit for a day and then look at it again with fresh eyes. You’ll be surprised what jumps out at you after your brain has had a chance to rest.
Where to use your professional background summary
In addition to putting it at the top of your resume, you can use your professional background summary in a variety of places to gain credibility and improve your reputation .
Some smart places to use it include:
- Your LinkedIn profile —The same recruiters who are scanning your resume are also scanning candidates on LinkedIn. In fact, over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. To ensure you’re making a good first impression on this audience, you can post a generic version of your professional background summary, along with a bulleted list of your key skills, in your profile’s About section.
- Your personal website’s About Me page —The About Me page is often the first place potential clients and employers go to learn about you and what makes you special. As such, it’s also the most important vehicle for defining and promoting your personal brand. To make sure you don’t accidentally leave out any of your key qualifications, you can use your professional background summary as a jumping-off point when creating this page. If you don’t have a personal website, we can help you get started with our ReputationGrower service.
- In conversation —If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard about the value of preparing a 30-second elevator pitch about your company. The same applies to people looking for a new job. For example, if you are attending an industry conference and someone says “Tell me about yourself,” it’s important to have a well-thought-out and rehearsed answer ready to go.
Professional background example
The best way to learn how to write a professional background summary is to see what a great one actually looks like.
Here is one that does everything right:
- 5-7 sentences/bullet points
- Uses numbers and percentages
- Gives specific examples that prove the candidate’s qualifications for the position
- Makes the reader want to learn more about the candidate
“Accomplished marketing CMO with a demonstrated ability to create and implement strategies that advance financial and business goals. Have led decisive initiatives that lowered advertising costs by $500,000 while driving a revenue increase of 40%. Industry authority in content marketing, brand storytelling, and customer engagement.
Collaborative leader, able to assemble winning management teams focused on achieving KPI goals. Hones skills and learns about industry changes through continuing professional education (completed an MBA in marketing).”
Now that you’ve learned how to write a compelling professional background summary, you should get started creating your own. If you have any questions during this process, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are happy to offer free advice.
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Basic Background Information List for Resume Preparation
- Phone / Fax
- Cellular Phone
- Email Address
- Type of degree (if no degree, list relevant courses completed)
- Date of graduation
- Major/Minor or secondary academic emphases
- Grade Point Average overall
- Grade Point Average in your major
- Graduation or GED Completion
- Academic interests
- List of community service: (i.e., scout leader, tutor, Big Brother/Sister, etc.)
- List of honors and awards not mentioned with schools above
- Professional licenses
- Professional credentials
- Professional and/or academic organizations, memberships, offices held (if applicable)
- Professional conferences attended
- Presentations or workshops
- Languages you speak or read or understand
- Special talents not mentioned elsewhere
- Major research projects or other types of major projects from your college career
- Organization name for each job/experience
- Organization city and state
- Dates of involvement
- Supervisor’s name and title
- Your contributions above and beyond the daily routine
- Any special training or skills that you developed
- Any special recognition
- How did you leave the situation better than you found it?
- Name, title, address, telephone number, email (References will not be included in your resume, rather they will be available upon request on a separate page. Be sure to ask your references for permission to use them.) Have personal and professional references–usually two professional and one personal.
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How to Write a Resume Profile or Summary Statement
A resume summary or career proﬁle is a brief statement at the top of your resume. If you are a career changer or have many years of experience, craft a powerful summary to highlight your accomplishments and skills. Show the employer, at a glance, why you’re qualiﬁed for the job!
Resume Proﬁle Guidelines
General guidelines to keep in mind:
- Keep your proﬁle short. Two to ﬁve phrases written in a bulleted form or brief paragraph will do. Think of the summary as a snapshot of your skills, accomplishments, and knowledge.
- Label your proﬁle professionally: Summary of Qualiﬁcations, Career Proﬁle, Career Highlights, Professional Summary, or just Summary or Proﬁle.
- Place your proﬁle section at the top of your resume page, above your work history, so that the employer can see it when they ﬁrst review your resume.
How To Create Your Proﬁle
To choose what to highlight in your summary, research positions of interest and write a list of the common requirements and qualiﬁcations.
Assess your skills and credentials. How does your background and experience align with the qualiﬁcations outlined in the job description? Select skills, experiences, special knowledge, and accomplishments that you want to highlight in your proﬁle selection.
Next draft a few phrases that summarize your Skills/Experience/Accomplishments/Knowledge/Education
Now write a sentence describing your “professional role,” which you can use as the opening line in your proﬁle. For example:
- Accomplished Marketing Executive with over 10 year experience in…
- Fully knowledgeable in…
- Experience managing professional staﬀ including…
Finally, put all of the sentences together and edit for a clean, concise, and compelling proﬁle statement.
Successful professional with corporate marketing and training experience seeking position in nonproﬁt organization leveraging fundraising and program development skills. Recognized for ability to develop strong relationships and plan strategically. Strengths include:
- Time Management
- Relationship Building
- Public Speaking
Highly skilled and results-oriented professional with solid academic preparation holding a Juris Doctor degree and extensive experience in intelligence and special operations seeks position in risk management. Proven ability to assess and manage complex obstacles; viewed as a strong troubleshooter. Successful in intense and demanding environments, providing decisive team leadership and structure with a track record of motivating and developing soldiers. Willing to relocate.
Publishing executive with multi-faceted background encompassing international licensing and brand management. Developed specialties in editorial planning, global marketing strategy, and design. Managed multiple projects simultaneously and eﬃciently by overseeing the daily operations of 17 magazine titles worldwide. Proven ability to develop strong relationships across cultures and to provide decisive team leadership in a fast-paced environment.
We have many resources available to help you navigate career change and showcase your transferable skills.
- For tips on resume structure and content read through Writing a Resume: Getting Started and Resumes with Impact: Creating Strong Bullet Points
- For detailed instruction, view the webinars on Writing a Results Focused and Targeted Resume and How to Perfect Your Professional Narrative
Writing a Resume: Getting Started
If you’re applying for an internship or job, attending a networking event, or seeking a volunteer opportunity, chances are you’ll need a resume. We’ll walk you through the basics.
Resumes with Impact: Creating Strong Bullet Points
How can you make your resume stand out to an employer? This resource will help you learn how to use the STAR method to develop strong bullet points that highlight your skills and accomplishments relevant to a position.
How to Explain Employment Gaps
Learn tips to address employment gaps on your application materials and in interviews.
How to Make a Resume in 2023 | Beginner's Guide
For most job-seekers, a good resume is what stands between a dream job and Choice D. Get your resume right, and you’ll be getting replies from every other company you apply to.
If your resume game is weak, though, you’ll end up sitting around for weeks, maybe even months, before you even get a single response.
So you’re probably wondering how you can write a resume that leads to HR managers inviting you to interviews daily.
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this guide, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about how to make a resume, including:
- Pick the Right Resume Format & Layout
- Mention Your Personal Details & Contact Information
- Use a Resume Summary or Objective
- List Your Work Experience & Achievements
- Mention Your Top Soft & Hard Skills
- Include Additional Resume Sections (Languages, Hobbies, etc.)
- Tailor Your Information For the Job Ad
- Craft a Convincing Cover Letter
- Proofread Your Resume and Cover Letter
So, let’s dive right in!
New to resume-making? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
How to Make a Resume (The Right Way!)
Before we go into detail about how you should make a resume, here’s a summary of the most important steps and tips to keep in mind:
- Choose a resume format carefully. In 99% of the cases, we recommend the chronological format.
- Add the right contact details. Leave your headshot out and make sure to include your job title , a professional email address, and relevant links (e.g. your LinkedIn profile, online portfolio, website, etc.).
- Write an impactful resume summary. Unless you’re an entry-level professional, always go for a resume summary (also known as a career summary). Done right, it’s your chance to get hiring managers to go through the rest of your resume in detail.
- Pay attention to your work experience section. Take your work experience section from OK-ish to exceptional by tailoring it to the job ad, making your achievements quantifiable, and using action verbs and power words.
- Add the right skills for the job. Keep this important section relevant by only including soft and hard skills that are required for the position. Deeper into the article, we’ll show you just how to do that!
- Keep your education short and to the point. Your most recent and highest degree is more than enough for a strong education section. We recommend making a more detailed education section only if you’re a recent graduate with barely any work experience.
- Take advantage of optional resume sections . Optional sections like languages, hobbies, certifications, independent projects, and the sorts, can be what sets you apart from other candidates with similar skills and experience.
- Don’t forget about the cover letter. Cover letters do matter in 2023 so you should definitely include one. To make the most out of your cover letter, check out this detailed guide on how to write a cover letter .
To get the most out of our tips, you can head over to the resume builder and start building your resume on the go as you read this guide.
#1. Pick the Right Resume Format
Before you start filling in your resume, you’ve got to make sure it will look good.
After all, recruiters first notice how your resume looks, rather than what it contains. So, this is your best chance to make a great first impression.
This includes picking the right resume format and doing the layout .
So, first things first - how should you format your resume?
There are three types of resume formats out there:
- Reverse chronological resume format. This is the most popular resume format among recruiters and, as such, the right format for most job-seekers.
- Functional resume format . This format focuses more on skills rather than work experience and is useful if you’re just getting started with your career and have little-to-no experience in the field.
- Combination resume format . The combination resume is a great choice for experienced job-seekers with a very diverse skill set. It’s useful if you’re applying for a role that requires expertise in 3-4 different fields and you want to show all that in your resume. Say, for example, you’re applying for a senior management role, and the requirements are expertise in Management, Sales, and Software Development.
So, which one do you go for?
As we already mentioned, in 99% of cases, you’d want to stick to the reverse-chronological resume format . It’s the most popular format, and most HR managers are used to it. Hence, in this guide, we’re going to focus on teaching you how to make a reverse-chronological resume.
Fix Your Resume Layout
With formatting out of the way, let’s discuss your resume’s layout . After all, the layout is the first thing a job recruiter notices about your resume.
Does it look organized or cluttered? Is it too short or too long? Is it boring and easy to ignore, or is it reader-friendly and attention-grabbing?
Here are some of the best practices when it comes to your resume layout:
- One page in length . You should only go for 2 pages if you really , really believe that it’ll add significant value. HR managers in big firms get around 1,000+ resumes per month. They’re not going to spend their valuable time reading your life story!
- Clear section headings. Pick a heading (H2, for example) and use it for all the section headers.
- Ample white space , especially around the margins. Without the right amount of white space, your resume will end up looking overcrowded with information
- Easy-to-read font. We’d recommend sticking to what stands out, but not too much. Do: Ubuntu, Roboto, Overpass, etc. Don’t ( ever ): Comic Sans
- Readable font size . As a rule of thumb, go for 11-12 pt for normal text and 14-16 pt for section titles.
- PDF file type. Always save your resume as a PDF file. Although Word is a popular alternative , it has a good chance of messing up your resume formatting.
One more thing you need to consider in terms of resume layout is whether you’re going for a traditional-looking resume template or something a bit more modern :
If you’re pursuing a career in a more traditional industry - legal , banking , finance , etc. - you might want to stick to the first.
If you’re applying to a tech company, though, where imagination and innovation are valued, you can go for a more creative template .
Want to Save Time? Use a (Free) Resume Template
Anyone who’s ever tried creating a resume from scratch knows how boring the formatting can be.
Before you can even start filling in the contents, you need to tweak the margins, adjust font sizes, make sure everything fits into one page WHILE also looking good, and so on.
Want to skip past that AND create a very compelling resume?
Try one of our free resume templates. They’re pre-formatted, so all you have to do is fill in the contents.
They’re also created in collaboration with recruiters from around the globe, ensuring that the templates are visually appealing and ATS-friendly!
See for yourself how it compares to a resume created in a text editor:
#2. Add Your Contact Information
Now that we’ve got all the formatting out of the way, let’s talk about what’s really important: your resume content .
The first thing you want to do when filling out the contents of your resume is to add your contact information .
This is a straightforward, yet critical section.
Even if you get everything else right, you’re not going to go far if the HR manager can’t get in touch with you because you misspelled your email, right?
So, double-check, and even triple-check your contact information section and make sure everything is correct and up-to-date.
- First Name / Last Name.
- Phone Number.
- Email Address.
- Location - are you located in the area, or will the company have to sponsor relocation?
- Profesional Title - Your professional title. It can be your position, word-for-word, or your desired job. Think “Digital Marketing Specialist” or “Junior Data Scientist.”
- LinkedIn URL - If you have an up-to-date profile that can add value to your application, make sure to include the link.
- Relevant Social Media - Do you have a published portfolio online? For developers, this would be your GitHub, for a designer Behance or Dribble. For a writer, it could be your personal blog.
- Website / Blog - Do you have an online presence? Maybe a blog that positions you as an expert in your field? If you do, make sure to mention it!
- Date of Birth (unless specifically required in the job ad) - The HR manager doesn’t need to know how old you are. It’s not important for their decision-making, and at worst, it might lead to discrimination based on age.
- Unprofessional Email Address - Do: [email protected] Don’t: [email protected]
- Headshot in USA, UK or Ireland. Consider including one in Europe & Asia, but always check the regulations for each specific country or industry.
All clear? Good! Now, let’s examine what a successful example of the contact section looks like:
#3. Write a Resume Headline (Summary or Objective)
It's no secret that recruiters spend less than ten seconds on a resume on average.
When you receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications daily, it's physically impossible to spend too much time on each.
So, in order for the hiring manager to go through the resumes effectively (without spending an entire day), they scan through the resume real quick, and if it catches their interest, they get into it in more detail.
And the first thing that the hiring manager looks at is the resume headline .
Depending on your professional standing, a resume headline can be either a resume summary or a resume objective .
Both are placed at the top of your resume, right below or next to the contact information section. For example:
Now, you might be wondering whether you should use a resume summary or an objective, and how to write one effectively.
Well, that brings us to our next section:
What’s a Resume Summary & When to Use it
A resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your career. You should use a resume summary in basically any situation, unless you’re a recent university graduate or switching careers (in that case, you use a resume objective. More on that later!).
In your resume summary, you need to mention:
- Your job and years of experience. E.g.: Customer support representative with 5+ years of experience in the IT industry.
- 1 or 2 top achievements (or core responsibilities). E.g.: Specialized in technical support, customer care, and user retention.
- Desired goal (generally, passion for working at a specific company). E.g.: Looking for new opportunities as a support lead for a SaaS company.
Here’s an example of a well-written resume summary:
What’s a Resume Objective & When to Use it
A resume objective is, in a nutshell, the goal of your resume. It communicates your motivation for getting into a new field. As with a resume summary, a resume objective should be around 2-3 sentences.
As we’ve mentioned before, a resume objective is the go-to for anyone who either has no work experience or is going through a career change .
So, here’s what that would look like if you’re a student :
- Hard-working recent graduate with a B.A. in Graphic Design from New York State University seeking new opportunities. 3+ years of practical experience working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, creating illustrations & designing UX / UI. Looking to grow as a designer, as well as perfect my art, at the XYZ Design Studio.
Or, on the other hand, if you’re going through a career change:
- IT project manager with 5+ years of experience in software development. Managed a team of developers to create products for several industries, such as FinTech and HR tech. Looking to leverage my experience in managing outsourced products as a Product Owner at XYZ.
#4. Prioritize Your Work Experience
The most important part of your resume is your work experience.
This is where you really get to sell yourself, displaying your past accomplishments and responsibilities.
If you manage to master this section alone, you’ll know 80%+ of all there is to know about how to make a resume.
There are plenty of best practices for writing your work experience. Before we dive into all the nits and grits, though, let’s start with the basics...
How to List Work Experience in a Resume
The standard format for your work experience is as follows:
- Job Title/Position - Your job title goes on top of each work experience entry. When the HR manager scans your resume, you want them to know, at a glance, that you have relevant work experience for the job.
- Company Name / Location / Description - Then, you mention the name of the relevant employer, as well as the location of the office you work/have worked in. In some cases, you may also want to briefly describe the company, if the organization is not a famous household name.
- Dates Employed - The timeframe of your employment in each company. Not sure about the exact dates you worked somewhere? Don’t worry - you don’t have to be accurate by the day, as long as it’s close. The standard format expected by recruiters and employers is mm/yyyy (this is especially important when your job application will be parsed by an Applicant Tracking System).
- Achievements and Responsibilities - This is the core of each work experience entry. Depending on your field, you want to list either your achievements or responsibilities. We’ll get more into the hows and whys of this in a bit.
Here’s a real-life example:
As you can see, the work experience listings should be mentioned in reverse-chronological order - starting with the most recent job and going all the way back into the past.
Now that you know how to list your experience, we’re going to talk about how to write about your experience in such a way that you stand out from the competition.
Are you a student with no work experience? We’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to writing a resume with no experience here.
List Achievements When Possible
One of the most common resume mistakes is listing only responsibilities in your work experience section.
Here’s the thing - in most cases, the hiring manager knows exactly what your responsibilities were. Let’s say you’re a sales manager, for example. Your responsibilities would be:
- Reach out to potential clients over the phone or email.
- Maintain relationships with existing company clients and upsell relevant products.
- Tracking and reporting on leads in CRM.
- Coincidently, this is exactly the same list of responsibilities for every sales manager. 90% of all other resumes probably mention just about the same thing.
So, to stand out, you want to focus on mentioning achievements in your resume instead. Or in simple terms, how exactly you helped the company grow, reach quarterly quotas, and so on.
- Exceeded sales team KPIs by 30%+ for 3 months straight.
- Generated over $24,000 in sales in 1 month.
- Generated leads through cold-calling
- Managed existing company clients
Keep in mind, though, that in some fields, there aren’t that many achievements you can mention. Let’s say you work in a warehouse. Your day-to-day responsibilities probably involve:
- Loading, unloading and setting up equipment on a daily basis.
- Package finished product and get it ready for shipping.
- Assist in opening and closing the warehouse.
In such fields, it’s pretty hard to distinguish yourself, so it’s totally OK to stick to responsibilities instead.
Tailor Your Resume to the Job
Tailoring is what sets an amazing resume apart from the “ OK ” one.
Hiring managers don’t want to know every single job you’ve worked, or every single skill that you possess.
They specifically want to know about your jobs, experiences, or skills that are somehow related to the role you’re applying for .
For example, if you’re applying for a job doing Google Ads , you don’t really need to talk about your SEO internship from 8 years ago.
By focusing your resume on whatever is important for a given role, you’re a LOT more likely to stand out and catch the hiring manager’s attention!
So, let’s cover a simple example of how to do this. Let’s say that after reading the following job ad for the position of a digital marketer, you discover that the most critical requirements for the job are:
- 5+ years of experience in online marketing
- Social media marketing experience, with good knowledge of Facebook advertising
- B.A. in Marketing or Business Administration
- Experience managing a 20,000 USD monthly advertising budget on Facebook
Now, to tailor your resume to these requirements, simply mention each in your resume, as long as you have the relevant achievements and qualifications!
For example, you can use:
- Your resume summary to mention your years of experience,
- Your achievements in previous jobs to prove you’ve got social media marketing experience
- Your education section to let the hiring manager know you have the degree they’re looking for
Include the Right Amount of Work Experience
If you’ve got over a decade’s worth of work experience, you’re probably confused about how much of it you mention in your resume. After all, If you had to list everything you’ve ever done, you’d end up writing a mini-novella.
Or, on the other hand, if you’re a newcomer to the job market, you probably don’t have any experience and are wondering what you could even mention.
Here’s how much information you’d mention in your resume depending on your level of experience:
- Job hunters with no experience - If you don’t have any experience, it might be a bit hard to fill in your work experience section. You can either keep it empty and focus on all the other sections, or fill it up with work experience in student organizations, non-profits, etc.
- Entry-level candidates - List all the work you’ve done up to today. While some of it won’t be relevant, it will still show the hiring manager that you do have practical work experience.
- Mid-level professionals - ONLY mention work experience relevant to the position you’re applying for.
- Senior professionals - List up to 15 years of relevant work experience MAX. If your recent experience is as a CEO, no one cares about how you started your career as a junior marketing specialist.
Consider Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software
Did you know that over 70% of resumes don’t even make it to the hiring manager ?
Most companies these days use applicant tracking software to evaluate hundreds of resumes instantaneously and filter out the ones that don’t fit certain criteria. For example, if the resume doesn’t mention a specific skill, or if the resume is not formatted the right way.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make your resume ATS-friendly :
- Check the job description for resume keywords. Tailoring your resume to the job also helps a lot with beating the ATS software. So, scan the job description carefully for hints and, whenever you find keywords related to your responsibilities and achievements, make sure to include them in your work experience section.
- Don’t make your resume longer than two pages. Sometimes, for whatever reason, employers set a limit on how long a resume should be. Meaning, if your resume is longer than one page, it might get automatically disqualified.
- Always use an active voice when describing your achievements. Passive voice is vague and unclear. Make sure to use active voice as much as possible when adding bullet points under your job entries (e.g. “managed a team of ten people” instead of “a team of ten people was managed by me”).
- Take advantage of action verbs and power words . Instead of starting each of your sentences with “was responsible for,” make your work experience impactful by taking advantage of words that can grab attention (e.g. spearheaded or facilitated).
Want to make sure your resume formatting passes the ATS test? Choose one of our ATS-friendly resume templates and you’ll be good to go!
#5. List Your Education
The next section we’re going to cover is your education . Let’s start with the basics - how to format the education section & what to mention there. Then, we’ll move on to tips & tricks that’ll help you stand out…
- Program Name. E.g.: “B.A. in Business Administration”
- University Name. E.g.: “New York State University”
- Years Attended. E.g.: “08/2008 - 06/2012”
- (Optional) GPA. E.g.: “3.9 GPA”
- (Optional) Honors. E.g.: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude.
- (Optional) Academic achievements. Any interesting papers you’ve written, courses you’ve excelled in, etc.
- (Optional) Minor. “Minor in Psychology”
Here's an example:
- If you don’t have any work experience, mention your education section first.
- Mention your latest educational entry on top.
- If you have a university degree, don’t mention your high school at all.
- ONLY mention GPA if you had a very impressive academic career (3.5 GPA plus).
#6. Emphasize Your Know-How with the Skills Section
Another must-have section in your resume is the skills section. Here, you want to mention all your know-how that makes you the perfect candidate for the job.
There are two types of skills you can include when writing your resume:
- Hard Skills (Measurable abilities). This can be anything from coding in Python to knowing how to cook Thai cuisine.
- Soft Skills (Personal skills). These are a mix of social skills, communication skills , personal traits, career attributes, and so on. Leadership, critical thinking, time management , and organization , just to name a few.
A good resume should cover both.
How to List Skills in Your Resume
Regarding how to list skills on your resume, there are three essential steps to follow:
Step #1 - List Hard Skills with Experience Levels. For each hard skill you list, you want to mention your proficiency level:
Here’s how you can categorize your hard skills:
- Beginner - You have some experience with the skill, whether it’s from some entry-level practice or classroom education.
- Intermediate - You’ve used the skill in a work environment with a good level of understanding.
- Advanced - You’re the go-to person for the skill in your office. You can coach other employees, and understand the skill on a high level.
- Expert - You’ve applied this skill in more than a handful of different projects & organizations. You’re the go-to person for advice about the skill, not just in your office, but even amongst some of the best professionals in your field.
Make sure to NEVER lie about your skill levels. Otherwise, it’s going to be pretty awkward both for you and your employer.
Step #2 - Tailor Your Skills to the Job. You might have some awesome skills, but probably not all of them will come handy for the job. For example, it’s awesome that you know how to cook, but would you really need it at your new job as an accountant? Exactly!
To tailor your skills to the job, take a look at the job ad and list 2-3 essential skills required for the job.
- University Degree
- Tech-savvy, with some background in CMS systems such as WordPress
- Thrives in a stressful environment & manages to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines
- Organizational and time management skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Self-reliant, with the ability to manage their own work
- Can-do attitude and an outside-the-box thinker
- Proficient in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote and Pages
- Basic understanding of Office software - Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook
As you can see, the must-have skills here are Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote and Pages. A good-to-have is WordPress. You can also mention Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook, but it’s pretty much assumed that you know how to use them, as they’re required for most office jobs.
If you’re qualified, make sure to mention all relevant skills with respective proficiency levels in your “Hard Skills” section.
Step #3 - Include Some Transferable Skills . These are the type of skills that are useful for almost any job out there. They are both soft skills (leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, etc.) and hard skills (Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop, writing, etc.). Whatever job you’re applying to, chances are, these skills will in one way or another come in handy, so feel free to include them, even if they’re not specifically required for the position.
Not sure which skills to mention for your field? It might be one of these 100+ essential skills to put on any resume!
#7. Include Other Important Resume Sections
The sections we’ve covered so far are must-haves for any resume. They’re the bread-and-butter for any job application, and if you get them right, you’ll land any job you apply to.
The following optional sections, though, can also give your resume a boost!
Are you bi-lingual? Or better, multi-lingual? You should ALWAYS mention that on your resume!
Even if the position doesn’t require you to know the specific language, it can still come in handy at some point. At the end of the day, it’s always better to know more languages than less.
To list languages in your resume , simply write them down and assign them the appropriate level:
- Proficient (Enough knowledge to pass by in a professional environment)
As a given, you should never lie about your language skills. You never know, your interviewer might turn out to be fluent in the language, or even be a native speaker!
Hobbies & Interests
Want to add some spice to your resume? The hobbies and interests section , while not a game-changer, can help show who YOU are as an individual. Who knows, maybe you and your interviewee have some hobbies in common!
If you end up with some extra space in your resume, don’t hesitate to show off your personality with a hobbies/interests section.
If you’re the type of person who uses your free time helping others, while expecting nothing in return, chances are that you’re the type of employee who’s in it for more than just the money. It leaves the impression that you’re a devoted, loyal employee.
Several studies show that you can boost your chances of getting hired simply by listing your volunteering experience . This holds especially true if you’re a student with next to no work experience.
Certifications & Awards
Do you have any awards that make you stand out in your field? How about certifications from industry experts?
Whichever the case is, as long as it’s relevant for the position you’re applying for, feel free to add it to your resume.
Let’s say, for example, you’re a Microsoft Cloud Engineer. Assuming you specialize in Microsoft Technologies, you’d definitely want to include all essential certifications, such as the Azure Solutions Architect Expert one.
Are you a freelance writer? Maybe a distinguished academic?
If you have any published works (online, or in an academic journal), you might want to include them in your resume. Make sure to include a URL, so the HR manager knows where to check your work!
Working on side projects can really show off your passion for your field. Whether they’re university class projects or part-time entrepreneurial endeavors, they’re both equally relevant.
Let’s say, for example, you worked on a mock software product as part of a competition in university. You went through every step of product creation, from ideation to creating a marketing strategy.
You can mention the project in your resume and stand a better chance at landing that business internship!
Or on the other hand, maybe you manage an Etsy store, selling hand-made arts & crafts to customers online. Mention all of it!
Hiring managers love employees who do cool work in their free time.
Perfecting Your Resume - FREE Checklist
Already done with your resume? Interested in seeing how it holds up? Go through our checklist for perfecting your resume and see where you stand!
If you ☑’d all the points? Congrats! You’ve mastered all there is to know about how to write a resume, and you’re good-to-go to move on with your job search! If you missed some points, though, just go through your resume one more time and perfect it as much as possible.
Wondering how to write a CV instead of a resume? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to write a CV (31+ examples included)!
5+ Effective Resume Examples for Different Jobs
Knowing how to write a resume is one thing, actually creating a resume that stands out is something else entirely. Without inspiration, even top career experts might stumble on a roadblock or two.
Check out the following effective resume examples for different job positions to get a better sense of what a good resume looks like...
#1. Architect Resume Example
#2. Data Analyst Resume Example
#3. Web Developer Resume Example
#4. Remote Job Resume Example
#5. Sales Associate Resume Example
#6. Receptionist Resume Example
Want to see more examples? Check out our compilation of 80+ resume examples for different fields.
- Administrative Assistant Resume
- Bartender Resume
- DevOps Engineer Resume
- Executive Assistant Resume
- Flight Attendant Resume
- Graphic Designer Resume
- Paralegal Resume
- Pharmacist Resume
- Recruiter Resume
- Supervisor Resume
5+ Resume Templates for Different Industries
#1. traditional resume template.
Good for traditional industries like finance, banking, manufacturing, etc.
#2. Modern Resume Template
Good for both contemporary and forward-looking industries, including entrepreneurship, Medical Technology, engineering , etc.
#3. Creative Resume Template
Good for creative industries, including arts, design, architecture, and the sorts.
#4. Minimalistic Resume Template
Good for experienced professionals in basically any industry who want to let their achievements do the talking.
#5. IT Resume Template
Good for any IT-related profession.
#6. Tech Resume Template
Good for the tech industry and everything it encompasses.
Next Steps After Your Resume
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about how to create a resume, let’s talk about cover letters and interviews.
After all, your resume is only the first step in your job search. To really land that job you deserve, you also need to craft a killer cover letter, and ace that upcoming interview.
How to Write a Convincing Cover Letter
Every job application consists of 2 parts - the resume and the cover letter. Now that we’ve covered the first, let’s briefly explain the latter.
Most job-seekers flinch when they hear that they have to write a cover letter. What do you even mention in a cover letter, anyway? If you were good at writing cover letters, you’d be applying for a writing job!
In reality, though, writing a cover letter is pretty simple, if you know its purpose.
You should think of a cover letter as a direct message to the hiring manager. You get to briefly explain why you’re such an awesome fit for the position. When we put it that way, it doesn’t sound as hard, does it?
Here’s a format you could follow:
- Start by introducing yourself (and leave an impression) - As a start, give a brief run-down on your work experience and mention why you’re interested in working for the company you’re applying for. You can also mention 1-2 of your top professional achievements to leave a good first impression.
- Explain how you’d excel at the job - Identify the top three requirements in the job ad. Then, dedicate one paragraph to explaining how you fulfill each requirement. So for example, if the requirement is “Facebook Advertising Experience,” mention how you have done Facebook ads in the past and how you’ve excelled at it.
- Conclude by expressing gratitude - Thank the hiring manager for reading your cover letter and make a call to action. For example, “If you’d like to know more about my experience with Project XYZ, I’d love to chat!”
All clear? Just in case, you can also check out a real-life example below:
Does writing a cover letter still seem a bit complicated? Doesn't have to be. Our guides on cover letter tips and common cover letter mistakes will take your cover letter to the next level.
How to Ace Your Next Interview
You’ve perfected both your resume & cover letter. Now, it’s time for the next (and final) step - the dreaded job interview.
Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, you probably hate the interviewing process. After all, sitting there while someone’s prodding into your past experiences and judging the hell out of you isn’t the most fun experience.
Did you know, though, that most interviewers ask the same questions? Yep - all you have to do is learn how to answer some of the most common interview questions, and you’ll be an interview away from landing your dream job!
Want to learn more? Check out our complete guide to Job Interview Questions and Answers .
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Make a Resume
Do you still have some questions about making a resume? Check out the FAQ below!
1. What does a good resume look like in 2023?
For your resume to look good in 2023, make sure it’s organized and clean, and isn’t longer than one page. Furthermore, be sure to include information that adds value to your application - so, leave out the redundancies and focus on your work experience, skills that you can prove, and on listing as many achievements as possible.
If you’re using a template, choose based on your industry. Conservative industries require more traditional resume templates, but if you’re into arts, design, architecture, marketing, etc., you can go for a more creative resume template.
Last but not least - remote work is big in 2023, so if that’s what you’re seeking, then consider creating a remote job resume .
2. How do you make a resume in Word?
The best way to create a resume in Word is to use a pre-customized Microsoft Word template. To access them, you should:
- Open MS Word
- Click “ file ” from the menu bar
- Type resume templates in the search bar
That said , Word resume templates are generic , hard to personalize , and overall not very standoffish. Want a template that looks good AND is extremely easy to make? Check out ours!
3. How do I write a resume for my first job?
If you’re writing your first resume for an entry-level position, the hiring manager won’t expect you to have any work experience. However, you can make up for your lack of experience with your skills and academic achievements.
For example, you can take advantage of extracurricular activities , internships , volunteering experience, and other such experiences.
As such, for your first job, you should include a resume objective to your resume, emphasize your education, and replace your work experience section with one of the following: internships, volunteering, independent projects, etc.
4. How to make a resume on Google Docs?
The easiest way to make a resume on Google Docs is to choose one of their templates and fill it in on the go. All you have to do is go to your Google Drive’s template gallery, choose your favorite template, fill in your information, and voila - your Google Docs resume is ready to go!
That said, Google Docs templates are not the most user-friendly choice. You don’t have much flexibility with the layout and formatting is not their strong point. You tweak a section to the slightest, and the whole thing gets messed up.
If you want an easier option, check out our resume builder !
5. What kind of resume do employers prefer?
Typically, employers prefer one-page-long resumes that follow the reverse chronological format.
Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes every day, so they don't have the time to read 3-page resumes.
Meanwhile, the reverse chronological format is the most popular because it draws attention to your most recent jobs and professional achievements, which is the #1 most important thing hiring managers look at when evaluating a resume.
6. How many jobs should you put on your resume?
You should only include relevant job positions on your resume.
This means that your work experience section should be tailored to the job you are applying for. If you’ve worked five different jobs and they can all add value to your current application, then you should include all five.
If, on the other hand, you’re applying for, say, a customer service position and some of your past jobs have
to do with customer service, your resume can probably do without them.
7. Should I put my address on my resume?
You can put your location (city, state, or country) on your resume, but you don’t need to put your entire physical address.
Putting a physical address on a resume was the norm back when companies would contact you via mail. In today’s world, everyone communicates via email, which is why adding a correct and professional email address to your contact information section is far more important than putting your physical address.
So, just include your location or – if you’re a remote worker – specify you prefer to work remotely by writing “working remotely from [location].”
8. What information should I leave out of my resume?
You shouldn’t include your birthday or your headshot on your resume.
If you have plenty of achievements to list under your work experience, then you can leave your basic work responsibilities out of your resume, as well.
In your education section, you should only include your highest and most recent degree. So, if you hold a Ph.D., you can list that and your Masters degree and leave your Bachelor’s degree and high school diploma out.
Finally, leave out any skills that are not relevant to the job you’re applying for.
And let’s wrap it all up!
If you’ve followed all of our advice until now, congrats! You’re probably an expert on how to make a resume.
To wrap it all up, let’s brush up on some of the most important lessons we’ve learned so far...
- Use the right resume builder. You don’t want to mess around with formatting for hours before even starting to work on your resume!
- Focus on achievements. Mention your achievements instead of responsibilities, so that you stand out from all the other applicants.
- Include the must-have sections. That is, resume summary, work experience, education, and skills.
- Tailor for the job. Everything listed on your resume should be relevant for the job you’re applying for.
- Perfect your cover letter. It’s as important as your resume, so make sure you pay as much attention to it!