Crafting a professional resume is crucial to make a good first impression on potential employers. However, job seekers may need guidance to create an impressive resume that captures recruiters' interest. Fear not, as CakeResume — the best resume builder, is here to guide you through the process of writing a professional resume in 2023. In this blog, we'll cover everything you need to know to write and create an astounding resume that can help you land your next career move.
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A resume is a brief summary of skills, experience, and education. Its purpose is to impress potential employers and lead to an interview. While it won't guarantee employment, a well-crafted resume can convince potential employers of suitability for the job. In order to do so, you'll need to have 9 essential key sections on your resume. Keep reading to find out what they are!
It's important to note that a resume and a CV serve different purposes. While a resume is typically used for job applications, a CV is usually used for academic pursuits such as post-graduate or PhD programs.
You can create a resume using many different tools, like the traditional Microsoft Word, design tool like Canva, or resume builder like CakeResume. Later one, we’ll instruct you to choose the best online resume builder that is not only free but also help you with all you need!
📖 Further reading: What is a resume? [Definition, elements, writing tips, and examples]
When writing a resume, there are two common issues that bother us all. Whether you’re a seasoned employee with years of work experience or a fresher who just graduated with no work experience. They are:
“What to include in a resume?” and “What NOT to include in a resume?”
A professional resume should be able to serve its ultimate purpose, which is to help you land interviews. After reviewing your resume, recruiters and hiring managers should at least be able to learn the three following information:
In order to do so, there are five fundamental sections you must include in your resume in order for it to be deemed as “good.” They are:
While you can skip sections such as interests and hobbies, some jobs might require it. So you can read this article to know about the occasions when it's suitable to mention hobbies and interests.
What to Include in a Resume:
What to Exclude from a Resume:
A resume headline which is located in the header section of a resume, summarizes your working experience, strengths, and qualifications. It is often used to show recruiters that you’re a perfect fit for the vacancy. To quickly catch the recruiters’ eye, remember to carefully tailor your resume headline/title according to the job applied
Here’re some tips for you to refer to while writing a resume headline/title:
If you still have no idea how to write a professional resume title, here are 2 easy formulas for you:
📍 [An adjective describing your personal trait] + [Job title] + with + [Experience]
📍 [An adjective describing your personal trait] + [Job title] + Skilled in/Specializing in + [Skill/Qualification]
Resume headline examples:
📚 Further reading: Resume Headline｜Examples, Templates, Writing Guide
Initially, a career objective on a resume was used to express a job seeker's professional aspirations. Nowadays, the purpose of a resume objective has evolved to become a concise summary of a candidate's qualifications and achievements, highlighting what they can bring to the table.
On the other hand, a resume summary is a brief paragraph consisting of 2 to 3 sentences that encapsulate the candidate's relevant qualifications, career objectives, and desired job title. It should emphasize the candidate's skills, experiences, current job search status, and career vision to grab the attention of potential employers.
Like resume titles, resume summaries, and objectives are not strictly required for a resume. However, a good summary/objective can spice up your resume and catch the attention of recruiters.
A good resume summary and objectives should be concise, eye-catching, and, most importantly, should be closely related to the job position and the culture of the company you’re applying for.
Concise, eye-catching, and most importantly, it should be closely related to the job position and the culture of the company you’re applying for.
How to write a summary/objective for a resume?
Here are 2 simple formulas for freshers and career changers to write a good resume objective/summary:
📍 [Your major] graduate with [required skills for the position] skills.
Currently seeking a position as a [job title] at [company name], to [career goal].
Gained [required experience or ability] experience at [academic/extra-curricular activities], receiving/achieving [achievements or awards].
Career objective example for freshers:
📍 [Previous job title] with [required skills for the position] skills.
Currently seeking a position as a [Job title] at [company name], to [career goal].
Built [required experience or ability] experience at [work experience], receiving/achieving [achievements or awards].
Resume summary examples for career changers:
When crafting your resume, it is important to avoid including any irrelevant personal information. Instead, focus on including key details that will help you stand out as a qualified candidate.
These details should include:
However, there are certain personal details that should never be included in your resume. These details are:
📕 Further reading: Personal Details in Resume｜Samples, Formats, Writing Guide
When it comes to listing skills on your resume, it's essential to tailor them to the job you're applying for. You should categorize your skills into bullet-point lists based on different skill sets and highlight the ones most relevant to the job requirements.
There are generally two types of skills to include in a resume: technical skills (hard skills) and personal skills (soft skills). When selecting which skills to include, refer to the job description and highlight the skills that are particularly critical for the position. For instance: hard skills are especially important in a technical job. However, for jobs with no specific hard skills required, like teachers or baristas, you might consider adding computer skills or language skills to your resume.
If you have gaps in your employment history, consider using a skill-based resume format (functional resume), which focuses on your skills and qualifications instead of your work history.
Remember that it’s not about the number of skills you list but rather the quality and relevance to the position/industry. Ensure that the skills you include can answer the following questions:
When organizing your skill section, group them into categories based on the qualifications required for the job. Here are some examples of skill categories for software engineers and designers:
An education section can be a vital factor in your resume, especially if you just graduated from college.
Educational qualifications should be listed in reverse chronological order, starting with your highest level of education. Usually, it is not recommended to include high school education on resumes. However, if it is your highest degree, it should definitely be included.
The content and placement of the education section can be adjusted accordingly to a job seeker’s seniority. Freshers with no or little work experience should make the most of the education section to highlight their achievements and knowledge learned.
Some of you might wonder whether it is ok to leave education off your resume.
If you’re a career changer with more than 5 years of work experience, simply state the school name, major, and graduation year of your highest level of education. Also, for experienced employees, placing the education section after the work experience section is suggested.
If you’re currently in college, you can still list the in-progress degree on your resume with relevant coursework you’ve done. Simply note the expected graduation date beside the starting year.
If you did not complete the degree (and you're not going to), it is not suggested to include it on your resume, unless you don't have any other education or training. To list an incomplete degree, you can include the name of the school and program and also relevant coursework you finished. Do note that you should not mislead employers in believing that you've graduated.
📖 Further reading: Education on Resume｜Examples, Templates, Writing Guide
Work experience is the most important section of a resume. It can fully demonstrate your competency, qualification, and experience in a proper manner. In this section, full-time/part-time/contract/freelance work and internships can all be included as long as they are relevant to the position.
It depends on the candidates’ seniority levels. Generally speaking, there should be 3 - 5 relevant work experiences (jobs) included on a resume, which can be traced back to 10 - 15 years ago for some senior-level job seekers.
CakeResume is the best online resume builder. Users are able to include maps, links, videos, images, and slides in their resumes to showcase skills and profession. Adding projects and portfolios can make your resume more appealing and professional, especially for designers, software engineers, and marketing professionals.
📖 Further Reading: Work Experience on a Resume｜Samples, Formats, Writing Guide
Resume declaration is a statement where job applicants assure their potential employers that everything included on the resume is accurate and without any misleading information. It usually comes with the writer’s signature and the date.
Declaration for resumes is common during the job application process in India, and it can also be found in companies or organizations with formal application processes (e.g., Traditional enterprises, government agencies, and academic institutions).
Here’s the resume declaration sample and format.
I, [You Full Name], solemnly declare that all the details above in my resume is true and accurate. I take full responsibility for the correctness of the information mentioned.
[You Formal Signature] [Date]
📖 Further reading: Declaration in Resume｜Formats, Examples, Writing Guide
Reference on a resume is not strictly requested in general cases. Adding references in resumes used to be common in the past, but the trend is now fading out. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that references are not important during the job search process anymore.
If the recruiters specifically request applicants to add references to resumes, or it is clearly indicated on the job posting, you should for sure put references on your resume or attach a reference page/sheet in the mail.
It is appropriate to list 1 - 3 references on a resume with the following information:
If you’ve decided to write references in your resume, your next question might be, “Where to add references in resumes?”. Here are some suggestions:
Since the ideal number of references is around 3 (it’s not suggested to list more than 5 referees considering the quality), simply adding a reference section in a resume would be adequate.
📕 Further reading: References on Resume｜Formats, Samples, Templates
This is one of the most common questions asked by job seekers, “Should I put hobbies on a resume?”
Generally speaking, it is not suggested to include hobbies in resumes since usually, they can’t directly prove you’re qualified for the job. However, the following 2 conditions can be the exceptions:
Make the most of the hobbies and interests section in your resume to show your future employers that you’re a responsible person, a self-starter, a fast learner, a team player, and even a leader!
📒 Further reading: Hobbies and Interests in Resume｜Examples, Formats, Writing Guide
Here is a list of hobbies and interests to write in resumes:
|Hobbies & Interests||Position/Company/Industry|
|Pet Care||Pet industry|
|Child Care||Teacher position / Child Care Services Industry|
|Cooking, Baking||Restaurants and Food Services industry|
|Art, Sketching, Painting||Designer position|
|History, Culture, Traveling||Tour guide position / Tourism Industry|
|Reading, Writing, Blogging||Writer position / Publishing industry|
|Networking, Public speaking||Sales position / Business development position|
|Languages learning, Traveling||Tourism Industry|
|Writing, Blogging, Podcasting||Marketing position|
|Computer games, Video games||Gaming industry|
|Sports, Exercising and healthcare||Personal trainer position / Fitness industry|
|Video production, Filming, Movies||Video editor position / Film and Television Industry|
|Volunteer work, Community involvement||Social enterprise / NGOs|
|Listening to music, Making music, Playing an instrument||Music industry|
CakeResume is the best free resume builder tool that can help you build an attractive and professional resume in just 10 minutes. With CakeResume, you can easily create a custom resume that reflects your skills, experience, and achievements. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out in your career, CakeResume provides a range of customizable templates and formatting options to ensure that your resume stands out from the crowd. By using the best free online resume builder, you can be confident that you're presenting your best self to potential employers and increasing your chances of landing your dream job effortlessly.