Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs

Having a good resume is crucial for getting a job. Below you'll find many examples of good resumes to get traditional jobs, consulting jobs, side gigs, and more.

For 13 years, I was a hiring manager at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, two of the world's largest financial firms. I've seen literally thousands of resumes during this time period. I've also hired or been involved in hiring dozens of people at these firms, where their acceptance rate is in the single digits.

An excellent resume should be standard, not the exception. Before I share some examples of good resumes, let's do a quick review of the best time to get a job and some general resume tips.

The Best Time To Get A Job

In normal times, the first half of the year is when ideally all hiring shall be done. This is because:

1) The best available people are still available. There is a bias against people looking in the 3rd and 4th quarter because rightly or wrongly, companies may wonder what's wrong with you for not having found something earlier.

2) Companies need to spend their budgets while they are still available. There's no time like the present.

3) Hiring an employee at the start of the year gets the most out of the employee, especially if there is a guaranteed compensation package.

If you find yourself looking for a job in the second half of the year, it's important to hustle a little more or prepare for activity to pick up in the spring.

Don't give up hope. Use this time to plan more thoroughly. And utilize the examples of good resumes below to improve your own, especially as economies start opening up.

The Importance Of An Updated Resume

Just the other week, I had breakfast with an old boss of mine who moved on to do different things last year. What I thought was a friendly meet up turned out to be a soft sell on why I should join his firm.

We should talk more next week Sam,” he concluded.  “I think you'll be amazed at what we're doing here.”

I proceeded to discuss my meeting with another old colleague of mine who then said, “Sam, actually we also have a 5 year runway to build something great. You should send me your resume.

No problem“, I said. Truth be told, my resume was one year old and needed some updating. But, that's OK, given the changes were quite minor.

Keep Employment Dialogues Open

It never hurts to keep employment dialogues open, even if you don't currently plan on leaving your company. It's a courtesy to them to have a discussion.

You never know when someone wants to pay you big bucks for a guaranteed length of time to join their organization! 

Generally, I'm the one who is evaluating resumes, so it was kind of exciting to update my own to send to someone else.

Important Resume Tips To Know 

There are many important tips to keep in mind when analyzing examples of good resumes. Read this section thoroughly before creating and editing your own resume. If you do, you’ll create the best resume possible.

The 7 Seconds Rule

The average amount of time a reviewer spends on your resume is 7 seconds and that's it! It's partly because hiring managers like myself have so many resumes to look at. And it's partly because we're lazy.

Make sure the top half of your resume pops and everything is clear. If your resume is too dense, it's going to overwhelm anyone who reads it. You don't want their eyes to glaze over. Practice scanning the examples of good resumes below for 7 seconds. Then, try the same exercise on your own.

One Page Resume Or Bust

If you have a resume longer than one page, you just quadrupled your chances of having your resume crumpled and tossed in the bin. More is much less in this situation.

Having a one page resume shows that you are concise, clear, and to the point. Again, hiring teams spend roughly 7 seconds on your resume, so don't bore them with irrelevant details.

It's all about what you've done lately, your education, and an interesting fact about you. Anything more can be covered during the interview.

Don't Over Think Design For A Great Resume

Unless you are a graphic designer looking for a job, there's no need to over think the design of your one-pager. Contact info, latest two or three jobs with responsibilities, education, and hobbies. Done.

Segment the page out in sections with clear, standard titles. Use bullet points if you will, and make that one page as simple to read as possible.

We really don't care about what type of font you are using, whether the paper has a thicker weave, and all the nitty gritty details of your latest project. Like blogging, content is king!

Don't Hide Obvious Things On A Resume

If you've never had a real job before or are still within 5 years out of undergrad, you better not hide your GPA. Hiding your bad GPA is a 90% guarantee of getting your resume tossed. It shows that you think reviewers are stupid enough to not realize your grades are missing.

We'll start thinking the worst, so don't hide your GPA! Don't hide any of your contact details either. That will surely piss off the reviewer if she wants to contact you.

If you're applying to jobs through a recruiter, however, it's common for them to remove your contact info. Recruiters want employers to contact them directly first since they are your liaison.

A Good Resume Is Standard, Not Special

A good or great resume doesn't make the person. You and your interview make the person. A good resume should be standard, which means it's all the important not to have a bad resume.

A bad resume obliterates your chances, and a good resume is the absolute minimum. There is no one golden resume format.  It just has to be easy on the eyes. From the examples of good resumes below, you'll see that all are acceptable resumes.

Customize Your Resume As Much As Possible

Don't use a generic resume for all your applications. It's important to highlight specific skills, attributes, and experiences you have that would be an asset to your new employer.

Employers want to know why you're the best fit for the specific job you're applying to. Tailor your resume to each job. Just make sure you attach the right version before you hit the send button.

Use your resume as a way to shine the brightest spotlight on merit. Although there is a growing attack on merit, the best people with the most qualifications usually still win.

Optimize For Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Robots may not be running the world (yet), but they are busy doing a lot of things including resume screening. Roughly 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes. In addition, about 70% of larger companies and 20% of small businesses use ATS as well.

Humans will make the ultimate decision on whether or not to interview and hire you for a job. But, you should make your resume ATS friendly so it has the best chance to get seen by human eyes.

Use keywords from the job description and industry. Action words are important as well. Just be careful not to overdo it. Keyword stuffing and going crazy with buzzwords may fool a robot, but will get your resume tossed out by a person.

Spell out abbreviations, avoid using special characters like symbols or emojis, and use standard headings like “Education” and “Work Experience.”

In addition, stick with common fonts and simple formatting. Fancy formatting is bound to get removed by the ATS. Or worse, the ATS may not be able to read your resume at all.

Do The Not So Obvious To Make Your Resume Stand Out

If you've sent out hundreds of resumes already, and aren't getting any responses, do something different. Put a picture of yourself up on the top right hand corner.

Again, do this if you haven't been getting any love at all, especially if you're more attractive than average. LinkedIn profiles with picture profiles get clicked on twice more often than those profiles that don't have pictures.

Change your resume color to a green back ground. Make your objective statement a prediction on who will win the Super Bowl and why? Then parlay that with a follow up interview if your prediction holds true.

If you aren't getting any call backs, you have nothing to lose. If you do any one of the following things above, you will stand out and get the recruiter's attention.

Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs

Now, let's examine some examples of good resumes that get jobs. Below each one you'll find a summary of my thoughts along with a resume rating.

Good Resume Example #1: Business Management Or Sales

examples of good resumes for sales

Resume analysis: I like how Adam states right up front his objectives and qualifications. His resume is easy to read. Unfortunately, there is no GPA, and his work experience isn't much to write home about, depending on what job he's looking for. If he's looking to apply as a restaurant manager, he looks like a perfect candidate. Resume Rating: 8/10.

Great Resume Example #2: Post MBA

good resume for MBA - Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs

Resume analysis: Edgar has a classically formatted resume, which I like. He must be just graduating from business school because he over emphasizes his education, and under emphasizes what makes Edgar the man. 

We already know Edgar went to Darden b-school if I'm reading his resume, so putting his education at the very top is wasting valuable real estate. Also, I learn nothing about Edgar as a person, which doesn't create any affinity. Resume Rating: 7/10.

Excellent Resume Example #3: Translator

examples of good resumes for translator

Resume analysis: This is one of my favorite examples of good resumes. Pamela's resume has almost everything I want to see. I like how she highlights a “Profile” portion up top, lists her experience, and then her education and activities.

I would love to know more about what makes Pamela tick.  Also, I would consider removing her earliest work experience and expand a little more on her interests. Resume Rating: 8.5/10.

Fantastic Resume Example #4: Actress

Acting Resume Example - Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs

Resume analysis: Lauren's resume is unique because it is a classic example of an actor's resume. The resume showcases her range as an actress in terms of tours, plays, commercials, and training.

Lauren is obviously an attractive woman who has used a professional headshot picture in the top left hand corner to attract the casting director's attention. Lauren's phone is probably ringing off the hook. Resume rating: 8/10

Solid Resume Example #5: Accounting

Bad Resume Example

Resume analysis: James' resume is poorly constructed because it looks like there's a huge four year gap between when he graduated in 2001 and his current job as an accountant.

You have to look closely to see that he was an Accounting Intern from 2001-2005, which as an awfully long time. James should BOLD “Accounting Intern, 2001-2005” and “Accountant, 2006 to Present” to make the resume more clear. James' resume is severely lacking in personality and does nothing to differentiate itself from other resumes. Resume rating: 6/10

Conclusion: A Good Resume Is Standard!

A good resume is standard, which also means good resumes are a dime a dozen. If you have a badly formatted resume with glaring holes, poor grammar, no personality, and lack of clarity, your job seeking life is over.

With a bad resume, you might as well become an entrepreneur or work a dead end job instead, because nobody will be willing to give you a chance since you can't even present yourself properly on one sheet of paper. Beyond the basics of resume writing, it's the resume's content which really helps get you an interview and that job.

The economy is extremely unstable now due to so many people who are unemployed. Make a great resume using the examples of good resumes above as your guide. And keep developing important work skills so you may more easily be able to get a job. Don't give up!

Recommendations For Work And Life

1) Negotiate A Severance

Never quit your job, negotiate a severance instead. If you quit your job, you walk away with nothing. If you negotiate a severance like I did back in 2012, you not only get a severance check, but potentially subsidized healthcare, deferred compensation, and worker training. Since you got laid off, you're also eligible for unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.

Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance. I first published the book in 2012. And recently thoroughly updated and expanded it thanks to tremendous reader feedback, new research, and more successful case studies.

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Building wealth is only a part of the equation. Consistently making optimal decisions on some of life's biggest dilemmas is the other. My book helps you minimize regret and live a more purposeful life as you build more passive income.

You can buy a copy on Amazon today. The richest people in the world are always reading and always learning new things. Learn from those who are already where you want to go.

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3) Start Your Own Website

There's nothing better than starting your own website to own your brand online. Why should LinkedIn, FB, and Twitter pop up when someone Google's your name? With your own website you can share your thoughts, sell a product, sell some else's product, make passive income, connect with potentially millions of people online, and find a lot of new consulting and FT work opportunities.

Every year since 2012, I've found a new six figure consulting opportunity thanks to employers finding Financial Samurai online. Start your own WordPress website like mine today with Bluehost. You never know where the journey will take you! There's not a week that goes by where I'm not thankful for starting my site back in 2009.

Check out the example below of a real blogger friend I know who built up his site after four years and now makes ~$150K a year online and another ~$180K from consulting! If you need help creating a website, here is my step-by-step guide for starting a profitable blog. A website is the best type of resume in the modern era.

Blogging For A Living Income Example: $300,000+
Click the graph to learn how you can start your own website / online business within 15 minutes today!

Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs Is A Financial Samurai original post. Not only should you have a great resume that fits on one page, you need to have an online resume as well. Having a great website is by far the best type of resume to have to get hired.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

170 thoughts on “Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs”

  1. I would recommend to customise the skills section of your resume, and ensure that it matches the job posting. The higher the number of phrases within the resume matching the job requirements the more are the chances that the recruiter will pick you for the job.

  2. Resumes for federal jobs like court officer demands a lot more information as compared to private sector, therefore a typical federal job might use more than 5,000 characters for describing the relevant academic achievements, skills, experience and accomplishments. In some jobs you might also be required to describe your past years of employment, in order to highlight your past experiences. You might also utilised numbers and statistics more often in order to highlight your academic and professional experience/

  3. Emily Carson

    It looks like you’re not just an experienced professional but an expert and you know what you’re looking for. Thank you very much for your awesome advice and other resume tips! I think what you just said here would be very helpful for me. I’m hoping to find more of your suggestions and tips regarding resume and how it’s going to be effective so I can find the future job that I need.



  4. These helpful resume examples are great thank you! I’m helping my former colleague update her resume and am going to use a lot of the resume tips in this post. Being able to see free example resumes that get jobs is priceless in this time of economic and occupational uncertainty. Thank you!

  5. I would recommend to customise the skills section of your resume, and ensure that it matches the job posting. The higher the number of phrases within the resume matching the job requirements the more are the chances that the recruiter will pick you for the job.

  6. Hi Sam!
    Just stumbled on your site and absolutely LOVE IT! Forgive me if this has been answered in a similar post, but I haven’t come across it. As a bit of background, in March 2015, I was laid-off. In January of the same year, it became necessary for me to leave the corporate world completely to care for an elderly parent that lived 400 miles away while maintaining my immediate family in a different city. My immediate family consisted of my husband who was 14 years my senior and retired at the time. Two years before the exit, I had been through 6 Sr. Managers in the span of 6 weeks and finally aligned to an Executive that was very different than I in personality. The role I had in the corporate world as a Manager was stressful, required 60-80 hours a week, 6-7 days/week with travel. At the time the layoff was finally executed in March 2015, I turned 50 and ready to go. My husband returned to work so that I could focus my time on my parent. Full-time, long-distance caregiving and a full-time job such as what I had were just not realistic. I have been away from the corporate world for 5 years now. Many things have changed for my husband and I. My priorities, attitude about work, and of course my age.

    LinkedIn continuously connects me to my old corporation and role because I was there for 10 years before the layoff. I have not updated it yet because I’m looking for a better way to address the changes I noted and would actually like to focus my return in a different direction/fashion. I’m currently in the process of taking software classes to ensure my general software skills are fresh and will also sit for a professional certification exam in October. The certification exam actually incorporates my old skills with a new role in a different direction. It is not a totally career change but different enough to be significant. I loved the suggestion of creating your own blog that you’ve provided. Are there other suggestions you might have to address a time gap in one’s resume appropriately for reasons such as mine? Is it addressed in the Summary? What is appropriate to say in this case? I’m not hiding it I just don’t know how to wordsmith it.

    In addition, do you have any suggestions for those of us over 50/55 :) trying to play catch-up or get ahead on the financial front???? The loss of my income for 5 years put our saving goals behind. My goal is not to permanently work for some one else but I need to start somewhere. My husband is now 70, good, health and plans to work for another 3 years and we have very little/no debt – just need to do a little reno work to our home. Our ultimate goal is to be financially free as soon as possible.

    Interested to hear your thoughts,


  7. Hi Sam,
    Absolutely love your site! I appreciate this is a very old post but this is clearly once again a challenging time for many so just thought I would add a few additional points if I may from having been in Executive recruitment for around 15 years:

    – Numbers – Often people will write their intangible skills line by line, similar to your accountancy friend above. Instead of writing that you lead a project, cut a certain amount of cost or managed a particular business unit. Go into the numeric details for example “Upon joining General Electric my business unit generated $5million, with profit of $3million across a headcount of 40 with the key revenue channels being the automotive industry and top clients were companies X, Y and Z. After 3 years revenues were up to $10million, profits up to $6million and headcount up to 75 and I lead top-to-top sales and account management to support continued build out into a new revenue channel whilst broadening our key client base to also include companies A and B”
    – Tell your story – Your career will most likely be going in an upward ark, is that clearly visible on your CV? Can someone with no knowledge of your job type or industry understand clearly see how you have progressed? Remember, often the first person to read your CV will be a HR professional who has to source for all job roles across the business. He or she may not understand the intricacies of your job function or company, also job responsibilities vary enormously company to company. Job titles can be misleading, there are a lot of “managers”, “Directors” or “Managing Directors” out there managing 1, 2 or no people altogether
    – Process and Systems – How you grow, improve or innovate your business and team? What processes and systems you implemented that enabled you to have an impact. During the interview, its also fine to admit some that didn’t! Humility and resilience are core behaviours all employers look for
    – People – Demonstrate how you improve your people’s performance, this can be carrot and stick. How did you support your top performers, get the most out of the mid range (typically through systems, motivation, culture and target setting) and take decisive action on the bottom performers (help them become high performers or move them on)
    – What achievements are you most proud of in the last 3 years, again make these tangible
    New business units, countries, offices started up, turned around or built further on. New clients you were able to win business with and how you were able to do this. Ensure you are able to demonstrate you are capable of both thorough strategy development with a Go-To-Market plan as well as effective execution. What exactly did you do to ensure revenues were increased whilst costs were controlled or minimised
    – You! Make sure it is clear what YOU actually did on the CV. Don’t over exaggerate your role in a team’s success, similarly don’t leave ambiguity around your role in these cumulative successes.
    – Don’t have an enormous summary, no one reads it, keep it simple. As Sam writes, no one is going to read a long summary, I literally never do, that won’t get you a job unless you are a graduate
    – Two pages max, beyond and you will be overlooked as there is a high correlation between long CVs and “all talk no action” type of people. Fair or not.
    – Keywords – Similar to the above which Sam mentioned regarding ATS. You need to ensure you have all keywords listed on your CV so you can be found by a recruiter once your CV is added onto a system (agency and in-house). If you want to get into a new type of role make sure you have the keyword on your CV you want so you can found. Even though you may not have the skillset. Fun fact, do this for LinkedIn too and you may get some interesting job opportunities sent your way. Pro tip – Did you know, a lot of top tech firms don’t have a way of tracking your application? They use excel! Make sure you have all keywords as Sam outlines so you can be found.

  8. Alicia Byrne

    Thank you for pointing out that we shouldn’t be overdoing the design of our resume unless we plan to apply for jobs like a graphic designer. I am thinking that companies will want to look for an easy-to-read resume that gives the facts straight away. I would imagine that companies will also partner with staffing companies to recruit people they need and thus, it will be important for us to keep in contact with staffing companies to watch out for potential openings for our work.

  9. As a business founder with two exits, and now working as a government recruiter I have assessed and interviewed a few hundred candidates over the last decade. This year should actually be my biggest, and by July 2021 I will have added another 400 candidates to that count. A few things:

    We don’t care about your grades.

    We don’t care that your resume is longer than one page. The old wisdom that a resume needs to be a page is dead.

    Research the hell out of the job you are applying for. If you have the same resume and cover letter for two different jobs you might as well put it in the bin yourself. Your cover letter should be woven with details of the job you are applying for and your resume should be tailored to fit the description. It takes 20-30 minutes to edit your application materials from one job to another. Not customizing your application for each position is the number one reason people aren’t getting called. It is worth the time.

    No SPAG errors in either the resume or cover.

    Never put your picture on it unless you are an actor/model or it is somehow relevant. Invariably when I receive applications with photographs the applicant is from a foreign country where this is the norm. If you hail from North America and include an irrelevant photograph, it is bad.

    We expect lies. Everybody lies. Lie small. Big lies are obvious disqualifiers.

  10. PAT Finance

    If you find yourself looking for a job in the second half of the year, it’s important to hustle a little more or prepare for activity to pick up in the spring. Don’t give up hope. Use this time to plan more thoroughly.

  11. AudreySkylar

    Good to know that this post is perfect for me. I continue working for 8 years and counting a lot of experience and I am now looking to move toward working for a company. I need to improve my resume to show up on my current skills.

    I have a Linkedin account that I started a while ago but I never completed my profile or use it. Should I update my Linkedin profile etc. before applying for a position? Would it hurt to just delete my account?

  12. Nancy Dube, HR Consultant

    While resumes are an invaluable part of applying for, and acquiring a job, it is important to also have a well-written cover letter. Thanks for providing these resume examples, they are so helpful for the job search.

  13. How do you present the gap of being a state at home parent for some time? To be honest it was a very bad impression that employers left me when that gap in your work history was to take time to develop, nurture and teach another human being the right things in life. It seem to come across as a penalty on my work experience.
    How do you effectively write that gap on your resume.
    Thank you

  14. Andrew Kraemer

    There are some great design templates as well for resumes. Especially those that give provide a lot of white space while still showing all your information. Just because you are applying for a pretty technical position doesn’t mean your resume has to look drab.

    PS. Microsoft Word can do a lot more than you think. You got this!

  15. I just wanted to point out that you are incorrect regarding COBRA. Any employer with 20 or more employees (part time employees are counted on a fractional bases) must off COBRA to an separated employee regardless if separation was voluntary or involuntary. The only exception is if an employee was fired for “Gross Misconduct”! Though there is no set federal definition for what constitutes “Gross Misconduct” court cases have generally sided with the employee unless the employer has been able to show the employee endangered other employees or customers. The law sets forth strict timeframes on timing and content of a COBRA notices to employees.

  16. Dozens of people makes the same mistakes writing resumes: they point out the wrong skills, make bad to eye CVs, make mistakes etc. But good written resume – it’s 50% of success! Everybody should remember this. The first time HR meet you through the CV that you have send, so make it the best, show why YOU should get this position. Use good quality examples or use services that will do it for you.

  17. Good morning,
    I am trying to switch career fields I work in the restaurant business I am trained in all the positions I’m still young I’m going back to school in January 2017 I want to try and get a receptionist job I’m bilingual and I feel that I have awesome customer service skills but a lot of receptionist jobs ask that you know how to do invoices and be super familiar with Microsoft Word and I familiar with it but I wouldn’t say I’m use to using it. I want them to realize I’m willing to learn anything, I like learning and I catch on pretty quickly. What should I do . I have only worked two jobs before the one I’m at right now I’m at 2 and half years, and I’m only 21. Help

  18. I understand the rationale behind “do it all on a single page”.. BUT…..how do you possibly condense a 30-year career into a single page? Especially in something like banking or journalism — these are industries that often result in semi-frequent job changes and differing duties/accomplishments at each. Any thoughts will be appreciated.

  19. Dear financial samurai,

    What about military resumes? Should I list all my military awards, service schools, and different jobs performed while under the guise of what branch I was in? Sometimes it feels like there’s too much I could list. It might be one job on paper, but the different things you’re cross trained in could easily fill a resume.

  20. Daniel Prince

    I don’t have any of that, how about writing a how-to for people who absolutely doesn’t have ANYTHING. And I mean anything as far as previous work experiences, or hasn’t graduated or had to take off from college due to medical problems and hasn’t gone back and completed a term yet. How about for that person? because I think it’s pretty easy if you’ve had any remote experience like the examples above give, its almost offensive to me that nobody ever puts anything about what to do when you have absolutely nothing. I feel like its my fault and I’m somehow a failure due to that, its horrible and I know that nobody wants it to feel that way, but that is seriously how it’s looked from every single website devoted to helping people make good resume’s. So you have three college degree, a dozen accolades, three honors and two interns with a high profile company, and you need freaking HELP with your resume??? That’s how I see websites like this, they aren’t really helping anyone by putting such easy and obviously good applications for examples. I know this has gone on for too many paragraphs and all that, along with different topics, but I am just so angry because I am good with so many things, none of which I can put on a resume, I have no experience because I’m 24 and nobody knows how bad people my age got screwed over the past few years, I mean it’s seriously horrible. And the worst thing possible is I live in a small town with only small towns around me. I am not mechanically inclined enough to be a mechanic, I started having seizures three years ago so now regular company’s won’t hire me in as so far as I’ve tried probably because of the liability and I can’t blame them with the insurance garbage nowadays. So day after day I just get more and more angry at whatever it is that is keeping me from ever getting hired no matter how much I try. I swear a lesser person might be crazy from all this, how about all that for a comment?

  21. Szilvia Illes

    Hi Financial Samurai,

    I hope you can help me.
    I am a Hungarian woman who is looking for a job in the USA. I was working in the banking industry in Hungary as a Car Loan Assistant for 8 years. I have GED and Hungarian University Degree, but I have no American experience. Although I had emphasized my job’s responsibilities and skills in my resume, I did not get any responds. How can I make my resume in order to catch their interests?

  22. Thomas Ross

    Dear Samurai:

    Any suggestions for a 61 year old looking for a call-center job? Experience ranges from owning a business to working retail. Major problem: Have worked several jobs since selling business. Should all be listed or be selective? Secondary problem: What about time gaps?

  23. This post was perfect for what I need right now. I am an educator of 10 years and counting and I am now looking to move toward working for an education company. I need to update my resume to reflect my current skills.

    I have a Linkedin account that I started a while ago but I never completed my profile or use it. Should I update my Linkedin profile etc. before applying for a position? Would it hurt to just delete my account?

  24. Hi, I am a fresh graduate of BS Psychology and looking for a job. When I was in college I was really an active student and achieved a lot of awards esp. in the field of leadership. Can i include all of my achievements in my resume? or only those achievements that are related to the job that i want to apply?
    Thank you for your reply.

  25. Hi. What about bad GPA’s? My S.O. is an extremely hard worker and impresses all of his employers with his knowledge, ability and work ethic, but he had a ridiculous situation that forced his GPA way down in the middle of college. I believe it is a 2.3 and I am trying to help him find a finance internship. Should we include the GPA at all? Or will it mess with his chances?

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  29. Hey Sam,

    How much to review my resume? :)

    I moved from Barcelona and my career has changed slightly.


    1. I know this is 5 years old but I’ll take a look if you’re still interested. It’s what I do for a living. One more won’t hurt.

  30. Dear Financial Samurai,

    I am a 33 year old male with a high school diploma. I have worked several manufacturing jobs in the past 15 years. The current one I’ve been at for 8 years.

    I am looking to desperately change lines of work and I am terribly confused on how I can write a resume for another industry with only a high school education and factory experience.

    Any help would be much appreciated.


  31. Laszlo Balogh

    Your recommendation about page size just does not feel right for IT resumes. For example, a senior software developer’ (4+ years of experience) resume, is full with IT acronyms and used technologies. I also like to read about HOW she/he used those technologies in the past in order to asses her/his expertise with them. IMHO it would be not particularity legible to condense all this information onto one page or simply skip something relevant.

    It was interesting to read about the difficulties what the sheer volume of resumes could cause if you work for a trending company with so so many applicants. I understand that, from your point of view, even a one page resume could be too lengthy, however the majority of business are not that big and (presumably) do not receive that many resumes, therefore do not mind to read a let’s say 3 pages resume, if it contains relevant content.

      1. Laszlo Balogh

        Is “4+ years experience” senior nowadays?

        In the UK, when recruiters are talking about senior developers, they usually mean people with 3-5 years of experience in a particular technology or a set of related technologies.

        Since new technologies are emerging every day, I think that denoting expertise as years of experience particularity falls short in the filed of IT.
        As a concrete example, let say our company wants to hire a Senior MeteorJS Developer. At the time of writing, only three years has passed since the initial release(by that time it was far from production-ready) of the above software, so even the authors may not have 4 years of experience with it. If we only consider someone as senior with at least 4 years’ experience, than we basically rule out everyone.

        Also, to stick with the above example, lets say in one hand we have a developer who has been using the above software for 3 years to build websites. On the other hand, we have an other developer with only 2 years of experience, however he is one of the main contributor(help fixing bugs, participate in its design process, etc.) to the above open source software and also the author of many wildly used open source project which extends the core software’ shortcomings.

        In the above case, if the applicant with 2 years of experience can demonstrate his in-depth knowledge, I would definitely consider him more experienced than the one with 3 years of experience.

        1. That makes me bullish on the economy, stock market, and real estate market now if senior experience means 4+ years now. Thanks for the anecdote.

          Maybe I’ll buy more assets instead of pay down debt. As someone with 16 years in finance and Six years in online marketing, you’ve given me confidence to raise my rates!


  32. I’m going to have to disagree with the “customize your resume with a photo” part. Every recruiter I’ve spoken to advises against it and could care less about what you look like.

    One tip that’ll get you even further than any of the tips outlined above: proof-read and check your spelling.
    One small grammatical or spelling mistake is enough to cost you the position–you are, after all, educated, right?
    Sam is guilty of not having this article proof-read. Under the, “do the not so obvious” subsection of the resume tips, there’s one glaring grammar error:
    “Again, do this if you haven’t been getting any love at all, especially if your more attractive than average.”
    Pardon? “Your” isn’t the appropriate word here; I reckon Sam meant, “you’re” as in “you are”.

    Although trivial, the misuse of “your” has made me question the author’s credibility.

    Should your resume have an error such as the one I pointed out above, you’re likely to have it tossed out with the bunch.

  33. I’m writing a resume for an internship in photography, and I have a GPA of 2.74 which I know is not good. Should I leave my GPA off?

  34. Hello! What can I do if I don’t have GPA? I am from Venezuela and the Educational system is different here.

    1. I know this is a late response and may no longer be beneficial. However, if you are from a different country, it would be a good idea to include your grades/marks/points that you received while in schooling/training. I would and recommend starting the system of origin used to establish proficiency. This could be a huge asset in an interview because many prospective employers will be curious to learn more. It will give you something to talk about. To add some more brownie points during the interview, try to do some research to see how the grading system of your country/area correlates to the area you are seeking employment.

  35. Now 54, used to do a lot of hiring for drinks trade. Trying to get better role after lay offs etc. I am amazed if 7 to 15 seconds is time spent shortlisting cv /resumes! What are today’s managers on! Recruitment is one of the most important functions…what else do they while away their days with!!!! No wonder I am finding getting re hired hard! Its the sane and qualified being judged by the feckless……………..

    1. Yup, these people are a product of the corporate age; they literally don’t care about hiring the right person for the job because they don’t care about doing a good job. HR is judged on check-boxes not true human performance, so that’s the way they judge potential employees. They are taught a series of check-boxes a potential employee should have, a one size fits all industries standard, and without questioning if the boxes even apply they try to fit all employees into them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen HR people hire the most incompetent people over a list of hard working honest individuals simply because the new guy met their list of check-boxes. The last HR rep i talked to didn’t even know the very simplest core basics about the single product the company makes; how does this person even have a job and how is he qualified to judge me when I have years of experience in designing and manufacturing that product. If a company really wants to hire people that care about their job and not just play mouth to that statement, then they need to put someone who knows what they’re doing in charge of hiring.

  36. These tips are really good. I have one question . Like if someone is not working or haven’t got job till date , what should he include in resume to convine that he is the apt for the job because preference is given to experience holders

  37. Hello. I have had some challenges updating my resume. I got my license as a civil engineer back in 1998. I couldn’t find a decent-paying job in my field so I worked in manufacturing as production supervisor and QA engineer for a period of five years. in 2004 I moved to the US; unfortunately I couldn’t find a job in manufacturing. So in 2007 I decided to become a chef and attended culinary school. I’ve been in the food service industry for 7 years now but realized along the way that I do not find this field as fulfilling as manufacturing. I’ve been sending out resumes for QA engineer and production supervisor positions but have yet to get an interview. I wonder what the problem is. I’m guilty of a 4-page resume crime but I wonder if it’s mainly because my experience was from a foreign country that they could not easily verify (my former managers have left the company long ago) and the fact that it was from 10 years ago. Is it advisable to just omit my food industry experience when applying for these positions? If so, would they not wonder what I did since 2003?

    Your opinions are greatly appreciated.

  38. what if i only worked at one job for two months for summer because i had to head back to college and only had the job for summer job

  39. Hello,I just stumbled upon this page searching for tips on resume writing. I LIKE IT!!I have NEVER left a comment in any type of forum or blog,but something is telling me to step out on faith ,that you may see this and ask, although there ain’t any gaps understand my employment history,I have 4 years if workimg at different staffing companies as a laborer first months only at a time. HOW do I list this without looking like a job Hopper? I have gained my best skills while employed as a temp.

  40. Austin Maws


    I rencently completed my university transfer program in arts and social sciences at Fraser International College of Simon Fraser University with a GPA of 2.6. I have worked for Liberty Security/VoxCom as a sales agent and for Vancity HD and Cable installation- as an installer. I was working while I was still in college, I have done a few volunteering jobs withing my university, and played rugby for over 10years- 4years for my uni. Am supposed to continue university as an economist. In between my college study I developed interest in graphic designing while studying a graphic course. Which gave me great computer skills in most adobe programs, a creative mind, and great social networking skills. I took a break before continuing Uni n travelled back to Zambia Africa- through a connection, I chanced a data entry/sim registration job with airtel, then I got a better offer to do optic fibre cable (under-ground laying), as a social manager- for Zamtel, through an ICT consultant company, Mutech Zambia LTD (contractors & Consultants). N through the same company Mutech, I got appointed as Head of HR. To manage Optic Fibre aerial Deployment for C~Liquids Telecom. Am only 23 years old and my fear now is, if I lose this job with only a college certificate of a 2.6 GPA. While studying and wanting to work, will my education experience balance with the lucky work experience I have acquired on my resume till prensent? and what are the chances of me getting another good managerial job- indicated that am still meant to continue uni to attain my Bachelors Degree? Am I just been too scared or should I just focus on graduating first? This is a long comment but your reponse will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Austin, althought 2.6 is a bad GPA, you have good work experience. I highly recommend you focus in getting your diploma ASAP so it is no longer a burden and potential hindrance.

  41. Amanda Martinez

    You have a lot of good examples for people that have a lot of work experience already, but what would you recommend for a person fresh out of high school with no professional job experience yet?

  42. I hired environmental professionals for a mid-sized environmental and engineering consulting firm for 6 years. I disagree with your “one-page” resume rule. I agree that the resume should not be overly-wordy, but I am getting paid to find the right person and therefore want to know as much as I can about a person before I decide to interview them without having to do the legwork myself. If you are hiring and cannot wade through more than one page of a resume without getting bored or tired, I would say you are not doing your job. I hire professionals who have varied and often accomplished histories – I want to know that. It may be different if you are hiring waiters or cashiers.

    1. You probably don’t have a flood of resumes as a mid-sized environmental and engineering consulting firm.

      If you are at a more high demand job like McKinsey, TPG, Goldman, etc, employers get inundated.

      If you’ve got 15+ years experience, a two-page resume is less egregious, and in fact, probably preferred.

  43. Hi! I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering. I am currently working in telecommunications company and have less than a year experience. Can you please help me out by telling how can I make my resume more effective with this much experience only.And I have expertise in some skills which may not be helpful in the same sector ,so can I include it in my resume while searching out for a new job in the same or any other sector?

    1. Hard to say Kirti without seeing your resume. My recommendation for you is to stay at the job for at least one year, preferably two, to build experience and not be a job hobber so early on.

  44. Hi! I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering. Well basically, my degree gives me the privilege to apply to different areas of expertise. Some are: telecommunications, control systems (PLC programming), semiconductor, biomedical electronics, network systems, and even programming. My only work experience was in a telecommunications company (internship). So can I include it in my resume as my work experience even if I’m applying to different areas of expertise?

    1. I would for sure. And then write a great descriptor that nudges you towards what you want to do. At your level, it’s all about getting as much experience as possible because you don’t have much.

  45. Financial Samurai,

    Basically to make a long story short, I need to make a resume’.. But unfortunately, I’m 23 & hadn’t gone to college yet cause I’m in a band & just partied since graduating High School.

    So I have no recent education.

    I’ve had like 9 jobs since I was 16, But I’ve gotten fired from every single one for being late/calling out due to drug addiction/legal issues.

    Fortunately, I’ve been clean for 7 months, but It’s hard to find work.
    I’m pretty positive that I’m automatically skipped over just because of so many job changes & really no good references.

    What is the best way I can do this, without completely lying about my past?

    What do you suggest?

    1. The best work experience for you may be volunteer efforts. Volunteer everywhere you can and build up contacts from within those networks. Having the lady who runs the soup kitchen being impressed with your dedication to volunteering can make a nice addition to a resume. You may even be able to work into a payed position from volunteering. That’s how I obtained a few jobs. I worked my butt off for free by volunteering for certain organizations.

  46. I’ve worked at engineering firms that will filter GPAs that are too high, as these people are seen as mindless robots who may be good at following instruction but lack creativity and make poor team players.

    Larger companies like Google that have previously filtered and tracked GPA scores have since used their ‘big data’ to discover no relationship between college GPA and work performance for anything other then new college grads (and even then the relationship is extremely small).

    In any case, my personal experience is that a company that filters GPA scores is most likely not going to be a good place to work. On the other side of the table (resume reviewing), I’ve heard plenty of ego filled rants (I’m funkin awesome because I got a 4.0 OR I’m funking awesome because I dropped out altogether, too busy actually building stuff and making money OR I’m funking awesome because blah blah blah) to describe why candidate X shouldn’t be hired because his GPA is too high or too low, but rarely have heard complaints about a missing GPA.

    The safer bet, therefore, is to leave it off unless you are right out of school.

    1. Never heard of a firm that filters GPAs that are too high. Doesn’t make sense if you have a million 4.0 applicants. Are you guys saying that all of them are robots?

      There are plenty of social, multi-talented 4.0 students. This is how elite firms retain their elite status, not by shunning out the best.

      Don’t hide your GPA.

  47. The only thing anyone seems to agree on is that people that review resumes are arrogant and rude. All these articles online speak as if reviewing a resume makes you into some kind of king and should anyone dare to not precisily meet your style, they are stupid or offensive. Allow me to say to all of you, you are not special, you are not important, get over yourself.

  48. The one item I would say on your tips is the part regarding including a photo of themselves on a resume. As an HR professional, I cannot accept any resume with a photo due to the fact that it could be a discriminating factor and is against EO policy. It is important for them to tailor their resume to the specific skill sets when applying for a specific position and as a recruiter I have heard fro others anywhere form 7 to 15 seconds max. That is primarily dependent on what the hiring manager asks for us to find in key words and years of experience that sometimes are not that easy to find. Overall good article to provide a basic start. People need to remember that every company and every HR professional has an opinion and it is up to the individual to take the advice but, not treat it as gospel.

  49. barbara morris

    Dear Sirs
    I am a 52 year old woman in college for her bachelors degree in psychology. My employment history has been spotty and mostly factory work. I am worried about submitting my resume and terribly confused about how to go about creating a new one. Can you give me insight on what is essential to put on a resume for a person with this type of employment history. It is tough going to get into the human services field. I received an associates in 2008 and because it has not panned out in employment for that area. I am going back for more education.

  50. Really liked your posts and wanted to pick up on just one thing. In almost all the resume examples that you have posted, the work experience is generally responsibility or activity based rather that output or achievement orientated. My simple point really is that employers are interested in what you can deliver for their organisation and not so much in what you did. If there is room, you can expand on what you did or how you did it to highlight skills or attributes.

    In the UK (and to an extent in Europe), we are now seeing heat map results showing that recruiters and employers are looking at CVs for less than 15 seconds before making that decision to shortlist or not. Having more information showing what you have delivered for employers in the past definitely gets you through that first sift more often than activity or responsibility focused CVs

  51. This makes sense, more or less, but what would you expect of a resume for a year 9 high school student who has never worked before?

    1. Tough one Monica. Are you saying it has taken 9 years to complete high school? Or are you saying it’s been 9 years after high school? If the latter, then emphasize work experience over the past 9 years, and keep your GPA if it is above 3.0. If it is really bad, then leave it off.

      1. When I say a year 9 high school student I mean the year level in high school, so basically a fourteen onto fifteen year old full-time student.

        1. Monica, all most employers (if they hire someone under 16 years of age) will just want to know you can put a resume together. Include your current school and GPA in education, list some special projects or sports that you’ve done. Anything will do, you can be creative as I don’t think anyone would expect much real job experience. Just follow a format, use professional language and try your best :D

  52. Wow this is an interesting conversation especially about GPAs on resumes. I am a recent architecture graduate and have not put my GPA on my resume (3.4). It may be a little less relevant in my field because you need to have a portfolio to show your actual school work when applying for job opportunities. The other rule I always heard was to put your GPA on your resume only if it is 3.5 or higher. As of now I have put any awards and honors under my education field.

    1. Kev, put the 3.4 on. It’s good enough. If you don’t, I feel there will be employers wondering what you are hiding. Only takes up 3-6 characters of space “3.5 GPA”!

  53. Just a quick comment. I like almost all your points. The one thing I would caution is putting a picture on your resume. I helped with recruiting for a top 25 (revenues) company who 100% throws out any resume that has a picture and states in their postings to NOT include a picture for discrimination purposes.

    While you may be correct in stating that you have nothing to lose if you have sent out 100s of resumes, I would not ever advise someone to put a picture on their resume.

  54. hi,

    i am in the job market right now and looking to put the best resume possible out there but i have a very random and varied selection of work history. if i tailor a resume for a specific job will the gaps in time be looked at poorly if i leave out certain jobs? for instance, i taught english abroad in japan for a year which doesn’t have much relevance to what i am looking for now (marketing/events/communications/social media). any tips on how to deal with this? very interesting article and comments.


    1. Noey,

      I’d focus on the two or three most RELEVANT job experiences and expound on them in the Work Section.

      For the less relevant stuff like teaching english in Japan, I’d put them under Extracurricular.

      Good luck!


  55. I have a 2.8 GPA in my undergrad and a 3.9 in my grad school. I am trying to get into the marketing world because that’s my dream job/career category. Also, do you have any examples of a decent marketing style resume?

    1. Good job raising that GPA to 3.9! Makes your grad school that much more valuable. I don’t have a marketing style resume, but it should follow my guidelines in the post. Definitely include writing, advertising, creative ad samples in your portfolio!

  56. I have a two page resume. I wanted to know how to shorten it. I have held many different jobs, while searching to find the right one for me. How many jobs should I have posted on my resume.

    1. Your latest three relevant jobs that can fit on one page is my recommendation. Two page resumes get thrown in the dumpster, unless you are citing massive amounts of relevant research work.

  57. I fully agree with you JT. I manage a major title office in dallas and find GPA’s on resumes to be petty and irrelevant. I dont care if you can study and make good grades, that doesnt guarantee you to be a good employee. Ignore nancy as she is probably old and stuck in some low level job where she will unhappily retire from. Dont waste anymore of your time replying to these idiots. and good luck in school!

  58. WHY?? WHY did my teachers in our ‘careers’ class not tell us this stuff?? We were just given a computer with a Word Document open and the words “Go for it kids!”. As a result I even got rejected by Maccas… :[ I’m sure now, I’ll have a killer resume to help me get a WAY better part-time job to help me get through uni…

  59. Hi Sam!

    I’m a veteran teacher, graduated about 15 years ago from college with 2.8 but 3.2 in major (at a top 20 liberal arts college) and Grad school about 13 years ago (local university, not top tier) with a 3.7.

    Do I include both GPAs in a resume?

    I have been teaching in one school for over 13 years now. It’s the sum total of my life, career, and accomplishments. Should I just focus on the many accomplishments in my career should I add the GPA too? Or is it less important?

    I am looking to change to distance learning because in an interesting twist- I am now physically disabled. I’m as brilliant, dedicated, and driven as always- and successful with students- but the physical limitations has led me to be more creative in teaching options. Online teaching will use my brain and abilities and not take its physical toll.

    Figuring out resume writing after 15 years? Not easy.

    Tips? Suggestions?

    Teachers have interesting resumes… But I just don’t know how to convey the complexity of my career achievements,

  60. Sam,

    I graduated from college about 12 years ago and bartended for the first 5 years right out of college. My current job speak volumes about my ability, but my work history can seem limited. Do you have any advice? Should I dive back to my bartending experience? And of course 3.40 GPA, should I post that?

    1. Devin,

      I’d definitely list your 3.4 GPA. That’s a good one. Don’t let your prospective employer think you’re hiding something.

      For experience, focus on filling out your latest one with detail. Your prospective employer cares about what you’ve done last, especially since you’ve been out for 12 years.

      Good luck!

  61. I’m about to graduate, so this article was really helpful! I do have a question though. Because of some disastrous economics classes I was required take, my GPA is not looking good. So, if not including it on my resume is bad, does that mean I should include it and just expect to never be employed?

    I guess my question is more about the relevance of the GPA. Will my bad GPA be overlooked if my experience and skills look good? Or will a bad GPA mean I’m done for?

  62. Yes, you are really right because one page resume really matters and that does not irritate the interviewer in reading the resume and taking a quick decision about your recruitment.

  63. What would you say for updating resumes when you’re applying for a new position in the same company? I started at my bank as a teller before I had even finished college. Six months after I started I was offered my first promotion, and only 15 months after my original hire date, not only had I finished school, but I was working as the branch assistant manager.

    Now, three years later, I’m applying for the head manager position of one of our larger branches. They know me, they know me well. They already know my strengths and weaknesses, and they know how I handle the work. Due the importance of the position though, its open internally and externally simultaneously. I have to submit a new resume this time. (I did not have to for the previous two promotions.) I know there is some stiff competition out there and I’m wondering if there’s anything different you would recommend for this type of situation?

  64. i am planning to apply for an internship for my ojt this summer and i was looking for some sample resumes for a college student like me.is it okay if i ask some advice regarding this? thanks.

  65. Casey Harwood

    i have a question… is it necessary to put an “about me” section on the resume? My career service counselor in college didnt have me put one in on mine. But is that important? thank you!!!! Im trying to get a job in the social service/work industry and not sure if that would be important.

    1. Hi Casey, it certainly doesn’t hurt. However, that’s the entire point of the resume… to tell the interviewer in 7 seconds everything they should read about you! Have a 2 or 3 sentence objective up top is fine.

  66. In my life so far I did change two jobs, currently with third employer. Didn’t give too many interviews. But conducted numerous ones, I can tell you resume sets the first impression and I do try to imagine the character of the person by seeing through the resume, good post!

  67. My favorite resume by far was one from an individual who forgot to replace “insert name here” with his actual name.

    To this day I have no idea if it was a joke since I have no idea who sent it.

  68. Resumes are interesting.

    Once I came across a resume from a gentleman who worked in the purchasing department in two different companies. He had the same identical job duties in both companies. I was thinking something is off. You couldn’t possibly doing the EXACT same job every minute of the day for two different companies.

  69. I appreciate all comments that was posted. I’m just a little bit confused about whether putting a GPA is a good thing or not because I’m international student who is just finished ESL school (English Second Language).

    Thank you guys for these great tips.

  70. If i went to college on and off for about 5 years but did not graduate, would I still want to put my college education on my resume?

  71. My boss just told me to write a resume to move up positions within the company. Any ideas? I was thinking of the accomplishments I made thusfar with the company and also what I can bring to the table moving foward. Any outline ideas would be helpful! Thank-You .

  72. Lisa @ Cents To Save

    I am back to look at the resume examples again. Time to update…. teaching job interview Monday :)

    1. Good luck Lisa! That’s great you got an interview. Just come a little early, have some great enthusiasm, perhaps share some alternative ideas to help your students learn better, and you’ll do great!

  73. Randy Addison

    This is really a very helpful post. I think I need to reconstruct my resume. I have two pages and none is really highlighted. I think I have to redo everything and get a job!

  74. Just out of curiosity, what do you think about finding out the name of the hiring manager or human resources person, telling them you are going to apply for job XYZ, and asking them what kind of resume they prefer so you can tailor it for them?

    That’s bound to get you some attention, right?

    1. I guess so, or they may just ignore. Actually, I wouldn’t ask what type of resume you should have. They will think you should know.. and the truth is, you should know after reading this post!

  75. Money Reasons

    Great post Sam, I really enjoyed your take on resumes! Where I work at, I’ve been part of the interview process once or twice, and since I’m in tech services area, practically all the resumes we receive are at least 2 pages long, but not longer. Most are filled with programming languages and operating systems that they person is familiar with…

    Thanks for the inside perspective though, I learn so much from your blog, especially from between the lines and even in the comments!

  76. Glass Is Half

    Thanks for the information – interesting getting it from a recruiters point of view … as I’ve always believed the rule is 2 pages (not one) and in fact the inclusion of a cover page is a good plus also (taking it up to 3 I guess?) … however I’m in a technical field and while jobs definitely litter the 2nd page, it is more of a place to include all the different certifications that my potential candidates have acquired.

    1. Donno, perhaps it’s different in a technical field. I would think you just list your certifications in one line, and provide a link for further references. A cover page is always excellent. Short and sweet i.e. 2-3 paragraphs max.

  77. Lisa @ Cents To Save

    Great information…. and I will be updating my resume this weekend. Adding GPA. Who knew?? Thanks for the examples and your critiques of them. Super helpful.

  78. That’s true, and that’s a good point. With this situation, I would say either or is fine, but I would still prefer education at the bottom, and him write an objective, intro, or something up top that jumps off the page.

  79. I’m glad I worked hard to get a good GPA. A few of my friends who slacked off are now worrying about finding a job with poor GPAs.

  80. Thanks for the tips sam – they are really great. You can bet im going to go home and work on them tonight (I’ve got an interview tomorrow). It’s also interesting to learn stuff from the perspective of the resume reader – I always wonder what they are thinking and how to stand out – besides changing the paper color.
    I’d have to agree with buck about the GPA – never thought it was a big deal. One thing I was told when in school was to play a bit of slight of hand with my gpa. They told me if it was not over 3.0 (it was close, but I fooled around too much in undergrad), then I should put the gpa for my classes in my major (which was much, much higher – good even). that way there would still be something there, but it wouldnt make me look worse.

    1. No prob Jeff. Yes, at least put your GPA for your major if your overall GPA is below 3.0. The interviewer will get the idea and hopefully move past grades and finding out more about you as a person.

      Good luck tomorrow!!!!

  81. These are some great tips. I’ve seen a few in the past that made me pass right over them. Might have been decent workers but I had to figure if their resume was a mess, had typos, was set up poorly, I couldn’t prioritize them over other candidates. What are your thoughts on including a picture? People seem to have mixed feelings on this.

  82. Great post but OMG I can’t look at any more resumes. I have 8 interviews over two days this and it is exhausting. When you have to look at as many as I do, every little thing counts. And getting my attention on paper is only part of the picture. I’ve had so many candidates look amazing on paper and totally flop in person.

  83. Mike- Saving Money Today

    Great tips Sam. It’s been too long since I’ve updated my resume and that’s something I fix ASAP. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.

    A buddy of mine works in the HR dept for a small company and he tells me most resumes he sees barely get a glance. It’s basically a process of elimination where 99 percent of them get tossed for one reason or another. If you’re not clear and concise you’ve got no chance at all.

  84. Terrific post. :) Will need to update my resume soon, too. Never thought GPA would be such a controversial topic! Great points from both sides. I haven’t used or seen GPA on resumes myself. I’m not the best student, but I’m not the worst as well. I understand your point about not hiding it, but what is wrong with showing off your best assets? Which would win a resume shootout? All things being equal. A one pager highlighting recent experience and projects or a two pager that shows the same, but also drills into more details?

  85. Sam, One thing I think is critical is to tailor your resume to a specific job. Rather than mass mailing 100 resumes, pick 5 companies you are interested in and research the crap out of them. If you’re applying to a specific job opening, make sure you line up your qualifications and experience into the specific categories they are looking for. This technique makes a huge impact.

    I also love reading about people’s offbeat interests (in a small section at the bottom). It’s not the standard advice, but this sorta thing really starts conversations with interviewers. If I had read a resume that had poker and basketball listed at the bottom you can bet I would want to talk to that person to find out more about them.

  86. Thanks for putting this article out there Sam – it’s refreshing and different from the million other “how to write a resume” articles online that just reuse the same old advice.

    I have a few questions:

    1. What do you think about adding logos of some top brands if you work in marketing? I tried it in the past with a lot of success.

    2. Is it really important to list personal interests? I was told to do the opposite and keep it professional (most interesting part of the article for me is when you wanted to know what made people tick).

    3. Has anyone impressed you with a more 2.0 resume? Meaning an online resume, one on a CD, a DVD, etc.

    1. 1) If it’s working for you, keep on doing it!

      2) Yes, you need to create something on your resume that hooks the interviewer besides your education and work experience. If I love to fish for example, and so do you, you BET we will hit it off and you’ll be invited back for another round.

      3) Haven’t seen a resume 2.0 yet. But, I WOULD be impressed if there is some originality. For sure I would. If you aren’t getting any hits, there’s no downside to being unique and 2.0!

  87. I used to call people petty and arrogant for putting their GPAs on their resume. I’d fight the system and say it wasn’t necessary. But, then I came to my senses and realized I was just making excuses for my mediocre GPA of 3.3 when I was having a tough time getting interviews.

    I should have studied harder in college and got it closer to a 4.0. Then, I think I would have got more chances. There’s nobody to blame but myself. I worked a couple jobs, and then I went back to grad school.

    It’s easier studying hard and getting good grades than fighting the system JT.

    1. Absolutely yes to your questions of putting your GPA on. You should have nothing to hide.

      If you’re looking for average, this is probably the wrong place to be. I’m surprised as a college Sophomore, you are telling Sam he’s wrong. It’s pretty disrespectful, am I’m shocked he has bothered to respond to you at all.

      Maybe it’s a generational thing where people your age think they know it all. Well guess what? You don’t, and if you go with that attitude when you try to find a job, you will never make it.

    2. I fully agree with you JT. I manage a major title office in dallas and find GPA’s on resumes to be petty and irrelevant. I dont care if you can study and make good grades, that doesnt guarantee you to be a good employee. Ignore nancy as she is probably old and stuck in some low level job where she will unhappily retire from. Dont waste anymore of your time replying to these idiots. and good luck in school!

    3. I respectfully disagree to anyone who is a job applicant or HR personnel that is advocating the importance of GPA, particularly surrounding management, and financial career areas. Just because someone is textbook or academia expert, that does not mean that the person is capable of thinking out of the box. The real world made it proof that most giant and effective management corporations and financial industries have been founded by those who do not have higher GPA, even in some cases by those who are college drop-outs. I prefer to look at the matter of GPA surrounding technical careers such as engineering, biotech and medical fields.

      1. What is there to hide though? If you don’t put your GPA, many recruiters will automatically think the worst.

        So perhaps a good compromise is to not include your GPA if it is below 3.0, as that’s pretty bad.

  88. Nunzio Bruno

    Thank You! Resumes should be one page. Why have I heard lately the trend is multiple pages – to the point where I even adapted one of mine to reflect it. Every once and a while I have to toss a resume into a job bid for a consulting or coaching client or a new teaching gig and I really appreciate this post.

  89. I’ve been out of the loop for a while now, but I never put my GPA on my resume before. Is the GPA still important if you’ve been out of school for a really long time? I can see how if a person is a 4.0 student, it gives them bragging rights, but I wonder if this would be relevant for all degrees or just the most recent one?

    As for hiring in the first half of the year, with teaching the new semester starts in August/September – the second half of the year. It’d be nice to see the CA budget resolved and more money spent on education; then I might actually get a job! ;)

    1. It has very little to do with “bragging rights”, it’s just standard practice. If you don’t put it on, your interviewer will think the worst of you as they will feel you are trying to hide something.

      If GPA wasn’t important in college, why do people work so hard for 4-5 years to get good grades?

      Don’t hide it.

  90. My company is hiring and I think many more are doing the same. Things are looking up!
    Good tips on resume. It’s always nice to see good examples. I need to update my resume for my job search later on this year. I like Pamela’s resume also. It’s good to emphasize accomplishments up front.

  91. Hmm..I actually haven’t seen a GPA on a resume in a long time (not unless the person is fresh out of school). I haven’t had mine on my resume in over 10 years. The other stuff is spot on.

    My prediction is that you won’t see much movement until after February. Many candidates won’t move and/or change jobs until their bonus’s have been paid out and that doesn’t happen until Feb time for a lot of people.

    I’m bullish like you are. I think we’re going to have a good year, but I also see inflation coming as well. I’m starting to get regular headhunter calls again, so companies are finally loosening the headcount purse strings.

    1. Can you share what your reasons are for not having your GPA on? After 10 years of work experience, I think it’s fine too, but just curious to hear your reasons.

      1. I’ve actually done a lot of interviewing at my job and have seen hundreds of resumes.

        It seems like the standard protocol is that if you’ve been out in the workforce
        for 5 years, work experience is more relevant than grades and people no longer
        put GPA on their resume. I also used to put all the scholarships I received on
        my resume, and now those have been replaced by work awards.

        I personally think GPA is irrelevant and potentially harmful. People have prejudices
        about GPA’s. If it’s too low, they think you’re dumb, a slacker or partier. If it’s 4.0, they
        may assume you’re an egghead with no social skills. Why even open the door to
        that when clearly your job performance is most relevant once you are established
        in a career.

  92. I agree with you with almost everything! I would add that the candidate’s accomplishments should have quantitative results. Everyone is looking for problem solvers! It is what may distinguish one from another resume. I once applied for a CFO position where they received 4,000 resumes, I was one of fifteen that was interviewed.

    I have used that kind of resume for a lot of years (20 years). I have two resumes, a one page and two page resume. I normally do not show more than the last fifteen or twenty years.

  93. Invest It Wisely

    P.S. What if someone had a REALLY long resume, like 9 or 10 pages? Wouldn’t that be a differentiator as well? I just remember some CV coach coming to our university once and his was that long…

    1. If you’re calling it a “CV” it could be that you do need a longer “Curriculum Vitae.” This is different than our typical “resume” in the U.S., but I know in other countries they use CVs and they tend to be longer. Here, the only people I know with CVs are professors, and their CVs are typically more than one page since they have to list out all of the papers they have written.

      Know the norm for the industry you are applying in before you decide whose advice to take on the resume/CV you should be using.

  94. Invest It Wisely

    Great post, Sam! I haven’t updated my resume in a while since I’ve been at the same company for some time now, but these are definitely great tips to keep in mind. I’m curious as to what you do out there in the real world?

  95. Great post! Except for MBA programs, many undergrad degrees are severly lacking in basic job skills like this. Classes on interview skills and networking should be required in college. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the mind of a hiring manager!

      1. I think that’s a good thing. I’ve honestly been getting tired of all the sarcastic posts you’ve been doing. Furthermore when reading the comments of those sarcastic posts, I find half the people seem to be taking your seriously (or pretending to).

        I even find myself wondering if you are really being a clown or serious from time to time and it frustrates me as a reader, although I do get a good laugh out of it as well.

        Until about half way through this post I was still scrutinizing it heavily for sarcasm and falsehoods that you were throwing out there for entertainment or a wow factor. I’m probably alone in this though … so keep up the good work :D

        1. Cool! Maybe I will be very focused and follow your sight’s lead then. I can do a 30 part series on saving money in every aspect of one’s life ie Saving Money In The Shower, Saving Money On The Bus, Saving Money On Monday, Tues, etc. Could be interesting. I like the direct way of education too.

          BTW, where is your About page on your site so you can have some more personalization? Or is your site more a business first to make money?


  96. What do you have to hide? A GPA takes a total of 3 or 4 spaces in a line.

    The only people I’ve encountered who think not putting their GPA on their resume, which accounted for 4-5 years of people’s lives are people with bad GPAs. Hence, if you had a good score, why get lumped in with those who hide?

    Many firms have strict GPA cutoffs too ie 3.7/4.0 for management consulting. It’s important.

    1. JT, for some reason, I continue to have a very difficult time understanding you.

      You write, “At 26 years old, what do you have to hide in your previous jobs that you though a GPA to be that important?”

      Who is 26 years old? What is “you though a GPA to be that important”? I don’t understand.

      Are you saying putting a GPA and writing what you did in your job is mutually exclusive and can’t be done?

      Please share with me your experience in hiring people and what you look for. And also, what is your GPA so I have a better sense of where you come from, and whether my previous encounters holds true.

      Thx and sorry I can’t understand you.

    2. There’s nothing wrong with being average. You will find that most manager’s, whatever firm they work at want to find the best people for the job not just the average people.

      Who says anything about the finance industry being the only industry with high expectations? Google has a cut off of 3.7/4.0, Management Consulting, Private Equity, getting into Med School, or Law Schoo all have at least 3.5/4.0 cutoffs.

      I understand your position now with a 3.2 GPA. It’s up to you whether you want to bring it up or not. That’s the beauty of the world. We have the power to do what we want. Nobody is more special or less special. If you are happy with your grades and the business or career it brings you, that’s all that matters.

    3. I find this debate rather interesting. I guess it depends a lot on the country – in Finland putting a GPA in a resume would seem very ridiculous, unless you are applying for a doctorate position someone. It’s just not done. I even read somewhere that certain firms avoid taking recent graduates and students looking for internshio places if they have a too good GPA, since that usually tells the recruiters they are more theoretical than practical workers. Unfortunately I can’t remember which field was in question.

      Anyhow, thank you for the tips! I’m making my first english resume and I’m finding it surprisingly different from the one I’m used to making, so I’m learning a lot!

  97. I hate updating resumes, but I do know you need to always be prepared.

    I think the best way to ‘job hunt’ is to always being open minded when it comes to changing jobs. Most often, the best thing comes along when you aren’t even looking.

    1. I hate updating resumes also, though I keep one Master copy that I add new experiences on. I believe now, the best way is to make a new resume each time you apply for a job interview. One reason is of course, it can be over whelming with one resume for every job, and two, I believe you should have the employer in mind where your applying and put some thought into what you believe they think will look good on the resume.

  98. Money Beagle

    I’ve heard that the one page rule is hard and fast when you’re out of college or don’t have enough professional experience, but after you’ve established yourself in the industry, that it’s OK to expand this into a maximum two page resume. If I’m a hiring manager looking to fill a senior level position, then I want to know up front who has what it takes to fill the job. Looking at Adam’s resume, I don’t think I’d get the amount of information needed to know that he might be a fit.

      1. Resume Pointers By Jed

        Financial Samurai,

        As a young 20-something year old who has never hired anybody, I respectfully disagree with every almost every point you made. Please let me explain.

        The standard time a recruiter will look at a resume is 15 seconds. That is the rule. However, some people may not be a thorough and spend only 7 seconds, as you have stated. Other than that you are spot on with this point.

        The one page resume is most certainly an industry preference. For any position above entry level a two page resume is standard and expected. This however, is no excuse for filler information.

        Standard design should be in reference to background and font colors, fonts, and anything other than text. The layout however, should never be cookie-cutter like you have described. I do not think that the information is wrong as much as I don’t want to see the exact same resume layo

        1. Oh, since you’re a young 20 something year old, you know everything. You disagree with every almost every point. I hope you don’t use that grammar on your resume. Never hired anyone either huh? Geez, internet know-it-all’d.

        2. I hear what you’re saying. I don’t understand the weird preferences that recruiters look for either so I disagree also from that perspective. But what he is saying is probably right. Will I ever understand why the plain and lame layouts stand out? No. Will I understand why the people that don’t know shit get hired but are good talkers over a person that could probably drastically increase companies worth? NO

          But the recruiters are hiring, not you…

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