Resume Structure

As I promised, I will dedicate my attention to the structure of a resume. There is a number of things treated as “must-haves”. The tricky thing is that you need to know how to arrange resume sections in the most beneficial for you order. While such information as your marital status or tastes in food can be ignored, there is no way to skip the next points…

1. Contact Information or Header

In modern business world, the best way to begin your resume is by adding contact information into the head. Highlight your name and last name in a title. Add an e-mail, address and cell phone just below the name. Add at least two contact phones. I.e., cell and stationary. You get more chances to be reached. It drives most HR managers mad hearing “The subscriber is not available at the moment”. It would also be  useful to specify the job title in the heading. Any large company usually has several vacancies at the same time, so by mentioning the position from the very beginning, you will save a plenty of time for its HR manager.

2. Goals/Objectives

Call it whatever you like, but your introduction should be represented by your primary objective. From these first few sentences, an employer must see your desire and passion to work exactly for this company. Specify the position you’re applying for and show your keen interest by stating at least one meaningful fact about the enterprise. It has to be related to your position. I.e., “Wants to apply for the post of the state journalist in “Vogue”. Among all fashion issues, this print edition looks the most attractive one as far as it covers such topics as the history of fashion, all latest trends, famous people, market products, innovative daycare services, and more.

Strives to gain new career opportunities in the area of fashion journalism, as well as improve designer skills”. It’s not the place for you to start listing the skills or individual features. A clear indication of the objectives is one of the elements of perfect systematization. No more than three clear sentences have to be included. Make your employer read the entire resume up to the end by involving him with your goal. Only by showing your sincere interest in the company, you make its personnel interested in you.

3. Areas of Expertise

It’s a random section. In most cases, people include it in their Skills list or the introduction (goals). However, it would be more convenient for the HR to see the areas of your expertise from the first glance. Thus, he or she can suggest you several positions you might fit in. Specifying the areas of expertise gives a broader picture of you as an expert. To go on with the example above, let’s pretend we added this point: “Journalism/Copywriting/Content Writing/SMM.” By mentioning all of your abilities in one short sentence, you automatically increase chances to win a day. Of course, there is no need in this category if your areas of expertise consist of only one point.

4. Professional Skills

Not only professional skills should be stated so far. Don’t forget about two other categories: technical and personal. Professional skills have to do with everything related directly to your position responsibilities. For instance, it is critical for an office manager to point to his organizational abilities, general office equipment awareness (printer, PC, fax, scanner), high typing speed, correspondence and queries handling, managing budgets and accounts, keeping various records, etc. When it comes to technical or additional skills, mentioning particular software, programs, tools, and languages would be a clue. Finally, personal features.

Many may argue if this section has to be included at all. In fact, most of the employers simply skip this one or start laughing out loud after reading series of empty adjectives like “hard-working, enthusiastic, smart, tolerant,…” Don’t overload this category – and you may leave it. Highlight only valuable features like “punctual, creative, extrovert/introvert, flexible” which will give a hint of whether you are capable of working in the defined environment.

5. Work Experience or Employment History

That’s a tricky one. People often get stuck with what should come up first: education or employment? Well, it depends on a range of factors. It is easy to make a decision for Entry Level candidates: they don’t possess any experience yet. But what should the rest do? In fact, it’s a duck soup. Put educational section first if it relates to your desired position more than workplaces altogether. When you can boast a solid work background (previous places of work are big and powerful brand names, your achievements were amazing, your career growth was impressive), choose this section to go first without any doubts.

On the whole, this is probably the most critical section of the resume that has to be paid with the special attention. List the places of your work and completed projects in a reverse chronological order. It means that on the top of your list, you should put the last employment. Your very first job should be placed in the bottom. Don’t forget to put a company’s name in front of your position. I would also recommend specifying its industry in one short phrase. The most formal organizations require absolute accuracy like up to a month indication. Put the start and end dates directly under each job title. When some of the dates are not specified, be ready to face a series of tricky questions during the interview. You may be asked about the reasons for leaving previous workplace and, what’s worth, local working conditions and attitudes.

In addition, short descriptions (no more than 100 words) should follow each job title. They must consist of your responsibilities and achievements. You may stress some basic projects and go deeper into the details. But only if they are related to the position you’re applying for. This section gives an overall picture of your role in the workflow. You may even include the way people used to treat you by adding up recommendations directly to Work Experience.

To impress your potential employer more, support this information by numbers. Psychologists believe that significant amounts of money and percentiles always work. For instance, if your previous job was a Marketing Specialist, you ought to describe the results in figures: increased sales or reduced costs. Think of yourself: do you trust articles and TV shows proposing valuable arguments ad facts to support their ideas or a girl-next-door with no evidence in her words? It’s not enough to list all of your achievements. Be ready that you will be asked to present at least one meaningful project or a portfolio of your best works. These data can be considered your competitive advantage, proof of your professionalism.

Some experts recommend to include the summary of reasons for your dismissal, but it would be better if you clarify this subject directly in the interview. What for should you start with something sad? Even if it was not your fault, it’s better to focus on your future jab than on your past. Often, a personal contact with the interviewer makes it easier to explain the motives.

6. Educational Qualifications, or Education

In this section, you need to specify only higher educational institutions like colleges or universities you used to attend. It is desirable that you have graduated from at least one of them, but incomplete higher education also counts. If you are still a student, you can apply for a part-time, seasonal, distant, or project job. In this situation, your Education is the most important category. Insert the dates of enrollment. If you’re in progress, mention the expected graduation date, so that the employer will know when you’re able to become a part of the team on a full-time basis. To enrich your resume and compensate the lack of employment history, name the courses you have taken, specify all the trainings you have passed, or you’re currently involved in. Each of the points must be somehow connected with your position.

For each seminar or extra course, specify the start and end dates as well. Also, put the full names of your diplomas and awards (if any). Don’t be afraid that the resume might look very tiny. You can always describe one of the courses or skills more deeply. Highlight the qualifications like degrees acquired. Attach the copies of all educational documents to your portfolio. It is especially useful while doing a CV. If you graduated with relatively high GPA and honors, put this information on the top, next to your Objectives and Skills section. On the whole, you should include everything outstanding about your personality there. School should not be specified unless it is the only educational institution you have graduated from. Perhaps, you were visiting a specialized, prestigious primary/high school. If you believe it is worth of mentioning, do it.

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