1. Resume Examples
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Written by Charlotte GraingerCharlotte Grainger

Traditional Resume Resume Example & Writing Guide

Ready to land your next job? Writing a traditional resume doesn’t have to be hard. Check out our writing guide and the accompanying resume example now.
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Traditional Resume Resume Example & Writing Guide
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Learning how to write a traditional resume is a rite of passage for job-seekers. No matter what career path you choose to follow, chances are you will have to make one of these at some point. Put simply, most recruiters expect you to use a classic resume template. 

Whether this is your first traditional resume attempt or you’re simply feeling a little rusty, you’ve come to the right place. Allow us to take you through the simple steps. 

Understanding what a traditional resume includes, how to tackle each section, and what you need to omit is the baseline. But, you can do better than that, right? 

With the right guidance, you can create a classic resume that will win over even the most discerning of hiring managers. From nailing the format to hooking the reader with a captivating summary, we have the answers. 

Read our guide and get one step closer to landing an interview and, ultimately, getting hired. 

Resume guide for a traditional resume

Level-up your application with the help of Resume.io. We have a selection of writing guides and resume examples for 500+ professions. 

You can also use our resume builder to create a flawless application in no time at all. In the following guide, we will be covering these core subjects: 

  • How to write a traditional resume
  • Choosing the right resume format
  • How to add your contact information
  • Advice on writing the perfect summary
  • Adding your work experience
  • Listing education and relevant experience
  • Picking the right resume design/layout
  • What the job market looks like and what salary you can expect.

How to write a traditional resume

Before you can start writing your resume, you need to know what to include. That’s where we come into play. Here are the elements you should include in your resume: 

The reason the above structure works is simple: it is what the hiring manager expects. When you’re writing a traditional resume, it’s smart to follow some ground rules. 

The first one is ensuring that you include all of the above sections. As we will discuss in this guide, each of these elements plays an important role in your application. 

If you think that you can get away with using a “one size fits all” approach, you’re sadly mistaken. When you’re writing your traditional resume, it’s vital that you tailor it to meet the needs of the hiring manager. Here are some of the ways that you can do just that: 

  • Identify your USP. Your unique selling proposition is the center of your argument. Why are you perfect for this vacancy? What do you have that other candidates don’t? Lead with this information in your summary.
  • Focus on your achievements. Some candidates make the mistake of solely listing their duties in their work experience section. Don’t do that. It’s important to highlight accomplishments instead and show that you have true value to bring.
  • Do your research first. Before applying to any job, you’re going to need to do your research. Learn about the company, the vacancy and — if at all possible — the hiring manager. All of the above will help you to tailor your resume to the role at hand.
  • Get the tone on point. When you’re writing a traditional resume, the tone you use matters. You need to ensure that your language matches the reader’s expectations. It should go without saying that this is no place for slang or colloquialisms.
Expert tip

Optimize your resume for the ATS! 

The majority of recruiters now use ATS screening software to scan resumes for keywords. If you want to make sure your application makes the cut, you need to optimize it well. 

Only the highest-ranking resumes make it through the software. Pepper your resume with relevant keywords. 

You can find these in the job advert. Look for words that apply directly to the vacancy or the sector.

Choosing the right resume format

Traditional resumes need to be clear, concise, and easy to digest. Choosing the right format for your resume will help you to tick all of those boxes. 

While there are a few resume formats to pick from, we typically recommend using the reverse chronological order. This structure allows you to succinctly tell you career story in a way that will effortlessly engage the hiring manager. 

To use this resume format, you need to list your qualifications and experience in reverse. That means that you start out with your most recent accolades and work your way back in time as you move down the page. If you’re not quite sure what we mean by that, you can take a look at our traditional resume example below. 

Looking for something different? Of course, there will be times when other formats are appropriate for your application. Read our full guide on how to choose the best resume format for your needs now. 

Include your contact information

Next up, it’s time to write your resume header. While this is not the most exciting part of your application, it is crucial to your success. This section includes your contact information. 

As a golden rule, this section should highlight the following things to the reader: 

  • Full name & title. Start out by including your first and last name. You should also include the title for which you are applying, for example “marketing manager” here.
  • Professional email address. Include your professional email address. The address should be clean and formal. Don’t use anything including a nickname or numbers.
  • Phone number. Next, add a phone number where you can be contacted easily. You should make sure that this phone has a professional voicemail on it.
  • Location. You don’t need to include your exact address. However, you can list your city and state in this section.
  • LinkedIn. If your LinkedIn profile is active, relevant, and shows your sales network, include it here.

Don’t include the following: 

  • Marital status. This is not relevant when applying for jobs.
  • Personal details. You should not include your social security number, for example.
  • Date of birth. The hiring manager does not need to know how old you are.

Make use of a summary

You’ve already dealt with the red tape—now you can get down to business. Your resume summary is the most freeform part of any application. It is your chance to make a convincing argument about why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Don’t waste that opportunity. 

Space is limited here. You have between two and three lines to play with. Start off by pinpointing your USP. What is the one thing that you have which other candidates may not? What makes you unique? Lead with that point as your opening line. 

Your summary should be in the past or present tense. You can use punchy action verbs to bring it to life. Words such as “spearheaded,” “orchestrated,” “strengthened,” and “directed” will make your summary stand out from the crowd. There’s nothing worse than being dull. 

Showcase your enthusiasm for the position here. You want to let them know that you are the right person for the role but also that you have the gusto to do it well. With that in mind, ensure that the tone you use is eager, lively, and professional. Writing a summary that engages and captivates the hiring manager is always the aim of the game. 

When you’ve written your first draft, read it back and consider whether it packs enough punch. If your mind starts to wander when you are reading it, you might need to rework it.

You can find adaptable resume summaries below:

Entry-level adaptable resume summary/profile example

Hard working and efficient Business Studies graduate. Confident in accounts, sales forecasting, and data analytics developed through recent work placement at IBM. Enthusiastic about ensuring the highest levels of productivity and spearheading actionable development strategies.

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Mid-level adaptable resume summary/profile example

Experienced sales executive with 5 years in the technology sector. Proven track record of high sales results including an 88% customer conversion rate. Possesses strong communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills. 

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Senior-level adaptable resume summary/profile example

Award-winning marketing manager with 10+ years of experience at leading agencies. Adept in crafting bespoke digital marketing campaigns for clients including Nike and Adidas. Passionate about keeping up to date with social media and online trends. 

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Outline your work experience: keep it clear and simple

Your work experience section is arguably the most important part of a traditional resume. Now, you don’t need to list every role you have ever had—especially not if you happen to have years of experience. Instead, go back roughly 10-15 years in time or around three jobs.

If you have roles that you are desperate to note on your resume, you might want to add a simple “other experience” section. However, this is usually not necessary. 

Start by outlining the company name, its location, your role, and your dates of employment. These are the baseline details that the hiring manager will expect. Below this information, you can bullet point the accomplishments that you achieved in that specific role. 

Here are some of the ways you can make your work experience stand out: 

  • Use powerful words. It’s worth sliding in some action verbs once again. You want to show the hiring manager that you are in control of all you do. Using these words puts you firmly in the driving seat.
  • Omit the word “I”. You have a limited amount of space and you don’t want to waste it. For that reason, you should leave out the word “I” when you are starting a sentence. Get straight to the point and keep things brief.
  • Quantify your accomplishments. There’s no room to be vague. Instead of saying “achieved sales targets” say “achieved 100% of sales targets every quarter”. Show the hiring manager exactly what you mean with each statement you make.
  • Focus on your results. Hiring managers care about what results you can achieve. So, focus on results-based points when writing your work experience section. That way, they will get an idea of the value you can bring to the team.

Take a look at the employment history resume sample below for inspiration:

Adaptable resume employment history example

HR Coordinator at ABC Company , Palo Alto 
February 2023 - Present 

  • Deliver payroll services support to clients through use of various payroll and HRIS systems. Perform diverse HR generalist functions. Support leadership in employee hiring, onboarding and offboarding. Maintain confidential employee records. Conduct applicant screening for internal and external job opportunities. Interface with clients and employees to gather information and foster strong employee relations by addressing any issues.
  • Continually maintain high levels of attention to detail to ensure confidentiality in storing and accessing employee data.
  • Demonstrate exceptional knowledge of standard protocols in reconciling benefits invoices and completing compliance paperwork.

 

Human Resources Professional at A Major Retailer, Palo Alto 
May 2018 - February 2023 

  • Held responsibility for a diverse array of HR Generalist functions. Aided staff in responding to requests for time off and handling other employee scheduling matters. Coordinated new hire training, orientation and scheduling. Delivered benefits support and addressed inquiries during open enrollment. Performed traking of productivity metrics and key performance indicators (KPI). Prepared and presented reports to senior management, including employee attendance and timecard reports.
  • Selected to serve on DEI committee, playing key role in improving company's hiring processes to improve diversity in hiring, leading to considerable increase in number of diverse applicants.

 

Team Leader/ Retail Assistant at A Local Small Business, Palo Alto 
March 2016 - May 2018 

  • Provided daily support to customers and answered product inquiries within a retail environment. Supervise, trained and assisted in onboarding employees. Operated cash registers / POS systems and facilitated product sales. Maintained merchandise racks.
  • Enabled 10% reduction in turnover through crucial contributions to addressing attrition problem by partnering with senior leadership teams to formulate 90-day new-employee coaching initiative.
  • Cultivated positive and ongoing partnerships with onboarded employees, resulting in significant increases in productivity and reductions in turnover.
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How to write a resume with no experience

Let’s say you’re new to the working world. We all have to start somewhere. 

Recent graduates may benefit from using a functional resume format rather than the conventional reverse chronological order. This structure highlights your skills and education over your work experience—or lack thereof. 

Create a skills section that showcases a diverse range of transferable skills. You may have picked these up while in education, through volunteering, or even in your own time. It’s vital that you show off these talents to the hiring manager. 

In addition, you need to show that you are passionate about your chosen sector. Why is this the career path for you? What do you already know about the business or industry? What has drawn you to this vacancy in particular?

If you need some extra help along the way, read our comprehensive guide on how to write a resume with no experience now.

Include the relevant key skills that make you a great employee 

Hiring managers (along with ATS software) are looking for a specific skill-set. So, give it to them. When you’re writing your skills section, consider what competencies are required for the vacancy. You might want to do a little research to ensure you get this right. 

Your first port of call should be the job advert. Yes, the hiring manager will have listed the core skills that you need as part of the criteria. Go through that list and consider how well your talents match up. Include the skills that you have in your arsenal.

Expert tip

Avoid using synonyms—here’s why! 

Using the exact same words as the job advert is a savvy move. Chances are, these are the terms that the ATS is searching for when reviewing incoming resumes. 

For example, if the ad suggests that you need “collaboration skills,” use those words. Don’t list that you have “teamwork skills” as this may fly under the ATS’ radar. 

This small tweak to how you write your skills list could make a big difference. Be sure to choose your words wisely when listing the competencies that you possess. 

You should include a selection of both hard skills and soft skills on your resume. Hard skills —often known as “technical skills”—apply directly to the role for which you are applying. 

These may include research, analytics, using certain software, or managing hardware, for instance. Of course, the skills that you include will depend largely on the role you want. 

Soft skills, on the other hand, can relate to a variety of positions. These may include communication skills, time management, organizational skills, and interpersonal skills. 

Also known as transferable skills, these competencies allow you to get the job done and work seamlessly with your team. In short, they are essential to your professional success. 

With our resume builder, you get several automatically generated skills to choose from with proficiency ranges you can set. Plus, you can add your own skills too. While you should include your main skills in this section, it’s not the only place you need to mention them. Weave them throughout your resume and add context where you can.

Adaptable resume skills example
  • MS Office Suite
  • MyTime
  • Workday
  • ADP
  • Paylocity
  • Jobvite
  • Google Docs
  • ServiceNow
  • EmployeeCentral
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Detail your education & relevant certifications

Once you’ve included your skills, you can move on and tackle your education section. You should use the reverse chronological approach when writing this part of your resume. This is the place where you can include any certificates, training, or other education you have. 

You should start by including your high school or college education. When you’ve done that, you can bolster your resume by adding in the following: 

  • Workplace training. Have you completed a course within your workplace? Did you take part in a training day? Have you got some LinkedIn Learning qualifications? Don’t be afraid to shout about the additional training you have undertaken here.
  • Memberships and development. If you’re a member of a board or an association, be sure to mention it here. Also, include any details of professional development.
  • Internships. If you entered the sector through the internship route, you can list it as part of your education section. However, in some cases, it will be appropriate to include it in your work experience instead. The choice here is yours.

While you don’t want to cram your education too full, you should include any points that will strengthen your application. It’s all about showing your value.

Adaptable resume education example

Associate in Applied Science, General Business, Palo Alto Community College, Palo Alto 
September 2012 - May 2016

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Pick the right resume layout and design

By this point, you should be well-versed in how to write a traditional resume. There’s just one last thing you need to consider: how your resume looks. 

The layout and design you use matter. Hiring managers spend only seven seconds reviewing each new resume. You don’t have long to make the right impression on them. 

Contrary to popular belief, a classic resume template does not have to be boring. To win over the hiring manager, you need to present a clean, clear, and concise document. 

If you’re new to the realm of resume design, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some expert tips you should keep in mind: 

  • Choose a modern font. The font that you choose needs to be easy to read and modern. Georgia, Garamond, and Lato all work well for a traditional resume.
  • Use one or two colors. There’s nothing wrong with adding some color to your classic resume. However, you don’t want to end up with a rainbow effect.
  • Include white space. Space is your friend when you’re designing a resume. Be sure to use white space around your sections. This design trick increases readability.

Want to make sure that your traditional resume hits the mark? Let us do the heavy lifting for you. Use one of our tried and tested resume templates now. 

Traditional resume example, text only

Traditional resume example, text only

Profile

Results-oriented, diversity-focused Human Resources (HR) professional aiming to leverage strong background in HR department support and team leadership in a Human Resources Generalist role.  

Record of success in HR department support, office management, cross-functional communication and staff relations. Expertise in skills and tools for performing diverse HR generalist and HRIS analysis functions. Proven capacity for performing various HR generalist functions, including new-hire processing and onboarding, benefits, payroll, and records administration. Exceptional talent for scheduling and coordinating recruitment, interview and hiring processes for qualified job applicants. Deep knowledge of federal, state and local employment laws and regulations. Build effective management partnerships in updating internal HR policies.


Employment history

HR Coordinator at ABC Company , Palo Alto 
February 2023 - Present 

  • Deliver payroll services support to clients through use of various payroll and HRIS systems. Perform diverse HR generalist functions. Support leadership in employee hiring, onboarding and offboarding. Maintain confidential employee records. Conduct applicant screening for internal and external job opportunities. Interface with clients and employees to gather information and foster strong employee relations by addressing any issues.
  • Continually maintain high levels of attention to detail to ensure confidentiality in storing and accessing employee data.
  • Demonstrate exceptional knowledge of standard protocols in reconciling benefits invoices and completing compliance paperwork.

 

Human Resources Professional at A Major Retailer, Palo Alto 
May 2018 - February 2023 

  • Held responsibility for a diverse array of HR Generalist functions. Aided staff in responding to requests for time off and handling other employee scheduling matters. Coordinated new hire training, orientation and scheduling. Delivered benefits support and addressed inquiries during open enrollment. Performed traking of productivity metrics and key performance indicators (KPI). Prepared and presented reports to senior management, including employee attendance and timecard reports.
  • Selected to serve on DEI committee, playing key role in improving company's hiring processes to improve diversity in hiring, leading to considerable increase in number of diverse applicants.

 

Team Leader/ Retail Assistant at A Local Small Business, Palo Alto 
March 2016 - May 2018 

  • Provided daily support to customers and answered product inquiries within a retail environment. Supervise, trained and assisted in onboarding employees. Operated cash registers / POS systems and facilitated product sales. Maintained merchandise racks.
  • Enabled 10% reduction in turnover through crucial contributions to addressing attrition problem by partnering with senior leadership teams to formulate 90-day new-employee coaching initiative.
  • Cultivated positive and ongoing partnerships with onboarded employees, resulting in significant increases in productivity and reductions in turnover.


Skills

  • MS Office Suite
  • MyTime
  • Workday
  • ADP
  • Paylocity
  • Jobvite
  • Google Docs
  • ServiceNow
  • EmployeeCentral


Education

Associate in Applied Science, General Business, Palo Alto Community College, Palo Alto 
September 2012 - May 2016

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 Key takeaways for a traditional resume

  1. Most hiring managers expect traditional resumes. For that reason, it’s worth refreshing yourself and learning what elements and sections to include.
  2. Create a captivating summary that piques the reader’s interest. You can use action verbs to bring this blurb to life.
  3. Make sure you include a healthy mix of hard and soft skills. Hiring managers are looking for candidates with a well-rounded range of talents.
  4. When designing your classic resume, there are some layout rules that you need to stick to. Ensure that your application looks as professional as possible!
  5. In this guide, we have shared the ultimate winning formula to creating a traditional resume. Give it a go now.
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