When you are job seeking, you are selling a very valuable product, one you know better than anyone else out there: yourself. And, your sales kit consists of your resume/CV and any supporting documentation you may have in hand. This could be a portfolio or other examples of work you have produced, examples of code for a software programmer, letters of recommendation, commendations from employers or clients.
A lot of the professionals that are out in the market today have been set adrift after years of faithful service to their employer. They haven’t constructed a resume in, well, a long time. Just like every other industry, recruiting changes. Technology has made our job a lot easier in some ways but the sheer number of tools we use has increased exponentially. Our main criteria for evaluating a candidate, however, is still the resume (or CV depending on your industry or country.)
In North America, the resume is the standard document used by job hunters. And there are as many opinions as to what makes a good resume as there are people reading and writing them. There are a few basics all resumes have in common.
1) Contact information. In today’s electronically connected world with email and cell phone addresses that follow you where ever you may live, this is both easier and more difficult. Of course you should use your name; if you have a relatively common name, like Pam Smith, consider using your full name with a middle initial. This will be more professional and perhaps make it easier to find you in a large database of names.
Pamela S. Smith (Pam)
The more ways you give a recruiter to contact you, the more chance you have of *being* contacted. Home phone, cell phone, email addresses. Whether you choose to use a street address is completely up to you, but it is good practice to indicate your city and state of residence, especially if your primary phone number is an out of state area code. Make sure your email address is *professional*, not something used by a teenager. If you are currently employed, think carefully about using your work email address. Will you still have access to it if downsizing is occuring? Does your company monitor your incoming mail? Remember, any data that sits on company assets (ie servers, your computer, voicemail) is considered *company property.*
If you have any certification abbreviations, they can be put with your name, if it is industry standard. IE:
Pamela S. Smith, CPA
Basically think of what your business cards look like.
2) Employment History. This information should be in *reverse chronologic order*, no matter what format your choose. That means your most recent position is first, then the last one is second, etc. If you have been with the same employer for a significant amount of time, break up your jobs by year.
Acme Widgets 1995-Present
2007-Present Senior Accountant
2004-2007 Junior Accountant
1997-2002 Accounting Clerk
1995-1997 - Customer Service Representative, Business Accounts
3) Education. Your education, *all* types, should be at the end of your resume with a few exceptions.
If you are just out of college/high school (one year or less) it will go at the top under your contact information.
Your industry is standard to list a doctorate degree first (ie scientist, academic, attorney.)
If you have taken professional courses, you should list them in the education section under your last schooling.
*Be sure that any training you are listing is current and relevant for the position you are seeking. If you had PowerPoint training in 2000, but you don’t use it or it’s such an integrated part of your job every day, don’t waste space in the education section. Similarly, if you took training that you don’t use anymore, *keep it off your resume*.
4) “References Available Upon Request.” This statement is a waste of space. If I am interested in hiring you for a job you *want*, I am pretty certain you will give me references if I ask for them.
Remember, *every single thing* on your resume should focus on your current skill set and the sort of opportunity you are seeking. You should be able to answer any question related to any piece of information that is on your resume,
Your Job Hunting Sales Kit: the Resume (Part 2 - What Did You Do?)
It's All In The Details
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