Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Here are some building blocks for your resume.

·         Personal Information: Full name, address, phone number and e-mail address should appear as header on the resume.

·         Career Summary: A statement of career summary should follow the personal information. This is just one or two sentences that state what you can do and how you can help your employer. You should write your career summary before you prepare the rest of your resume. This will help you to decide what should be highlighted on your resume. Do not use general statements such as “seeking a challenging opportunity with a growing company”. Such general statements are red flags that may cause recruiters to discard your resume. Your career summary should be related to the job for which you are submitting your resume. This is the first information on your resume following your name and address, and you need to make it highly effective.

·         Accomplishments: A good description of your achievements will make your resume stand out in the big stack of resumes recruiters review every day. You should translate your achievements in monetary terms whenever possible. For example, if you are in sales, you should state how much revenue you were able to bring to your company. If you are in operations, you can state how much money you were able to save for your employer. By stating several achievements that helped your previous employers to make or save money, you increase your chances of being invited for employment interviews.

·         Unique Strengths: You should think about your unique strengths and personal qualities, and develop a one sentence statement that describes the benefits you offer to prospective employers. This statement should be highlighted in your resume and cover letters.

·         Keywords:  Many companies now use keyword software to electronically scan resumes. That means you should make your resume scanner friendly by incorporating relevant keywords in your resume. To find the relevant keywords, you should study job postings for the positions of your interest. It is probable that the keywords in these postings are what the prospective employers will search for. Use those keywords that apply to the skills you possess. Sometimes, good candidates are overlooked because keywords in the job posting were not included in the resume. Job postings are often a great place to identify the keywords that are important to a particular employer. Before sending your resume and cover letter for a particular job, compare them against posting for that job to make sure the keywords in the job posting are used in your application materials.

·         Education and Training: You should state in reverse chronological order the names of educational institutions, dates attended, major subjects, and degrees received. Include any special training.

·         Academic Awards and Honors: Any awards, scholarships, honors, and special recognition you received as a student should be included here. Include any offices you held as a student and your contributions to sports, student publications, and other extra-curricular activities. This section is important for entry level positions.

·         Work Experience: Start with your current or most recent position and include prior work experience and accomplishments. Work experience should focus on the most recent jobs and describe the older jobs in lesser detail. You should include your position title, employer’s name, location, and the employment dates. The order in which you want to present the job titles or company names depends on whether you want to emphasize the names of companies you worked for, or the positions you held. In addition to full time positions, you should feel free to include part-time jobs and voluntary work. Focus on the skills you developed and your achievements in each assignment.

·         Skills: This section may contain information such as computer knowledge and languages spoken. Familiarity with computer systems and programs is essential for most jobs today. You should plan to acquire these skills and remember to include them in your resume. Knowledge of foreign languages is very important in today’s global economy. State the degree of your proficiency in reading, writing and speaking of any foreign language.

·         Country Specific Information: While it is a common practice in some countries to include date of birth and marital status, such information should not be included on a resume in the United States. It is illegal in the U.S. to discriminate in an employment decision based upon an applicant’s age, sex, race, national origin, ethnic group, religion, or a physical disability. It is important to research local customs if you are applying for a job in another country.

·         Awards and Commendations: If you have received awards or commendations from senior management of previous employers, be sure to include that information on your resume.

·         References: You should not include names of your references on the resume. You may include a general statement saying “References available upon request”

Resume should not be longer than two pages. A one page resume is quite appropriate for recent college graduates and to apply for entry level positions. On the other hand, persons with experience usually go to two pages. You should not staple a two-page resume. That makes it harder for the recipient to scan the resume or make photocopies. Remember to include your name and Page 2 on top of the second page of your resume.