Back to Basics: The Resume
January 17, 2012 by Careerminds
Installation number two in our “Back to Basics” series focuses on what is likely the centerpiece of you job search tool kit: your resume. This is where a potential employer can find all the important information that indicates whether or not you’ve got what it takes to fill a position. So it’s vital that you include all of that important information, otherwise, you may find yourself out of the running for a job you are qualified for only because your resume did not accurately reflect that.
In accordance with the title of this series, we’d like to keep things basic by providing for you a list of the essentials, all of the absolutely necessary elements of a resume.
- Identification Information: This includes your name (of course), current address, telephone number and e-mail address. For students or for those intending to move to a new city for work, it may be necessary to include two addresses: current and home, or current and local. Regarding telephone numbers, include the one you’re most likely to answer. For most of us, this means our cell phone, so be sure to indicate that the number provided is a cell phone number.
- Profile: This component seems to have replaced the “objective” element of yesterday, and explains, in brief, who you are as a professional, your goals, your area(s) of expertise, etc.
- Education: Depending upon your age and/or how long it has been since graduation, you may feel free to leave this element off your resume. For relatively recent graduates, though, it is a necessary component, and for not so recent graduates in career transition, any additional, more recent training or certification may take its place.
- Experience: List all relevant work experience in reverse-chronological order, making sure to include your job title, the name of your employer, the dates employed (month and year started and finished are adequate), and a brief description of accomplishments not a job description. Your expected role in a position should be evident in the title; use this space to express what made you great at it.
- Skills: This is a fairly generic heading for any skills you have that are relevant to the position. These may include technical skills, computer skills, language skills, etc. If you feel it would display the information for clearly or effectively, you may want to create a separate section for a specific skill set (i.e.: Computer Skills).
- Activities/Involvement: This section may be especially useful for recent grads who may not have a lot of real-world experience, but who were involved in several activities around campus. That having been said, anyone can include this section if there are relevant items to include. If you are involved in a professional organization/club, for instance, this is where you’d put that information. This section may also be substituted with “Recognitions/Awards” if applicable.
- Additional Tips:
- The one page rule can be thrown out the window if you have several pages of pertinent experience– just remember that your potential employer doesn’t have time to read a whole book, so be concise and willing to edit out what you can (i.e.: old positions, irrelevant experience, etc).
- Fill in the white space. If you can see a lot of empty space on the page, rearrange items, play with the format and font or maybe even add a little more detail to previous positions until the margins are minimal. Too much white at the top, bottom or sides of the page can make the entire thing look bare.
- It’s a relatively well-known tip, but in case you were unaware, do not include references with a resume and do not state “References Available” on a resume. If an employer would like for you to provide references or any other additional materials, he/she will request them and you can provide them separately.
- Remember to tailor your resume to the position. Do not submit a generic resume to every opening. Your skills, what details you include in your experience and so on will likely need to be adjusted to address the specific requirements of a position.
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