The ultimate step-by-step guide on how to write a resume in 2021 (+ examples)

March 11, 2021

If you can write a stellar resume, you can convince recruiters that you’re their best candidate regardless of your experience. Polishing CV writing can land you your dream university, internship, and job! It is all about wisely choosing the format, structuring sections, and using persuasive language. Sounds complicated? It is really not! And we are going to show you how to do it effectively and enjoy the process!

A resume is a job-search document necessary to apply for a job, and many people believe it’s enough to use Word to gather all the information and press send without much thinking. Even though it’s not science, writing a CV requires more effort because it’s a deal-breaker paper in the recruitment process. One mistake can result in not getting the interview invitation.

Since you have only around seven seconds  to capture the recruiters’ attention, you should present yourself with a concise, well-organized, and comprehensive resume. It should be up-to-date and tidy. Avoid simply recycling a CV you made five years ago. Keep up with the time and technology because you don’t want your job application to look outdated or messy. By following our guide, you will be able to write an impressive resume. It requires your attention, effort, and time but it will pay off. Look at it this way: a great CV is an investment in your future

We will start with one puzzle that confuses many job-seekers. Back to the basics!

Mystery solved: The difference between a cv and a resume

Since you started your job pursuit, you must have noticed that some job ads ask candidates to send a CV while others require a resume. Some recruiters even use these terms interchangeably. So, is there any difference, or it doesn’t matter whether you will name your job-search document CV or resume? The answer lies in geography.

Whether you’re writing a resume or CV depends on where you live. In Europe (both continental and the islands), these two terms represent the same job-search document. Regardless of what the job ad says, you can name it a resume or CV. You won’t be wrong. 

It is not the same story on the other side of the Atlantic. In the United States, CV or Curriculum Vitae is a longer document job applicants use for work in the academic field. The American CV includes listing achievements, awards, certificates, scientific publications, and educational background. 

On the other side, a resume in the U.S. stands for a one-page document (two tops) where a candidate summarizes their work experience, education, and relevant skills. Job-seekers use it to apply for jobs across all industries, but they have to tailor it to a specific vacancy. 

If you feel ready to write your resume (or CV), you probably want to use unique and professional templates to build your ideal job-application document. In that case, we recommend you to use Vitaello templates because they fit all fields and purposes.

The benefits of using a resume builder

A CV editor is a tool, an app, or software that allows an automated process of creating a resume by providing unique templates where job-seekers can input their personal information. They shorten the process of building a job application and allow candidates to focus on details.

Even if you are unsure what to write, an online resume builder will guide you and ensure you don’t forget anything. Using an editor also allows you to find a template that fits your personality and industry. These layouts are well-organized and concise, which will help you leave a good impression. The final result is a professional CV with a modern design that you can update at any time.

The cons are that it’s quite challenging to find aesthetically-pleasing and customizable resumes. But today is your lucky day! You don’t have to dig for CV templates to get the full experience and cover all the necessary information.

Vitaello’s resume builder helps you one-page CV with an intuitive editor for free! If you want to go beyond, there are no hidden fees because the software marks all premium features and templates with a star.

Plus, you can customize the resume sections and tailor them to your needs.

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How to structure your resume

It is time for the core of your job application: how to effectively format your resume! Which sections should a CV include?

Even though it depends on the type of your application (e.g., for an internship or a job), experience, and preferences, some sections you shouldn’t skip.

Here is what every resume should have.

But you can also include these sections.

Before we explain each of these categories, here is what you should know.

Structure to impress: A resume layout

A CV layout represents the overall impression a resume leaves, its format, and sections.

When recruiters skim through your CV, they first see whether it’s well-organized and everything is easy to find. They will pay attention to consistency and whether you use the same colors, fonts, and one type of captions.

If something seems off, that will decrease the chances of getting to the interview stage. A 2020 Resumable analysis found that 51 percent of candidates don’t have a clear location, and 76 percent don’t list a LinkedIn profile. That can result in being short-listed because it either doesn’t provide enough information or denies recruiters to get to know them on a more personal level. 

Another frequent issue in the analysis above is that candidates use wrong capitalization, passive voice, and long and complicated wording. 

Here are a few tips on how to build a proper layout.

When creating your resume, tailor the format and aesthetic to the industry. If you’re applying for a job in the field of law, banking, finances, politics, etc., choose a traditional CV that’s classical, follows the chronological order, and highlights experience and key achievements.

A creative resume format is a better idea for those in industries such as tech, entertainment, and arts. These CVs don’t follow traditional templates and have a more distinctive and unique design.

How to include contact section

The contact section is the crucial element of every CV because it allows recruiters to invite you for an interview. It should be accurate, up-to-date, and grammatically correct.

Here is what your contact section should include.

You can list your social media handles in the contact section, but add only those relevant to your prospective job position. Thus, check your profiles and make sure there’s nothing controversial there and that they’re optimized.

How to write a summary statement effectively

In short, this category tells a recruiter what you bring to the table. 

A personal or summary statement is your resume’s elevator pitch, and its goal is to compel the recruiters with two to five sentences. Use this section to highlight your key achievements, experience, and skills. Place it at the top of your CV and keep it short, concise, and catchy.

If you are a fresh grad or don’t have much work experience, use an objective statement instead. It focuses on your professional goals, aspirations, motivation, and expectations.

How to include work experience and impress recruiters

The meat of your resume, the work experience section, serves to convince employers that your professional history makes you the perfect candidate.

Here is the standard you should follow when writing it.

Although you can list your previous job responsibilities, recruiters likely already know. Instead, add your accomplishments and achievements, and explain how you helped your previous company be better in something.

How to list relevant soft and hard skills

The skills section should include both technical and soft skills, and they should be job-specific. The first ones you learn in school, university, on courses and projects. They’re measurable, teachable, and relate directly to your job. For instance, design, programming, and software development are technical abilities. 

Soft skills stand for how you communicate with people, solve problems, and manage work. Empathy, communication, and time management are all people skills. But your resume should cover both types while ensuring they’re valuable for your prospective job.

How to add education the right way

Here is what your education section should include.

If you just finished college or you don’t have much experience, place education above experience. Another thing worth mentioning is that you shouldn’t list your high school if you have a university degree.

Other resume sections you can include

Whether you will add additional sections depends on your preferences, job ad, and professional history. If you lack work experience or education, you can include one of these categories in your CV.

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Resume examples

Well done for making it this far! After reading our ultimate guide, you can write your CV effectively and grab recruiters’ attention. But sometimes visuals mean more than words. It is why we will show you examples of stellar resumes that you can use to create your own. If you prefer saving time and opting for a professional solution, you can choose one of Vitaello’s CV templates!

Here are examples of well-written and organized resumes to spark your inspiration.

Communications Specialist
Sales Representative Specialist
Experienced Administrative Assistant
Registered Nurse
Fashion designer
Warehouse associate
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Templates for your resume