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The complete guide to creating a resume

Your resume is arguably the most important document in your job search. The average job get 250 applicants. As the recruiter is going through all those, they will spend an average of just 7 seconds looking at a persons resume before deciding whether or not they are worth considering for the position.

What type of resume should you use?

There are 3 standard types of resume. It is important to pick the right one for your situation to give you the best chance of being invited in for an interview. The 3 types are: Chronological, Functional and Hybrid.


This type of resume lists your work experience in order starting with the most recent. It is best when your work history is closely related to the job you are applying for. This type of resume is generally preferred by recruiters because it requires less guess work for them. It also shows your skills in context so they can see your career progression.


This type of resume emphasizes qualifications and accomplishments in place of specific jobs. It is best at highlighting skills. Functional resumes can be used to minimize career gaps or to show experience from several different industries. Generally computerize Applicant Tracking Systems don't handle functional resumes well.


This type of resume puts skills first before your work history. It is best at highlighting a mix of relevant skills and experience. This is probably the best resume format for most people because you get the benefits of a chronological and functional resume.

How to lay out a hybrid resume.

The hybrid resume is the most suitable format for most people. A good layout for a resume is:

  • Name + Profession.
  • Summary.
  • Skills.
  • Experience.
  • Education.
  • Interests.

Name + Profession:

Start with your name, profession and contact details at the top of the page. Use your precious 7 seconds of the readers attention very carefully. Put your address and phone number at the bottom of the resume. They only need that information if they are really interested in you.

Your “profession” should be the type of job you want rather than what you actually do now. For example if you are a supervisor now but want to be a manager list your profession as “Customer Service Manager.”

Putting your profession at the top subconsciously plants the seed with the person reading the resume that that's what you are.

Make sure you use a professional sounding email address. Recruiters will discard resumes with “funny” email addresses such as If your email address isn’t just your name, it’s worth signing up for a new account for your job search. “ is more likely to get an interview than


Jane Smith | Head Chef |


Use your summary to convince the recruiter you can do the job. Often people use the summary to list traits like “team player” or “results driven.” You may exemplify these things however you haven’t given any proof. Everyone uses these words so they don’t mean much to the person reading the resume. Instead tailor your summary to each job you apply for and included specifics.

Start with a sentence giving some context as to who you are.

For example “I am a seasoned technology leader with 10 years of experience in Fortune 500 company's.” Again, you want to adapt this for each position you apply for to highlight why you are a good fit for this specific job.

Then list two quantifiable accomplishments that prove you are capable of doing the job you are applying for. Rather than just saying “skilled project manager” say “skilled project manager who managed $4 million software implementation 2 months ahead of schedule and under 5% under budget.” Prove to them that you can do what you are saying.

Here are some suggestions of good phrases to use in your summary.

Communication skills:
"Writes clearly and concisely."
"Speaks effectively."
"Openly expresses ideas."
"Speaks confidently in public."

Interpersonal skills:
"Works well with others."
"Delegates effectively."

Management skills:
"Leads groups."
"Counsels and coaches."
"Manages conflict."
"Directs others."
"Takes charge."

Organization skills:
"Detail oriented."
"Manages projects effectively."
"Sets goals."
"Meets deadlines."

Action words:


Experienced Finance Director with 12 years of experience in a Big 4 company. Talented people leader who has supervised teams of 50 people in 4 states. Accomplished at budget management and reduced operating costs by 5% for 3 years in a row.


The skills section should take up no more than 3 lines on your resume. In it list key word skills across the page. Use the same terms as the job description. (Obviously only list skills you actually have.) This will help your resume get through the filter of an Applicant Tracking System. Also, if you are applying for a technical position, there is a good chance the HR person or recruiter looking at your resume may not know the nitty gritty details like C++ is an object oriented programming language.


PMI Certified Project Manager - Microsoft Project - Asana - Budget Management - Servant Leadership - Internal Communication.


The experience section is your last opportunity to prove you can do the job. Start by putting the company name, job title and dates on one line. Use bold formatting to make it stand out. Make sure to include the month and year of employment. Include an explanation for any gaps in your employment history to remove possible question marks from your application.

Example: : Project Manager : September 2010 - May 2015

Then put 3 bullets that quantifiably explain what you did in the role. List your top, relevant, achievements while you were in the position. You should only include accomplishments that apply to the job you are after. Remember you have precious seconds to convince the reader to bring you in for an interview. Make sure you include numbers to back up what you are saying.


Deployed Google Apps software to 5000 users across 7 geographical locations.
Then include 2 bullet points that cover any parts of your job description not mentioned in the first 3 bullets. The further down your work experience you get the less information you should include. Use your precious seconds sparingly.


Unless you are applying to academia, or you are applying for your very first job, limit your education to listing your place of study, your qualifications and maybe one major accomplishment.


King's College London : 2005 - 2009

Bachelor's Degree in Economics

Dean's List 3 semesters

Cambridge High School 2000 - 2005

High School Diploma


Lastly put down what you do outside of work. Your interests may not be directly applicable to the work, but people like people like themselves - and people hire people they like. List your hobbies and interests as a way to build common ground. It also shows you are a well rounded human. Keep it short though.


Skiing. Baking. Volunteering at Abandoned Orchid Farm.

A note about formatting your resume - unless you are a graphic designer, don’t be a graphic designer. Keep your formatting simple. Use the same font throughout your resume. Use bold and larger fonts for headings and use bullets and lines to break up the information.

Last, but not least, get someone else to proof read your resume. It is impossible to correct your own work because your brain tells you what it knows should be there instead of what actually is there. A candidate with a resume with a mistake in will be discarded from consideration before a candidate with no mistakes in their resume.

Example resume:

An experienced pastry chef with a track record of reducing waste by 10% and increasing profitability by 20%. Graduate of Cordon Bleu Paris and studied under Chef Tresbien at Perfect Pastry.

SKILLS: Baking. Icing. Estimating baking jobs. Pastry Project Management. Portion control. Budgeting. Hiring. Lean 6 Sigma. 

Perfect Pastry (June 2014 - present)
Head Chef
+ Baked for party with Queen of England.
+ Managed team of 10 kitchen staff.
+ Improved profitability by 20%.

Common Cooking Cafe (October 2010 - May 2014)
Sous Chef 
+ Supervised entire kitchen on Chefs day off.
+ Implemented portion control and reduced waste by 10%.
+ Created choux pastry team.

McDonalds (July 2006 - September 2010)
Burger Cook
+ Cooked 200 burgers an hour.
+ Kept ice cream machine running for 2 months straight.

Cordon Bleu Paris (2006 - 2010)
Degree in French Bakery
+ Graduated at top of class.
+ Won cookie decorating competition. 

Safe Baking Certified

INTERESTS: Karate. Musical theatre.

Tailoring your resume

The number one piece of advice people hear about resumes is "tailor your resume to each job." But how do you "tailor" a resume? What exactly do you need to change? A good resume is about YOU. A great resume is about THEM. Alter your resume so it aligns with each position you are applying for.

Match wording

Firstly go through and match the wording in your resume to the job description. This will increase the chances of your resume getting through an Applicant Tracking System filter. Also the Recruiter screening applications may not necessarily know the technical nuances of the position. If the job description says "finance" instead of "accounting" then put that in your resume. If the job description says "cloud" instead of "Saas" then put that in your resume. If the job description says "biscuits" instead of "cookies" then put that in your resume. Make it easy for the person (or computer system) reviewing your resume to see that you have relevant skills or experience.

Make the first bullet point relevant

Change the order of the bullet points for each position so the first one is immediately relevant to the position you are applying for. Hook them in so they keep reading the rest of your accomplishments for that job before they skim to the next job you have listed.

Remove irrelevant information

Remember a recruiter is only going to look at your resume for 7 seconds. Remove information that isn't applicable to the position you are applying for. Don't make them have to read through information that doesn't help your application to find the information that is relevant.

Put skills in context

Recruiters prefer to see skills in context. Show them how and why you have used a skills. This helps prove that you really do possess the skill. Make sure to include quantifiable accomplishments to further convince them.

A career coach and resume writer can help you create a good resume.

You might also be interested reading: The complete guide to networking.