Your resume is a critical part of the job search because it is often the one thing standing between you and an interview. Tailor your resume for each job you apply for, using your skills, experience, and education to show your qualifications for the position. Here are three basic sections to include on any resume.
Carefully read the job description for the position you’re applying for, and compare the qualifications required for the job to the skills you possess. For each of your skills that match a requirement of the job, list that skill in bullet point format under the skills summary section of your resume. For example, if the position requires typing 50 words per minute and you have that skill, include “Accurately types 50 words per minute.”
If you’ve acquired any skills from participating in activities outside of work, from volunteering for example, include those skills in this section. But make sure they’re relevant and relate to the job or are listed in the job description. For instance, if one of your hobbies is photography, and the job you’re applying for requires that skill, include it in your bulleted list. Creating this list will clearly show employers the skills you’ve acquired from previous employment as well as your interests and how they match the position’s requirements.
This section of a resume gives you the opportunity to show where and how you’ve gained experience. Whether in past jobs, volunteer work, or school, this section enables you to showcase your talents and how you worked to create successful outcomes in real-life situations. Make sure any information you include in this section is relevant and relates to the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a job that states multi-tasking as a requirement, and you previously worked as a customer service representative, you can write “Answered multiple phone-line system, handling 400 calls per day while greeting customers in person.”
If you’ve volunteered in the community and received valuable work experience, and your experiences match the job description, include this information on your resume. For instance, if you supervised a team or coordinated a fundraiser, listing these experiences will demonstrate that you have the ability and expertise to lead a group and orchestrate a project.
List the highest level of education you’ve completed, including the school you attended and type of degree you received, but leave off the date of your graduation. Including the date will clue in employers to how old you are, and can open the door to age discrimination. The year you graduated is irrelevant in the workforce, so it’s not necessary to include it.
If you started a degree program, but didn’t finish it, or are currently enrolled in a program, consider including that information on your resume in addition to the highest degree you’ve received. Depending on how much of the program you’ve completed, and your reasons for not finishing it, it may be beneficial to show employers that you’ve worked toward continuing your education. For example, if you attended college for a few years but were unable to finish due to financial reasons, you want to include your college information along with your high school degree. Your resume may state, “High school diploma – City, State,” and “State University – City, State, completed 2 years of undergraduate coursework.”
Also, if you’ve attended any vocational or technical classes, seminars, or conferences that relate to the job you’re applying for and would help you in your new position, list them in this section to show that you continually work to develop your education and skills.
Take the time to create a well-written resume, and include important, relevant information to help you land an interview. Relate your skills, experiences, and education to the position you’re applying for and your resume will stand out among competitors to potential employers.