Best resume examples for 2020: How to build a strong resume

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On any given day, millions of Americans are sharpening their resumes in order to brave the perpetually frightening job market. But with every resume update comes a slew of questions, such as: what are the latest, greatest standards in resume formatting? Which buzzwords should I avoid, and which buzzwords should I spam? When describing prior job experience, how much detail is too much detail?

With all these questions swirling about, you might not know what, exactly, constitutes an ideal resume. Luckily, we’ve gathered up some of the best resume examples for 2020 to help you along. Use these examples and tips to spruce up your resume and keep it in fighting shape.

Best resume examples for 2020

Indeed has an absolutely bonkers stockpile of great resume examples for every industry under the sun, from food services to technical writing and engineering. No matter what your field, countless examples in that assortment of resume templates will likely serve as great reference material.

Though a lot of Indeed’s resumes look similar in structure and setup, the repetitive formatting is understandable given the scope of what’s on offer. Besides, the formatting Indeed went with is perfectly acceptable for most resume purposes. It contains all of the most important info, assembled in a smart order. When crafting your resume, be sure to include the areas Indeed’s samples have covered:

  • Name and contact information
  • Education
  • Relevant work experience
  • Skills

The summary included in Indeed’s template is, generally speaking, the skippable part of a resume, especially if you need more room to discuss the other topics, such as your skills and abilities. But always include the four bulleted categories mentioned above. In very rare cases, you may be able to skip the education section, but never go into a job app expecting that to be the case.

Regarding the order of the sections, you shouldn’t resort to a static structure—depending on the job, you’ll want to shift what’s on top.

For example, if you’re applying to a job that you have the perfect skill set for but lack relevant work experience to bolster your resume with, you may consider putting an emphasis on your abilities by placing them closer to the top of your resume than your employment history. This’d lean your resume closer to what’s called a “functional” resume, as opposed to a chronological one which emphasizes the chronology of your work history.

For an example of a resume that highlights skills at the very top, check out this resume example posted by Glassdoor. This resume serves as a nice alternate option to the examples posted by Indeed, since it showcases key items in a different order and shakes up the formatting a bit.

With regards to formatting, never get too fancy. Visually distracting borders, rainbow colors, or other such frills won’t help you much in most fields and run the risk of actually irritating the hiring manager or recruiter who’s tasked with reading your resume.

Glassdoor’s resume example has just enough flavor to differentiate itself from the competition without being obnoxious. It has a splash of color at the top to attract the eye (if you do this, don’t go with a neon color or something super loud), but then settles into a standard black and white palette for easy reading. For those of you hellbent on including some color, this is a good way to do it.

Resume Genius has a good example of a stylized resume as well. The overall page layout, formatting, and color scheme are a bit different than the standard monochrome, linear resume. Still, in spite of it not being the same old tried and true resume format, this example excels at drawing positive attention to itself and showcases information in an engaging way.

Here’s what to take away from the two most recently aforementioned samples:

  • If you want to use color, less is more
  • Limit layout creativity (don’t totally reinvent the wheel)
  • Put key content toward the top

My Perfect Resume has strong examples of what densely packed linear resumes look like. Similar to two of the three samples cited above, MPR’s examples have a splash of color, and like all of the resumes referenced in this guide, a focus on content. However, what makes MPR’s resumes particularly worthy of emulation is their focus on objective measurements and stats.

Notice how MPR’s very first resume example (the “Mary Rowan” resume) features numerous instances of the resume writer stating numeric values and percentages in order to illustrate how much of an asset they were to their company. Since most employers like to quantify things, preemptively quantifying your worth as an employee will show you’re on the same page as them.

Another great thing about all of the resumes mentioned above is that they use safe buzzwords such as “collaborated” and “increased,” and skipped out on ridiculous buzzwords like “synergized.” The rule with buzzwords is, if you think a recruiter will have heard it too many times, or you cringe while typing it, it has no place on a resume.

What these resume examples all excel at, in addition to smart wording and layouts, is knowledge of when to stop. They all have job, education, and skill descriptions, but keep any bullet points to one or two lines, and only feature one to three descriptions or bullet points per major item. That’s the ideal range of depth you should include when discussing your work experience, history, or skills on a resume. Any shorter and you might not display enough of your worth. Any longer and, well, you’ll break the one page rule and end up with the start of a curriculum vitae.

When making your resume, don’t forget to:

  • Include stats and hard figures that objectively communicate your talents
  • Avoid silly buzzwords and go with tasteful ones instead
  • Keep details and descriptions short and your resume under one page

Now that you’ve seen the best resume examples for 2020 and read a lot of guidelines regarding how to custom-tailor your own resume, you’re ready to get refining and start applying. If you’re interested in pursuing positions in academic and scientific fields, check out our curriculum vitae guide for pointers on how to craft a winning CV.

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