Career Development

Resumé Content

The sections most common on resumés are:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Objective OR
  3. Summary
  4. Experience
  5. Education
  6. Other

Please click on the links below to learn more about each of these sections.
Resume Thumbnail Contact Information Objective or Summary Experience Education Other
Enlarge Resumé Image

Contact Information

What is a Contact Information section?

This section provides the essential information a prospective employer would need to contact you. This should be arranged attractively within the first 1-2" of the page and thus allow your potential employer to move quickly to your qualifications. Contact information includes:

  • Your name
  • Your mailing address
  • The telephone number where you wish to be contacted

You may also include:

  • Your email address
  • Your web address/URL
  • Alternate phone/ fax numbers
  • An alternate address with dates of usage, if you expect to be away from the main address for more than a month

This information has become more optional with the increase of electronic applications and resumé submission. Additionally, the contact section takes up valuable space and may put you at a disadvantage if the position you are applying for is not local. Therefore, you may leave it off of your resumé unless there are particular benefits to having it.

Where should I place the Contact Information section?

Contact information should be clearly visible at the top of your resumé.

How do I build this section?

  • Provide the contact information listed above, making sure it will remain correct for the period of time the resumé is in circulation.
  • A cell phone number is ideal if you may be changing cities.
  • When changing jobs, avoid listing a work phone or email on your resumé.
  • Avoid zany email addresses, like hotdog96@earthlink.net or wackedchick@yahoo.com, as they do not create a professional first impression on a resumé. Open a new account with a more conservative address, and use this on your resumé instead.

Arrange the information so that it is attractive and easy to read.

  • Your name should come first and use the largest font size.
  • You may wish to use a line/rule to separate this or all sections of your resumé.
  • Space can easily be added or removed from this section to adjust overall resumé length. However, do not sacrifice readability.

Samples

Review Contact Information section samples.


Objective

What is the Objective section?

An objective is a brief statement about the type of job you are seeking, the skills you most want to employ on this job, and your key qualifications for this job. If possible, omit the objective section entirely, replacing it with a short summary section or by simply addint the desire job title next to your name in the Content section. In the less-than-ideal situation you must send a general resumé to many prospective employers, the objective serves to identify the range of positions you would fit.

Where should I place the Objective section?

Place you objective directly below your contact information at the top of your resumé.

How do I build the Objective section?

Review this job objective worksheet.

Samples

Review Job Objective samples.

  • Make your desired range of jobs as clear as possible.
  • Use dynamic word choices.

Summary

What is the Summary section?

A summary statement clearly and concisely presents your most marketable professional attributes (the professional skills, characteristics and achievements that make you a good fit for the desired position) at the beginning of a resumé. The section can be titled in whatever way best communicates the content you select.  (See samples.)

Where should I place the Summary section?

A summary section generally replaces the need for an objective and is placed directly below your contact information at the top of your resumé.

How do I build this section?

Jot down responses to these questions:

  • What is the employer looking for in a job candidate?
  • How have I demonstrated these attributes?
  • What are my most marketable skills, experiences, qualities and talents?
  • What past professional achievements would best communicate my abilities to this employer?

Review your responses, and organize them into a short statement and/or set of bullets. (Keep the responses you jotted down for further use in the Experience section.) As with the contact information, you still want your potential employer to move to your qualifications easily; therefore, this section should be only a few short sentences.

Samples

Review sample Summaries.


Experience

What is the Experience section?

The Experience section should clearly communicate how your professional experiences match the employer’s needs.  Depending on the format you’ve chosen, it provides either a brief (functional format) or a detailed (other formats) picture of your past and present employment and experiences related to the desired position. The section can be titled “Experience,” “Professional History,” or in any other way that best communicates your situation. Since your resumé should clearly communicate that your experience matches the qualifications posted in the job description, you might even choose to organize your work history into several sections. If, for example, the position called for experience in both sales and management, you might wish to create separate Sales and Management subsections. 

Where should I place this section?

Your best qualifications should always appear first on a resumé, so where you put the Experience section depends on how well your work history has prepared you for the job you desire. If you have better training and skill sets for the job than actual experience, the Experience section should come below Education (and Skills, assuming you’ve selected a functional or combination format). If your professional experience is your best qualification for the position, it should come first, following the objective or summary.

How do I build this section?

Start by simply listing, in inverse chronological order, all of the places where you have worked.

  • Name of the organization
  • Location (city and state)
  • Job Title (If you didn’t have a specific title, create one that accurately describes your duties.)
  • Dates of employment

Unless you are using a functional resumé format, you need to add bullets to each job listed, communicating the skills and professional achievements related to that job. You should particularly emphasize those that relate to the desired job.

Scan the job description, company website or other materials to clarify which skills and accomplishments the employer will value in a job candidate. This is a good time to talk with any contacts you may have in this or similar companies.

Review your notes from the Summary section:

  • What is the employer looking for in a job candidate?
  • How have I demonstrated these attributes?
  • What past professional achievements would best communicate my abilities to this employer?

You may benefit from having someone who knows you well interview you with these questions and write down your responses. Others can help us better appreciate the value of skills, experiences and achievements we may take for granted. You should neither inflate nor minimize the importance of your experiences.

If your professional experience is limited, be sure to include relevant skills and achievements from volunteer work or other non-professional settings. If you decide to include non-professional information, be sure the section heading is worded accurately to reflect this (“Work & Volunteer Experience,” simply “Experience,” etc.)

Remember to communicate outcomes as you consider professional achievements. Numbers speak volumes here (e.g., Coordinated and redesigned annual fundraiser, increasing event income by 200%)

Rewrite each statement into a bullet statement to place below the related job title.

Use the industry buzzwords that employers will readily identify, especially those used in the job description. An assistant unfamiliar with the position should be able to see that your resumé obviously meets the qualifications listed in the job description. (A buzzword is current “insider” terminology that refers to a skill, trend or issue in a specific industry.  Example phrases with buzzwords include, “building self-efficacy in at-risk adolescents,”  “evidence-based methodologies,” “conducted needs assessment,” and “implemented strategic planning,” etc.)

Edit your bullets carefully.

Include enough detail to make sure the reader will understand your skill/achievement.

Put your strongest selling points first.

Make sure that you use parallel construction to make your comments easy to read.

Non-parallel construction

Parallel construction

  • Coaching of staff …
  • Focus group facilitator …
  • Responsible for assisting director …
  • Staff development activities …
  • Coached senior staff …
  • Facilitated focus groups …
  • Assisted director …
  • Designed and presented staff development workshops …

Punctuation and capitalization should also be parallel. If one bullet point starts with a capital letter and ends with a period, all bullet points should do the same.

  • Pay attention to the verbs that you use. Using a weak verb or overusing a single verb dilutes the impact of your experiences. Review this chart of verbs that can add variety and power to your resumé.
  • Eliminate weak or repetitive bullet points. Fluff weakens the impact of your resumé.

Samples

Review Experience section samples.


Education

What is the Education section?

The education section lists, in an attractive and readable fashion, your formal training that is most relevant to the desired job. The section should document that you have the requisite education to perform well in the position. You can name the section as best communicates the breadth of training you’ve chosen to include.

Where should I place the Education section?

If you are using a functional format or if you have a fair amount of experience in the field of the desired job, you will probably want to place the Education section after the Experience section. If, however, your education is your most impressive qualification for the job, it should go before the Experience section.

How do I build the Experience section?

List all of the education and training that you have received that is related to the job you are seeking. Include the institution, location and degree(s) earned. Excellent academic performance, such as a GPA over 3.5 or graduating magna cum laude can also be included. Include on your list:

  • Universities
  • Colleges (4-year, Community or Junior)
  • Professional or Technical Schools
  • Continuing education units
  • Certificates or special training from any training program

Also include an academic minor, concentration or special project that related to the job you desire.

  • While generally arranging your list in inverse chronological order, make sure that your best credentials for the desired job stand out.
  • Edit your list for brevity and readability.

Samples

Review Education section samples.


Other

What is the Other section?

Use this section of your resumé to highlight your other skills, activities and honors that align with the values of the company posting the job you are pursuing. Include information that will indicate to the employer that you are well-rounded or otherwise desirable as an employee. Title the section as “Other Skills & Interests,” or “Honors & Activities,” or in any other way that summarizes the content you select.

Where should I place the Other section?

Place this section at the end of your resumé.

How do I build the Other section?

  • List all of the honors (with dates of award), current memberships, leadership positions, skills and interests you can think of that would be of interest to this employer. Remember that fluency in other languages and computer programs are increasingly valued in most fields of employment. 
  • Edit these for alignment with company values, readability and to fit well on your resumé.

Samples

Review Other section samples.

 

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