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A Resume Outline for You

Use This Outline of a Resume as a
Guide to Resume Writing

We developed this step-by-step resume outline as a sort of guide to resume writing. What will you do with this outline of a resume?

The right resume keywords will bring your resume to LIFE

A resume outline can help you map out an effective resume

When you get ready to start writing your resume, it's important that you be organized. One way to organize your thoughts is to use an outline to guide your resume writing, like the one on this page.

You can just print out the page and gather the information you need for each of the sections as noted.

Once you do that, you'll have everything together that you need to actually begin constructing your resume. Or, if you've decided to use a professional resume writing service or an online resume builder, the outline of a resume will make sure that you'll have all the information they need organized!

Why Your Resume Needs to Be Organized

Use an outline of a resume as a guide to resume writing

I hear you asking, "Why exactly is it so important that I use a resume outline to keep my resume organized?" Well, it's like this...

  1. Hundreds of resumes will cross the desk of the hiring manager.

  2. Hopefully, something in your cover letter will entice him or her to spend a few more seconds looking at your resume.

  3. Your resume must make a powerful enough impression in those few seconds to tempt the hiring manager into finding out more about you through an interview.

So, you see... If your resume is not organized, you'll never make it through that test!

Your Resume Outline

A great resume will get you the job... and make the recruiter smile!

You can use the categories in the outline of a resume below to start collecting the information that you need to guide your resume writing.

You won't necessarily be writing your resume in the same order as the categories appear below. But at least you'll have everything you need in one place.

Then, once you've gathered – or thought about – the info you need, download and print this resume outline worksheet (PDF; opens new window) and start writing!

I recommend you download and print the PDF above, but if you want to see what's on it first, here you go...

Resume Outline

A. Identifying Information

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone numbers (cell phone and fax too, if relevant)
  • Email address
  • Website URL for your portfolio or online resume, as needed

B. Career Objective

As we discuss on How to Decide on a Resume Objective... you may or may not need to include this information on your actual resume. Nevertheless, it will be helpful to you in your job search if you know what your career objective is. Are you looking for a job as a technical writer? Or do you aspire to managing technical writers? Do you want to work for a large or small company? Profit-oriented vs. nonprofit? Private vs. public?

Put some thought into this area, and then think about what you hope to offer the companies you want to work for.

C. Your Educational Background

Include the names and dates attended for high school (if you're a recent high school or college grad only), college, and any graduate studies. Also, include any training programs, certifications, and academic awards earned. If you’re a recent graduate, include your cumulative average. New grads may also want to consider putting together a few bullets on educational highlights, with significant courses, thesis title, etc.

D. Work History

List each job title, the employer, and the dates of employment. Next to that, list the main duties of the job, using the kinds of action words spelled out elsewhere on this site. (Look at Resume Ideas for more help with phrasing too.) New grads can include internships and volunteer work here as well.

E. Significant Achievements

Here's where it gets fun! Think about significant accomplishments you've had on the job, and quantify them as much as possible. For example, "Suggested a change in office supply vendor that saved my employer $2000 in the first month."

F. Skills

This is where you list your special strengths and all of the significant job-related skills that you have learned. Be sure to include any computer skills, technical skills of other types, and foreign language skills, if relevant.

Right click and Save As to download a printable outline worksheet

In Summary...

If you take a cavalier, "I'll think about it as I write it" approach to putting together a resume, it will show.

Likewise, if you take your time, think it through, and use a resume outline to get organized, it'll show too... in a good way!

To create & distribute professional resumes and cover letters that will help you get your next job, I highly recommend this online resume builder. You won't really even need a resume outline if you use it as a guide to resume writing!

Learn More About Writing a Resume

Click to learn how to write a cover letter that makes YOU look like the star you are!

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