Your résumé has only a few seconds to impress — or to end up in the trash. A strong résumé needs a solid foundation. Start with these basics:
Contact Information: List your contact information at the top of the résumé for quick and easy identification. Include your full name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address.
Objectives: The objectives section gives recruiters an immediate sense of who you are and what you’re looking for, without forcing them to wade through the entire résumé. If you include an objective, stress what you’ll add to the company, not what you’re looking to take away.
Experience: List your relevant experience chronologically, with your most recent job first. If your latest experience wasn’t the most impressive, arrange your list by importance. Include the company name, location, your title and dates of employment. Also, give a brief description of your roles and accomplishments.
Education: List your most recent education first and work backward. State your degree, major, minor, dates of attendance, and the school’s name and location. You may also want to add your GPA (if 3.0 or higher).
Keep these additional tips in mind:
- Value: Emphasize your most important responsibilities even if they weren’t your primary duties.
- Active Voice: “I planned an event,” creates a stronger impression than “An event was planned by me.”
- Results: Impress employers with cause-effect relationships and results. For example, “I increased productivity in my department 20 percent” and “supervised a three-person staff.”
- Attitude: Paint yourself as a “go-getter” with strong verbs like “proposed,” “launched” and “managed.”
- Skills: Mention your technical and computer skills. List word processing programs, software programs, and operating equipment you’ve used. Include certifications that you have. Don’t forget “soft skills” like second languages and public speaking.
- Professional Memberships: Always include memberships in professional organizations. This shows that you’re serious about your skills.
- Interests: Mentioning your activities and hobbies can portray you as a well-rounded person, but it can raise eyebrows, too. (You should probably keep your passion for professional wrestling to yourself.)
- References: Don’t waste valuable space on references. Employers assume you’ll provide them upon request.
With some self-evaluation, careful organization, and savvy choice of words, your résumé will rise to the top of the pile on any recruiter’s desktop.