As an HR professional, you’re likely familiar with the process of sifting through piles of resumes, trying to recognize which ones are diamonds in the rough and which ones go in the “not a fit” pile. But when it’s your turn to write an HR resume, you need to take a look at the process from a whole new perspective.
Fear not, dear reader, for with a tip here and a guideline there, we can make you the king of bullet points and buzzwords! Sit back and relax as we dive deep into this comprehensive article that will show you everything you need to know to write a superb HR resume. Let’s get started.
One of the best ways to compose your resume is to use a one-page layout written in the chronological format.
Your work history should be the centerpiece of your HR resume, but if you don’t have any yet, you can emphasize your education and skills and substitute it with activities such as internships and volunteering.
Optional sections are a great way to stand out from the competition.
Submitting a cover letter shows diligence and lets you convey more valuable information to recruiters.
What Is the Right Format to Use for an HR Resume?
Since you've probably had the pleasure of going through some resumes already, you’ve likely noticed how some were structured and organized while others seemed like a complete mess. That’s due to the resume format and layout. The right format arranges information in such a way that recruiters always know where to look to find what they want.
There are three proven formats for your HR resume, and they are
The chronological resume format, which is the most popular by far and is generally a safe choice. It lists your past jobs in reverse-chronological order, highlighting your most recent—and usually most important—employment. This format is preferred by candidates with a stable work history.
The functional resume format, which is designed with entry-level candidates in mind. It emphasizes skills as the most important section, which makes it great for HR resumes for freshers and other candidates who don’t have a work history to present.
The combination (hybrid) format, which is the hybrid of the previous two formats. This one also highlights your skills, but it uses your professional achievements to support and validate each one. It works well for senior HR professionals and those who changed careers but have a valuable skill set they want to showcase.
The visual impression of your resume can be just as important as its contents. That’s why you want an elegant and professional layout that makes your HR resume pleasant to look at and easy to read. Here’s how you can accomplish that:
Resume Layout Guidelines
Most recruiters won’t spend a lot of time examining your HR resume, which is why you should keep it one page long.
You can ensure your document’s legibility by choosing a resume-friendly font (e.g., Cambria, Garamond, or Times New Roman), setting its size to 10–12 pts, and making section headings 2–4 pts larger.
Create a professional-looking document by setting margins to at least one inch and using white space to separate distinct sections.
What Sections Should an HR Resume Contain?
Now that we know how to organize and present the sections of our HR resume, let’s see which ones we should include in it.
First off, we have five mandatory sections that create the foundation of every HR resume, and they are:
Then, there are optional sections that depend on the job that you’re applying for as well as your skills and experience. These may include:
Awards and certifications
Hobbies and interests
Before you start putting this newfound knowledge into practice to format your HR resume in Word, take a second to consider an alternative. You can use our resume builder, which is specifically tailored for the purpose of making professional, ATS-friendly resumes.
The process starts with you browsing an extensive collection of our free HR resume templates. Once you’ve found the one that suits you, you can continue using our software’s features to modify and customize every aspect of it before adding your information to predesignated places. Before you know it, you’ll have a submission-ready resume at your disposal!
HR Resume Contact Information
Contact information is a standard section for any resume, and it’s one of the easiest to create. You simply add the following details at the top of your document (in the resume header):
One of the optional bits that you can include in this section is your location. While adding it is an outdated practice, you should do it if the job ad asks for this part or if you’re applying for a job abroad and are willing to relocate.
You can also add your LinkedIn profile. Not only is this a commonly used professional networking platform, but with 95% of recruiters looking for candidates on LinkedIn, you’re missing out by not having your profile optimized and added to your resume!
Let’s take a look at an example of a contact information section on a resume:
+ 863 647 0366
HR Resume Objective or Summary
Have you ever skimmed through a resume for a few seconds, only to move on to the next one after finding nothing interesting? Plenty of recruiters and hiring managers have done so, which is why you want the strongest opening possible to grab their attention. That opening comes in the form of a resume objective or summary.
The purpose of this section is to point out your biggest strengths to recruiters right at the beginning. In the case of entry-level candidates, those would be their skills, motivation, and goals, which is why they should write a resume objective. Experienced candidates, however, can leverage their experience and achievements in the form of a resume summary.
HR Resume Objective
An impactful HR resume objective displays drive and mentions some of the candidate's key skills in 2–4 sentences.
Here’s a good example:
“Motivated recent graduate with a BA in Management of Human Resources looking for an entry-level position at [your company]. Experience includes working as a front desk receptionist, refining communication and organization skills. Looking to apply knowledge in recruitment and retention strategies to improve your office efficiency.”
Now compare that to the following poorly-written resume objective:
“BA in Management of Human Resources looking for their first job to learn from experience.”
If these two candidates had the exact same resume going forward, which one would you pick?
HR Resume Summary
An HR resume summary is best used by professionals with previous experience in the field. Your goal is to include the duration of your career along with one or two of your most prominent achievements in 2–4 concise and information-packed sentences.
Let’s see that in an example:
“Human resources manager with 7+ years of experience looking to help [your company] attract and retain the best talent. Notable achievements include reducing TTH by 33% by closely working with departments to recognize their needs and improving employee satisfaction by 12% through the implementation of revised benefits plans.”
Notice how the candidate used specific accomplishments backed up by numbers? Now let’s see what happens if you don’t include any concrete results:
“Knowledgeable human resources manager seeking a challenging position to apply my skills and help your company grow.”
In conclusion, you end up with a dull resume summary that likely won’t grab anyone’s attention.
HR Resume Work Experience
For most HR professionals, their work experience section will be the main selling point of their resumes. Let’s see how you can polish this part to perfection.
To start with the basics, here are the details to include for each previous position that you add to your work experience section:
The company and its location
Dates of employment (usually in an MM/YYYY format)
A bullet list of your achievements and results
If you want to add more than one former job to your HR resume, you should do so in reverse-chronological order. Each should feature 3–5 bullet points that talk about your most impressive achievements and results obtained in the position.
One of the most important things to do about this section is to make those lists of accomplishments distinct and effective. For starters, you can incorporate numbers, statistics, and percentages next to relevant results to quantify them.
You can further make this part of your resume stand out by dressing it up with memorable power words and action verbs, such as:
HR With No Experience
If you have no previous HR experience to showcase in your resume, you can opt for substitute activities while maintaining the previously outlined structure of your work history section. You can leverage anything from school projects and internships to volunteer experience or even other jobs that require similar skills.
Here’s an example of a candidate using their work as an intern to write a solid work experience section:
Human Resources Intern
White Sky Corp
April 2022–October 2022
Assisted in the recruitment and selection processes, resulting in a 25% increase in the number of qualified candidates and an 11% decrease in time to fill positions.
Participated in exit interviews with departing employees, providing feedback to the HR team to decrease turnover by 17%.
Managed and updated employee records, ensuring 100% accuracy and compliance with company policies.
As an experienced professional, you want to highlight your competence in various HR functions. You can show anything from your ability to affect entire organizations to your competence at managing whole department verticals.
However, instead of adding every minor accomplishment, you should only highlight the select few that truly demonstrate your HR prowess.
Here’s an example:
Human Resources Manager
San Francisco, CA
Launched a performance management program for 500+ employees, resulting in a 23% increase in overall productivity.
Developed and maintained relationships with external partners, resulting in an 11% decrease in recruiting costs.
Managed a team of 7 HR professionals to achieve a 90% employee retention rate and a 30% increase in team productivity.
HR Resume Education Section
A degree might not secure you an interview, but it can be a major contributing factor. It represents a testament to your skills and dedication, which is why it can be a valuable part of your HR resume.
This section is all the more important if you’re light on work experience, in which case you want to focus on your academic accomplishments.
Here are the details to include when writing your education section:
Name of the school or university
Years of attendance
List of accomplishments
Now let’s put that into practice and take a look at an example:
Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Relevant Coursework: Employment Law, Organizational Behavior, Strategic HR Management, Employee Relations
If you’re an experienced candidate, you can simply list your most recent degree and call it a day. However, if you’re an entry-level applicant, you can make the most of this section by including a bullet list of notable achievements such as a high GPA, relevant courses, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and more.
HR Resume Skills
What all great HR professionals have in common are valuable skills. You often need a solid combination of soft and hard skills to perform well in the workplace, so that’s what you want to showcase on your resume.
However, similarly to the rest of the document, your HR resume skills section needs to be brief and concise. Instead of listing every ability that you have, you should only add those that are relevant to the position that you’re applying to. That’s why it’s often best to examine the company and the job ad before creating this section.
On top of that, you should also demonstrate your skills for optimal chances of success. You can show recruiters and potential employers solid proof of your abilities by linking them with relevant achievements in your resume summary, objective, and work experience sections.
Hard skills are career-specific and necessary for HR professionals to be able to do their jobs. Here are some that you can add to your resume:
Hard Skills Examples
Soft skills are interpersonal abilities that are transferable between different careers. They are essential for any HR candidate, although you should list them separately from your hard skills. Some of the most sought-after soft skills include:
Soft Skills Examples
HR Resume Optional Sections
Now that we’ve examined all the mandatory sections of your HR resume, let’s check out some of the optional ones.
Awards & Certifications
Awards and certifications represent one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise and credibility. By listing them on your HR resume, you show commitment to professional development, add credibility to your skills and achievements, and ultimately increase your chances of being hired.
Having proficiency in foreign languages demonstrates more than your ability to communicate with colleagues and customers from other parts of the world. It also indicates your capacity to work in diverse environments and understand different cultures and customs.
The language skills section is particularly important if you’re applying for a position in an international organization. When writing this section, you should choose an adequate framework (e.g., ACTFL) and list the languages in descending order, starting with the one you’re most proficient in.
Hobbies & Interests
Briefly mentioning your hobbies and interests on your HR resume is a great way to show your personality and stand out from the crowd. It’s also a strong conversation starter, which is particularly important during interviews.
Should You Submit a Cover Letter With Your HR Resume?
If you want to go the extra mile and maximize your chances of success with recruiters, you should write and submit a position-specific HR cover letter that matches your resume. Not only will you show diligence, but you’ll have a whole additional document where you can further talk about your skills, achievements, and motivation.
Expert Tips for Creating an HR Resume
Before we bring this comprehensive guide to an end, let’s check out a few final expert tips:
If you’re still using a childhood email address or an unprofessional one, it’s time to create a new, business-related account (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
Certain elements of your resume—such as your professional title or skills—can act as keywords for the ATS. That’s why they should match the requirements posted in the job description of the position you’re applying for.
Don’t go overboard adding achievements to your resume. Quality is usually better than quantity. Keep it between 1–2 in your resume summary and 3–5 for each previous job.
Consider creating an HR resume sample in a PDF format and showing it to a friend or family member before submitting it to a recruiter. A fresh pair of eyes can help you spot any potential errors or adjust your document’s layout.
And there you have it—our journey through the world of HR resumes has come to a satisfying conclusion. We’ve covered everything from the impact of orderly formats and elegant layouts to the importance of quantified achievements and proven skills.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll now be able to craft a standout resume that will catch the eye of recruiters, hiring managers, and potential employers. Remember that as an HR professional, you’re uniquely positioned to understand what they want to see in a resume, so use that knowledge to your advantage.
Hopefully, you’re now feeling as confident in creating a resume as you were when examining one. Best of luck in your job search!