Resume Outline: The Key to Getting Hired

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On average a prospective employer has less than a minute per resume to glance over hundreds that drop on his/her desk.  However, if your resume stands out and retains his/her attention a little longer, then there is chance that it will be read from top to bottom.  The key is not what one puts in the resume but how the information is presented to attract attention and then retains it.

 A one-page resume may be all that one can prepare when the job seeker is fresh from high school or college with very little life experience and achievement.  That is why it helps if students gain some job experience working part-time and/or full-time during summer vacations.  Even if you have worked for a number of years on more than one job learning and gaining knowledge about the real world, a resume should not be longer than two pages.

 Another change that has affected the resume submission is that prospective employers may ask for your resume in a certain format by e-mail or they themselves may go direct to websites where job seekers can post their resumes. Thus, it is all the more important to draft your resume using the perfect fonts, arrangement, colors, and pictures.  Your resume must stand out among the numerous floating out there on the internet.

 You may tailor your resume depending upon the type of job you are applying or you can prepare a generic one that provides information any prospective employer would want to have about you. The following are the steps that can help you inserting the contents and their chronology:

 What to Include

Personal Information:

Name, home address, phone number-home and cell, email address, gender, and nationality.  If appropriate insert 1 x 1 inch picture on the right hand corner.  Do not offer any additional personal information unless it is relevant or required such as, date of birth, marital status, ethnicity, religious preference, etc.  Never give your social security number or any information about your bank account.

(Check with your state if you are required to leave out your gender, date of birth and educational dates.)

Academic Background:

First enter the year-beginning from the most recent-degrees/diplomas earned, area of specialization, and then the institutions attended.  Briefly list any articles written and published, special projects, and dissertation work.

Work Experience:

Again start with the years (avoid months) listing your most recent experience first. Give your job title and employer with complete address. Briefly mention what you actually did and achieved in those jobs.

 Other Interests and Responsibilities:

Such as travel-especially overseas, voluntary work, hobbies, and activities where you had interaction and leadership responsibilities.  Mention membership and participation in civic organizations and if you were involved in sports and were captain of a team.

 Special Skills, Honors, and Awards:

Mention the languages that you can read, write, and speak. List ability in computing/web hosting, any professional licenses, communication skills, and experience working with diverse colleagues and community.

 Career Objectives:

A prospective employer would like to know why you are looking for a job or a career change.  If you are moving you could mention that you want to relocate for family, climate, or for some other reason.  A desire to change career may be because you have acquired new skills/education or that you want to work for a company which is innovative and future oriented.  Briefly state what in particular you can contribute.

 References:

Some people prefer to provide references on request.  However, to save prospective employer's time it is recommended that you do list two to three references after obtaining their consent. One of your references should be from one of the educational institutions that you attended and one from your present or past employers.  Provide their name, title, address, and phone number.  Prospective employers understand that your listed references would give positive feedback about you and, therefore, they will call other people and places to verify your credentials and performance.

 Should there be any gaps between your education and/or job history, you must have a valid reason to offer, if asked, such as:  family circumstances, health problems, climate, desire to change careers, lack of advancement opportunities, the firm faced uncertain future or went out of business, etc.

 A cover letter with the resume may or may not be required.  However, having one ready or you may want to enclose it anyway.  Please look for a separate article on "Drafting a Winning Cover Letter for Your Resume."

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