Empowering Individuals to Economic Independence and Self-Sufficiency

2. Make Your Resume Work For You

Skip to: Components of a resume | Crafting a strong career summary | Is your resume ready?


Components of a resume

Regardless of type, all resumes contain the same common components.

The heading should contain:

  • Your name
  • Your address (Many people today prefer not to include an address for security reasons. If that is the case for you, make sure you at least indicate city and state.)
  • Your phone number(s) — best/easiest way to reach you via phone
  • Your email address
  • Your website (if you have one)

A brief highlight of qualifications for the specific position for which you are applying.

  • Years of experience
  • Special skills required
  • Work characteristics

Describes your skills based on prior experience or training.

  • Specific skills, capabilities
  • Job responsibilities
  • Work characteristics

Show up to ten years work history. List in reverse chronological order (most recent, then work backwards).

  • Dates of employment
  • Your titles
  • Company names
  • Significant duties/responsibilities

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Crafting a strong career summary

Stating a clear objective in your job search is key! It is important to clarify what it is you want to do as well as what you can do for the employer. Without a clear goal you may appear disorganized and unfocused.

Stating a clear career goal in under 25 words is one of the most difficult job search tasks and will take time to best showcase your key motivations, abilities and skills. You must do this to give your job search a clear and focused direction.

I am seeking a position where I can use my ability to ______________________ which will result in ____________________________________ for an employer.

Or a simplified version:
I am seeking a position in the ______________________ industry as a ____________________.

Example of a weak objective/career summary that is self-centered rather than employer-centered:
A customer service position with opportunity for advancement where I can learn from the company.

Here’s an example of a much stronger objective/career summary that is employer-centered:
Seeking a position in the Hospitality industry where I can use my excellent training in customer service and proven abilities in dealing with international clientele.

Now formulate your 25-30 word career objective which focuses on the needs of the employers.

Once you are satisfied with your objective use it on your resume – it’s the first thing the interviewer will see and sets the tone for a positive interview.

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Resume Critique List

Before sending your resume, run it through a final critique using these questions.

  1. Does the overall appearance make an employer want to read it?
  2. Is the layout professional?
  3. Is the information organized so it is easy to read? (If the employer skims through it, would his/her eyes pick up the key points?)
  4. Is it well typed? (Do not mix print styles. Important titles should be underlined. Use bold and capital letters only when appropriate.
  5. Are all words spelled correctly? (Have your resume proofread by a valued colleague.)
  6. Is the writing clear? (Do not use jargon.)
  7. Do statements begin with action verbs and communicate accomplishments and results?
  8. Are verb tenses consistent? (Have your resume proofread by someone.)
  9. Is the employment objective Career Summary/Summary of Qualifications well written and clear? (Tailoring your resume to the job you are applying for increases your success rate.)
  10. Is the major discipline explained, in brief, if it is one that the employers may not understand?)
  11. Are employment experiences listed in reverse chronological order?
  12. Do your strengths stand out? It is easy to get a clear picture of your qualifications?
  13. Does your resume stress your accomplishments and skills more than responsibilities and duties?
  14. Does your resume sell your problem-solving abilities?
  15. Does your resume show volunteer work that might be relevant to the position sought?
  16. Did you account for all periods of time? (The employer will look for this.)
  17. Has irrelevant information been eliminated? Could your resume tell the same story if it were shortened?
  18. Can the same information be limited to one page?



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