The Parts of a Resume

The Parts of a Resume are quite similar from one resume to another. However, they may be individualized and personalized to show you at your best.

Here are a few to start with.

(a) Click the links below to display the appropriate information.
(b) When finished, click the link "Return to Top" to return.




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INFORMATION SECTION

The first part of a resume that your reader sees is the Information Section.

Provide the identifying information at the top of the resume. You can center the information, or left-align it. One thing to keep in mind is that the entire format must be simple. Too many tab stops - where the reader must look back and forth and back and forth to try to find the important information - is not what you want to achieve.

The simplest format can be the most professional.

There is no need to make your presentation fancy. Consider the following.  The personal information could be at the left side or centered:

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Note:  The parts of a resume should include the Resume Objective after the Information section:

OBJECTIVE

The Objective is one of the most important parts of a resume. It appears near the top of the resume - after the Information section. The Objective provides a focus for your document. It is very effective as part of a resume.

If the Objective is a good one, it will greatly enhance the document. If the Objective is too long and complicated - or improperly focused - it can be detrimental.

  • Make the objective a short phrase. If you make it long and complicated, the reader will be forced to work to read your objective.
  • Focus on how you can contribute to the reader's needs
  • Make the objective real and plausible. Make it sincere.
  • Highlight your strengths and skills that will most appropriately fill and fit the job application
  • This is your chance to indicate to your reader how you can contribute to the reader's needs

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Note: The parts of a resume must include the Resume Education section:

EDUCATION

Education is one of the most necessary parts of a resume. The employer wants to know what level of education you have achieved. If you omit this section, the omission may exclude you from any further consideration.

This section can be presented very simply.

  • Present your education in reverse chronological order - the most recent first. Make it easy to read - and consistent from entry to entry. Make the important information jump out at the reader.
  • Separate longer-term education (degree studies) from shorter-term upgrading courses. Do not mix them in together. That format will make the understanding very difficult.
  • If you have two different types of courses, provide them in two different sections - the lesser ones, perhaps, as a sub-section of the first. Consider something like the following:
  • Note that the format highlights the longer-term education, yet presents a format that is very easy to read and understand.
  • Note also that the information in parentheses stands out very clearly without overpowering the rest of the information.
  • Note that the intermittent use of italics - and not too much bold - makes the reading very easy.

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To learn more about other Parts of a Resume, read on...



Note:  The parts of a resume must include the Resume Work Experience section:

WORK EXPERIENCE

You might use a more relevant or descriptive title for this section. Some options to consider may include the following or any other short titles that you feel are appropriately descriptive:

  • Professional Experience
  • Relevant Employment Experience

As one of the parts of a resume, the Work Experience should be presented in reverse chronological order. The reader wants to know what you are doing currently, for how long, and what you have done in the past roughly 10 years. It is not necessary to provide an employment record further into your past then about 10 years.

Note: The Functional Resume may offer an option to the reverse chronological format. The functional resume, remember, is the document in which you highlight the skills that you want to emphasize.

The whole point of the Functional Resume is that you don't have a solid Work History, and you want to focus, instead, in your skills:

  • Skills
  • Relevant Skills
  • Related Skills
  • Related Strengths and Skills

The title will be at your discretion - something with an appropriate choice of words that will convey the message you want to pass along to your reader.

The following shows a Resume Work History section for a young person wanting a similar type of job and wanting to highlight the skills and experience - a functional resume:

Note that the length of time - rather than the chronological dates - is highlighted.

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Note:  The parts of a resume should include the Resume Skills section:

SKILLS

The Skills section can be one of the most important parts of a resume.

You might choose a variety of titles for this section. If you use the title Skills, however, understand that your title must reflect the content in your section.

Skills are nouns. Your list should be a number of points prepared with parallel structure.

What is parallel structure?

  • Each point in your list should be the same grammatical structure.
  • A list of skills will be a list of nouns.
  • Each point must be similar in format to all other points.


Try to keep the list points short. Your goal is to make the important information jump from the page.

If you cannot limit the list points to single nouns, then begin each bulleted point with a keyword or keywords that are nouns, as in the example below. Add a period after the keyword at the start. Then add the explanation, but do keep it brief.

When creating the Skills section as one of the parts of a resume, you might use any of the following titles: Relevant Skills, Supporting Skills, Related Skills, and other such variations.

Placement. Ideally, the placement of the Skills section might be immediately after your Objective. The list of skills you present should clearly support the objective for your application. This section will act to highlight clearly why you are qualified for this position.

Consider this as an example for this part of a resume:

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The parts of a resume might include a Resume Achievements section - probably located after the Experience section:

ACHIEVEMENTS

The Achievements section can also be one of the most important parts of a resume. This section will allow you the opportunity to tell briefly - and in point form - what sets you apart from the competition for this position.

  • You might have been listed on the Dean's list at university.
  • You might have been named the Most Valuable Employee at a previous job.
  • You might have raised a significant amount of money for a Volunteer/Charitable project that you organized.

Achievements will show your initiative, your successes, and why you are above the crowd in this application.

  • Keep the list brief.
  • Position the list in a logical position in the resume.

If the achievements are work-related, add the section as a sub-section (indented, perhaps) after the Work Experience section.

If the achievements are related to your extra-curricular activities, add them nearer the end of the resume where you will also enter your Volunteer Activities.

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VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES

The Volunteer Activities section can also be one of the most important parts of a resume because it will help to set you apart from another candidate.

  • Keep the entries here short.
  • Limit the entries that are non-political and non-religious to avoid controversy at this early stage.

Two candidates who have similar education and experience might be differentiated by their Volunteer Activities. One who is active in the community may appear be a more valuable employee than one who has not given thought to this worthwhile activity.

Anything you can add to your resume to highlight your strengths and your character will serve you very well.

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Note:  The resume should include a References section -- or a reference to References near the end of the resume:

REFERENCES

The References section could be one of the most controversial parts of a resume.

Generally, one needs only to add the title REFERENCES at the bottom of the resume, with a short statement Available upon request.

Some believe that you don't need to add the References; however, in an online resume, particularly, the References section effectively signals the end of the resume. There's nothing worse for your reader than wondering if you have the entire document. Avoid placing your reader in that situation. All that is required is the following:

Of course, in an online resume, do not actually list your references. Do not jeopardize the privacy of those who agree to speak in your favour. Even with a hard-copy resume, it's a good policy to prepare a separate page for the actual details of your references.

A separate page. It's one of the most important parts of a resume - the References. A separate page for details of your references should be prepared in the same format as your resume and presented at the Interview. That format would be very appropriate and very effective!

One final caution: Never include references in your resume without first contacting the individuals and asking permission to use their names. This point is crucial, and it is a great insult to your reference not to extend this courtesy.

The Parts of a Resume, well written, are vital for your success!

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› Parts of a Resume