60+ Resume Ideas That Have Worked for 2000 Clients

by Lisa McGrimmon

These 60+ resume ideas, tips and resources show you exactly how to write a professional document that shows you at your best and gets employers interested.

The tips you'll find on this page are real-world tested techniques that have helped approximately 2000 of my clients land great jobs, and they can help you, too.

There is an enormous amount of information on this page.

If you have time and want a really thorough understanding of the topic, read through all of the resume ideas on the page and click on the links to more detailed information about each topic. You will become a resume expert!

If you are in a hurry and just want some specific information, you can use the links below to navigate this page and quickly find the information you are looking for.

I earn a commission for purchases made through links on this page.

60+ resume writing tips that helped 2000+ clients find work.

Get a Printable, Blank Resume Form Free!

Blank Resume Writing Form

Here's the resume writing form I've used with almost 2000 clients. It's the best way I know of to get your information and thinking organized when you need to write a resume.

General Resume Ideas and Tips

Resume Writing in 12 Easy Steps

Here's a quick, 12 step overview that outlines the process you need to go through to write a winning resume. Thinking about writing your resume in broad, general terms can be stressful. This article breaks down the process so you can think it through clearly, one step at a time.

12 Essential Resume Writing Rules

Write a document that highlights your most marketable skills and creates a great first impression at a glance. With these 12 rules of good resume writing you'll avoid common mistakes that knock people out of consideration for jobs before they even get started.

Do Not Skip This Crucial Step That Most Job Seekers Miss

Discover the single most important step in good resume writing that most job seekers overlook.

9 Common Myths That Hurt Your Job Search 

Discover the truth about the biggest resume writing myths that can really hurt your job search.

How to Research a Company 

If you know the company you're applying to, you absolutely must research that company before you being to write your resume. No exceptions!

Here's what information you should look for when you research a company, how to find that information even when it is not easy to find, and how to use the information to make a great impression with employers.

Employer Resume Writing Tips and Job Search Advice 

Do you ever wonder what employers are thinking when they read resumes? What makes them keep one and toss out another? I asked employers to share their advice for job seekers. Here is what they said.

Common and Avoidable Mistakes 

Take a look at these common and completely avoidable resume writing mistakes that can damage your job search if you are not careful.

Resume Writing Workbook

My book, The Resume Writing Guide, is the only book I know of that breaks down the process of creating a resume and takes you from blank page to winning resume one small, manageable step at a time.

It is the next best thing to having an experienced resume writer by your side.

Buy Now!
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Styles and Formatting

There are three commonly used styles or formats:

  • Chronological
  • Combination
  • Functional

Each of these three formats have different strengths and weaknesses and work in different situations.


Highlights a strong work history, but it can be difficult to highlight your skills when you use this format.


Highlights skills without showing any work history, but it is not trusted by many employers.


Highlights both skills and work experience and provides a lot of flexibility to organize your information in a way that shows your skills and experience in the best possible way.

A fourth format, the applicant tracking system friendly resume, will be read by a computer as opposed to a human. It must be formatted correctly for the computer, and it is crucial to include strategic key words so the document will be found in computer-based searches.

Chart describing 3 common resume styles

Overview of Chronological, Combination and Functional Resumes

Three Most Popular Resume Formats 

An outline of the three commonly used formats. Learn the basic characteristics of chronological, combination and functional resumes. Plus, here's a little more general information about the three most commonly used styles and when to use each one.

Choose the Best Format for You 

Each resume format has its own strengths and weaknesses. Discover which style will show you at your very best depending upon your own unique work history, and learn which popular format you should never use.

Detailed Descriptions of Chronological, Combination and Functional Formats

Below are links to detailed descriptions of each resume style, formatting guides, and samples of each type of resume.

Combination Resumes

This is the most versatile resume format. It works for most people most of the time and provides the flexibility you need to highlight your most impressive achievements while minimizing any less than ideal aspects of your work history.

Combination Description

An in-depth description of the combination style including strengths and weaknesses and who should use this format.

Combination Format 

Guidelines for formatting a combination resume.

Combination Example

Most of the sample resumes on this site use the combination format because, in my opinion, it is the best format for most people. The link above shows you a standard combination style resume, and if you jump down to the rest of the examples, you'll find more samples that show variations on this style.

Chronological Resumes

This format highlights your work experience, so it is a good option for people who have a solid career history. It is generally not the best option for new graduates, career changers, people with gaps in their work history, or people who have held a lot of jobs in a short period of time.

Chronological Description 

An in-depth description of the chronological style including strengths and weaknesses and who should use this format.

Chronological Format 

Guidelines for formatting a chronological resume.

Chronological Example

Sample chronological resume.

Functional Resumes

Before you continue reading, please be aware that I never recommend using a functional resume. Employers do not trust this format because it is missing crucial information that most employers want to see. They often feel you are purposely hiding something when you use a functional style resume.

I am only covering this format here because it is a style that a lot of job seekers want to know about. I'm hoping by describing the functional format and all of its weaknesses, I can steer you towards a more effective format (i.e. the combination style) which allows you to minimize weaknesses without raising red flags to employers.

Functional Description 

An in-depth description of the functional style including strengths and weaknesses and who should use this format.

Functional Format 

Guidelines for formatting a functional resume.

Functional Example 

Sample functional resume.

Scannable Resumes

Electronic, or scannable resumes are specially formatted to be read by a computer. You may also hear people refer to them using the terms ASCII, text, or plain text.

A human will eventually read your scannable resume but only if it is formatted and written correctly to get through the initial electronic scan.

This fourth style is significantly different from combination, chronological or functional resumes because it is all about writing to please the computer software first, and the human who will read it second.

Scannable Formatting Tips 

Use these tips to ensure you write a scannable resume that gets noticed.

Targeted Keywords 

How to use targeted keywords to ensure your scannable resume gets found in employer searches.

Scannable Sample 

Sample scannable resume.

Creative Resume Designs

Creative resume designs have popped up everywhere online. You don't have to look far on the internet to discover trendy, two column resume formats full of color, images and icons, charts, and fancy fonts. 

Do you know where you won't find creative resume templates?

You won't find creative resume designs promoted in the offices of professional career advisors. Professional career advisors who have extensive resume writing experience, are aware of recruiting trends and employer preferences, and are actually accountable for their clients' job search outcomes don't recommend using this resume style.

The articles below explain why creative resumes can ruin your job search efforts and what to do instead of using a creative resume template.

Creative Resumes Might Be Keeping You Out of Work

Creative resumes do look stylish, and they certainly stand out in a pile of traditional resumes, but that doesn't mean they are effective. Here's why creative resumes cause you to stand out for the wrong reasons and can thwart your job search efforts.

Is Creative Resume Design Ruining Your Job Search?

Compare the work history of the same fictional job seeker, first arranged in a traditional resume format, and then arranged in two typical creative resume designs. See why creative resume templates force you to write an inferior resume that fails to show you at your very best.

Resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems

What is an ATS Optimized Resume and Do You Really Need One? 

Get the basics on applicant tracking systems. Understand what they are and which employers typically use them in their hiring procedures.

Applicant Tracking Systems and Human Readers 

Why you need to use ATS formatting when the employer requires it, even though an ATS optimized resume is less reader-friendly to humans.

Resume Formatting for Applicant Tracking Systems 

There are some very specific requirements for formatting your resume when it will be reviewed by an ATS. Here's how to format an ATS optimized resume.

Demystifying Resume Keywords and Phrases 

Understand exactly how an ATS uses keywords to score resumes so you can write your own effective, keyword-rich content.

Researching Resume Keywords 

How to research keywords so you have an excellent idea of what words and phrases will likely be used to score your resume.

Saving an Applicant Tracking System Optimized Resume 

Here's how to save your ATS optimized resume to ensure it does not contain any special characters that could cause problems and it is saved in the format the employer requires.

ATS Optimized Resume Sample 

Here's a sample resume formatted for ATS review so you can see all of the recommendations in action.

Resume Ideas for Specific Situations

Career Change Resume Ideas

Career Change 

Discover how to present your current skills and experience in a way that is relevant to your new career.

Career Change Resume Example

Student Resumes

Student Format 

How format a student resume.

Recent High School Graduate Example

Recent College Graduate Example

Technical Resume Writing

Technical Resume Writing

A technical resume uses almost the same strategies as any other kind of resume with one crucial exception.

Technical Template

Are you looking for an IT job? Here's the best way to structure your resume if you have a lot of crucial technical skills to highlight.

Sections of a Resume

Outlines and Formatting Tips


Outline and overview of the information to include in each section of a resume no matter which style you choose.

Sample Format 

How a combination resume will typically look once it is correctly formatted.


Links to all of the different resume format outlines on this site including functional, combination, chronological, technical, student, and scannable formats.


Profiles state the type of work you are seeking. They bring focus to your resume and make it easier for employers to read your resume more quickly and intelligently. They highlight your area of expertise and can include a job title, but they don't have to. Profiles are suitable for all job seekers.


Use these tips and examples for inspiration when you write your own profile.

Update: Please note that, while job objectives used to be fairly common on resumes, their use is a bit controversial now because they are falling out of fashion.

Using a profile is a better option, in my opinion, than using a job objective. I have left the articles about job objectives on this site for now because people continue to look for information on the topic. However, please do be aware that writing a profile will generally be a stronger choice than using an objective.

Job Objectives 

Tips on writing a great job objective.

Sample Objectives 

Several sample job objectives.

Objective Examples 

More job objective examples and explanations about how and why you would use each type of objective.


Key Words 

Discover how to research the most important buzz words in your industry so you can write a highly targeted document that gets noticed by employers whether it is scanned electronically or human reviewed.

Action Words

A list of strong verbs, as well as tips to help you avoid common mistakes when choosing and using verbs to describe your experience.

Descriptive Words

A list of strong, descriptive words (adjectives) to use to define and describe your skills and experience.

Sample Resumes

Here's a page with quick links to all 16 of the resume examples below. Consider bookmarking it so you can access them all for easy reference.

Reference Page

Good Job References 

Discover all you need to know about choosing the best people to provide good job references for you.

Reference Page Template 

Once you have several good references in mind, setting up a reference page is quite simple. Use this reference page template to get started.

Job Reference Check Tips 

Learn about the job reference checking process. Discover how and when to submit your list of references to employers and how to ensure your references are prepared to do a great job for you.

Submitting Your Resumes

60 resume ideas that have worked for 2000 clients

Resume Distribution 

Hove you considered the fact that how you submit your resume can have an impact on whether you get invited to an interview or not? It's true! There are good ways and bad ways to submit a resume. Here are the best ways to do it.

Job Search Strategies 

Before you can distribute your resume, You'll need to find some targeted employers who may need to hire someone with your background. These tested job search strategies have helped many of my clients find great job leads.

What Other Visitors Have Said About Unusual Resumes

Click the links below to read visitors' stories about the most unusual resumes they have seen.

Unusual Resumes and Job Search Strategies 
Here are 3 readers' experiences with some unusual resumes and job search strategies they have encountered. Resumes and Perfume Don't Mix I work …

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