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CAREER DEVELOPMENT: ResumÉ - What information To include

Personal Contact Information

Avoid nicknames! Include your formal name, correct mailing address and permanent mailing address (if different).  If you have two telephones (land-line and cell), be sure to provide both – including area code.  If it is a cell, indicate it as such.  List a telephone number at which you can be located during normal working hours.  Include your primary email address and Linkedin address with your contact details (keep it clean).

Summary of Qualifications - Skills and Abilities

The qualification section is a short, yet eye-catching paragraph at the very beginning of a resume in which you outline your qualifications for a specific job or field. This is the best way to describe your qualifications, if you have years of experience in your field. Think of this section as a showcase. Rather than scattering your key capacities throughout the resume body, in this paragraph you actually bring your best competencies “to the table”, convincing potential hiring managers to further read your resume. Therefore, each sentence should briefly showcase your skills, experience and achievements in the most creative way possible. Things you can list in your summary:

  • Highlights of relevant experience
  • Unique skills/qualities
  • Other languages you speak
  • Awards/Accomplishments in past jobs
  • Sales figures if you helped generate revenue in previous work
  • How many people you managed
  • Relevant classes or certifications you've achieved
  • Interests/Passions relevant to the job
  • Anything that shows you're absolutely qualified!

List your most recent school first.  If you have graduated from a college or a community college, you do not have to include your high school education.  Include schools attended, expected date of graduation, academic achievements, degrees and honors earned.  Include grade point average only if it is 3.0 or higher.  New graduates without a lot of work experience should list their education first.  Alumni or seasoned job seekers can list their education after the work experience section.

Work Experience

Include all work experiences: full or part-time, paid, volunteer or internship.  In reverse chronological order, the most recent being first, list the position you held, specific duties, place of employment, location, and dates of employment. 

One of the best ways to effectively phrase descriptions is to use active language and to use short phrases rather than full sentences.  Use updated key words! Different areas of specialization have different sets of keywords and terminologies.  Make sure you precisely incorporate these into your resume.   The description of the duties of each job should emphasize the tasks performed, indicating specialties learned, skills developed, scope of responsibility, organizational ability, communication skills, ingenuity and teamwork.  For instance, instead of writing “Ran cash register and front window, taking orders,” it would be better to write “Provided front-line customer service through orders, cash management, and various customer service issues.”  There are more words here, but it describes four different jobs: order taker, cash manager, customer service representative and damage controller (problem solver). Also include quantifiable accomplishments – don’t just say “Increased productivity,” say “Increased productivity by 45%.”  Don’t just say “Organized a conference,” say “Facilitated a training conference attended by 350 employees.”  Action verbs should be used to describe job duties.  Answer the question “What did I do?”

Review Old Entries in Your Resume

There are entries in your resume that may not be relevant anymore so you can remove those.  For example, outdated technical skills or even old jobs from a few decades ago need to be removed and replaced with newer and more relevant entries.  Also, do not go past 10 years of experience unless it is relevant for your targeted job.

Next: Resumé-writing tips