Parts of a resume



The format of a resume is really a marketing technique.  You want it to be clear and legible, to lead the eye to the most striking thing about how you fit the bill, but don’t make it hard to read your name and contact info.  Don’t put these in the Header.  You can put name and contact info in the footer of the 2nd page.  Also, don’t make the hiring manager attack a “wall of text”.  Make it easy to read.  There are many, many resume formats available online.  There are even infographic ones.  But bear in mind that a resume is not a piece of art.  It is a practical business document.

Here is what you need on a resume:

  • Your name (and degree if appropriate – PhD, MD, SPHR, etc.)  
  • Your location (you don’t really need a street address at this point)
  • Contact information – phone number (mobile is fine if you answer it professionally) and email (also professional, not silly or flirty)
  • Then 3 – 5 bullet points of how you can solve that hiring manager’s problem, using his language and jargon and keywords.  Only list the things you “own” and like to do – there is no point in advertising for a job you don’t want.  If you feel the need to title this, call it “Summary”.
  • Then reverse chronological order (latest one at the top, oldest at the bottom) of the jobs you have done with their dragon slaying stories
  • Put your education at the bottom. 

You don’t need to list more than 10 years of job history unless this hiring manager’s problem was one you totally slayed more than 10 years ago and the skills have not decayed.  You don’t need to list jobs of less than a year, but be prepared to explain the time gaps, or list them and the problem that you learned from. 

You get 2 pages only. 

And 6 seconds on the top half of the first page to grab the hiring manager’s interest. 

A resume is a summary, a sketch, not your curriculum vitae or your whole life on two pieces of paper. 

Some HR people say that the format should be different if you are applying online and through the Applicant Tracking System.

In this case you want:

  • Name and degree
  • Location
  • Contact info
  • The requirements that you own (this may be your education) that are listed in the job posting.
  • Skills (software programs, tools, etc.) relevant to the job
  • Then the reverse chronological order of the jobs you have done. 

This makes it easier for the computer or the HR person to eliminate those who don’t have the skills required.  Always use the keywords you found in the job posting.  Neither the computer nor the HR person is an expert in your field and will not recognize synonyms. 

Remember that a resume is designed to get you the first interview, not the job.  It will be used as a notepad for the interviewer, so give them the white space to write the answers to the questions they will ask.  And the interviewer will probably be older than 40 so use at least a 12 point typeface.

Don’t include:

  • A picture (that goes on your LinkedIn Profile)
  • Your marital status or how many children you have
  • Your nationality, gender or sexual preference
  • Your age

Resumes that include these things will be trashed before you even get an interview as you could take legal action if you don’t get the job, saying it was based on these protected classes.

Also, don’t include:

  • “You can get all you need on my online profile”.  Don’t make it hard on the interviewer!
  • Your hobbies and extracurricular activities – they really only want to know that you can solve their problem, unless you know for a fact that the hiring manager does it too.

Do include:

  • Languages you speak professionally
  • The fact that you are authorized to work in the US (green card) if you are, or your visa status.
  • Your military background, if any

And remember, you are so much more than your resume!

If you need some help with this, click here 

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