Getting started on a resume can seem like a daunting task. Statistics indicate that employers only spend about 10-20 seconds reviewing a resume! However, breaking down each section of a resume can make the process a little easier. Before we get started, let’s first define what a resume is and how it should be utilized to its upmost potential.
I like to think of a resume as a “personal branding document.” In other words, a resume is a professional representation of your accomplishments, skills and experiences laid out in a formal way. Here at the Career Services Center, we include resumes in the Marketing Materials section of the Career ID, meaning that the resume should reflect your brand and be tailored for each job opportunity you are targeting.
So now that we’ve defined what a resume is, let’s break down each section of a resume and discuss what to include in each section.
Begin with a blank word document. Keep in mind that templates can sometimes be a pain when attempting to reformat items. Therefore, I suggest simply starting with a blank word document to make things easier!
The header should include the following contact information:
- Full Name
- Phone Number
- Email Address
Note that your name should be bold and larger than the underlying text. It is not required to include your specific street address if you do not feel comfortable. In these instances, a city and state is sufficient. Also, if you have a LinkedIn profile or electronic portfolio, it’s appropriate to include the link to those websites in the header section. Lastly, be sure your voicemail is set up properly and professionally with no inappropriate ring back tones.
123 Pine Street
Greensboro, NC 27405
Objective & Profile Section
This section is not necessarily required for your resume, but if you do wish to include an objective or profile, remember to include the following information:
- Name of the position you’re applying for
- Name of the company or organization
- Indicate skills sets you can offer to meet employer needs as indicated on the job description
“Seeking part-time position as a Cashier at Food Lion, using strong customer service skills, proven work ethic, and ability to learn quickly.”
Next, we move to the Education section. In this section, we include our formal education listed in reverse chronological order (most recent education listed first). Items to include are listed below:
- Formal name of the institution you attended/attending
- Location of the institution
- Formal name of the degree/certificate and major you received/receiving
- Expected graduate date of the degree or date certificate was received
Optional items include:
- GPA, if over 3.0 and/or you feel proud of it!
- Academic Accomplishments or Awards (i.e. Dean’s List, Scholarships, etc.)
- Relevant Coursework (1 – 3 courses specifically relevant to the job description)
- Study Abroad
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro – Greensboro, NC
Bachelor of Science, Business Administration – May 2015
Achievements: Dean’s List, 2012 – 2013
Relevant Coursework: Business Statistics, Advanced Accounting
Work Experience Section
The work experience section generally represents the “meat” of your resume. This section can include paid or unpaid experiences listed in reverse chronological order. Typically speaking, designating the section header as “Work Experience” may connote a paid experience. Therefore, if it makes more sense to include the experience under another section heading, such as “Volunteer Experience” or “Leadership Experience,” that is also fine too!
Items to include are listed below:
- Formal title of your position
- Name and location of the organization/company
- Dates of employment
- Bullet point descriptions of your experience beginning with an action verb
Food Lion – Greensboro, NC
Cashier, May 2013 – August 2014
- Utilized superior customer service skills to greet patrons and accurately handle financial transactions.
The skills section will be the last formal section we discuss in detail. Generally speaking, this section is reserved for any technical and language skills you may possess. At times students question whether to include “soft skills” in this section (i.e. communication skills, teamwork skills, customer service skills, etc.). While these skills are important, we suggest incorporating these skills in the bullet points of the Experience section and leverage the skills section for items such as computer skills, language skills, or other “hard skills” you may have.
Computer: Advanced Microsoft Office, C++, Intermediate Java Language
Language: Fluent Spanish
Putting it all together…
Remember to keep in mind that there is no absolutely right or wrong way of doing a resume! The best rule of thumb is to keep the content concise, consistent and organized to ensure ease of readability and attractiveness. Lastly, it’s critical to read job descriptions to identify the qualifications necessary for the job you’re applying for. Then you can tailor your resume to reflect the skills and experience you possess that make you qualified for the position.
The Career Services Center is here to help! Our PCA library is open Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm for drop-in hours. Additionally, if you feel you need more time to discuss your resume in detail, feel free to schedule an appointment with a career counselor. You can find a copy of our Resume Guide in the D.I.Y. section of our website as well. Navigate to the “CSC Bookshelf” to view our Resume Guide for more great details!