A simple resume is a bare-bones resume that is designed to be quickly understood by employers and applicant tracking systems (ATS) — which scan resumes for relevance. It is usually organized into five basic sections: a summary or objective, skills, work history, and education. It’s an adaptable style that can be used by job seekers in most any industry, job title and experience level.
Simple resume templates for every job
The Professional template in the combination format elegantly emphasizes Quincy Smith’s top skills while neatly displaying his experience.
Duke Leach’s chronological resume in the Modern template clearly illustrates his career progression from front loader to forklift operator.
As a certified personal trainer, Reese Vaughn wanted to showcase relevant skills while detailing her work experience so she used the Traditional template with the chronological format.
Frank Danvers wanted a simple way to display his specific job-related skills and how he can apply them to the new position, so he used a functional format in the Traditional template.
Payton Amaris’ resume is proof that a simple one doesn’t have to be boring. The Multicolumn design she chose in the functional format neatly displays her qualifications and 10 years of experience.
Donna Chai’s functional resume in a Modern design places her well-honed skills and professional qualifications in focus
The Classic template paired with a chronological format balances Mandy Brockman’s skills and experience in an orderly way.
Lily Smith kept her qualifications nicely organized by using the Modern template in the combination format.
William Tanford took an old school approach with the Classic template and combination format. Notice how the clean and crisp design makes his resume easy to read.
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Simple-resume templates for every industry
How to format a simple resume
Focus on organization.
There are three standard resume formats: chronological, hybrid, and functional. The one you should choose depends upon your work experience, goals, level and industry. For example, if you are an entry-level candidate, then the chronological format won’t work for you because its focus is work experience; a functional resume is a better fit because it highlights gained skills.
Details matter — a lot.
It’s best to stick with legible fonts (such as webkit-styles Arial, Times New Roman and Verdana) in standard sizes, margins, and spacing to ensure your resume is clean and easy for applicant tracking systems (ATS) — software that scans resumes for relevance, recruiters and hiring managers to read. Resume Now’s professionally designed simple-resume templates are all formatted to be easy to read.
5 Tips for writing a simple resume
Keep it short.
According to recruiter Jan Tegze, you only have about six seconds to make a great impression, so keep each section of your resume brief and meaningful. One way to do this is to use bullets to highlight your key strengths and achievements. Another way is to quantify your accomplishments with numbers. For example, “Increased regional sales by 30% in first year.”
That means no: photos, references, hobbies and interests that aren’t relevant to the position, nicknames, personal social media links or biographies.
Customize your resume for the job.
You should have a brand new resume for every job you apply to. Review the description as you write and focus on the requirements that match your skills and experience, then describe how you have applied those qualifications in the past.
List your most recent and relevent work experience.
If you’ve had a new contract position every year for the last ten years then you should only include the most relevant positions from the last five years. If you don’t have any work experience, then list pertinent volunteer roles, school or community projects, and gigs, and highlight your transferable and applicable soft skills.
Look closely for spelling and grammatical errors, typos, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and missing information. Oh, and be sure to spell the hiring manager’s name correctly!
Common questions about simple resumes
What are job skills?
Job skills are traits and abilities that allow a person to be good at a particular job. Everyone has their own unique set of skills. Some, such as writing, must be learned and others, such as creative thinking, are innate qualities people are born with. There are three basic types of skills:
Transferable: These skills can be applied across job titles and industries. Examples include: problem solving, listening and verbal communication.
Soft: These are personal traits that indicate how you might function in the workplace; many of them are transferable. They include: adaptability, critical thinking and dependability.
Technical/hard skills: These are skills and knowledge we acquire through work, education and life experiences. They include: Management, software proficiency and budget planning.
What looks good on a resume?
In two words: relevant information. That’s right: The best thing you can put on your resume is work experience, skills, training/education, and achievements that apply to the position and the industry you are applying for.
To make this information stand out, use impactful words (“Led,” “Created,” or “Increased”); prove your successes with numbers (Awarded Teach of the Month 4 months in a row); and describe your experience in terms of achievements rather than duties. (“Resolved 50 customer complaints per week” rather than “Responsible for handling customer complaints”).
What if I need a cover letter with my resume?
Unless the job description tells you not to add a cover letter, then you always need a cover letter with your resume. A cover letter will help you stand out because:
You can use it to explain career changes, resume gaps, and short-term jobs.
It gives you the space to expound on your experience and demonstrate exactly how you can use your skills to help the employer.
It’s the only place in the application process where you can show your personality and express why you’re interested in the job.
Resume Now’s cover letter builder will help you create the perfect cover letter to accompany your resume.