How to Write a Simple, Effective Resume (+20 Examples)
A great resume can help get you noticed by prospective employers. But what makes a resume “great”? How do you catch recruiters’ attention, encourage them to read your resume, and ultimately call you for an interview?
Two words: Simple and effective.
In this piece, we’ll offer a step-by-step guide to writing a simple, effective resume. Then, we’ll showcase 20 examples of what this looks like in practice. Ready to level up your resume-writing technique? Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
How to Write a Simple Resume
While resume specifics vary depending on the type of job you’re looking for and the experience required, there are seven steps that apply in any circumstance to help your resume stand out.
1. Pick a format.
Before you start writing, pick a format that suits both your personal style and works for the position being offered.
For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design position, it may be worth including images on your resume that help highlight your skills.
If the job you’re after is a highly technical engineering role, meanwhile, you may want something more straightforward.
Regardless of the format you choose, the goal is simplicity. Don’t clutter the resume with extraneous information or conflicting colors. Instead, let your experience and interest speak for themselves.
2. Start with your contact information.
No surprise here — prospective employers need to know how they can contact you. Despite the necessity of this contact data, however, it’s not uncommon to see it missed on resumes or left until the bottom of the page.
Best bet? Put your details — including name, phone number, and email address — at the top of the page as a header.
3. Include an overview.
Next is an overview of your professional profile. This may include details about your current position along with any titles or degrees you hold.
Depending on the role, you may also want to include links to digital portfolios or work you’ve published online.
4. List your education and experience.
Education and experience are up next.
This should be a simple list of your educational history, including any degrees or certificates you’ve earned and when you earned them, followed by a list of your previous work experience.
Bullet points work well here: Each bullet point represents a different job and includes details such as job title, responsibilities, and how long you were employed.
5. Speak to your skills.
Now it’s time to talk about your skills as they relate to the job being offered.
Wherever possible, use keywords from the job advertisement itself. This is because many companies now use automated resume analysis and tracking systems that may prioritize these keywords.
6. Highlight any relevant certifications.
Make sure to mention any relevant qualifications or certifications.
For example, if you’re applying with an IT security firm, you could highlight certifications such as CompTIA Security+ or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) qualification.
7. Add any relevant details.
Finally, add any other details that are relevant to the job, such as volunteer experience in a related field or any professional accolades for your work.
20 Simple Resume Examples
Simple, effective resumes offer the best chance of getting noticed, but there’s no one-size-fits-all template when it comes to design.
The first four templates on our list are all from Microsoft Word.
To access these templates, open Word, select New from the left-hand sidebar, and then type “resume” into the search box that appears. Word will bring up a host of resume template options for you to download and use.
Modern is one of the first templates listed and offers a clean and simple format for all of your details. The minimalist design means that your information stands out.
What we like:Simplicity is the focus of this template. Every section is clearly marked, and there’s no hunting for data.
The Creative template from Word trends back toward the simple but brings your experience to the forefront.
It effectively divides your personal and professional lives into two columns, which can be a boon for recruiters looking for specific data.
What we like: It’s easy to find what you’re looking for in this template, making it a great choice for a simple, effective resume.
5. Spearmint (Google Docs)
The next five examples on our list come from Google Docs. To access these templates, head to Google Docs and then select Template Galley in the upper right-hand corner.
First on our list of Docs templates is Spearmint, presumably named for its green accent color. This template isn’t pushing any boundaries but offers a solid starting point for simple resumes.
What we like:Spearmint reads well. A quick scan of the resume gives HR teams exactly what they need: an overview of your skills, experience, and education.
6. Swiss (Google Docs)
The Swiss template from Google Docs offers a minimalist approach to resume data by separating headings from information.
What we like:Because the headings are separate, hiring teams don’t need to scan the entire document for what they want. Instead, they can simply find the heading they want and move straight across.
7. Modern Writer (Google Docs)
This template is a great fit if you’re applying for writing or publishing jobs. A cute touch is that the font used looks similar to that of a typewriter.
What we like: The unique font helps this example stand out from the crowd. Worth noting? Fonts are best used sparingly. Go too far into left field — say with Comic Sans — and your resume may not have the intended effect.
8. Coral (Google Docs)
Coral is similar to Modern Writer but with a more familiar font. There’s nothing flashy about this example, which is why it works: All relevant data is presented in an easy-to-see and easy-to-read format.
What we like:The “Hello, I’m…” detail at the top offers a slightly different take on the common resume introduction, which can help you get noticed.
9. Serif (Google Docs)
Serif splits up your data into two columns, with skills and awards on one side and education and experience on the other. It’s a simple way to highlight what you offer while keeping your resume easy to read.
What we like:Finding information on this resume is quick and easy, which is ideal considering the number of resumes teams often have to review.
This example digs into professional experience with detailed descriptions of job responsibilities and roles. While the experience section remains chronological, the focus isn’t on time, so much as effort.
What we like:By highlighting the role and responsibilities of each previous job, this resume helps applicants build a case for why they should be considered.
Concept is a great choice if you have education and skills but lack more in-depth work experience. The solid-colored sidebar works well as a timeline background, which helps give the resume a sense of momentum.
What we like:Even without a lot of work experience, you could still be a great fit for a new role. This template helps showcase the complete picture of your skills and abilities.