Ultimate Guide to What Makes a Good Resume

By: | Updated: March 18, 2024

You found our list of what makes a good resume.

A good resume highlights an applicant’s skills, experiences, and achievements. For example, this document may include job experiences, educational background, and key accomplishments. The purpose of a resume is to give potential employers an overview of the candidate’s qualifications. These elements are also known as “best practices for resumes” and “elements of a good resume.”

These tips on what makes a good resume are related to return to work programs, preparing for an interview, and applicant tracking systems.

This list covers:

  • best practices for resumes
  • tips for writing a resume
  • customizing your resume
  • designing a good resume
  • strong resume ideas
  • writing a good resume

Let’s get to it!

List of what makes a good resume

From objective statements to relevant skills, here is the ultimate list of tips for creating the best resume.

1. Objective Statement

An objective statement is a short, clear sentence at the top of your resume. This line explains what kind of job you are looking for and what you hope to achieve in that role. This info helps employers quickly understand your career goals and how they align with the position they are offering. An objective statement shows employers that you are focused and serious about the job. In addition, this statement gives firms insight into what drives you professionally. Most importantly, this info helps firms determine if you are a good fit for the position. Overall, including an objective statement can make your resume more effective.

2. Contact Details

One of the best practices for resumes is listing clear contact details. In your contact section, include your full name, phone number, professional email, and LinkedIn profile. You should mention your city and state but avoid full postal address for privacy. Clarity is key here so potential employers can contact you easily. Also, make sure your chosen email is professional, such as your name.

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3. Relevant Skills

Relevant skills are the abilities and talents you have that directly relate to the job you are applying for. These skills can include things like computer, communication, or technical abilities. Putting relevant skills on your resume shows employers that you have the right qualifications for the job. Hiring managers can see that you can do the required tasks and contribute to the team. When you include relevant skills on your resume, it increases your chances of getting hired.

Here are examples of employee soft skills.

4. Work Experience

Having significant work experience can greatly enhance your resume. This section provides concrete evidence of your skills and abilities. You can include full-time positions, internships, voluntary work, or job-related projects. Each experience should list corresponding achievements and what skills you used or learned. Relevance and presentation are key for writing a good resume.

5. Education

A good education is one of the most essential tips for writing a resume. This section highlights your knowledge, skills, and dedication to learning. You can list formal schooling, certifications, or self-study. Education shows your commitment to personal growth and development. Before applying for a role, check the education requirements to see if you are a good fit. Employers appreciate candidates who show a willingness to invest in themselves through education.

6. Accomplishments

Including your achievements in a resume is essential. Highlighting successes shows your skills and abilities to potential employers. This info sets you apart from other candidates and showcases your value. When listing achievements, focus on measurable results. Further, use action words for effective descriptions. It is important to focus on quality over quantity when choosing which accomplishments to include on your resume. By emphasizing achievements, you offer tangible proof of your capabilities. You are more likely to impress hiring managers with successes rather than just a list of job responsibilities.

7. Volunteer Work

Volunteer work adds significant value to a resume. This section shows that you are dedicated, compassionate, and active in community engagement. Employers appreciate applicants who use their skills to contribute to society. Volunteering demonstrates leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving capabilities. Employers find these qualities desirable in potential candidates.

8. References

A good resume should include professional references. Former supervisors or colleagues can vouch for your skills, character, and work ethic. Be sure to accurately list names, titles, companies, and contact information. Additionally, telling your references that you are interviewing is also important etiquette.

9. Languages

Being multilingual can give your resume a massive boost. If you speak more than one language, highlight your proficiency levels. This section showcases your ability to talk to diverse individuals or conduct business internationally. Additionally, formal certificates in languages can reflect your commitment to continuous learning. This skill can impress prospective employers.

10. Certifications

When looking for strong resume ideas, consider adding certifications. This section can show specialized skills and expertise. Getting certifications shows a commitment to professional growth in a specific field. Certifications can help distinguish candidates in a crowded job market. It is important to ensure that the certifications listed are current and relevant to the desired position. Candidates can improve their chances of securing interviews and advancing their careers.

11. Project Details

Including project details on your resume provides concrete examples of your capabilities. You can highlight your role, the objectives, and the outcomes achieved. If possible, quantify your success. This information gives potential employers an insight into your problem-solving skills. Further, firms can see your ability to lead or contribute to team-driven projects.

On a related note, here are examples of project management skills.

12. Hobbies

Including hobbies in your resume showcases a well-rounded personality. This section provides insight into your passion outside work. Plus, hobbies can reflect essential skills like team collaboration, leadership, or creativity. For example, playing a team sport shows teamwork, while painting exhibits creativity. However, select hobbies that correspond with your job application.

13. Keywords

Important words in a resume are crucial. These terms help your document attract attention from applicant tracking systems and recruiters. These words are specific terms related to the job you are applying for, highlighting your abilities and background. Consider strategically including keywords from the job description in your resume. You can improve the likelihood of moving past initial screenings and securing an interview. Sites like Indeed can tell you which key terms are more likely to help your resume stand out. Customizing your resume with strong keywords is a great idea.

14. Links

When it comes to a resume, adding relevant links can make a significant difference. Links to professional profiles like LinkedIn can show recruiters more about your qualifications. Moreover, including links to your portfolio or personal website can display your work in a visually appealing way. This additional effort shows initiative and professionalism. If you are bringing in a printed resume to a company, however, then it is best to leave the links off.

15. Format

The way you structure your resume is vital for displaying your skills and experiences clearly. An organized layout can help recruiters quickly find important details. Headings, bullet points, and uniform formatting add to a polished look. A clean and readable design emphasizes significant achievements and qualifications. Designing a good resume can impress potential employers and improve your chances of getting an interview.

16. Profile Photo

When making profiles on LinkedIn or company websites, choosing a strong profile picture is important. Your profile photo can make or break first impressions. You should choose a high-quality, professional-looking image that represents who you are. In addition, avoid casual or party photos, as they can negatively influence recruiters.

17. Professional Development

Developing professionally is essential for improving your skills and progressing in your career. Workshops, courses, and certifications, can keep you up to date in your field. Employers appreciate folks who strive to improve their knowledge and expertise. Consistently focusing on your professional growth improves your career opportunities and skill set.

For example, here are management training programs.

18. Resume Length

Resumes should be one to two pages max. A concise and focused document grabs potential employers’ attention. A long resume can overwhelm readers and hide vital details. Resumes should be brief yet informative, highlighting key achievements, skills, and relevant experiences. Quality over quantity is essential for resume length. A well-structured, succinct resume ensures your qualifications stand out.

19. Grammar and Spelling

A well-crafted resume emphasizes your skills and experience as well as your attention to detail. To ensure proper grammar usage and spelling, remember to proofread. This step shows professionalism and focus. Errors can leave an impression of carelessness. Such issues can discourage employers from considering your application.

20. Action Words

In a competitive job market, your resume needs to stand out. Action words enhance its effectiveness. Phrases like “led,” “managed,” and “implemented” can show your skills and experience more effectively. These words showcase your accomplishments and illustrate your capabilities. Using such powerful language can significantly improve your resume’s impact.

Final Thoughts

Creating an effective resume requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Each element plays a crucial role in showing your qualifications and fit for the job. By following these guidelines, you can create a document that stands out from the crowd and increases your chances of landing your dream job.

Next, check out our posts on career newsletters, employment agencies, and company culture fit.

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FAQ: What makes a good resume

Here are frequently asked questions about what makes a good resume.

What is the significance of a resume objective?

The objective statement on a resume is an introduction to your career goals. This sentence tells employers what you aim to achieve professionally. Interviewers will be able to decide if those goals align with their company objectives.

How important are skills on a resume?

Skills are incredibly important on a resume, as they demonstrate what you are capable of doing. These skills give employers insight into your abilities and how they relate to the job at hand.

Why should I customize my resume for each job application?

Customizing your resume ensures that you show relevant skills and experiences specific to each role. This step can increase your chances of getting noticed by recruiters.

How can I make my resume clearer?

To make your resume clearer, ensure that information is well-organized and easy to read. For instance, use bullet points for listing details, keep sentences short and concise, and avoid jargon or complex language.

What should I include in a cover letter?

A cover letter should include a brief introduction of yourself. This page should state the reason you are applying for the job and how your skills make you a good fit for the position.

Author avatar


CEO at teambuilding.com.
I write about my experience working with and leading remote teams since 2010.


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