Constructing Your Resume
Categories of information you include on your resume
should provide answers to these questions:
|Contact section||Who are you and how can you be reached?|
|Objective statement||What do you want to do?|
|Experience section||What can you do?|
|Education section||What have you learned?|
|Employment section||What have you done?|
Begin your resumé with your contact information
Contact information: your name in capital letters, bold type. Include street address, city, state, and zip code. Include phone number(s) where you can be reached weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Designate your home phone with an "H," and work number with "W," or a "Messages" number. Add an e-mail address if it is checked regularly.
Optional. Career/Job Objective
The purpose of the objective statement is to inform the employer of your career goal and targeted interests. The statement should describe the focus of your job search. If your resume is broader, relay the most relevant objective in an accompanying cover letter. A good objective includes type and/or level of position, type and style of organization, and skills/qualifications.
A career/job objective is advantageous when:
You want to specify your interests and where you would fit in the organization.
You want to present the impression of a focused, self-confident person.
A career/job objective is not advantageous when it is:
Too broad and meaningless, reflecting indecision.
Too exclusive, eliminating you from jobs for which you might be considered.
Qualifications or Experience Summary
A summary of qualifications can condense an extensive background by emphasizing experiences and accomplishments in brief keyword phrases. The qualifications summary is accomplishment-oriented and provides an overview of your work experience. It can also serve to summarize relevant academic, volunteer and leadership experience for those who have limited work experience. A summary is most appropriate for someone with substantial experience, for someone who is changing careers and wants to demonstrate transferable skills, or for someone with a varied background. Scannable resumes also rely on accomplishment statements. If you know your resume will be electronically scanned, consider a summary.
Example: Accomplished editor, news reporter and promotional writer. Demonstrated skills in project management and staff development.
Example: Two years' experience as office administrator; four years' teaching experience living abroad; two and one-half years' high school teaching experience; M.B.A. in International Business and Information Systems; B.A. Mathematics; French language fluency.
If your education relates to your objective and is within the past three years, it should be the first section. If not, education should follow the work experience section of your resume.
Start with your most recent degree or the program in which you are currently enrolled. List other degrees or relevant education in reverse chronological order.
Highlight your degree by using bold type or capital letters.
If the degree is relevant to your job objective, begin with degree and emphasis, followed by university, location of university, and date of graduation or anticipated date of graduation.
Example: M.S., Communications Engineering, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, May 1996.
If degree/program is not directly related to current job objective, begin with the university, followed by the location, degree and emphasis, and graduation date.
If you are within two semesters of graduation, do not use "expected" or "anticipated" with month/year of graduation.
If you have a high GPA, include it on your resume. You may want to highlight your GPA on a new line as illustrated on page 60, or in an educational highlights section. Example:
The George Washington University, Washington, DC B.A., Political Science, May 1996. GPA 3.4
This section is most effective when you have experiences from your education that are impressive and/or directly relate to your objective. Adding this section is useful when you have developed skills and specific knowledge through education and related activities rather than work experience. This section can be used to highlight coursework, research, study abroad experience, leadership and student activities that complements your objective.
Consider listing relevant coursework under the appropriate degree.
Example: Relevant coursework: Investment and Portfolio Management, Advanced Financial Management, Marketing Research, International Banking
An alternative to highlighting courses is to list the skills and knowledge acquired through important courses and research.
Example: Developed model investment portfolio for Fortune 500 company. Analyzed stock market trends using state-of-the-art computer simulation programs. Invested innovative capital formations strategies at metropolitan Washington area investment firms. Designed promotional campaign for new consumer product in a targeted market.
You may want to describe research or design projects.
Example: Design Projects: RF radio control, Laser and Microwave Amplifiers, Transmission Lines. Research: "Brazilian Economic Policies Beyond the Coffee Exports". "U.S. Foreign Policy: Transition in Latin America".
Begin with your current/most recent position and work backward, chronologically. Devote more space to recent employment.
If your job titles relate to your current job objective, start each position description with job titles. If not, begin with the organization.
Follow job title and organizational information with the organization's city and state.
Use the first and last month and year to describe dates of employment. Example:
Describe the last three to five positions in detail. Summarize earlier positions unless relevant to your objective.
Do not show every position change with each employer. Only list in detail the most recent job and briefly summarize promotions.
Do not repeat skills that are common to several positions.
Within each listed position, stress the major accomplishments and responsibilities that demonstrate your competency. It is not necessary to include all responsibilities, as they will be assumed by employers.
Tailor your position descriptions to future job/career objectives.
If writing a two-page resume, make sure the most marketable information is on the first page.
Use two to four sections to summarize each area of functional skill or expertise.
Develop the functional skill headings based on the skills you want to market to employers and/or that are most related to your targeted objective.
Describe your skills in short phrases and place under the appropriate functional skill categories.
Rank the phrases within each category and place the most important skill or accomplishment first. Examples:
Do not identify employers within functional skills sections.
List a brief history of your actual work experience at the end of the section, giving job title, employer and dates. If you have had no work experience or a very spotty work record, leave out the employment section entirely or summarize the nature of your jobs without providing specific details. If you do this, be prepared to discuss your specific jobs in more detail at the job interview.
Everything on TP connected to the world of work can be found on this table of contents at our section The World - People & Culture - The World of Work