Creating a resume outline is like building Lego.
While playing around can end up being a pretty interesting creation, following the guide that comes with the box is what gets you the Millenium Falcon. In other words, because of that outline on the box, you get to create something that you wouldn’t have thought of in the first place.
It’s a bit like that with resumes too.
Creating and following a resume outline can help you build a CV that shows your strong sides and ultimately lands that dream job.
At Enhancv, we’re about one-upping the regular, run-of-the-mill resume that job recruiters have to look at for eight hours a day. We’re about creating the Millennium Falcon of resumes.
So, we’ll share with you our secret sauce to creating a punchy, clear, concise CV that packs the most amount of information on a single page.
It’s creating the right job resume outline!
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How a resume outline can assist in the creation of your resume;
- How to mix resume sections to reach the golden ratio;
- And how to focus on relevant information.
If you haven’t managed to find the right one for you just yet, we believe we have something special in store for you…
What is a resume outline?
Before we start going more in-depth on how you can use resume outlines, we should get the basics out of the way.
What is a resume outline?
Essentially, it’s the wireframe of your resume. It outlines all the information you’re going to include before you start creating your CV.
A simple resume outline is powerful because you can mix, reorder and test where you to place things like:
- Work experience
- Contact information
… and everything else you plan to have on your CV.
Best of all, it makes the process of creating a resume easier since you have a visual outline to follow.
But that begs the question:
How to create a resume layout?
The process is fairly straightforward, it’s not as difficult as most people think.
To answer shortly on how to create a resume layout, you should focus on relevancy.
But this only gets you so far.
Instead of searching for resume outline Google docs, the entire resume creation is easier if you start with a proven resume template.
For example, let’s use the classic double-column Enhancv offers for free:
Next, we get access to what’s already written which sets a perfect resume outline example for us to use right away:
With a resume template given to you like this, it’s easy to paraphrase or get ideas for what you should include. This saves time and makes the whole process much easier than if you were to start on a blank canvas.
On top of that, we give you instant feedback and score your resume so you can be sure you’re not missing anything important:
Now that we have a resume outline established thanks to Enhancv’s free templates, it leaves us with the biggest challenge:
Figuring out exactly what we need to feature in our resume layout.
Often, there isn’t the right type of resume outline for your needs.
I mean, it’s one of the reasons why we’ve built a whole tool that helps you create the perfect resume with everything your recruiter will be looking for.
If you’re a college student or just graduated, it’s common to start looking for your first entry-level job, right? In this case, you should start by looking at a college student resume outline tailored exactly for someone like you.
This way, you’re giving more attention to the things that are more important to your employers, e.g. your educational background and experience in your resume sections.
However, if you’re a freelance developer, you should look at a resume outline designed specifically for your industry. Compared to a resume outline for highschool students, a “Projects” section would be more important and relevant for recruiters than a “Hobby” section would.
Pre-made ones rarely think of this.
That being said, let’s go down the rabbit hole of creating the perfect CV outline.
Creating a resume outline. How, what & why?
Okay, now that you understand a basic resume outline is a blueprint of your future CV, let’s focus on the following:
- What makes a great resume
- What to feature
- Why you should feature those things above
We’re going to clear up some misunderstandings other articles talk about which are plain confusing.
What's the difference between resume sections and a resume outline?
Almost all articles on the topic get the part of an outline and resume sections wrong.
Likewise, you, the reader, get confused.
The difference between resume sections and an outline is that you use, reorder, and match different sections to create an outline.
(Side Note: We’ve made an extensive guide on resume sections so you know how to optimize them and maximize your chances of getting hired. If you haven’t already, feel free to check it out!)
How to choose the right resume format?
Usually, resumes are structured by following one of three formats:
- Reverse Chronological Resume Format
- Functional Resume Format
- Hybrid Resume Format
All three have their purpose when it comes to building a resume that stands out. Whichever format you decide to use should be based on your background, experience, and objective.
So, let’s go a bit more granular.
Reverse Chronological Order Format
This is by far the most popular resume format out there.
One of the biggest advantages of the reverse chronological resume format is that it allows you to spotlight key achievements on a single page. It also provides a clear narrative for your work experience.
It’s especially perfect if you’re fresh out of school and you’re applying for your first job.
The biggest drawback, however, is the fact that gaps in your career are more noticeable.
The functional resume format makes your skills the main highlight of your application.
You should still list any professional experience you have, but the format itself focuses on what you’re good at. This type of resume format is best for people who’re looking to change careers. Focusing on your skills is specifically valuable for the new position you’re applying to.
A hybrid resume format is exactly what it sounds like – a combination of both a functional and chronological resume.
It highlights both your skills and your most recent work experience. And when it comes to creating one from scratch, it’s pretty hard…
But, it’s also the type of resume that managed to get Andre hired at Microsoft. Here’s what he had to say:
“It’s super easy to use and I can set up a resume in literally a few minutes. I learned that we don’t always need to listen to what all university career departments say. The sections Enhancv offers lets you show your personality and qualities employers look for nowadays.”
However, it’s not just Andre who managed to secure his position from using Enhancv’s hybrid combination resume format, but also Sam at Spotify:
“My new resume got a lot of attention. I got interviews with startups I had applied to in the past and never heard from. All of the recruiters said they don’t normally take resumes, but they wanted a copy of mine.”
With Enhancv, most of our resume outline examples follow the hybrid format since it’s the most versatile.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, we’ve got a huge list of over 530 resume examples you can draw inspiration from and use for yourself.
Resume sections to mix & match until you create a professional resume outline.
Now that you understand what resume sections are and the basic CV formats, it’s time to explore the different parts that make up a resume layout.
Our resume sections guide covers everything you need to know in full detail. It’s pretty long, but it’s oh-so-worth-it.
This will be the shorter version.
This is the first thing a recruiter sees. It’s where you put your name and contact information and it should be present in every outline.
Here’s what your resume header needs to include:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Professional email
- Job title
- LinkedIn profile
The most important thing in a header is having a clear photo (check requirements in your country/company of choice before adding one though) and a short, punchy sentence to grab the attention of the job recruiter.
Resume Summary (Or Resume Objective)
A resume summary is where you show why you’ll be a valuable asset to the company you’re applying for through a brief statement.
Include it at the top of your resume to show what’s to come. The recruiter can see at a glance what you’ve done, how you can be helpful to their organization, and your goals before reading about your experience.
The perfect length for a resume summary should be no more than five sentences.
In contrast, a resume objective contains your aspirations, too. Think about what you want to achieve in the company in a given amount of time.
Recruiters care a whole lot if you’re multilingual or not.
As the markets become more intertwined and geography is no longer that relevant, showing that you can speak multiple languages is a valuable asset. But, just make sure you stay relevant to the position you’re applying for.
While languages can be valuable, sometimes a language section is simply redundant.
It would be relevant if you’re applying for a job in a different country, or if the job description specifically states that you need to speak a certain language. This section on your resume is a tricky one to figure out – it’s worth checking out our languages guide for your resume so you don’t miss anything out.
Here’s one of the biggest mistakes people make when writing about their experience: only talking about your day-to-day routines.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with just listing the duties from your previous jobs…
The only problem is you won’t stand out.
Which means it’s a higher chance you’ll end in the pile of unfinished resumes that are already sitting on every hiring manager’s desk.
In order to make your application stand out in the sea of applicants, you have to switch that up a bit. Focus on your achievements and accomplishments instead and use action verbs.
WRONG: “I was responsible for selling an online membership to leads.”
RIGHT: “Increased online membership sales by 40% by creating and implementing a sales framework which was adopted by the whole sales department.”
In other words, you should focus on showcasing the positive impact you’ve done in previous organizations rather than listing what was on your job description bullets.
Your “Experience” should be the most prominent part of the resume sections. If you do it right, it will be the one that beats luck.
Training, courses, certifications, and education section
Depending on the job you’re applying for and the industry you’re looking forward to building a career in, featuring any training, courses, or certificates you may have can be either relevant or redundant.
Add this resume section to your outline when applying for a position in an industry where education is a must (like legal or health).
If you’ve graduated from art school and you’re applying for a sales job, then you can skip your formal education. It’s smarter to focus on sales courses and successes you’ve experienced since this is something employers are more inclined to look out for.
Depending on what you’re looking to feature on your resume, this section can be tricky to get right. It’s another reason why we wrote a complete guide for perfecting the education resume section.
Employers are looking for more than just paying you out of their pockets. And, adding volunteering work to your resume outline is your secret weapon.
Mind you, that’s not an opinion but a fact.
Here’s something worth sharing since we like to back up everything we say with data:
A Deloitte study found out that 82% of job recruiters prefer candidates who have volunteering experience behind their back.
The reason is simple — because those candidates tend to be better leaders.
It just shows why a volunteering resume section is so useful and why unpaid work matters. Using this resume section in your layout is one way to show you’re driven by more than just a salary.
By using a projects section, it’s easier to highlight your successful side-work activities.
Many people in the marketing industry tend to freelance and have successful side-businesses going on, on top of their full-time work.
Having a productive side-activity will pique the interest of any job recruiter.
Just like the experience part of your resume, adding a projects section to the outline will only cement your know-how and how you can help the business you’re applying for.
My time section
There’s no better way to demonstrate your creativity than it is here, especially if you’re considering the hobbies and interests resume section.
It doesn’t matter if you have less qualifications or experiences.
Since the workforce is becoming more interpersonal, the probability of getting hired is more likely if you’re a better cultural fit.
- What does your life look like?
- Do you enjoy learning new things?
- Can you accept challenges?
If you can visually communicate these things, your chances of being the candidate of choice will increase. And, the way to do this is by showing off your personality on your resume creatively.
For example, let’s see how it’s done on a substitute teacher resume:
Not only is this the perfect place to show recruiters how you invest your time, but it’s a chance for them to see the type of person you are.
If you’re doing this using Enhancv’s unique feature, you’re showing recruiters what your life looks like in a non-generic way. Talk about separating yourself from the sea of candidates…
Even if there’s another applicant who has more experience, it doesn’t show they’re eager to continue learning and growing like you are.
Social Media section
If you’re applying for a position where social media can be a powerful way to communicate with customers, then featuring any well-developed social media accounts can be a strength.
Just make sure you’re putting out information relevant to the needs of the business you’re applying to
You’re demonstrating your social credibility and authenticity by including this on your resume outline. Having professionals who’re ready to vouch for your skill because they’ve worked with you, is an undeniable asset.
Choosing the right outline for your first job application
Getting a job nowadays whether you’re experienced or fresh out of school can be tough.
Companies are looking for skilled professionals with the right qualifications with the relevant professional work experience, even for junior openings.
However, if you’re making your first job resume it needs to include:
- Your name
- Contact information
- Personal summary – Explaining a bit more on who you are and why you believe you’ll be a great fit for the organization you’re applying to
- Skills – While you may not have any professional experience, it doesn’t mean you aren’t skilled in the job. Make sure you list any relevant skills you have
- Volunteer work – It will show recruiters that you’re self-motivated and you’re ready to do the work.
- Relevant coursework
On top of that, are there any projects you’re proud of or certificates you have that you want to mention?
If you want to, you can go into even more detail.
At the same time, don’t stress if you feel like your resume is too short. In fact, one-page resumes perform just as well and in some cases, even better.
Here’s a nursing resume outline example…
While a first-job resume should focus on soft skills, doctors, nurses and health practitioners should give just as much attention to the hard skills.
So, a nursing resume outline will feature the following resume sections:
- Resume header
- Resume summary – a professional introduction of your career
- Education – which should be in the spotlight
- Experience – just as important as your education
- Languages – especially if you work in a bi-lingual country
However, you’re not limited to the things listed above. There’s more you can put on there – click here for the complete nurse resume guide.
Resume outline examples you can use right now
Whether you’re building your own resume outline in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, setting out a layout makes things a million times simpler.
That’s why we did that for you, so you don’t have to worry about the technical details.
Could you believe Mark Cuban himself said:
“I love it and would recommend it for anyone, it’s so much better than a droll traditional resume.”
With the help of top recruiters in 25 different industries, we’ve made 530 resume examples you can browse and edit from.
Best of all, it’s free. So what’s there to lose?
Creating a resume outline isn’t easy, but it’s also not as difficult as it should be if you’re using a cheat code like Enhancv. Of the many steps you need to take before scoring the job of your dreams, your resume outline comes first.
Focus on including the relevant information that helps recruiters consider you as the right person for the job.
If it doesn’t help the recruiter in any way, it’s best to just leave it out.
Do you have any thoughts on a resume outline you want to share? If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!