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What is a basic resume? Explanation and example

What is a basic resume? Explanation and example

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • The definition of a basic resume
  • 9 Steps to write a simple resume
  • Key takeaways

Remember the acronym “KISS?” It stands for “Keep it simple, stupid,” and while we know you’re not stupid, the sentiment applies to resumes, too. In this article, we’ll discuss what a simple, basic resume is, why you need one, and how to write a resume that will get you noticed!

One tool that every job hunter needs is a good resume. But how do you define “good?” What elements do you need? And how complex does it have to be? The truth is, when you apply for a job, you’re most likely one in a hundred. Maybe even several hundred. For hiring managers, it can be a “needle in a haystack” situation, and it can be challenging to find the right candidates. A basic resume is a “snapshot” of your education, skills, and experience, giving the hiring manager a clear picture of who you are as a candidate.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of a simple resume, including:

  • What is a simple resume?

  • Who might benefit from a basic resume?

  • How do you write a simple, basic resume? 

  • A simple resume example

The definition of a basic resume

A basic resume is written to be clear, concise, and free from unnecessary clutter. It allows the reader to get a sense of your qualifications without having to hunt through long, dense paragraphs.

Statistical Insight

According to The Motley Fool, 40 percent of hiring managers spend less than 60 seconds reviewing a resume, and 25 percent spend less than 30 seconds. Keep your resume simple to get the most out of that brief time.

What’s included in a simple resume?

While a simple resume may be uncluttered, it is still informative. It should include the following elements:

  • A professional summary

  • List of relevant skills

  • Job history

  • Education, certifications, and awards

What’s the benefit of having a simple resume?

Having a clean and uncluttered resume gets your application process off on the right foot by putting your qualifications and experience front and center. It can also help optimize your resume for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), by having the correct format as well as the desired keywords for the position.

While management resumes will necessarily be a little more detailed, a simple resume is best for recent graduates or people with little work experience, applicants who want to place basic skills front and center, and people who are competing with a large pool of candidates.

9 Steps to write a simple resume

Let’s say you’re putting together a resume, even though you don’t have a lot of work experience. How do you do it? Remember, even if you're writing a simple resume, you should still take your time with it. Here are nine steps to writing a simple resume, no matter your level of experience:

  1. Make a list of your relevant life and academic achievements. This can Include volunteer work, awards, clubs, and organizations. And don’t forget your “soft skills,” such as dependability, good organizational skills, and teamwork.

  2. List your contact information at the top. The company will need to know how to contact you!

  3. Place your experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. If you’re just starting out, this can include any volunteer work or extracurricular activities, as well as summer jobs or part-time experience.

  4. List your skills, including technical skills. These can be near the top of your resume, in the summary.

  5. Include your education and achievements near the top of your resume. This will show hiring managers you have the necessary qualifications right away. 

  6. Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for. If they're looking for someone who is organized, make sure you include examples of your organization experience.

  7. Use “power verbs.” Instead of saying you did something, use words like executed, designed, or performed.

  8. Keep it simple. The hiring manager isn’t interested in your life story. Keep your resume professionally relevant, and tailor it to each job you're applying for. You can include awards and recognition you've received, but only if it's relevant to the job. And you should keep your resume to no more than one page, if possible — 17 percent of hiring managers won't even look at your resume if it exceeds the two page-mark, unless you're at the management level.

  9. Be professional. You might be starting out, but you have to show that you mean business.Make sure your email address is job ready — if it’s “[email protected], you might want to change it to something more business-friendly. Stick to a classic, easy to read font in black, and make sure you have someone proofread it before you apply for a job.

Example

Simple Resume Example

Mary O’Malley

312-555-1234 [email protected] 

Peoria, IL 61723


- PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY

Copywriter with six years of experience specializing in both long-form SEO content (landing pages, blog posts, etc.) and short-form copywriting (social media, email marketing) in both agency and in-house settings.

- SKILLS

WordPress • Digital Marketing Strategy • Marketing KPIs • Content Writing • Strategic Planning  Content Strategy • SEO Writing • Client Management • HTML and CSS • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) 

- EDUCATION

Bachelor of Arts in Communications, 2016

Columbia College, Chicago, IL 

- CERTIFICATION

SEO Copywriting Certification, SuccessWorks, 2023

- EXPERIENCE

Copywriter 3/2020-Present

Mad Ave East, Scarsdale, NY 

  • Create all marketing copywriting for three top-tier clients in the communication and IT industries.

  • Oversee copy strategy across all marketing channels.

  • Create copy for client websites, email newsletters, and blogs.

  • Coordinate advertising copy for print ads and television commercials.

  • Collaborate with graphic designers to write and produce digital ads.

  • Boosted the average landing page conversions by 30% in the first quarter for all three assigned clients.


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Key takeaways

  1. A simple resume is formatted in a clear, uncluttered style, free from decorative additions or unusual fonts. 

  2. A basic resume is organized and easy to read and the reader gets a clear snapshot of your qualifications without having to hunt through long, dense paragraphs.

  3. A simple resume is best for those with little work experience, where basic skills need to be placed front and center, and applicants who are competing with a lot of other candidates.

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