How to Write A Resume: Formats, Samples, & Templates

Last Updated on – Dec 7, 2020 @ 10:53 am

If you were given one chance to interview for your dream job in the next 10 minutes, would your resume be up for the challenge?

A winning resume won’t automatically qualify you for the job. However, a bad one will automatically have your interviewer go #smh as she goes over your paper.

She’ll ask that you give back your apron because it’s the end of the line for you (sorry, been watching too much Masterchef lately).

Before we go cookin’ up that tasty, winning resume, let’s go over a question that most people ask when it comes to this topic: What’s the difference between a Curriculum Vitae and a Resume?

What is a Resume?

“Resume” is a French term for “Summary”. It’s basically a document containing relevant work experience and education to show your qualifications for a job you’re applying for.

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

On the other hand, the other document used in place of a Resume is “Curriculum Vitae”, which in Latin translates to “Course of Life”.

It’s a document containing details about your education, work experience, and achievements. It’s also made for the same purpose of showing your potential employers your qualifications for the job.

Resume vs. CV?

You probably noticed above that aside from achievements, a resume contains the same stuff that you’ll find in a CV.

In practice, however, there are 3 key differences between the two: Lay-out, length, and purpose.

Credit: NovoResume

Think of a resume as a shorter CV with focus on your skill summary and recent work background.

A CV, on the other hand, features a more detailed version wherein your academic accomplishments take center stage and almost always begins with the educational background.

Here’s a quick comparison table:

Curriculum Vitae (CV)Resume
Focuses on Educational accomplishmentsFocuses on skill and work experience
Mainly used for applying in Academic positions, grants, fellowshipsUsed mainly when applying for jobs in the public and private sector
Length/number of pages is dependent on accomplishments listedUsually no longer than 2 pages
Leads with a listing of work accomplishments and skillsLeads with educational attainment and accomplishments
Layout is staticLayout can be more flexible, no hard rules

When and where to use a Resume?

Resumes are typically used when applying for jobs in the private and public sector.

When and where to use a Curriculum Vitae?

A CV is more commonly used in applying for positions that are related to the academe, grants, and fellowships.

How to Write a Resume

As simple as it may seem, crafting a winning resume entails more than simply dumping all sorts of personal and professional background information you can think of. That’s not going to land you any jobs, trust me.

In writing your resume, your mantra should always be this: Quality over quantity.

Each entry and word you will include should serve a purpose, and that is to pique your reader’s interest and provide a narrative of what you have accomplished and can do for them – just like a kickass Elevator Pitch.

Like a good storyteller, your job is to come up with an engaging plot about you that will keep your interviewer reading the rest of your information.

The goal is to build up your image and have them realize that you’re the best person for the job.

In this section we’ll break down the process of resume-building in 7 easy steps.

Step 1: Choose a Resume Format.

There are 3 types:

  • Reverse-Chronological (for showing a vertical career progression)
  • Functional (focuses on skills and abilities)
  • Combination (combines the best elements of the first 2 formats. For highlighting a core skill within a certain career)

Step 2: Decide on the content of your resume

Think very carefully on what you’ll include. This is where our mantra, “Quality over Quantity”, comes in.

An effective layout highlights your strengths and trims out the excess fat not worthy of the limited space.

Step 3: Collate all Professional and Personal Information

It will be a whole lot easier if you have all information available to you already so you can easily insert them within each corresponding section.

Don’t worry about perfecting every word in each entry right now, the goal is to simply prep everything for easy access later.

Step 4: Fill out the parts of your resume 

Below is the typical format for a Resume, and the necessary details for each section:

1. Resume Heading 

Contact info, Home Address, Email, Contact Number

2. Main Profile/Objective/Summary of Qualifications 

Depending on the style you’re aiming for, this section aims to highlight your strengths and provides a quick overview of your experience and skills.

3. Work History 

Lists out your employment history in reverse chronological order. Each position should list out key details like job title, dates of employment and accomplishments.

Include any volunteer work that you find significant or related to the post your applying for.

4. Skills 

List out all skills that are related to your target job. Use bullet format if possible and keep an active tone and tense in your words.

5. Certifications/Awards/Accomplishments 

A critical component of the resume especially if the accomplishments directly relate to the position your applying for.

Step 5:  Formatting

This step covers the part where you pick the fonts, colors, tables (if there’s any) and other minute details of the framework. Decide if you’ll be using paragraph or list style.

While lists are generally considered more due to readability, there are great examples of paragraph styles out there that might suit your preferences better.

Step 6: Polishing

Ramit Sethi, a best-selling author and entrepreneur, once wrote that he spent 100 hours working on his resume that got him offers from Google and Intuit.

After completing it, he said that each word in it was carefully considered and has earned a place on the page.

The lesson here is to make sure that you trim out the fat and aim for impact because a concise and laser-focused resume will make you stand out like a truffle among a sea of salt (his words not mine).

And that’s what you want.

Step 7: Proofread like a Pro

Separating the polishing stage from proofreading enables you to switch to your editor mode and zone in on any grammatical and typographical errors your resume might still have at this point.

It also helps in making sure your tone and tense is consistent all throughout. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoided the use of personal pronouns
  • Consistent in tense
  • Included action words (Strategized, Coordinated, Organized, Launched, Developed, Reduced, Decreased, Increased, Achieved, Built, Operated)
  • Avoided jargon and superfluous words
  • Gave your resume a professional file name

Resume Samples and Templates

Now comes the part where we take a look at various resume templates and samples that you can use as a framework when crafting your own.

Here are some of the most extensive resources for sample resumes and templates on the web:

1. 80 free professional Resume examples by Industry

A huge compilation of resume examples by ResumeGenius – sorted by job & industry, resume type, format, and sections.

2. Free professional Resume templates

Professionally designed and easy-to-customize Resume and CV templates by NovoResume.

3. Samples and Templates for the 10 Different Resume Formats

Free downloadable Resume templates and samples by Hloom for formats such as chronological, functional, combination, infographic-style, modern, creative, and more.

4. Resume Samples by Industry and Job Title

Monster.com’s comprehensive list of Resume samples for the most sought out jobs in the planet.

5. Free Simple Resume Examples

LiveCareer’s collection of free resume examples categorized by industry and job title.

6. Free Downloadable Resume Templates by Canva

Customizable and well-designed Resume Templates by the team at Canva.

7. ZipJob’s Resume Examples

Featuring over 200+ resume examples created by the team at ZipJob.

To have a clearer view of the details you can include on your resumes, below are some actual samples:

Example #1: Sales and Retail Industry Resume Sample

Jobs under this category include:

Sales Associates and Managers, Retail personnel, Bank teller, Cashiers, Store Managers, and other jobs that focus on performing tasks that generate sales.

  • Highlight should be on: Sales skills, customer service skills, management skills, and analytical skills.
  • Examples of strong bullet points used in Sales and Retail Industry:
    • Organized and replenished inventory and stock at a 15% faster rate versus the average.
    • Assisted up to 30 potential buyers per day which translated to sales of more than Php 20,000 daily.
  • Top skills to mention: Product knowledge, Sales, Customer service, Math skills, Merchandising, Support
  • Best action words: Provide, Assist, Manage, Achieve, Stock, Arrange, Replenish, Sold, Coordinate, Recommended

Example #2: Customer Service Representatives & Phone Support Resume 

Jobs under this category mostly include Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) jobs and positions:

Tech Support Agents, Customer Service Reps, Client Account Support, and others that mainly deal with providing assistance over the phone.

  • Highlight should be on: Customer care, Technical expertise, Communication skills, Management, and Interpersonal skills.
  • Examples of strong bullet points used in Customer Service and Support Industry:
    • Handled 80+ calls on a daily basis assisting new customers in setting up their website access, provided detailed explanation of our products, made up-sell offers, answered general questions.
    • Helped 50+ customers per day in troubleshooting issues with their software/hardware. Provided tips and suggestions on how they can prevent those issues next time.
    • Suggested extended warranties on each call with a conversion rate of 20 percent (10 percent better than company average)
    • Consistently received 90 percent or higher positive ratings per quarter based on customer surveys, which is 10 percent better than average ratings company-wide.
  • Top skills and traits to mention:
    • Expertise in using popular customer support software and hardware
    • People skills (able to communicate clearly and persuasively in a calm and polite manner),
    • Efficient Average Handling Time (AHT), excellent resolution rate, decreased customer wait time, Upselling skills.
  • Best Action words: Answered, Conducted, Resolved, Maintained, Responded, Assisted, Provided, Implemented, Consulted

Example #3: Office/Administrative/Clerical Roles: Managerial & Assistant Resume

Jobs under this category include:

Office Staff and Manager roles, Executive assistant, Admin Assistant, Secretary and jobs that focus on managing day-to-day activities in the office.

  • Highlight should be on: Administrative and office skills, technical knowledge of CRM systems, organizational skills, management skills, multi-tasking capabilities
  • Examples of strong bullet points used in Office and Administrative Industry:
    • Reduced office expenditures by as much as 30 percent by looking for cheaper office supply vendors and negotiating better deals
    • Answered up to 30+ phone inquiries per day, providing answers to customer questions and setting appointments
    • Consistently prepared weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports and spreadsheets detailing daily activities for review by top management
  • Top skills and traits to mention:
    • Proficiency in various CRM systems
    • Expertise in using popular office applications (Microsoft Office)
    • Efficiency in handling incoming tasks and paperwork and assigning them to the appropriate parties/department
    • Average Words per Minute (typing speed)
    • Multi-tasking skills
    • Records maintenance
    • Customer inquiries resolution
  • Best Action Words: Prepared, Liaised, Reported, Answered, Created, Developed, Managed, Performed, Ordered, Supervised, Saved

Example #4: Nursing and Healthcare Resume 

Jobs under this category may include:

Nurses, Medical Assistants, Social Workers, Caregivers, Dental Assistants, Pharmacists, Personal Trainer

  • Highlight should be on: Patient care, medical experience, educational background, administration of medicine and treatment, experience in conducting medical tests
  • Examples of strong bullet points used in Nursing and Healthcare Industry:
    • Provided compassionate and responsive assistance to up to 30+ pediatric patients on a daily basis
    • Updated medical records and history of patients including diagnostic results, medications, patient response, interventions, and/or treatment changes.
    • Assessed condition of patients, ordering and conducting evaluation tests as needed
  • For fresh-grad nurses and medical personnel, you may opt to highlight your education, licensure and certification, and relevant coursework including any OJT experience.
  • Top skills and traits to mention:
    • Critical thinking
    • Communication
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Reliability
    • Attention to detail
    • Organized
    • Multi-tasking skills
  • Best Action Words: Administered, Adhered, Applied, Conducted, Assessed, Assisted, Evaluated, Provided, Treated, Helped, Tracked, Responded

Example #5: Information Technology/Web Development/Computer Science Resume 

Jobs under this category may include:

IT personnel, software programmers, data scientists, software engineers, web developers

  • Highlight should be on:
    • Relevant technology skills covering technical skills related to software development and maintenance
    • Expertise in programming and coding
    • Relevant projects created,
    • Familiarity with operating systems and various programming languages,
    • Network expertise (hardware and software for I.T personnel),
    • Statistical machine learning and data solutions (for Data scientists)
  • Examples of strong bullet points used in I.T, Programming, and Data Scientist
    • Developed ticketing system that improved communication and support capacity within the whole company by as much as 20 percent (I.T)
    • Managed and maintained network and I.T equipment of a large BPO company with 2,000 employees
    • Designed an internal website for a local government agency that enabled access to important documents and resources, decreasing reliance on traditional consumables (paper, ink supplies, etc) by as much as 50 percent. (Software engineer, web developer)
    • Created a revised streamlining process for incoming data, which lead to a decrease of as much as 30 percent in data redundancy
  • Top skills and traits to mention:
    • Technical skills (software and hardware)
    • Independent worker capable of producing excellent output with minimal supervision
    • Expertise in specific programming languages
    • Expertise in specific operating systems, networking terminologies/software and hardware
    • Implementation of security protocol and firewall (I.T)
    • Experience in developing websites and mobile applications (be specific)
    • Ability in analyzing and managing large data sets (Data scientist)
  • In general, using technical jargon and terms in this particular industry is quite acceptable due to the technical nature of the job. By being specific with your skills and experience, you’re showing your expertise and know-how of your particular niche.
  • Best action words:
    • Deployed, monitored, analyzed, performed, conducted, developed, administered, created, installed, consolidated, generated, activated, troubleshoot, built, automated, debugged, programmed

Example #6: Engineering Resume 

Jobs under this category include all types of engineering fields:

Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, Electronics, and others

  • Highlight should be on: Management and supervision duties, training, budgeting, execution, soft skills (teamwork, comm skills, multi-tasking abilities)
  • Examples of strong bullet points used in Engineering jobs:
    • Supervised construction of electrical system for a medium-sized supermarket in Q.C which included cable pulls, power and lighting installation, wiring of all electrical components, voltage/power surge equipment
    • Spearheaded the budgeting of all maintenance equipment for a third-party client amounting to as much as Php 5 million.
    • Supervised the training of all newly-hired engineers to familiarize them with their specific roles and projects to work on.
    • Lead the construction team in building a 5-storey commercial establishment in Makati which included working with third-party contractors (suppliers, architects, workers)
  • Top skills and traits to mention:
    • Licensure and Certification, project management, training and development, execution of engineering-specific roles and tasks, accomplishments, trainings and seminars
  • Best Action Words:
    • Built, constructed, supervised, installed, coordinated, designed, developed, trained

Example #7: Accounting, Business & Finance Resume 

Jobs under this category include:

Accountants, business analysts, financial analysts, bookkeepers, and all other finance-related positions

  • Highlight should be on: Certifications & Memberships (CPA), Finance and auditing skills, budgeting, financial report creation, recordkeeping of financial transactions, knowledge in technical aspects (SAP, Oracle, etc), management of investments
  • Examples of strong bullet points used in Accounting and Finance-related Industry:
    • Lead team in managing a Php10 million budget for new office materials and equipment while achieving a reduction of more than Php 700,000 from total costs
    • Prepared timeline and budget costs including audit and planning for clients
    • Conducted risk assessments, analytics, and quarterly and annual reviews for over 50 clients, prepared audit findings and potential suggestions for improvement
    • Performed financial computations including amounts due, discounts, revenue, equity, principal, balances for a Fortune 500 company (bookkeeper)
  • Top skills and traits to mention
    • Licensure and certification, auditing skills, budgeting skills, management background, process analysis, mentions of financial achievements (savings earned, reduced costs, etc), expertise in financial audit and documentation software
  • Best Action Words:
    • Facilitated, Calculated, Canvassed, Balanced, Identified, Tabulated, Managed, Maintained, Valued, Analyzed, Prepared, Aggregated, Evaluated, Coordinated

Also Read: 20 High Paying Home-Based Online Jobs in the Philippines

10 Tips for Writing Great Resumes

Tip #1: Customize your resume for the job position

While you may have come up with a well-crafted resume that lists out your overall strengths and skills, it will still fall short if it was not tailor-made for a specific job post.

Why? Because a laser-focused approach is always better than a general resume that simply outlines your capabilities.

Picture this scene:

Two engineers are applying for the same position (Electrical Engineer for a construction company).

Engineer #1 submits his go-to resume that lists down his skills and work history in reverse-chronological order.

This resume garnered him several interviews and leads a few years ago.

Engineer #2 pulls out his old resume and edits it to highlight his construction background and experience.

He included action verbs that emphasized his contributions that are related to the construction business.

He started off his resume by listing out skills, certifications, and experience pertaining to construction.

If you’re the hiring manager, which resume would interest you more?

That’s right! Engineer #2 wins by a mile simply because his resume is on-point with what the company is looking for. You see, making a resume is like auditioning for a play.

If the director wanted a Romeo to play with Juliet, why the heck would he pick the guy who kept on acting like he’s one of the Three Musketeers?

Customize your resume to align with what you’re applying for.

Tip #2: Quantify your Resume

Go back to our sample templates earlier and check out the “Examples of strong bullet points to mention” section.

What did you notice? Almost each entry was detailed in explaining what exactly applicant did in their previous job. Notice that exact figures were mentioned like

“Reduced costs by 15%, increased sales by Php 20,000, reduced downtime by 30 minutes, etc.

Numbers and figures attract the attention of the reader. Numbers also puts into clear perspective what exactly you accomplished and can do for the hiring employer.

Imagine saying in your resume (when applying for an admin post, for example): “Reduced overall office expenses by as much as Php 50,000 by renegotiating with existing vendors and looking for better ones.”

The hiring manager can’t help but be impressed with such substantial and quantifiable results that they almost want to hire you on the spot.

She’s thinking, “We sure would like to save 50k too in our company”.

Compare that to the generic-sounding: “Reduced office expenses”, and you’ll see the big difference in the impact of quantifying facts and figures.

Tip #3: Action Verbs in Bullet Points

Checklists are great if you want to remember stuff you have to do. However, they shouldn’t be included if you want to make a kick-ass resume.

You’ll want to be as descriptive as possible yet still make it easy to read. How to do it? Answer: “Action-packed Bullet Points”.

Referring again to the examples of strong bullet points we showed earlier along with the suggested “Best Action Verbs”, we now have a useful bank for power words and phrases to base our bullet points on.

Here’s a quick formula:

Bullet = 1st Action Verb + Quantifiable Achievement + Specific task performed

Note that Quantifiable achievement and the specific task performed can be interchanged in sequence.

Let’s see it in action:

Developed a ticketing system that improved communication and support capacity by as much as 20 percent.

See what we did there?

We basically showed the hiring manager your experience/expertise and at the same time boast about the positive results that you helped achieved.

We’re hitting two birds with one stone here, and all it took was to use the formula we laid out above.

Tip #4: Leave no gaps in your work history

If you have gone through periods of unemployment sandwiched in-between jobs (a few months to a couple of years), make sure to NOT include them in your work history.

Why?

Because it will raise questions on your decision to be unemployed or reasons why you were and may open a can of worms that you don’t really want to discuss.

It also weakens your employment history by some degree as the interviewer might conclude that there must have been some issues that arose (that you’re not willing to discuss or be honest about).

But what if you really do have periods of unemployment? The answer: Utilize the right resume format. Remember the 3 formats we mentioned earlier?

Reverse-chronological, Functional, and Combination – for this particular situation, you may use either Functional (allows you to leave off work dates) or Combination (list out your work history per usual then when you reach the unemployment gaps, switch to listing your qualifications and ignore the dates.)

The bottom line is, don’t leave your resume looking weak by having gaps in your work history.

Tip #5: Leave out your hobbies and interests

Remember our rule about Quality over Quantity? A resume only has a finite amount of space and everything should earn its right to be included.

This means cutting out less important stuff like your personal interests and hobbies.

Why?

Because an interviewer is only looking for actual skills and work experience that the company can use, not read about how you love to play basketball or sketch caricatures of your dog the whole day.

Tip #6: Be professional all throughout

Once upon a time my sole email address was this: My Ragnarok Username @Yahoo.com. I don’t even want to mention it here, it just sounds silly.

I remember applying for a BPO in Makati and they had us write our contact information prior to initial screening. After calling my name, I sat face-to-face with the first interviewer.

With an annoyed look she asked, “Really, that’s the email address you’re using?”.

To cut the story short she gave me the boot and I just wasted a couple of hours commuting and waiting only to be dismissed as being unprofessional.

And I even wore my favorite polo that day. What a shame.

Here’s a quick guideline on what you should and should not include in your resume:

Don’ts:

  • Don’t use an unprofessional sounding email.
  • Don’t include your nickname.
  • Don’t include a photo of yourself.
  • Don’t label the file name of your resume with (HIRE_ME_PLEASE.doc) or anything silly like that.

Do’s:

  • Use a professional-sounding email address. Create a new one if necessary.
  • Be 100% accurate in your contact details
  • Use a decent sounding file name when you save the resume doc

Tip #7: Write your resume as if you’re hooked to a lie detector machine

Yes, that’s right. Be 100% truthful on what you’re writing down in your resume. Some folks may be tempted to include a little white lie just to make their resume look more competitive.

Here’s my advice: Just don’t. If you get caught (which is likely if you boast about a skill/experience then can’t back up), not only is it embarrassing, but the hiring manager may tag your profile as fraudulent and blacklist your name from being able to apply in their company again.

And of course, it’s just plain wrong, bruh.

Tip #8: Use a professional-looking format

This includes the layout, fonts, and overall look of your resume.

You’ll be surprised that a lot of applicants out there don’t realize that using a Comic Sans font is not going to get them laughs from the hiring manager.

Be safe, use time-tested and proven formats that will best represent yourself and your professional capabilities.

Check out the samples we included here and pick the one that fits your personality best.

Tip #9: Sell yourself in just a few lines

Ask yourself, if the interviewer only had 15 seconds to read through my entire resume, what will she remember the most?

“Oh, he’s the guy who saved his previous employer a million pesos using his negotiating skills.”

Cool, right?

Instead of simply listing out your work history, aim for impact and present a narrative.

List out key accomplishments and your most memorable achievements because that’s what’s going to help your resume stand out from the rest.

Related: 100+ Job Interview Tips, Questions, and Answers

Tip #10: Be Ruthless in Editing Your Resume

You may have to do this more than once to get to that point where you can honestly say that the final version is as lean as a pork tenderloin.

WIthout the fat (filler content and useless personal info), you’ll have a resume that packs in only the best and most meaningful stuff about you.

You’ll make it easier for the interviewer to know your story and create an image that aligns with what they’re looking for straight like a laser beam.

It’s focused, purposeful, and has a narrative. That’s what your editing goals should aim for.

Ready to send out your Resume? Check out these lists of career opportunities for you:

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About Amiel Pineda

Amiel is the lead business & finance columnist of Grit PH. He escaped from the shackles of BPO life and now pursues his dream of writing full time. He shares his best tips and insights for aspiring homebased workers and freelancers on his site: Homebased Pinoy

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