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Resume Content

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Craft a Winning Resume

Sample Resume

Personal Information

Your name, address, phone number (including area code), and e-mail address (if applicable) should be displayed at the very top of the resume. This information should be easily accessible and readable. Avoid excessively small fonts for address and phone numbers. You want to make is as easy as possible for a prospective employer to contact you.

If your resume has multiple pages (discouraged), then your name should be displayed at the top of each page to avoid mix-ups.

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A career objective is not always necessary. If you choose to include an objective make sure it is focused and adds value to the resume. Since the objective will generally come at the beginning of the resume you want to make sure that it is serving a significant purpose. Remember that if a resume doesn't grab attention quickly, it will be cast aside like yesterday's news. Therefore, you should always position your most important information at the top of the page. If a weak objective is occupying the most valuable piece of real estate on your resume there is a real chance that the balance of your resume will never be reviewed.

An objective can add value if it is targeted, concise, and relevant to the position or industry you are pursuing. Sometimes, however, it is best to simply articulate you objective in a well written cover letter.

Work Experience

As a general rule, you should include all relevant work experience. To keep the resume manageable, however, you should consider limiting the employment history to your most recent three or four jobs or the most recent ten years of employment. Reaching twenty five years into your past is not likely to produce information that is relevant to the employment decision and will typically serve only to complicate your resume.

To the extent possible, your experience should be tailored to the position for which you are applying. This implies that you will take the time to highlight those elements of your experience that are most relevant and applicable to the position at hand. A little honest creativity will generally pay off handsomely. You want to frame your experience in the best possible light.

Most employers are accustomed to seeing experience listed chronologically. However there is nothing wrong with creating a functional resume which lists the most relevant experience first. Either way, it is important to include dates of employment. Employers will expect to see employment dates. Omitting dates of employment will raise a red flag in the mind of the employer and call into question your motives.

There is generally no need to include detailed contact or salary information for current or previous employers in your resume. You want to focus attention on your qualifications and basic experience. Leave the detail for the employment application.

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Education and Training

Formal education or training will usually improve your prospects - all other things being equal. If you have an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited University, this fact should be prominently stated. If your GPA was noteworthy or you have other academic accomplishments these should be included. However, it is not necessary to bring undo attention to a less than stellar GPA.

Any relevant certifications or training should also be fully documented and prominently showcased on your resume. Again, dates should be included.

Education and training can either be inserted before, or directly after the section on work experience. If you have recently graduated with a degree or a certificate from a training program, you may want to call attention to this fact by positioning the education section near the top of the resume.

If, on the other hand, your education and training is meager, distant, or not particularly relevant, you may want to highlight your experience first and then follow with education and training.

When documenting your education you should include the name of the degree or certificate granting institution or organization, the city and state where it is located, the date completed, and the degree or designation earned.

Be careful when listing dates on older educational experiences. While it is illegal for employers to engage in age discrimination, it does occur. You should not feel compelled to provide explicit age-indicating information in your resume.


As with education and training, the section on skills can be made more or less prominent through positioning on the resume. If you possess specialized skills that would be considered valuable to the position for which you are applying, you should advance this section to the top of the resume to make it more conscpicuous.


You should not include character references in the body of your resume. If you feel inclined to refer to them, you should consider including a statement at the bottom of your resume such as "References available on request."

You should certainly be prepared to provide references to prospective employers if they ask for them. However, this information should generally not be provided until the employment process has progressed significantly. Checking references will typically be one of the final steps in the employment process. Giving out privileged reference information indiscriminately is not a good idea.

Creating a Scannable Resume

Many employers are rapidly adopting new technology that makes it easier for them to sort through the large volume of resumes they receive. By scanning resumes into a system and then allowing an intelligent software program to perform a high level screening of these resumes, human resource personnel are able to focus more of their attention on those candidates that possess the desired qualifications.

The software can be programmed to look for the key attributes that are considered essential to success in the position. The software will then filter out all candidates that don't meet this predetermined set of minimum educational or experience requirements.

To increase the probability of making it through this initial screening process consider the following points:

1. The resume should be clean and free from excessive formatting. Avoid graphics, shading, italics or underlining - all of which can be misinterpreted by the computer. Use bolded or capitalized letters to call attention to text.

2. The resume font should be at least 10 points in size; an 11 or 12 point font is preferable.

3. Fonts should be simple and crisp - Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Palatino, and Verdana are all safe bets.

4. Don not staple or fold the resume. If it must be mailed, it should be sent unfolded in a large envelope.

5. Carefully evaluate the job requirements and then make sure that the keywords in your resume link specifically to these requirements. If you are responding to an ad, try to incorporate some of the key attritutes listed in the ad into your resume.

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