Whatever format you choose, employers will expect to see key elements on your resume. There is some room for creativity in organization and phrasing, but make sure to be thorough. When writing your résumé, you must make decisions about such things as what to say, how to organize, how to design pages and so on. Think about your readers.
What will they be looking for? How will they look for this information? How will they use it when they find it? What are their attitudes about your subject and what do you want their attitudes to be when they have finished reading? The following elements provide your general style when writing your résumé:
Elements Of A Resume
Personal Information: The elements include your name, address, and professional email address. Many employers like to see a home or cell phone number and possibly a Linkedin page
Headline (Also called Summary, Profile or Highlights of Qualifications): include a brief summary of your professional self to grab your reader’s attention. Think of this section as your “elevator pitch,” offering a quick impression of your personal brand. Include a few keys (relevant) achievements/strengths (in bullets or sentences). Summary/profile sections are especially useful for candidates with long work history, or who have experienced job transitions.
Here are two formulas for a one-sentence headline for a resume:
– “Accomplished [job title]/Certified [industry] professional holding more than [x] years of experience, specializing in [x,y,z].”
– “[Field of study] graduate seeking opportunity to focus on [x,y,z,] and promote [desired company’s mission or goal].”Have you been starting your résumé with an
Career Objective – Have you been starting your résumé with a career objective? Except you are writing a resume for a specific job role, this element in a resume is completely optional. Many people believe that they need to have an objective listed underneath their contact information; however, the truth is that maybe objectives should not part of your résumé because they are limiting.
These days, most experts recommend leaving the objective off your résumé entirely. Objectives too often emphasize what you want from a job, rather than what you can offer an employer, and thus are generally seen as a waste of space.
Education: Education should be included immediately after your identifying information unless you have had significant work experiences in the field for which you are applying. In that case, education should be placed at the end of the résumé.
You should name the institute you attended, the degree you achieved or are working to achieve, and the graduation date or expected graduation. Provide information directly relevant to the employment such as advanced courses taken or achievements. Your GPA should be included only if it is above average.
You should avoid adding anything about high school unless it is particularly impressive. Other facts to highlight about your education include study abroad programs, training programs, academic honours, or even classes outside your major to show your broad range of abilities.
- Place your education section after the headline/summary section if it is recent and relevant, after the experience section if your stronger qualification is employment experience.- List the most current degree/school attended first, and proceed in reverse chronological order.
- Include the following information for each educational item: the name of the school, the school’s location, your graduation date or anticipated graduation date, the degree earned (and major if appropriate).- DO NOT include high school if you are in college unless your high school work was outstanding or unique (like a trade/technology/arts high school).
Work Experience: This element in a resume usually include information about your employment history within your résumé. For each job, include the company name, location, and specific dates employed. Be sure to spell out the months you worked at the company to make your résumé internationally accepted.
In addition, employment should be listed in reverse chronological order. If applicable, advancements in the company or accomplishments should be included. You should also list some of the knowledge you gained from your work experience and some of the responsibilities you were given.
When describing your work experience, make sure to use action verbs, not nouns. You should use strong verbs to show what you did at that job and avoid lifeless, uninteresting verbs. Lastly, you want to make sure the verbs are parallel.
- List positions in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
- Include basic information for each job: job title, employer, dates employed, city/state (and country if outside the U.S.) of employment.- Include internships and skilled volunteer positions (but if you do, title the section “Experience” rather than “Employment”).
- Consider filtering work experience into “Related Experience” and “Experience” instead of one employment section to highlight most relevant jobs (and downplay less significant experience).
- DO include training and certifications (e.g. first aid certifications, sales seminars, writing groups).
Develop this section by adding educational accomplishments:
- Your GPA (if it is 3.0 or better, and if it is expected in your industry)
- Relevant courses (if they prepared you for the job)
- Special accomplishments (conferences, special papers/projects, clubs, offices held, service to the school)
- Awards and scholarships (could also be separate section – Honors)
Volunteer Experience: Include information on the present or former volunteering sites within your résumé. The information included should be the company name, location, and specific dates you volunteered. Volunteer Work:
List skilled volunteer work (building websites, teaching classes) under skills, along with your other qualifications, but include general volunteer work (making meals for a soup kitchen, etc.) toward the end of your resume in its own
section or under activities.
- DON’T include a section titled “Hobbies” or “Other,” with irrelevant interests.
- DO include interests that may be relevant to the position, but aren’t professional skills (sports for Nike, Eagle Scouting for leadership, golfing for business jobs, game design/play for game design jobs, blogging for PR obs). Market yourself in the best light.
- DO include honours, awards, publications, conferences attended, languages are spoken, etc. You may choose to include a separate honours section or fold these into your skills/ achievements section.
Skills: Be sure to include any special skills that you have, such as being fluent in another language or being an expert in Microsoft applications. These skills can be what set you apart from the other applicants.
- Use sub-headers to group skills into skillset headings (management skills, customer service skills, laboratory skills, communication skills, etc.). Use targeted headings based on the qualifications your potential employer is seeking.
- Include only the most relevant, targeted skills and achievements.
- Emphasize quantifiable achievements and results: skills, equipment, money, documents, personnel, clients, etc.- Use the active voice (supervised sixteen employees, increased profits, built websites) vs. the passive voice (was responsible for supervising or duties included…)
- See the “Building a Better Bullet” section below for more information on how to craft
an effective “skill bullet.”
References: When choosing a reference or references, make sure that you can trust them to answer honestly and that they will not reveal any intrusive information. Be sure to ask them if they are willing to be a reference before giving their information to a potential employer. Shy away from putting “references upon request” because that’s one extra step an employer has to take; make it easy for them to hire you.
Generally, do not list references on your résumé. Instead, give a separate sheet at the employer’s request. Generally, three references are sufficient. The most important references are your superiors, but you can also use co-workers, clients, or instructors. Contact each person to verify his/her willingness to act as a reference for you. Your
The reference sheet should match the look of your cover letter and your résumé.