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How to Write Your Job Resume: Six Parts

As a former corporate admin certified in Project Management, I thought I'd share this excellent advice about the job search.


Elements of a Resume

A resume is a written list of your education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments. Applicants are asked to submit a resume and cover letter as part of the application process for a job.

A resume is a summary of experience included in a job application. Its main purpose is to get you a job interview.

During the current global health crisis, interviews are being done over the phone or virtually.

Even if an interview does not lend you a job, it is good to do in-person or phone interviews. Each new interview you make will help improve your speaking skills and make you more comfortable being interviewed.

A good resume shows your strong points and qualifications and improves your chances of getting an interview. It must be convincing, attention-grabbing, and free from typos and mistakes.

It is important to reflect work experience and education on a resume in a truthful and accurate manner.

CV or Resume?

Some people use the words CV and resume to mean the same thing. Are these two words interchangeable?

A resume shows competency, work history, accomplishments, awards etc. It is used for almost any job and is usually one page only.

CV is the abbreviation for Curriculum Vitae. It shows credentials, certifications, research, memberships etc. It is meant for academic, scientific, and medical jobs. It is usually detailed and several pages long.

Parts of a Resume

A resume has six parts. Job seekers use all six to market themselves to eventual employers. How well you market yourself is the degree to which your personal brand is attractive to prospective employers.

1. Heading: to be found at the top of your resume. It must show your name, address, phone number, and e-mail, and lets employers know the city where you live and how to get in touch with you.

You do not have to include your age, sex, race, religion, marital status, or health. Only people applying for jobs such as modeling will have to include their physical attributes.

2. Objective: tells the prospective employer what you want. Be clear and specific, but not too specific. If you are flexible in the nature of position you want, be vague.

If you are sending your resume for a specific job, name the position you are applying for in this section.

3. Education: students with little work experience should include the Education section next on their resumes.

People who have no education can put the work experience section after the objective. Real world experience is a considered an advantage.

If you graduated from college, list the name of the college, the city, the month and year of graduation, your degree, and your major and/or minor areas of study. List also any special programs during college that add to your education such as training sessions, and/or conferences or workshops.

List your highest degree first, then your next highest degree and so on.

4. Work experience: convince prospective employers that you were an asset to past employers.

List the companies you worked for, their location, your position, the length of time you worked there, and what you achieved in that position.

Include any periods of employment of six months or more. Large gaps in your work experience will put a potential employer on guard.

If you have a big gap in your work experience and you were doing something acceptable during that time such as raising children, list it on your resume. This is considered experience and transferable skills.

You only need to list your past three or four employers on your resume. If you want to include a relevant position that you held years ago, use a functional resume.

Tell how well you did in the position you had under each employer, instead of just saying what you did. Use active verbs such as achieved, budgeted, examined, produced, led, improved, motivated, negotiated, operated, etc.

List your accomplishments first under each employer in the Work Experience section of your resume, then list your most important responsibilities. Keep it to 2-3 bullet points for each employer.

5. Special skills and/or extracurricular activities: highlight training that applies to employment that will distinguish you from other candidates.

If you have extensive computer experience, add a Computer Skills heading. If you received awards, add an Honors and Awards section.

6. References: This is a statement that validates your qualifications for employment. References are normally given by past employers.

Only new graduates include the sentence 'References Available Upon Request' at the end of their resume. As a new graduate, you can get a reference from a professor or a supervisor if you worked as an intern or volunteer.

Experienced employees do not need to include a mention of their references as it's obvious from their work or career section in the resume that they can provide references.

Never put the names of your references on your resume. Get permission from the people who can provide you with a reference before you name them to prospective employers. If they agree to be a reference for you, find out if you can get a written reference letter from them.

How to Write Your Job Resume: Self Assessment

  • How to Write Your Job Resume: Self Assessment
    Self-assessment makes you become aware of your talents and skills, of what makes you unique. You want potential employers to notice you as one of the best candidates for the job. This is what will encourage them to invite you for an interview.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Liliane Najm (author) from Toronto, Canada on July 10, 2020:

I’m glad you found the article good.