Key Areas When Writing Your Resume
Last week, I wrote about How to Get Back into the Game! To recap, you have been thinking about getting back into the workforce or maybe starting fresh in something you have always wanted to do. You have the support of your family and friends but now you have the daunting task of writing your resume.
Where do you start? If you Google resume writing, you will find pages of helpful advice. How do you decide what ideas are best for your situation? That is the key, because there are many different ways to write your resume. The best advice I can give is to read as much as you can about resume writing and take the parts that fit your situation best to create your resume.
You may have an old resume to begin with and build on, or you may start from scratch. This article is going to assist you with some helpful suggestions. It will discuss areas to think about as you formulate how you are going to write your resume.
Key areas to focus your attention on when creating your resume include:
1. Email address
2. Professional Summary vs. Objectives
3. Professional Experience vs. Work History
5. Professional Affiliations/Academic Achievement/Awards or Volunteer Work
6. References upon request
Let's start at the top.
#1. Email address: It is so important to have a professional email address on your resume. The email should be at the top of your resume with your name, address and phone number. Make sure you hyperlink your email address so that the hiring manager can click on it to begin emailing you.
You may think that using the family email - thesmithbrood@..., your love of pets email - ilovepandas@...., or how wild you get on the weekends email - partyallnight@..., works just fine. But you need to be more professional when corresponding with potential employers.
It is easy enough to go to a site like Gmail and create a new email address that you can use just for professional reasons. Using your name or an abbreviation of your name makes it easier for hiring managers to remember you and find your email when they are searching their database to send you an invitation for an interview.
An important note: It takes a recruiter or hiring manager only 6 seconds to review your resume according to a study done by TheLadders, an online job search site. So if that is the case, you do not want to give them any reason within the first second to stop looking at your resume.
#2. Professional Summary vs. Objectives: There has been debate on whether a candidate should start off a resume with the heading Objectives or replace it with Professional Summary. In my opinion, if you are sending your resume in response to a job posting, the hiring manager already knows that your objective is to be hired for that position. It is more important that you highlight your professional experience in summary form so that they become interested in learning more about you as they continue to read your resume.
You can also use Professional Highlights, Professional Profile, or even Core Strengths as your heading.
#3. Professional Experience vs. Work History: A more professional looking resume will list experience under the heading Professional Experience instead of Work History.
#4. Education: Education is one of the headings that draws some controversy. Should a candidate list the year that he/she graduated? If you don't list it, does that insinuate that you are an older candidate? I suggest that the candidate look at the topic of education this way --if you are a recent graduate and you don't have a lot of professional work experience, including your graduation date explains why you don't have that experience.
But for those of us who have been working for a while, we have built up our professional work experience. That is what counts in many fields. If a company is more concerned with what year you graduated, then maybe that company isn't the best fit for you and your expertise.
#5. Professional Affiliations/Academic Achievement/Awards or Volunteer Work: For those who have continued in the workforce, Professional Affiliations/Academic Achievement/Awards is common.
But what if you have been absent from the workforce for a long period of time? What do you do to show that you have contributed to society in some professional capacity? It may not be exactly in your chosen career but including all volunteer work during the time you have been out of the workforce is important. If you step back and think about it, you will probably surprise yourself with how many things you have been involved in. You may have volunteered on a board of a non-for-profit, or a school board, or a mother's group, or for a community organization. All of these are excellent ways to show the roles you may have played in organizations.
#6. References Upon Request: There is no need to put this at the bottom of your resume. If a company wants references, they will ask for them. Generally candidates are looking for more space on their resume so this will free up a few more lines.