How to Start A Resume (Plus Importance and Example)

Updated 8 November 2022

Resumes are documents that help job candidates introduce themselves to their potential employers. It helps to show that you're a good fit for the role and plays a significant part in the selection process. If you're just beginning a new career or applying for a new role, knowing what to include on your resume can help increase your chances of earning an interview and a new job. In this article, we describe what a resume is, explain how to start one, discuss its importance and provide some example resume introductions.

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What is a resume?

A resume is an official document that contains a summary of the educational qualifications, career background, work experience, skills, achievements and other important information. Most resumes include a professional summary, employment history, education and contact information. Job candidates usually submit a resume together with an application letter where they show their interest in a particular position in a company. Most resumes are one to two pages long and can be sent as email attachments.

Read more: How to Create a Stand-Out Resume (With Template and Example)

How to start a resume

Here's a guide on how to start a resume:

1. Choose a resume format

The type of resume format you choose depends on your experience, the company involved and other company-related information involved. Here are the different resume formats you can use while applying for a job:

  • Functional resume: This type of resume focuses more on skills and experience than on listing your working history in a chronological format. A functional resume involves making a summary of your qualifications and also groups your experience according to your relevant skills and keywords.

  • Chronological resume: This resume is common amongst job candidates because it's quite simple to draft and scan. It's simply a list of your work experience but in a reverse-chronological format and works by listing your current job role first before listing your past work experience, education, skills, certification and college projects right after your work experience.

  • Combination resume: A combination resume concentrates more on the skills and then your work history but in reverse-chronological order. After your skills, the next is your qualifications and then your work experience, educational background and any other relevant section.

Related: How to Write an IT Resume (With Template and Example)

2. Gather your information

Gathering all the information you need before writing a resume is crucial. Some information to include in your resume includes work experience with dates, education background, skills and more. A part of the information to include in your resume is your name and contact information.

3. Create a resume header

A header contains your name, which is usually in the largest font, phone number and email address. You can add your initial job website, links and social media profile if you're applying for a creative position. Having a clear heading makes it easier for hiring managers to contact you if they decide to schedule an interview.

4. Add a professional summary or objective statements

A professional summary is usually at the top part of a resume after the header. It's a brief paragraph that summarises your professional skills and experience. It contains convincing statements that suggest that you're fit for a specific position. A professional summary may not be suitable for some resumes, especially for job candidates who hope to change careers. Where this is the case, an objective statement becomes useful. Whether you're using a professional summary or objective statements, ensure you use the best summary pattern. Use keywords from the job description and write your most relevant skills and achievements.

Related: How to Write a Resume Summary With Examples

5. Detail your work experience

This is an important part of a resume, especially since it determines if you're the right candidate for a job. This is a section where you get to showcase your work history and previous achievements as a sign of your competence and mastery. Recruiters also get to know how you have added value to companies in the past.

Job recruiters may look out for the positions and titles of jobs held in the past to know if you can handle new positions in their company. For the best Applicant Tracking System (ATS) results, ensure you arrange each job in reverse-chronological order.

6. Add your educational background and certifications

The uniqueness of some jobs can make adding educational background, volunteer experience awards and certification to a resume worthwhile. Although adding your educational background to your resume is common and important, your work experience and skill may be more relevant, especially when applying for a job that is not degree sensitive.

As a fresh graduate, note that it's best to place your educational background above your work experience. You may also add projects and extracurricular activities while in college to boost your educational background and your work experience. As for the awards and certification, you can add them in the work experience and skill section or create a section for them in the resume.

7. Use correct grammar and formatting

Using the correct grammar and formatting makes your resume easy to read and understand. Therefore, ensure you use fonts and formats that are easy to read on-screen and ATS-friendly, for example, Georgia and Helvetica font. You can also use the right tense and pronoun, but only use past tense when you describe jobs in the past and present tense when describing current situations. Also, avoid using personal pronouns while writing a resume. Action verbs can make your resume lively and interesting to read, so you can choose to start every bullet point with an action verb.

8. Use industry-related keywords

Online job recruiters use the ATS to sort resumes first before selecting standard ones to view. The ATS usually scans resumes for industry-related keywords to easily identify candidates with the right resumes. These keywords come with job descriptions and vacancy adverts. Noting these keywords and making them appear in your resume can help your resume stand out during automated checks. The ATS also scans through your skills, which can sometimes be the keywords that an employer hopes to see on your resume.

Related: How to Update Your Resume (With Template and Example)

Why is it important to have a strong resume introduction?

Having a strong resume introduce is important for a variety of reasons, including:

Shows the different benefits you can offer a company

A resume summary and the information you include in your work history section can quickly show the recruiters of a company the values you're likely to offer when recruited. For example, you can say you made $300,000 profit in media sales for a broadcasting company in a year, rather than simply saying you're a top performer. Two or three statements of value like this can convince an employer to employ you.

Helps outline important skills and work experiences

A well-structured resume highlights relevant skills and work experiences to employers. You can highlight your skills and experiences by using the right fonts, formats and colours. For example, using a creative format might be beneficial when you apply for a creative role. Using a clear and organised format and header can help show your attention to detail and organisational skills.

Encourages the hiring manager to continue reading

Resumes help match your skills and other qualifications to the ones required for a specific job opening. The best way to ensure your resume matches the requirements of a position is by using keywords from the job description. This can help you pass the ATS stage and encourage the hiring manager to read the rest of your document. For example, if the hiring manager is seeking a candidate with organisational skills, you may include this in your summary statement to attract their attention early and encourage them to continue reading.

Examples of a resume introduction

Here are the different examples of a resume introduction:

Newscaster resume example

Here's how a newscaster might begin their resume:

Dylan Barthes
+61 3 9999 9999 | |

Professional summary

A professional communicator with over five years of experience in corporate communications and public speaking. A first-class degree holder of English and international studies and an expert content writer and speaker. Interested to work as the communications director in this reputable telecom company, to render excellent services and strategies for internal and external communication tasks.

Caterer resume example

This example shows how a caterer might being their resume:

Jane Stevenson
+61 3 9888 1234 |

Professional summary

A professionally trained caterer with eight years of experience in cooking for big events. Seeking the position of catering manager at Stellar Hotel UK. A very confident chef and dietician who can improve customer service with quality and delicious dishes. Loaded with good culinary, interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills, hoping to bring events and restaurants to life with good delicacies.

Banker resume example

Here's how a banker might begin their resume:

Taylor Diaz
+61 3 9123 4123 |

Professional summary

Highly analytical, good with figures and finance-based topics. BSc degree in banking and finance with seven years of work experience in banks and other financial institutions, seeking the position of a bank manager in Silver Line bank. Hoping to bring productivity to any financial environment with great financial management skills and experience.

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