A resume is more than just a list of the jobs you’ve held. It’s your ticket to the career you’ve always dreamed of having. Double check the sections of your resume format against this checklist to ensure that you’ve included all the information you need to impress potential employers.
Contact Information and Summary Statement
It might seem like a given, but your resume format should always begin with your name and contact information. Think of this section as your introduction, and let the reader know your name and how to reach you by email and phone.
Keep your email address as professional as possible. It’s perfectly acceptable to use your personal cell phone number on your resume as well as your business phone. If you’re uncomfortable including your home street address on your resume, remember that this information is not necessarily required. Include the city and state in which you reside, however.
After your contact information, include a short paragraph summarizing how you can contribute to the organization. This section should be four to six lines in length. Remember that it does not have to be written in complete sentences. The key is to be as concise as possible.
Expertise and Skills
Add an expertise and skills section that includes applicable job-related skills in an easy-to-parse resume format. Use keywords in this section so that search engines will find your resume, and incorporate them naturally within the text to make it easier for employers to read. Consider using a table format with three to eight short phrases in each column.
The experience section is the place to list the jobs you’ve held and to explain any gaps in employment. It’s appropriate to include relevant volunteer work in this section. If you have a gap in employment history because of education or participation in armed forces, briefly list it here. Add more detail about education in the education section.
Consistency is key, so order this section chronologically. If you have previous work experience in other fields, only include experience that’s relevant to the job to which you’re applying. Use your best judgment when deciding if you should include a prior position or not.
Education and Certifications
The education section is placed in different places of your resume format depending on whether or not you have experience in your field. Recent graduates with no experience should include an education section in lieu of an experience section. In this case, list graduation dates, grade point averages and any involvement in relevant college organizations and internships.
If you have graduated and have some experience to list, incorporate your education section after your experience section. In this scenario, graduation dates are less important because your experience will speak to your abilities instead. It’s appropriate to leave out your GPA if you graduated years ago. Include ongoing or continuing education to show your dedication to developments in your field.
Regardless of where you place the education section, list all education and certifications in reverse chronological order from the most recent to the oldest obtained. If you are currently working toward a degree, certification or license, include the anticipated completion date.
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
Just like listing ongoing and continuing education, adding professional memberships and affiliations to your resume format shows your dedication to the industry. Include relevant groups and affiliations in this section. If you no longer belong to a relevant organization, leave it off the list unless you held a position of authority or leadership within the organization.
For more ideas to spruce up your resume, you may find the tips on LiveCareer useful.