How to use a resume outline (free outline)

Are you having trouble creating a resume?

Not sure where and how to start?

Your resume is a one-page or two-page document that aims to sell you effectively to the job you’re applying for.

We know writing a resume for the first time can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.

We’ve provided some resume outlines and templates to show exactly what needs to be included on your resume.

A resume outline is a great way to get started. Make sure you have all the information you need before you start writing your resume. Then fill in the outline with the corresponding information. This will help you save time when you write.

Here’s a quick guide on how to use resume outlines to structure and complete your resume:

How to Use a Resume Outline

When you create a resume, it needs to highlight your work history, skills and qualifications, and achievements.

But how can you sell yourself effectively putting every detail on a 2-page resume?

Simple. Use a resume outline.

It can help you write easier, faster, and better. It simplifies the process of creating an application by providing you with a proven framework.

Using a resume outline makes it easier to know:

  • Which resume sections you should include
  • What is the best resume format for you
  • What information you should include

First, we provide a sample resume outline to help you get started. Then we describe the seven key elements of this template in the following section, so you know what a resume and its basic structure.  Lastly, you’ll know how to craft your own resume using the outline.

Getting started is easy – just fill out relevant information about the job into the outline or resume template found here in this article. You can also copy and paste this outline for more ATS-friendly resume formats such as pdf and Word.

Resume Outline Examples

We’ll start with the most basic elements or sections on a resume outline:

1. Resume Heading

Template:

FIRST NAME, LAST NAME

Email: youremail@gmail.com | Phone: 999 999 999 | Address: City, State, Zip Code  | Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/yourprofile

Example 1:

John Doe 

Architect

Brooklyn, NY 11210 📞 202-555-0110 linkedin.com/in/johndoe

📧 johndoe@gmail.com www.johndoe.com

Example 2: Headline (Optional)

JANE DOE

Spanish Bilingual Call Center Agent with 5 Years of Experience

2. Resume Summary

Template:

Skilled [industry/profession] with [number of years] years of experience. Seeking to leverage my expertise in [relevant skills/qualities] to fill your [job position] position. Assist [Company’s Name] to achieve its goals as efficiently as possible and take on more responsibility.

Example 1:

Chemical Engineer with 8 years of experience managing a lab, preparing facility reports, and using regulated biological processes. Posses a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Looking to leverage my knowledge and experience into a role as Lead Researcher at BioLab.

Example 2:

SUMMARY

  • Leadership: Trained and supervised 7 new staff members within 2 years
  • Upselling: Generated a SaaS monthly recurring revenue of $10,000
  • Customer Service: Developed warm relationships with 100 repeat customers accounts

3. Work or Relevant Experience

Template:

Most Recent Job Position or Title / Current Job Position

Employer Name / Company Name / Location / Start Date – End Date

  • Summarize your achievements using bullet points for easy readability.
  • Specify and quantify your achievements.
  • Explain briefly how you contributed to the job function using an active voice.

Earlier Job Position or Title

Employer Name/ Company Name / Location / Start Date – End Date

  • Highlight any relevant achievements from your previous job.
  • Make sure you describe this experience in the past tense if you no longer perform it.

Example:

Direct Response Email Copywriter / ACE Digital Marketing LLC / March 2015 – April 2021

  • Managed email marketing campaigns for a global eCommerce brand that increased sales conversion rates by 50% or $1.35M in annual sales.
  • Put client’s website on the first page of Google since 2019 and still maintain ranking through SEO-optimized web copy.
  • Achieved consistent above $10K MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) for a SaaS application tool.

4. Education

Template:

Degree Name / Major

University, Location | Start Date – End Date

Example:

EDUCATION

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, 2009

4.0 GPA

5. Relevant Skills and Certifications

Tips:

  • Include your relevant training, skills, and certifications.
  • Include both hard skills and soft skills
  • Provide specific names of software or tools you’re proficient in and able to use.

Example:

KEY SKILLS

  • Proficient in MS Office, GSuite, and Adobe Illustrator
  • Proficient in Project management tools- ASANA, Trello, Slack and

CRM Tools:  Zoho, Oracle

  • Proficient in Quickbooks
  • Problem Solving and Analytical
  • Strong Communicator

6. Additional Resume Section

  • You can add any other applicable information.
  • You could include publications, language skills, volunteer experience, or hobbies relevant to the position.

Example:

LANGUAGES

  • British English – Native
  • Spanish – C2 Certificate
  • French  – B2 Level

Which resume format is right for you?

Different resume outlines may be suitable for people with different backgrounds and experiences.

Job seekers may choose from these three common resume formats: chronological, functional, and combination resumes. In the resume outline example earlier, the objective is introduced first and then the professional experience follows. Nowadays, this resume format is the most popular framework used by job seekers. This type of resume format is often referred to as the chronological resume.

Below are the different types of resume formats popularly used among job applicants. We’ve listed down the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is best for you.

1. Chronological Resume

Begin with your current or most recent job and work your way backward, listing your work history in reverse order.

Pros:

  • It’s very easy to write.
  • It emphasizes a stable employment history.
  • It helps a prospective employer see your job title, the extent of your responsibilities, and dates of employment easier.

Cons:

  • It draws attention to obvious employment gaps.
  • It can be confusing to spot skills unless they appear in the most recent job.

Chronological resumes are best used when you want to emphasize previous career growth and development in the same field. It would also be helpful when the former employer’s name may be relevant to a prospective employer.

However, it’s not practical to use this resume format if there are gaps in your work history. This may hurt your chances of getting hired. Keep in mind that this resume format may call unnecessary attention to your age and could be a problem of biases. This also makes potential employers notice that you’ve changed jobs often, or that you’re entering the job market for the first time, or coming back from a long absence.

You can find some chronological resume templates and samples here.

2. Functional Resume

Using this format, your resume highlights your skills rather than the jobs you’ve held and when you held them. It leaves out specific dates, names, and places that are rather unimportant details for that particular job description. That’s why it is otherwise known as a Skills-based Resume.

Your functional resume categorizes your work experience by skills categories, rather than by job title. Bullet points are used in each skill category to highlight your strengths and key skills. This is explained in detail using examples from work and personal experiences.

Pros:

  • Makes a spotty work history less noticeable.
  • Highlight your core strengths and transferable key skills which might not be as apparent if laid out in sequential order using a chronological resume.

Cons:

  • Your resume may be lacking depth as it does not list your work history in detail.
  • You may be hiding your age, employment gaps, inexperience, lack of career progression, or underemployment. Employers tend to dislike functional resumes for this reason.

Functional resumes are great for highlighting transferable skills you have used in volunteer work, paid work, or coursework. You can also use this or a combination resume if :

  • You have a limited amount of work experience
  • You’re a recent graduate (high school or college)
  • You’re shifting careers
  • You’re a freelancer
  • You don’t want to attract attention to your age.

Tip:

If your duties at your last job were limited, do not use a functional resume to emphasize career progress or development.

Here’s a functional resume sample you might want to check out.

2. Combination Resume

This resume format combines the flexibility and strength of the other two resume types.

Pros:

  • Shows a strong career progression and employment history record.
  • Tells how your past skills relate to the job you’re seeking.
  • Highlights transferable skills.

Cons:

  • Work history is often on the second page, and employers may not read that far.

Tips:

  • Use a combination resume to highlight your skills gained over the course of your career, instead of specific job titles that you’ve held.
  • Use when you want to switch careers and the names of your previous employe are irrelevant to a prospective employer.
  • Don’t use this format if you have little or no work experience, or if you have too many gaps in your employment history.

7 Pieces of a Professional Resume Outline

To help you better write the right resume for you, we’ve provided you a thorough breakdown of the important resume sections:

1. Resume Header

The first thing any potential employer or hiring manager will see on your resume is your header. It’s important that you make it complete and clear with all contact information like:

  • Your name (written in bold, capital letters)
  • Your current job title
  • Your phone number
  • Your professional email address
  • Your address (Optional)
  • Your URLs for LinkedIn profile, personal website, and other social media (Optional)

The header traditionally includes your name, job title, phone number, email address, and home address. However, you can omit the street address and include only your city, state, and zip code. Most employers today use online communication to get hold of you, so it is unnecessary to include your full address.

2. Resume Headline (Optional)

A resume headline is typically placed at the top of your resume, just below your name. It is a brief statement that summarizes your qualifications and experience. It would also be helpful to include important keywords relevant to the job description.

A resume headline can catch the recruiter’s eye, and motivate him to continue reading your application. If space is tight on your resume, you can choose to skip it.

3. Resume Summary

Usually, a resume summary will highlight your most important achievements and skills in a 3-5 bulleted list.

Most employers prefer a short summary statement on your resume. This provides hiring managers with an idea of your general qualifications, what makes you an ideal candidate, as well as your match with the company’s long-term goals.

If you have no work experience yet, you may want to include a resume objective, profile, and a summary of your qualifications. A resume objective is a statement about your career goals, usually 1 or 2 sentences long. If you are writing a resume objective be sure to tailor it to match what the employer is looking for in the job posting.

4. Professional Experience Section

It is the most detailed part of a resume. Your most recent job role should be at the top of your chronological resume, and work down toward the bottom.

For each job, include the:

  • Job title/ Name of the company / Company location/ Dates you were employed there/
  • Your bulleted list should then include your responsibilities and accomplishments you achieved during your time on the job.

How to list experience section when you have a lot of work experience?

If you have a good deal of experience and wish to show a specific skill set, you may choose to use a combination resume. It will highlight your work experience and show off your technical skills without losing out on a detailed experience section

How do you list experience section when you have no work experience?

If you lack work experience, you may choose to make the resume in a different format. You may change the “work experience section”  to a “relevant experience” section. This will allow you to emphasize major educational accomplishments relevant to the job you want. This is usually called a college student resume.

5. Education Section

A resume outline should always include a section on education, even if you’re well into your career. Typically, your resume should show:

  • School and its location / Degree and major
  • Graduation date (optional) / Awards, honors, and GPA (if it’s 3.8 or higher)

If you have just graduated or if you are applying for an academic job, you need to emphasize your education section by including GPA and any awards you’ve received.

6. Skills and Certifications

Any resume outline would be incomplete without relevant skills, abilities, and certifications. This would make a resume ineffective in selling someone to the job position

Add your specific core skills (hard and soft skills),  along with any certifications relevant to the position you are applying for.

As a rule of thumb – be specific as possible. Don’t make the list vague, general, or ambiguous. Don’t forget to back them up with certifications.

Example:

x Proficient in CRM and data entry software.

Do this instead:

✔ Highly proficient in CRM software: ZOHO, Salesforce, and Oracle

✔ Proficient in AutoCAD, Revit, SketchUp, and V-Ray

7. Additional Resume Sections

It’s time to add the finishing touches to your resume outline now that you know the basic and most important sections. Below are a few subsections you may choose to include, depending on your specific situation:

Languages Section

People with language skills are in high demand across many sectors. Highlight your language skills in an additional or separate section of your resume if you speak more than one language.

Volunteer work

Including volunteer work on a resume is a great way to emphasize skill sets and show that you are active in your community. If you are lacking relevant work experience or need to complete your application, consider adding this section to your resume.

Example:

Relevant Volunteer Experience 

  • Glendale Baptist Church volunteer administrator for 5 years. Helped manage 2 building renovation projects ($18,00), with a 10% deficit budget.
  • Prepared and coordinated three IT and software projects for a local Red Cross chapter.
  • Worked with a group of 20 fellow volunteers to renovate 4 houses for Habitat for Humanity local chapters in Hancock County, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

Interests and Hobbies

You can demonstrate if you’re a cultural fit for a company and stand out from the other job candidates by listing your hobbies or interests on your resume. Just make sure they are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Before adding hobbies to your resume, you should consider the level of formality of the company you are applying to. A less formal company may be okay with knowing what your interests are, while a more formal company may feel it is unprofessional.

Example:

Hobbies & Interests

  • Food blogging: recipes, food photography, and cooking
  • Yoga: both participating in yoga classes and teaching small groups.

Takeaway

Getting started with your resume can seem overwhelming at first, but by following our step-by-step free resume outline you will know what you need to do to create a resume that really stands out. Just select which sections are best for you, and fill in the required information.