How to Write a Professional Resume: A Complete Guide

For most people a resume or a Curriculum Vitae (CV) are the same. But strictly speaking, they are quite different. A resume is different from a CV not only in its length, but also in terms of the included information and intended usage.

Compared to a CV, a resume is shorter and more concise. It is mostly used for jobs or other professional positions. On the other hand, CVs are used mainly for educational job vacancies and also for scientific and research job positions.

A resume is a candidate’s educational and professional qualifications summary. It includes their hard and soft skills, and work experience. A good resume must be able to demonstrate an individual’s personal skills and abilities, those that make him or her a suitable and credible candidate for the job.

When writing a professional resume, you must understand that it is actually your personal marketing brochure for seeking employers’ attention and for receiving an interview call.

Writing a resume starts with a personal assessment. Brainstorm your good qualities and skills.

Types of Resume

Depending on the job profile, you must use a fitting resume format. Professional resumes are normally classified in three categories.

  • Chronological resume
  • Functional resume
  • Combination resume

Chronological resumes are traditional in their approach, and are preferred by employers, because they can take a quick glance of the applicant’s educational and professional credentials.

Functional resumes are not popular with employers. You should only use it if you have problems restricting you from using a chronological resume.

Combination resume is a mix of chronological and functional type, and should be used when seeking a career change.


A resume is never an exhaustive list of all your qualifications and previous achievements. The best resumes are no more than a couple of pages long. For fresh candidates a single page resume does the trick, while for an experienced job seeker, an additional page is necessary to fit in the details.

Sometimes, the resume may go beyond the conventional limit of two pages. But as long as, the information furnished is pertinent, there’s nothing to worry about.

Information You Must Include

The length of your resume is determined by the amount of information it carries. Therefore, ensure that it should only carry relevant and necessary details. Anything extra is simply unacceptable to an employer.

What to include in your resume:

  • Personal details like your full name and contact details like postal address, landline telephone and mobile numbers, and also your e-mail address. Try to make sure that your e-mail address sounds professional and not personal.
  • A summary of your educational and training history starting with the most recent. Only include trainings which are relevant to the job position you are applying for. If you have received any on-job training from your previous employers, mention them as well.
  • Employment history should start with the most recent. Mention the name of the employers, your job positions, job responsibilities, and the employment’s durations. You can also mention your major professional achievements in this section.
  • Add page numbers to your resume, even if it’s a single page. Page number informs recruiters if all the information is available on a single page, or more. Doing so ensures that your prospective employer has not missed anything important.

Information to Avoid

Employers expect a good resume to be concise yet highlights all vital information. There are also a few items that should not be included in a resume:

  • Personal information like date of birth, gender, marital status, languages spoken are not relevant
  • Good resumes don’t normally have any career objective portion. As a matter of fact, it does very little in terms of proving that you’re a suitable candidate. It might only distract the interviewer from other important information in your resume
  • It is no longer acceptable to include written job references in a resume
  • Unless a photograph is specially requested, a resume should not carry a photograph of the applicant

Customized Resume

Having a single resume format for all job applications is never a good idea.

Actually, you need to customize your resume every time you apply for a job – providing only information relevant to the job.

To write a customized professional resume, first research the job requirements and the specific skills the recruiter is looking for in a candidate.

Everything in your resume should reflect that you are capable of meeting the job requirements. Volunteer or extra-curricular activities, additional trainings, awards and recognitions are just some of the things that can boost your chances of landing the job.

Final Touches

Now that you know what your resume should and shouldn’t contain, it is time to give it the finishing touches. Double-check your resume to ensure that there are no typing or spelling mistakes. Make sure the hardcopy is of superior quality.

Never use a variety of fonts or fancy fonts, because it compromises the readability of the document. Last but not the least, get your resume checked by an expert, they sure will be able to add on a few more details for the impact.