Your Resume’s Building Blocks

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

Regardless of format, every resume will be composed of some standard sections. Below is a quick guide to the main elements that should be included in every resume.

Personal Information – Always include your full name, street address, phone numbers (home and cell), and e-mail address. If you have your own web site, include the link here too. All this information is placed at the top of page 1 of your resume, in the “header.”

Summary – A brief statement of who you are, where you’re “coming from,” and what skills and expertise you have to contribute to an organization. Five or six lines maximum. This will target and focus the reader on where you might fit into the big picture of their organization. Targeted and specific is better than general and vague. The content of your Summary must be oriented toward the benefits and contributions you offer as a professional. (You can think of the Summary as the “headline” in an article. If the reader is captivated by the “headline,” they’ll go on to read the body of the “article”).

Professional Experience – Your past jobs, roles and responsibilities, and accomplishments. This is the “body of the article,” and where most employers and recruiters will focus 90% of their attention. The information you present here, and how you present it, can decide the fate of your candidacy within about 10 seconds of scanning time! Use good journalism habits and put the most important or impressive facts first within each job. Make your Professional Experience section easily “scannable” by using bold headings and bullet points. Be specific and results-focused. Quantify results whenever possible, by using percentages, dollars, and other hard numbers. Highlight increases in good things (like retention, sales, profit, performance, effectiveness); as well as decreases in bad things (like turnover, losses, costs, inefficiencies, wasted time). This is no place to be shy. Don’t lie or exaggerate, but don’t undervalue or overlook your past successes, either!

Education – List the schools, academic degrees, and years in which you earned them. (Note: you might choose not to include the dates if you graduated a long, long time ago.) Include degree, major, and any honors or special achievements. Generally speaking, the longer you’ve been out of school, the less important this information is to an employer.

Affiliations, Professional Development, or Related Experience – Include work-related professional development activities, memberships in associations, trade groups, and professional societies, leadership positions in industry-recognized organizations, and any additional certifications, accreditations, or designations you’ve earned since leaving college or graduate school. If you don’t have a college degree, the professional development programs you’ve participated in will take-on special importance here.

Many clients have asked about including their “Objective” at the top of the resume. I advise them not to use an objective, for two reasons. First, unless you clearly state otherwise, the reader will automatically assume that you are seeking an opportunity at the next level of the field or niche you’re already in. Second, the objective is much better addressed on your cover letter, wherein you can really tailor your comments to the specific company or position.

Here are five quick “rules of thumb” to keep in mind as you develop your resume:

  1. Be brief (less is more)
  2. Be specific
  3. Be active (at the beginning of every sentence, use strong action verbs)
  4. Be selective (focus on information that is truly relevant to your career goal, and edit out the rest)
  5. Be honest (never ever lie on a resume). If you lie, you will always lose in the long run.

Use the guidelines above to create your own “effective selling” resume, in order to get people interested in interviewing you. If you find that your resume isn’t getting the results you want, change it!

Remember, your resume is a “living document” that will be edited and updated throughout the course of your job search – and your entire career!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

Your e-mail address is safe with us! We will not share it with anyone else. See our detailed Privacy Policy.

To explore working with a professional Career Coach, register now for your free "Career Breakthrough Session" by clicking here.

Please visit my Blog and share your comments!

Recent Blog Posts

happy-business-man

It’s Not About Your Job; It’s About Your Life! Part 1
Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Re-Discovering Your Career Passion Ford Myers Career Coach

Sales 101 in Job Interviews: Part 3
Monday, November 5th, 2018

Sales 101 in Job Interviews: Part 2
Monday, October 1st, 2018

Negotiating: Twenty-One Rules of the Game

Sales 101 in Job Interviews: Part 1
Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

Get Hired Fast!

Best-selling career book shows you how
to "Get The Job You Want, Even When
No One's Hiring."

Published by
John Wiley & Sons.

Career Success Seminars

Attend our special career seminars. Improve your career situation, get your questions answered, and make new networking contacts! Click here

Career Advice Articles

Read helpful articles on job search, career management, resumes, interviewing, salary negotiation, recruiters and more. Click here

For Organizations

Attract, develop and retain premium talent for lasting marketplace success. Click here

Contact Ford Now

Call 1-800-972-6588 or E-Mail