Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What Belongs on your Resume?

There are essentially five questions that your resume should answer for your potential employer. These questions make up the aspects of what you need to include on the resume. Check back later in the week for a list of what does not belong on the resume. Here are the key areas that your resume should highlight.

What are you seeking?
This question typically used to be answered using the objective. However, the use of an objective is often done poorly. Using a vague objective such as “seeking a challenging position that offers growth opportunity” is ineffective. If using an objective, ensure it is focused and targeted to a specific position or company. The most effective way to convey your objective is to use a clearly stated and focused summary of skills or profile section at the beginning of the resume.

What can you do?
Your resume must convey what skills and abilities you possess. Utilize past accomplishments to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Instead of offering a “laundry list” of your skills, use a fact-based and example-driven method of proving you have the skills to succeed.

What experience do you have?
It is critical to offer a chronological work history that includes dates. Avoid functional resumes that focus on skills and do not include dates. When communicating your past work experience, it is important to discuss only relevant skills. If you have limited experience, or no formal work experience, you can list volunteer work, extracurricular activities, clubs, memberships, or any offices held.

What have you accomplished?
Each position you have listed on your resume should contain at least two to three accomplishments. Focus on measurable accomplishments whenever possible that highlight dollars, percentage, or hours. Use a three step formula when writing accomplishments that defines the problem faced or task accomplished, details the actions taken, and states the end result of your actions.

What education or training have you received?
List degrees completed, degrees in progress, and even courses towards degrees when citing your education. Evaluate training courses you have taken and identify the training that is most relevant to the job or career you are seeking.

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