In Part One, we looked at how to get started creating your resume. In this part, we’ll look at what to put in your resume, how to organize it, and how to fill it up with the right content.
HEADING AND CONTACT INFORMATION
- This should be at the top of the page. Don’t put “RESUME” as a heading. Use your full name as a heading (e.g. John K. Smith). This should be bold and in larger print that the rest of the resume. Your contact information is your permanent address, phone number with area codes (use a professional message for your voice mail!), email address, and website (if you have one). Do not include gender, age, height, weight, marital status, religion, race, etc.
- For some people, the objective is tricky — but have no fear. It doesn’t have to be difficult! After you list your skills, achievements, and experiences, you will need to think about your goal; that is, specifically, what kind of job are you looking for? This is your objective. The objective should be one or two concise, specific statements that states the kind of position you’re looking for, skills you’d like to utilize, and any tasks you might want to be part of. Don’t put trite statements like “A challenging position offering opportunities for growth.” Instead, put something specific yet succinct such as: “Seeking a full-time position in instructional design, research and development.”
- Write your degrees in reverse chronological order – the most recently completed ones first. Using a list format (with bullet points), write the month and year of your graduation, and your major and minor(s). You might want to include relevant coursework, theses or special projects, specializations/areas of emphasis, etc.
- You can name this heading WORK EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, RELATED EXPERIENCE, or whatever makes the most sense for you. Again, describe these in reverse chronological order, or by themes if it makes sense to group similar experiences together. List the job title/position, the dates you worked there, the job title, and a brief, descriptive summary of the tasks you did and responsibilities you had. Try to avoid needless repetition and too much detail. Too much text can turn off a recruiter and he or she may not want to read your resume. Format lists with easy-to read bullet points.
- List the most relevant activities first, accompanied with brief descriptions if necessary. This section is a good opportunity to demonstrate how you’ve had unique experiences with the activities you’ve been part of.
- Use bullet points and list out your honors or awards, especially if they are rare or esteeemed. If you don’t have many honors or awards, you can combine this section with a PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT section.
- For some majors, a listing of skills (e.g. specific computer skills, proficiency in foreign languages, etc.) can be valuable. Also add certifications if you have any.
- On occasion, employers may request references. You need not include these on your resume, but be prepared to have these ready. Typically, three to five references are a good number. Use people who familiar with your work and can vouch for your efforts and skills. Contact them in advance and make sure that they are willing to be a reference for you.
Whew! Now you have the content on your resume. Next, we’ll make it even better. Continue on to Part Three: Improving Your Resume.