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Introducing the world’s smartest resume builder. Choose from thousands of industry-specific bullet points and write a professional application in minutes. It’s free!
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Our state-of-the-art online resume maker software makes writing one completely stress free and faster than ever before. Read why you should try our resume builder today.
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Learn about the experts, career gurus, and software wizards at RG. See why our resume builder is the best of its kind of the web.
Need inspiration? Our samples give perfect guidelines for you to follow to make the best application for your industry. Use our writing guides to land more interviews, faster.
We have several HR-approved template styles that are good for all types of employment seekers. We’ve separated them out into different categories to help you choose faster. They are free to download.
These templates are minimalist, yet highly effective. If you want to play it safe with a battle-tested template, this choice is for you. These templates are straight from our resume builder.
Career Objective Templates
Hiring managers love to see the critical information they’re looking for at the top of your resume. Use these templates to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward right away.
Professional Profile Templates
The professional profile introduction is rapidly becoming a favorite of hiring managers. Browse our professional profile template library and find one that suits your taste.
How to Write a Resume
Don’t know the basics? Learn from this comprehensive guide. Leave questions in the comments and we’ll respond within a day.
Resume Fonts, Margins, & Paper Selection Guidelines
Your template’s looks shouldn’t be important, but it is. Learn how to make a beautiful template that will leave hiring managers saying, “wow!”
Downloadable Cover Letter Examples
Browse through our library of industry-specific cover letter samples. Get inspiration on how to create a cover letter that fits your career path. Download the ones you like and simply add your own information.
How to Write Your Cover Letter
Use our cover letter writing guide to learn how to format it for applicant tracking systems. Don’t forget to download our cover letter checklist to discover what you might be missing.
Cover Letter Builder
Create a convincing cover letter in minutes with our state of the art software. Our builder knows exactly which template you need to use based off of your work and personal life situation, then you just fill in the blanks.
How to Write a Thank You Note
Writing an artful thank you note can help you make a lasting impression, or even help you recover from a bad interview. Learn our best tips and tricks inside.
The Longest Action Verb List in the Universe
Action verbs give your resume “oomph.” Use our ‘longest action verb list in history’ to give yourself a boost.
Resignation Letter Samples & Templates
Browse our database of free resignation letter sample and templates. To write the best resignation letter possible, customize our templates, or use our tips to write your own.
Common Interview Questions & Answers
Just how should you answer those confounding interview questions? We constantly update this list of common interview questions and answers to ensure you’re as prepared as possible.
How to Write a Resume
By Resume Genius
Let’s face it. Writing a resume is a daunting task. While the resources providing writing tips are many, few actually provide a step by step process on how to write one. However if you want to write it on your own, we commend your courage and are here to guide you through the process.
Free downloadable resume templates, HR-approved.
Resume samples and guides written by professionals.
Learn which resume format you should use.
Browse through our cover letter examples
Table of Contents
First, let’s review what a resume isn’t.
Think of your resume this way: It’s an advertisement, and YOU are the product. Your goal is to get hiring managers to buy into what you’re selling – which means giving you an interview. To accomplish that, you need to see it as your marketing tool, your trusty belt buckle of tricks. Without it you are powerless. However, simply having a one isn’t enough to get you an interview.
When you finish with your resume, don’t forget to write a matching cover letter. Download one of our cover letter templates and get started.
Think about it — everyone has advertisements. Why should anyone buy into yours? Hiring managers have the difficult task of wading through the ads to find the right fit for their company.
Much like the flashing neon signs along the Vegas Strip, hiring managers are attracted to well-formatted resumes with attention-grabbing details. Studies show that, “8 out of 10 resumes are discarded with only a 10 second glance.” So in order stand out from the crowd it’s important that yours markets your skills in a way that demonstrates that you can successfully perform the duties of the job.
“A guiding principle of the résumé writing profession is that there are no hard and fast rules.”
To help you do this, we’ve written easy-to-follow steps on how to write a resume. Before we get into the steps it should be noted that there is no certified way to write one. There are some who insist otherwise, but even certified professional resume writers will admit that, “a guiding principle of the résumé writing profession is that there are no hard and fast rules.” With that being said, below are some tips and guidelines to help you write one that best presents your career goals.
Step 1: Choose From 3 Formats
So you are staring at a blank page on your computer wondering, “Where do I start?” Hundreds ask this same question every day and the reason is most likely due to the fact that there is no standard rule for formatting a resume.
Your formatting decision comes down to 3 choices: Reverse-Chronological, Functional, and Combination. Each format has their own advantages and disadvantages. Below, you will find which one is best for you.
This is the more traditional format and is what you are most likely to come across. Chronological format is flexible and can be used for applicants with any level of experience.
I should use if:
- I want to show a vertical career progression.
- I want to apply to a job in a similar field.
- I want to promote my upward career mobility
I shouldn’t use if:
- I have major gaps in my employment history.
- I am changing my career path.
- I change jobs every few months.
While chronological places emphasis on career progression, a functional format focuses on your abilities and skills. Since it heavily emphasizes the applicant’s qualifications, functional format is more suitable for those with an expert level of experience.
I should use if:
- I have gaps in my employment history.
- I am changing my career industry.
- I want to highlight a specific skill set.
I shouldn’t use if:
- I want to highlight my upward career mobility.
- I am an entry level candidate that lacks experience.
- I lack transferable skills
As you can probably guess the combination format merges bits and pieces from both chronological and functional formats. Like the functional format, it focuses on specific qualifications, yet the body of the document contains professional experience similar to chronological format. This format is generally reserved for those with a great deal of experience in a particular industry.
I should use if:
- I want to highlight a developed skill set within a specific career.
- I want to change my career path.
- I am a master of the subject I am applying to.
I shouldn’t use if:
- I want to highlight my education.
- I lack experience.
- I am an entry level candidate.
If you are still not sure what format is best for you, then check out our in-depth resume format guide.
Step 2: The Order of Information
Before delving into what information you should add, it’s important to remember that the information you include will largely depend on the format you choose. With that being said, below is a general guide to what information you should add and the order in which you should add it.
I. Contact Information
The contact information section is pretty self-explanatory. This section does not require a label (Contact Information or Contact Details). When listing your contact details you should follow this order:
- Name (largest font on page, middle initial is optional)
- Mailing Address
- Telephone Number (Check that you have an appropriate voicemail message)
- Email Address (make sure it’s appropriate, don’t use your firstname.lastname@example.org account.)
- Link to online portfolio (optional, ensure it is relevant to the position)
- LinkedIn Profile
Here are 3 different examples of how you can format your contact information section (pay attention to the yellow highlights):
Also, be careful not to accidentally add the contact information in the header as applicant tracking systems may not be able to read it.
II. Choose a Resume Introduction
Like formats, job seekers have 3 choices for their resume introduction: a qualifications summary, career objective, and professional profile. The goal of all three are to gain the attention of an employer by highlighting your skills and experience that will help their company. However, the method through which each introduction achieves this goal differs. See below:
With regards to format, the qualifications summary is a bullet point list (ranging from 4 to 6 points) of your most outstanding career achievements. Avoid using generic statements and try to list your skills in a way reflects your unique voice.
I should use if:
- I am applying to a job that requires a rigid set of abilities.
- I have a wealth of experience in the industry.
- I possess multiple skill sets.
I shouldn’t use if:
- I lack experience.
- I am an entry level candidate that lacks specific skill sets.
- I lack measurable achievements.
A resume objective, also referred to as a career objective, is a 2-3 sentence statement that provides an overview of your skills and experience. This resume introduction is best for entry-level candidates.
I should use if:
- I am an entry-level applicant.
- I do not have in-depth experience in the industry.
- I am a recent college graduate.
I shouldn’t use if:
- I have a wealth of industry-specific skill sets.
- I am changing career paths.
- I am writing a cover letter.
The professional profile is a combination of both the career objective and qualifications summary. It is also the most flexible of the three styles as it can be formatted as short paragraph of bullet-point list.
I should use if:
- I have had major achievement in my past experience
- I am applying to a position in the same industry
- I have a special area of expertise in my field
I shouldn’t use if:
- I am an entry-level applicant
- I am recent college graduate
- I lack measurable of accomplishments
Finally, when deciding what skills to add to either of the two, try to target skills specific to the job you are applying for. Don’t just simply copy and paste skills right out of the job description, but instead try to use words common in the industry.
III. Professional Experience
The section is the core of your resume, where you are tasked with proving the skills you have listed in the qualifications summary or career objective. When it comes to labeling this section some use “Relevant Experience,” or “Work Experience” as an alternative to “Professional Experience.”
Remember to list your work experiences in reverse chronological order and only list experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. For each company create a heading including the company’s name, city & state, your title, and the dates of employment (month and year). If you are still currently working at a company, you can simply write “month, year-Present” for the employment dates.
A general rule is that each experience have around 3-5 bullet points of your main duties and achievements.
3 Parts of a strong bullet point:
- 1 st : Action Verb (should always be first)
- 2 nd : Quantifiable Point
- 3 rd : Specific and relevant job duty
Trained 5+ cashiers , managing their cash limits and guaranteeing quality customer service at all times.
Example #2:(Note that the Quantifiable Point does not need to come immediately after the action verb)
Spearheaded the development of the first media kit amalgamation for all company projects , increasing national sales by 8%.
The above bullet points are great examples because they use action verbs to help to snatch the attention of hiring managers. Here is an endless list of action verbs to help get some inspiration. When writing your past experiences don’t forget to write your action verbs in past tense.
Adding a quantifiable or measurable point to each experience will give the hiring manager confidence in your abilities.In addition each of your job duties should be specific and listed by decreasing importance.
Having a solid education section helps to display the foundation of your knowledge and expertise. Depending on your professional experience, you may want to consider switching the order of the professional experience and education sections.
For instance, college or high school students that lack seasoned professional experience benefit from emphasizing their education by placing it before the professional experience section. In addition, if you possess a wealth of professional experience then it is appropriate to keep this section short and sweet.
Here are the main points to include in your education section:
- The names of your university, community college, or technical school(Don’t include high school unless you did not attend college)
- Location of the schools (city, state)
- Date of graduation (month, year)
- GPA (only include if your GPA is above 3.0, round up to the first decimal place , and use this format: GPA: 3.5/4.0)
Here are three examples of how you can format an education section (pay attention to the yellow highlighted areas):
Education Sample 1- High School Graduate
Education Sample 2- Community College
Education Sample 3- University Graduate
How to Make a Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide (+30 Examples)
- 821 Shares,
For most people, writing a good resume is tough, and it takes time. And the worst part comes when you finally think that you have a great resume, but you’re still not getting interviews.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could figure out how to make a resume that would get you an interview almost EVERY time you applied for a job?
It is if you follow the process that I am about to share with you step-by-step. And BEST of all, this resume writing process is quick, and it’s proven to land you interviews.
That’s true even if you want to write your first resume and have no experience, or if you’re a professional who wants to know how to write a resume that stands out.
Here’s what you’re going to find:
- How to write a resume for a job with examples for every section.
- Quick but little-known tips to follow to get up to 10x MORE INTERVIEWS.
- Answers to all of your questions about how to make the best resume for a job.
- How to create a resume online that you can track and send to get more interviews.
- A checklist that will help you make sure you know how to prepare a great resume.
Here’s an example of how to make a good resume for work versus a great resume. What’s the difference? Is it the way it looks?
Not only. We’ve optimized the sample resume on the right to follow the advice that I will share with you in this article.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume. See +20 resume templates and create your resume here.
This is what you need to do, to write a resume that gets you the job:
Decide Whether You Need a Resume or a CV
Hello, blank page. Now, what?
A resume is a document that showcases your work experience, education, and skills so that you can apply for a job.
What’s the difference between a resume and a CV?
Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a Latin phrase meaning “course of life” and is a document that entails much more than a resume. Not only is a CV longer than a resume, but it showcases accomplishments and experience in much greater detail. It’s the ideal document for academics.
If you know for a fact you need to write an academic CV, head on over to our dedicated guide: Academic CV: Example, Template & Writing Guide
And finally, if you’re a student applying for a scholarship, you might need a scholarship resume. Write one that gets you the funding with help from this guide: Scholarship Resume (Template & Complete Guide 20+ Examples)
Want a quick way to make sure your resume will hook every recruiter and get you that interview? Get our free checklist and learn what makes a job-winning resume: 46 Things You Need To Do Before You Send Your Resume.
Once you know if you should write a CV or resume, it’s time to choose the right format.
Choose the Right Resume Format to Stand Out
What does a resume look like?
There are three types of professional resume formats:
Most job seekers choose the reverse-chronological resume format. Here’s what a sample resume looks like written in the reverse-chronological format:
How To Write A Resume Summary: 21 Best Examples You Will See
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What is the best way to start a resume?
The Ladder’s research found that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at your resume! Yeah, you read that right.
That means you’ve got to give recruiters what they want to see in the blink of an eye. But how?
A little something called a resume summary. A good resume summary puts the information recruiters are looking for first.
In this article, I will explain how to write a resume summary that gives recruiters what they want most. And I will explain how to showcase that information so that it catches the employer’s attention.
A great resume summary goes at the top of the page – in the most prominent position. Use it to attract recruiters’ attention. Here is a template from our resume builder (create your resume).
See how the resume summary sample stands out?
What Is a Resume Summary
A resume summary is a short, snappy introduction highlighting your career progress and skill set.
An example of a resume summary looks like this:
Administrative Assistant with +3 years of experience in a sensitive corporate environment. Outgoing and detail-oriented, I am proficient at building and maintaining professional relationships. Have an Associate’s Degree in Office Administration.
Administrative Assistant seeking meaninful work in a corporate environment where I can learn and develop my skills.
A resume summary is also known as:
Think of it as an “elevator pitch” or “sales pitch” that you can use anytime someone says:
Want to make sure your resume summary will hook every recruiter and get you that interview?
Get our free ebook and see samples of job-winning resume summaries that match real job posts: Resume Summary Examples for Every Profession.
Resume Summary vs. Objective: What’s the Difference?
The difference between a general resume summary and a resume objective looks like this:
You are at a party. Let’s call you Robert.
Your wingman approaches the girl you like.
Resume Objective Wingman says:
Robert likes girls and wants to leverage his skills to marry one.
Resume Summary Wingman says:
Boyfriend Material experienced at laying coats over mud puddles, opening doors, and pulling out chairs. Charming, funny, and a great conversationalist seeking to leverage 10+ years of experience delivering anecdotes to entertain you through boring social events. Has an MA in hand holding and a license to cook romantic dinners.
Which wingman is going to get Robert the girl?
The resume objective was acceptable a long time ago when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
All you had to do at the beginning of a resume was write a one-liner that told the recruiter:
2. That you want the job.
Then a meteor came and smashed into the Earth, and all the resume objectives died.
Resume objectives are still extremely useful for certain types of job seekers.
So, Who Should Use a Professional Resume Summary?
Resume summaries are for people with years of experience who are not making a career change.
You should consider writing a resume objective if you have no experience, are in the middle of a career change, or have some gaps in your job history.
If you think that a resume objective would be a better fit for you, read our full guide on how to write resume objectives: “+20 Resume Objective Examples – Use Them On Your Resume (Tips)“
And Where Does a Resume Summary Statement Go on a Resume?
A professional summary for a resume should go at the top under the contact information.
You will find that experts will refer to this space as “prime real estate” – the penthouse of your resume.
Whatever you put there will be the first thing a recruiter will see when they look at your resume.
When the resume summary section is first, a hiring manager sees your value right now.
So, don’t waste the space.
How Long Should a Career Summary on a Resume Be?
Depending on who you ask, you will be told that a good example of a resume summary is anywhere from three to six sentences.
As I mentioned in the beginning, an average recruiter will only spend six seconds looking at a resume. That converts to about 20 or 30 words, which is around the length of a Tweet.
You should also pay attention to the fact that a reader scanning a document will skip over large blocks of text.
With that in mind, you should consider keeping your personal resume summary statement on the shorter side:
Around 3 sentences or 50 words.
But, how do you come up with a great professional summary?
We’ll show you in a moment, but here’s some good news—
Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume summary section. Or any section for that matter. You can copy the examples to your resume, customize, and save a lot of time.
Inside our resume builder, you will find expert tips and examples for your resume summary.
How to Write a Resume Summary in 7 Easy Steps
1. How to Start a Summary With a Few of Your Best Accomplishments
When you start writing a professional summary for a resume, it is best to sit down for a moment and think back over the long span of your career.
- What are my brightest moments?
- What am I proud of achieving?
- What do I love most about what I do?
- What do I do best?
Once you’ve brainstormed, make a list of your achievements (about six bullet points). This is your master list.
Here is what it would look like if you were, for example, Indiana Jones:
Indy’s Master List of Accomplishments and Top Skills
- Found the Ark of the Covenant.
- Found the Sankara Stones.
- Found the Holy Grail.
- Effectively able to dispatch Nazi bad guys.
- Proficient in the use of a bullwhip.
- Able to fly planes, ride horses, and commandeer motorcycles.
Keep in mind that these are the brightest moments and can come from any point in your career.
Now make a quick list of your top transferable skills. Transferable skills are skills that you can use in any job. For example, being able to write or being able to speak fluent Spanish.
- Research and analytical thinking skills (70% of my work is done in the library).
- Excellent cultural sensitivity.
- Able to work in a high-stress, fast-paced environment.
- Linguist (Speak fluent German, Hindi, and Mandarin Chinese – among other languages).
Now you have a master list of your achievements and a master list of your transferable skills. Set these aside for a moment. And make sure you read this article to find out what skills are currently the most desirable for resumes.
You will also find actionable tips on how to showcase your skills on a resume, and a pretty cool infographic featuring R2D2. What does R2D2 have to do with resume skills? Find out here.
2. Scan the Job Post – Find out What the Employer Needs
Keywords are the particular skills or qualities an employer lists in a job post. Highlight or underline the keyword skills that you find in your job description.
- Who are they looking for?
- What value do they want an employee to provide?
- What extra skills or qualities not listed would add unexpected value?
Indy’s Job Description – Cocktail Server
3. Research the Job – Find Out What is Valuable
Find a few similar job posts. Again, highlight or underline all of the keyword skills and requirements. Compare the new keywords to those in your job description.
Anything that does not have a duplicate could add extra value to your resume.
Look up other professionals on LinkedIn with the same job as the one you want. Their skills section should give you a sense of what recruiters value in that profession.
4. Tailor Your List – Make Your Skills List a Recruiter’s Wish List
- Which of my skills and accomplishments match those listed in the job description?
- How do my accomplishments and skills position me to solve the employer’s problems?
- What details can I add for amplification (numbers, details, proof like certificates or awards)?
5. Start With Your Title to Define Yourself Out of the Gate
Starting a professional summary for a resume with your professional title allows a recruiter to know right away that your resume is relevant.
Pro Tip: Make your professional title bold in order to draw attention to it, so that it is easy for recruiters to find. You will also want to add the number of years you worked in that position.
Sassy Marketing Manager with 5+ years of experience.
6. Focus on Specific Results to Prove and Demonstrate Value
Now it’s time to go back to your master list.
Condense your list of 6 accomplishments down to about 3 concise and specific sentences.
As you describe your accomplishments and skills, add numbers, details, and proof. Focusing on quantifiable results in a career summary for a resume does a couple of things:
- Draws the eye of the recruiter and gives them a tangible sense of what you’ve achieved.
- Provides proof that your claims are more than just hot air.
- Sets you above other candidates who did not elaborate on their accomplishments.
- Helps the recruiter imagine you achieving the same results for them.
Indy’s Professional Resume Summary Sample
Cocktail Waiter Improved collection of tickets onboard German zeppelin by 100%. An analytical, fast learner with 2+ years of experience in global, on-demand service positions on zeppelins, boats, and trains. Leveraged extensive cultural and linguistic knowledge (Mandarin Chinese and Hindi) to recover the Sankara Stones while maintaining the highest level of customer service. Able to endure exposure to elements such as lava and snake pits, and able to physically outmaneuver such obstacles as giant boulders in boobytrapped tombs.
- Guest Services, Sales, and People Skills
- Able to Learn and Master New Information
- Basic Math
- Extensive Physical Activity
- Exposure to Elements
As you can see, Indy starts his sample resume summary statement by opening with the title of the job (one of his professional titles) and a headline. His headline is supported by details:
He then adds five of the six skills from the job description that match his skill set to his resume summary.
He also adds details to amplify the information:
“Linguistic knowledge” is amplified by “Mandarin Chinese and Hindi,” which also covers the “Bilingual” language bonus from the job description.
He avoids the first person, has added keywords like “exposure to elements,” and has added extra value by exhibiting experience in wait service on various modes of transportation that might be interesting to an employer seeking a waiter to serve drinks on a boat.
Dr. Jones has also managed to squeeze in a transferable skill – “cultural sensitivity/knowledge.”
7. The Name Drop – A Tried and True Way to Generate Interest
Mention the organizations, clients, and past employers that you’ve worked for where appropriate.
Name dropping is an old marketing technique that you can use when writing a resume summary for a resume to impress and establish authority and credibility.
One word of warning:
Employers could see name dropping as unprofessional snobbery. You need to make sure you don’t cross the line.
Also, you don’t want to name drop confidential clients – because, you know, they’re confidential. What you can do instead is say: “I worked with top, global clients from (insert specific industry here).”
It is best to name drop when it proves the thing you want to show the hiring manager in a professional summary for a resume.
How to Write a Masterpiece of a Resume
This award-winning guide to resume writing will teach you to write a resume equal to one done by a top-notch professional writer. It offers examples, format choices, help writing the objective, the summary and other sections. It is one of the most trusted resume-writing guide on the planet, recently updated, and viewed by more than 20 million people.
- Define your target market
- Play up transferrable skills
- Key in on the tribe
- First: Focus
- Your Objective
- Your Summary
- Skills and Accomplishments
- Own your digital footprint
- Use social media to your advantage
- Leverage keywords
- Visual appeal, format, and length
- Details that matter
Writing a great resume does not necessarily mean you should follow the rules you hear through the grapevine. It does not have to be one page or follow a specific resume format. Every resume is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication. It should be appropriate to your situation and do exactly what you want it to do. Instead of a bunch of rules and tips, we are going to cut to the chase in this brief guide and offer you the most basic principles of writing a highly effective resume.
Who are we to be telling you how to write your resume? Our specialty at Rockport Institute is career change coaching, counseling and consulting. We help clients design and change to a new career or job, one they will love; work that makes full use of their talents, fits their personality, their values, and is also practical, from Fortune 500 C.E.O.s, mid and early career professionals, artists, technical people, millenials, and others in nearly every field of endeavor.
Our staff has been commended for excellence by two U.S. presidents. Our first book, The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success was a top-10 national bestseller. That is our one and only specialty. If you think you may be in the wrong career, check out our main website.
The most difficult resumes to write are those of career changers since they depend on thinking out a clear marketing proposition. So, we are resume experts, but WE DO NOT WRITE RESUMES. A resume for a mid-level professional can easily cost $1000. With this guide, you can do it yourself.
The good news and the bad – The good news is that, with a little extra effort, you can create a resume that makes you stand out as a superior candidate for a job you are seeking. Not one resume in a hundred follows the principles that stir the interest of prospective employers. So, even if you face fierce competition, with a well written resume you should be invited to interview more often than many people more qualified than you.
The bad news is that your present resume is probably much more inadequate than you now realize. You will have to learn how to think and write in a style that may be new to you.
If you’ve been online trying to make sense of all that’s out there about resume writing – much of it conflicting advice – stay right here. We have the final word on those nagging questions (Length? Format? Font? Keywords?). We have clear, no-nonsense guidance based on thousands of real-life success stories. Here’s how to do it yourself, broken down in 10 parts.
Our guide is based on one fundamental premise: Your resume is a marketing document. It’s not the history of your past; it’s an ad. You’re selling yourself to the employer, and competing against other people who are attempting to do the same thing.
A great resume doesn’t just tell them what you have done but makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best light. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career. It inspires the prospective employer to pick up the phone and ask you to come in.
YOU’RE ADVERTISING YOURSELF
Here’s a key thing we know based on deep research: Every resume is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication. It should be appropriate to your situation and do exactly what you want it to do. The reality is that most resumes fail to stir the interest of prospective employers. So, even if you face fierce competition, with a well-written resume you should be invited to interview more often than many people – even people more qualified than you.
A great resume doesn’t only tell the employer what you have done. It makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best possible light. It convinces the employer that you absolutely have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.
The very best marketing is research-based marketing. So, do your research. Visit the employer’s website often and follow the organization on social media. (Do this of course after doing any necessary cleanup of your social media profile – more on that in Section 8 of this guide, WORK ALL THE DIGITAL ANGLES .) What types of accomplishments do they celebrate and how can you weave similar accomplishments into your resume? What kind of language do they use to describe achievements? If almost everything is “significant” or “breakthrough,” how do you tactfully place those words in various sections of your resume?
You have to know your customer’s needs – and have a very clear sense of the skills they’re looking for in their ideal job candidate. Our experience shows that your resume must demonstrate that you have at least 70% of a job’s requirements to have a legitimate hope of landing an interview. Do all the research you can, from online searches and social media tracking to networking with people you know. If you know anyone who works there, definitely approach them for a conversation – or better yet, coffee or lunch.
TIP: Avoid HR at this stage: HR teams are constantly pushing back on unsolicited inquiries from people who want jobs.
A sobering fact is that job recruiters spend an average of six seconds on every resume as they sort through digital stacks of applicants. So, focus on the employer’s needs, not yours. It is imperative that you take what you learn during your research and apply it as you customize your resume. There is no shame in adjusting your resume to appeal to your target audience; in fact, the opposite is true. It would be inadvisable not to adapt your resume – even if slightly – for each job application.
Imagine that you are the person doing the hiring. This someone with skin in the game. Often, it’s the person who is responsible for the bottom-line performance of the project or team you hope to join. This is someone who cares deeply how well the job will be done. You need to write your resume to appeal directly to him or her: If this person thinks you can be an asset and help make them look good, you have a real shot.
To reiterate: Your resume is a very informed, targeted advertisement. At the end of the day it’s an ad…nothing more, nothing less.
2. YOUR RESUME’S #1 JOB: LAND AN INTERVIEW
It’s critical to always bear in mind that your resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. If it doesn’t, it isn’t an effective resume. So how do you prevail? First, embrace some basic truths about the job-seeking landscape.
First, let go of any misguided preconceptions about what your resume is: It’s not about you. Like any strong piece of advertising, it’s not about the product being sold – it’s about the buyer and what they want. Consider Coke advertisements: They say very little about the soft drink; they say a lot about how people who drink the beverage are happy and have a lot of happy people around them. The focus is on the benefits of drinking Coke. Your resume is about the benefits of hiring you.
Your resume is not a place to brag; nor is it a place to be modest. Its sole purpose is to generate interest in you. What differentiates you from the competition. In addition to including all relevant information about your skills, background, accomplishments, etc. (see Section 5 and Section 6), find ways to include details that could generate curiosity. Were you born in a different country? Is there community or volunteer work that’s appealing? Are you fluent in multiple languages? Did you go through college in three years – or later in life? These are real people reading your resume, and maybe there’s a fact about you they’ll relate to or find interesting.
What does that mean? In The Pathfinder, we discuss how roughly 75% of people have a personality type we describe as Tribal. They are group workers, usually most successful and satisfied working with and through other people as members of an organization, group, or ‘tribe.’” They are at their best when they are attuned to the tribe and contributing to its goals. (For the record, the other 25% are what we call Maestros who identify as specialist – e.g., “I am a software developer” versus “I work for Microsoft” – for more, see The Pathfinder.)
Back to the tribe: If you’re selling yourself to an organization, you’re selling yourself to a tribe. The tribe’s members will have to be convinced that you’re “one of them.” Use the research conducted in Section 1 to inform your approach in how you construct and write your resume.
Consider the scenario of two tribes living on opposite sides of a lake. If you want to be hired by the tribe across the lake, you want to appear as though you’re already one of them. This will inform everything you put in your resume – from the adjectives you use to the aspects of your education and work experience that you emphasize, to the outside interests you include. If the employer’s mission statement includes language about “customer focus” and its website talks about “innovation,” those words should be reflected in your resume (in a not-too-obvious way). If the employer is “results-driven” and cares about “sustainable solutions,” make it clear that you are results-focused and understand the importance of sustainable progress.
You have to learn how to write powerful but subtle advertising copy. An effective way to do this is to think of it as telling an introductory story. When you meet someone, you want to know “their story,” right? It’s the same for that hiring manager looking at your resume. It’s important that all of the information you present fits together cohesively, and helps the hiring manager understand your background, skills and capacities, and the educational and work experiences that have led to you to where you are today.
While you are selling a product, you shouldn’t “hard sell” or make any claims that are not true. Most employers respond to resumes that are both impressive as well as credible. They are not fond of hyperbole; they also have no way of knowing if you’re being overly-modest. It’s a balancing act
3. KNOW EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF RESUME YOU’RE WRITING
There are three basic types of resumes: Chronological, Functional, and “Combined” Chronological – Functional. Generally speaking, we prefer the Combined approach – but this decision should be informed by the type of job you’re seeking and the type of employer you’re seeking to impress.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in a more traditional field such as law, science, or engineering, a Chronological approach would be best. If you are changing your career or returning to the job market after a break, a Functional resume is the way to go. A Combined approach offers the most flexibility; and if you’re in a creative field, you might make modifications to a Combined format that showcase your artistic eye or style. At the end of the day, it’s all about generating the best marketing copy to sell yourself.
The chronological resume is the more traditional resume structure. The Experience section is the focus of the resume; each job (or the last several jobs) is described in some detail, and there is no major section of skills or accomplishments at the beginning of the resume. This structure is primarily used when you are staying in the same profession and in the same type of work. It is also commonly used in certain fields such as law and academia. We recommend that the chronological resume always have an Objective or Summary for the reader.
Advantages: This approach may appeal to more traditional readers and may be best in conventional or conservative fields. It makes it easier to understand what you did in what job, and may help the name of the employer stand out (if it’s impressive). The disadvantage is that it is much more difficult to highlight what you do best. This format is rarely appropriate for someone making a career change.
The functional resume highlights your major skills and accomplishments from the very beginning. It helps the reader see clearly what you can do for them, rather than having to read through the job descriptions to find out. Actual company names and positions are in a subordinate position, with no description under each. There are many different types of formats for functional resumes.
The functional resume is a must for career changers, but is very appropriate for generalists, for those with spotty or divergent careers, for those with a wide range of skills in their given profession, for students, for military officers, for homemakers returning to the job market, and for those who want to make slight shifts in their career direction.
Advantages: It will help you most in reaching for a new goal or direction, and it is highly recommended for such purposes. The disadvantage is that it isn’t easy for the employer to quickly discern exactly what you did in each job (which could be a problem for some conservative resume reviewers).
A combined resume includes elements of both the chronological and functional formats. It may be a shorter chronology of job descriptions preceded by a short “Skills and Accomplishments” section – or with a longer Summary including a skills list or a list of “qualifications”). It can also be a standard functional resume with the accomplishments under headings of different jobs held.
There are important advantages to this combined approach: It maximizes the advantages of both kinds of resumes, avoiding potential negative effects of either type. One disadvantage is that it tends to be a longer resume. Another is that it can be repetitious: Accomplishments and skills may have to be repeated in both the “functional” section and the “chronological” job descriptions.
4. GUIDANCE FOR A CAREER CHANGE RESUME
Clearly, career change has become a new norm of working. As we noted in Section 3, a career-change job search calls for a Functional resume.
DEFINE YOUR TARGET MARKET
“Target market” in advertising refers to people a company aims to turn into customers. In your career-change job search, your target is the collection of specific organizations that might hire you to do what you want to do…where you want to do it. Start with geographic requirements – is the world…. or Seattle? Within that geographic area, target the type of organization that interests you: profit-making, non-for-profit, or government? What kind of business or industry? What size organization?
Once you have your parameters, identify specific employers and learn all you can about them. What is their history? What do they emphasize in their messaging? Who are the decision makers? What is their hiring philosophy? What kind of work culture is it? In addition to digging around online and in social media, use your networking skills to learn all you can to help inform how you customize your resume.
PLAY UP TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS
Jobs in very different professional fields can often have a number of similar requirements. Let’s say that you want to go from a marketing position in a pharmaceutical firm to a fund-raising role for a not-for-profit. What are the skills you’ve already demonstrated that are applicable? They may be more than you think.
Consider these possibilities:
- Time management
- Project management
- Persuasive communicating
- Strong decision-making
- Composure under pressure
- Innovative problem-solving
You should also be prepared to speak to your motivation for a career change. You can weave a little of this into your Objective, then also be prepared to write about it briefly in your cover letter, and then of course speak to it when you land an interview.
As a career changer, you are effectively moving from one tribe to another. Within the bounds of integrity, the story you tell has to explain why the tribe you now want to enter is really the right one for you (and not the other one). This is another instance where research is critical. Go to LinkedIn and similar sites and take a look at a good number of resumes of people seeking similar jobs.
Also, tap into your circle of colleagues, friends, and family. Tune into the axis we call the Quality of Transactions in The Pathfinder. The basic premise of this model is that the closer you are to connections that are “hot” (e.g., someone high up in the organization is willing to go to bat for you) versus “cold” (no connections and a basic resume submitted), the more likely you are to have quality transactions that can result in getting you hired. Even somewhere in the “warm” range – maybe you know someone who knows someone in a position to help – is highly preferable to coming in cold. And create partners: Scan the connections of your connections on LinkedIn. Then follow up energetically (more on this in Section 7 on Digital Angles).
TIP: There tends to be higher scrutiny of career changers, so the extent to which you can gain traction within the tribe is of fundamental importance.
5. THE JUICE: YOUR ASSERTIONS SECTION
In most cases, a great resume has two main sections. In the first, you make assertions about your abilities, qualities, and achievements. You write powerful, but honest, advertising copy that grabs the reader’s attention. (Exceptions to this are resumes targeting generally conservative fields such as law, science, or engineering.)
The second section, the evidence section, is where you back up your assertions with evidence that you actually did what you said you did. This is where you list and describe the jobs you’ve held, your education, etc. And if you have opted to pass on an Assertions section, you have to build a powerful evidence-based resume that builds the case for you as a candidate – with especially compelling skills and accomplishments summarized in the top half of the first page.
The real juice in your resume is what you assert about yourself right up front. This is where you shine. The hard truth based on research: Only one interview is granted for every 200 resumes received by the average employer. Research also tells us that your resume will be quickly scanned, rather than read. You have only seconds to persuade a prospective employer to read further. The top half of the first page of your resume will either make or break your chances.
Ask yourself: What does the employer really want? How would you fill those shoes? What would set a truly exceptional candidate apart from a merely good one? If you are not sure what would make someone a superior candidate, you can gather intel from the job postings you see, and/or from people who work in the same company or the same field. You could even call the prospective employer and ask them what they want. Don’t make wild guesses.
Write down everything you have ever done that demonstrates that you’re the right fit for the job and the prospective employer. You don’t have to confine yourself to work-related accomplishments.
TIP: Use your entire life as the palette to paint with. The point is to cover all possible ways of thinking about and communicating what you do well. What are the talents you bring to the marketplace?
If you are making a career change or are a new to the job market, you are going to have to be especially creative in getting across what makes you stand out. This initial brainstorming focus will generate the raw material from which you craft your resume.
So many resumes we see make a gallant effort to inform the reader. But we don’t want the employer to be informed; we want them to be interested and curious. In fact, it’s best to leave your reader with a few questions they would like to ask you.
In your assertions section, state your Objective – your intended job. Ideally, your resume should convey why you are the perfect candidate for one specific job or job title. There is debate out there about whether to state an Objective, but generally speaking, we think it’s a good idea. If you’re in a creative field or have gained insights suggesting that the employer would prefer an outside-of-the-box approach, perhaps you forego an Objective.
Keep it to the point, and keep the employer front and center as your write. Consider this example. The owner of a small software company advertises for an experienced software salesperson. A week later they have 500 resumes. The applicants have a bewildering variety of backgrounds, and the employer has no way of knowing whether any of them are really interested in selling software.
Then the employer spots a resume that starts with the following: “OBJECTIVE – a software sales position in an organization seeking an extraordinary record of generating new accounts, exceeding sales targets and enthusiastic customer relations.” This is a fit. Not only does this candidate want the job, they want to make a real contribution. Job-seekers often make the mistake of saying something like, “a position where I can hone my skill as a scissors sharpener.”
Examples follow. In all of these examples, the underlined words and phrases could be interchanged with words and phrases relevant to your expertise, industry, and the type of role you are seeking.
In this example, the statement is not preceded by the word “Objective.” Experienced IT professional offering more than five years of hands-on experience in programming , web development , and IT trouble-shooting , and seeks leadership role in leading digital organization.
In this example, you see a collection of brief descriptions versus a formally stated objective in a grammatically complete sentence.
Strategic thinker and communicator . Expert storyteller . A decade of deadline -driven on-air reporting . Ready to pivot to executive producer role.
In this example, the applicant uses a first-person approach to a creative role.
“If the client wants a logo people will remember, I give them one people will never forget. If they want their brand to communicate , I make it sing .”
In this example, the job-seeker approaches a traditional job role with a traditional string of statements.
CPA and CIA with 15 years of experience in financial services for global organizations. Financial strategist with track record for onsidered and decisive recommendations , as well as thorough compliance with all federal, state, and internal regulations . Excels at individual as well as collaborative efforts. Known for work ethic and integrity.
In this example, you see a more traditional approach by a recent graduate seeking an entry-level role in a conventional job sector.
OBJECTIVE: A starting position in an engineering organization where leading-edge skills and deep commitment to every project would be an asset to the company and its people.
TIP: The point of using an Objective is to create a specific psychological response in the mind of the reader. If you are making a career change or have a limited work history, you want the employer to immediately focus on where you are going, rather than where you have been. If you are looking for another job in your present field, it is more important to stress your qualities, achievements and abilities first.
It is sometimes appropriate to include your Objective in your Summary section rather than have a separate Objective section.
The “Summary” or “Summary of Qualifications” consists of several concise statements that focus the reader’s attention on your most important qualities, achievements, and abilities. (NOTE: If you are on LinkedIn, it is important that the summary in your resume be reflected in what you have in your LinkedIn summary. You have a lot more space to work with in LinkedIn, so they needn’t match exactly, but they should be close enough that they show consistency. You should be recognizable as the same person!) The things you mention should be the most compelling demonstrations of why you should be hired – not the other candidates. This is your brief window of opportunity to highlight your most impressive qualities – the spiciest part of your resume
In fact, this may be the only section fully read by the employer, so it must be strong and convincing. The Summary is the one place to include professional characteristics (highly energetic, a gift for solving complex problems in a fast-paced environment, a natural salesperson, exceptional interpersonal skills, committed to excellence, etc.). Gear every word in the Summary to your goal: getting that interview.
Here are the most common ingredients of a well-written Summary.
- A short phrase describing your profession
- Followed by a statement of broad or specialized expertise
- Followed by two or three additional statements related to any of the following:
- breadth or depth of skills
- unique mix of skills
- range of environments in which you have experience
- a special or well-documented accomplishment
- a history of awards, promotions, or superior performance commendations
- One or more professional or appropriate personal characteristics
- A sentence describing professional objective or interest.
You would not necessarily use all these ingredients in one Summary. Use the ones that highlight you best.
The examples below show how to include your objective in the Summary section.
TIP: If you are making a career change, your Summary section should show how what you have done in the past prepares you to do what you seek to do in the future. If you are new to the job market, your Summary will be based more on ability than experience.
A few examples of Summary sections:
- Highly motivated, creative and versatile real estate executive with seven years of experience in property acquisition, development and construction, as well as the management of large apartment complexes. Especially skilled at building effective, productive working relationships with clients and staff. Excellent management, negotiation and public relations skills. Seeking a challenging management position in the real estate field that offers extensive contact with the public.
- Over 10 years as an organizational catalyst/training design consultant with a track record of producing extraordinary results for more than 20 national and community based organizations. A commitment to human development and community service. Energetic self-starter with excellent analytical, organizational, and creative skills.
- Financial Management Executive with nearly ten years of experience in banking and international trade, finance, investments and economic policy. Innovative in structuring credit enhancement for corporate and municipal financing. Skilled negotiator with strong management, sales and marketing background. Areas of expertise include (a bulleted list would follow this paragraph.)
- Health Care Professional experienced in management, program development and policy making in the United States as well as in several developing countries. Expertise in emergency medical services. A talent for analyzing problems, developing and simplifying procedures, and finding innovative solutions. Proven ability to motivate and work effectively with persons from other cultures and all walks of life. Skilled in working within a foreign environment with limited resources.
- Commander – Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Navy, Atlantic Fleet. Expertise in all areas of management, with a proven record of unprecedented accomplishment. History of the highest naval awards and rapid promotion. Proven senior-level experience in executive decision-making, policy direction, strategic business planning, Congressional relations, financial and personnel management, research and development, and aerospace engineering. Extensive knowledge of government military requirements in systems and equipment. Committed to the highest levels of professional and personal excellence.
- Performing artist with a rich baritone voice and unusual range, specializing in classical, spiritual, gospel and rap music. Featured soloist for two nationally televised events. Accomplished pianist. Extensive performance experience includes television, concert tours and club acts. Available for commercial recording and live performances.
SKILLS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In this final part of the assertions section, go into more detail. In the summary, you focused on your most special highlights. Now you tell the rest of the best of your story. Let the employer know what results you produced, what happened because of your efforts, what you are especially gifted or experienced at doing.
TIP: Don’t tell them everything you’ve ever done. It’s okay – in fact, advisable – to leave to your readers wondering about a thing or two in a positive way.
Sometimes the “Skills and Accomplishments” section is a separate section. In a chronological resume, it becomes the first few phrases of the descriptions of the various jobs you have held. We will cover that in a few minutes, when we discuss the different types of resumes. When it is a separate section, it can have several possible titles, depending on your situation:
- SKILLS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- SELECTED ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- AREAS OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AND EXPERIENCE
- AREAS OF EXPERTISE
- CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
- PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
- ADDITIONAL SKILLS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
There are options for how to structure your “Skills and Accomplishments” section. Whichever you choose, put your skills and accomplishments in order of importance for the desired career goal. If you have many skills, the last skill paragraph might be called “Additional Skills.”
TIP: Be sure to use action-oriented words. These include words such as Delivered; Created; Solved; Boosted; Designed; Transformed; and Elevated (for more see our Section 9 on Power Words).
Here are a few ways you could structure your “Skills and Accomplishments” section:
- A listing of skills or accomplishments or a combination of both, with bullets
SELECTED SKILLS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Raised $1,900 in 21 days in canvassing and advocacy on environmental, health and consumer issues.
- Conducted legal research for four Assistant U.S. Attorneys, for the U.S. Attorney’s office
- Coordinated Board of Directors and Community Advisory Board of community mental health center. Later commended as “the best thing that ever happened to that job.”
- A listing of major skill headings with accomplishments under each. The accomplishments can be a bulleted list or in paragraph form. The material under the headings should include mention of accomplishments which prove each skill.
National Training Project / Conference Management.
- Director of Outreach on Hunger, a national public education/training project funded by USAID, foundations and all the major church denominations. Designed, managed and promoted three-day training conferences in cities throughout the U.S. Planned and managed 32 nationwide training seminars and a five-day annual conference for university vice-presidents and business executives.
Program Design: Universities.
- Invited by Duke University President Terry Sanford to develop new directions and programs for the University’s Office of Summer Educational Programs, first Director of Duke’s “Pre-college Program,” first editor of “Summer at Duke.” Designed and successfully proposed a center for the study of creativity at The George Washington University.
- A list of bulleted accomplishments or skill paragraphs under each job (in a chronological resume).
Director of Sales and Marketing
DELAWARE TRADE INTERNATIONAL, INC. Wilmington, DE
- Promoted from Sales Representative within one year of joining company to Director of Sales and Marketing. Responsible for international sales of raw materials, as well as printing and graphic arts equipment. Oversaw five sales managers. Was in charge of direct sales and marketing in 17 countries throughout Europe and the Middle East.
- Recruited, trained and managed sales staff. Developed marketing strategy, prepared sales projections and established quotas. Selected and contracted with overseas sub-agents to achieve international market penetration.
- Negotiated and finalized long-term contractual agreements with suppliers on behalf of clients. Oversaw all aspects of transactions, including letters of credit, international financing, preparation of import/export documentation, and shipping/freight forwarding.
- Planned and administered sales and marketing budget, and maintained sole profit/loss responsibility. Within first year, doubled company’s revenues, and produced $7-9 million in annual sales during the next eight years.
6. THE NITTY GRITTY: YOUR EVIDENCE SECTION
The evidence section includes some or all of the following: experience, education, and possibly additional items such as awards, affiliations, and publications. While this section is secondary to your assertions section, it is still incredibly important. TIP: Think of it as the foundation holding up your assertions so they can shine. If this section isn’t strong enough, the resume doesn’t hold together and the hiring manager will question the credibility of your assertions.
List jobs in reverse chronological order. Don’t go into detail on the jobs early in your career; focus on the most recent and/or relevant jobs. (Summarize a number of the earliest jobs in one line or very short paragraph, or list only the bare facts with no position description.) Decide which is, overall, more impressive – your job titles or the names of the firms you worked for – then consistently begin with the more impressive of the two, perhaps using boldface type.
You may want to describe the employer in a phrase in parentheses if this will impress the reader. Include military service, internships, and major volunteer roles if desired; because the section is labeled “Experience.” It does not mean that you were paid. Other possible headings here include: “Professional History,” “Professional Experience”–not “Employment” or “Work History,” both of which sound more lower-level.
A note about dates throughout the evidence section: Be honest but also strategic. Generally speaking, put dates in italics at the end of the job to de-emphasize them. Don’t include months, unless the job was held less than a year. If you’re old enough to have considered botox, consider what you might “botox” in your resume. The year you earned your degree(s) doesn’t have to be included. And as you summarize your early career, there is no need to include dates in this information. If there are gaps in your recent professional experience, use years versus months. Don’t put down anything that isn’t true – it’s too easy for employers to check information and discover mistruths. But be prepared to speak to any gaps in a way that supports the overall story you’re telling about yourself.
List education in reverse chronological order – degrees or licenses first, followed by certificates and advanced training. Set degrees apart so they are easily seen. Put in boldface whatever will be most impressive. Don’t include any details about college except your major and distinctions or awards you have won, unless you are still in college or just recently graduated. Include grade-point average only if over 3.4. List selected coursework if this will help convince the reader of your qualifications for the targeted job.
- Include advanced training, but be selective with the information, summarizing the information and including only what will be impressive for the reader.
- No degree yet? If you are working on an uncompleted degree, include the degree and afterwards, in parentheses, the expected date of completion: B.S. (expected 20__).
- If you didn’t finish college, start with a phrase describing the field studied, then the school, then the dates (the fact that there was no degree may be missed).
- Other headings might be “Education and Training,” “Education and Licenses,” “Legal Education / Undergraduate Education” (for attorneys).
If the only awards received were in school, put these under the Education section. Mention what the award was for if you can (or just “for outstanding accomplishment” or “outstanding performance”). If you have received awards, this section is almost a must. If you have received commendations or praise from some very senior source, you could call this section, “Awards and Commendations.” In that case, go ahead and quote the source.
- Professional Affiliations
Include only those that are current, relevant and impressive. Include leadership roles if appropriate. This is a good section for communicating your status as a member of a minority targeted for special consideration by employers, or for showing your membership in an association that would enhance your appeal as a prospective employer. This section can be combined with “Civic / Community Leadership” as “Professional and Community Memberships.”
Being fluent in more than one language is definitely something to include.
- Civic / Community Leadership
This is good to include if the leadership roles or accomplishments are related to the job target and can show skills acquired, for example, a loan officer hoping to become a financial investment counselor who was Financial Manager of a community organization charged with investing its funds. Any Board of Directors membership or “chairmanship” would be good to include. Be careful with political affiliations, as they could be a plus or minus with an employer or company.
Include only if published, and provide links where you can if you think the work is impressive and relevant. Summarize if there are many.
- Comments from Supervisors, Clients, other Professional Elite
Include only if very exceptional. Heavily edit for key phrases.
- Personal Interests
Tread thoughtfully here. While personal interests tend to feature prominently on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, you should weigh how much it can help you when applying for a job—ideally on a case-by-case basis. It you include a section like this, keep the following in mind.Advantages: Personal interests can indicate a skill or area of knowledge that is related to the goal, such as photography for someone in public relations, or carpentry and wood-working for someone in construction management. This section can show well-roundedness, good physical health, or knowledge of a subject related to the goal. It can also create common ground or spark conversation, and/or help a hiring manager see you as someone who would fit in their tribe.Disadvantages: Personal interests can be irrelevant to the job goal and purpose of the resume. Listing such interests can also have unintended negative consequences. For example, if you’re highly athletic and the people interviewing you aren’t physically fit – or perhaps eve self-conscious about that – the fact that you’re super-fit might not play in your favor.If in doubt, do not include a Personal Interests section. Your reason for including it is most likely that you want to tell them about you. But, as you know, this is an ad. If this section would move the employer to understand why you would be the best candidate, include it; otherwise, forget about it.
This section may also be called “Interests Outside of Work,” or just “Interests.”
You may put “References available upon request” at the end of your resume, if you wish. This is a standard close (centered at bottom in italics), but is not necessary: It is usually assumed. Do not include actual names of references. You can bring a separate sheet of references to the interview, to be given to the employer upon request.