Résumé 101: New Résumé, New Year

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2010ResumeNow that we’re in a new year, we want to make sure that you’re armed with best information  so that you can land a job ASAP.

Many factors played into your not being able to find a job  in 2009. While the economy and the job market had plenty to do with it, there comes a point when you have to look at yourself and what you are (or aren’t) doing and how it’s affecting your job search. Let’s start with the most basic thing you need in your job search: a résumé.

Here’s a little résumé 101 to refresh your job search this year, excerpted from “Career Building: Your Total Handbook for Finding a Job and Making It Work.”

Writing your résumé: Hiring managers spend an average of one minute scanning a résumé. You have just a short window to convince them that you’re either fabulous or the most boring person alive. Which is it gonna be?

Here are the elements that your résumé should include:

Contact information: Your name (if your formal name is Abigail but you go by Abby, use Abby), address, phone number, e-mail address and Web site. And make sure to use a professional e-mail address for your job applications. Employers aren’t likely to call HotPants1234@hotmail.com.

Career summary or objective: This gives the hiring manager an idea of who you are immediately — before spending the 60 seconds skimming your résumé and deciding if he wants to bring you in for an interview. Many job seekers equate a summary with an objective. While both are two to three sentences appearing at the top of your résumé, they are different.

An objective states a job seeker’s desired job description, and is often ideal for people who are just starting out in the work force or changing industries. Some words of warning: It could pigeonhole you and limit how employers see you. If you are looking to take the next step in your chosen field, consider writing a career summary instead.

A career summary gives an overview of your work experience and/or relevant education.

Summary of qualifications: This calls out the most relevant information for the job. If you include this, the hiring manager doesn’t have to hunt for your abilities. This is an easy way to tailor your résumé for each job application. Look at the required skills listed in a job posting and use this as an opportunity to highlight the skills needed for the job. If you are changing careers or industries, this section helps you highlight certain transferable skills.

Technical skills: This is where you can show your computer and software proficiency. Are you missing a technical skill listed in the job description? Don’t throw in the towel. Seventy-eight percent of hiring managers report they are willing to recruit workers who don’t have experience in their particular industry or field and provide training/certifications needed.

Work history: This is where you list chronologically any work experience – titles, employer and dates of tenure. List only the most recent and relevant information; no one cares about your ninth-grade babysitting club … unless you are looking for something in child care (even then, save it for your cover letter).

Education: Include your dates of graduation, college major and minor, degrees earned or expected graduation date.

So there you have it; the very basics you should include on your résumé. Other things to remember to include? Keywords, accomplishments and no errors.

If you need some help writing your résumé, check out CBResume, or if you’d like a free critique of your current résumé, click here.

Questions? Just ask us here. In the meantime, here is some more light résumé reading to check out:

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Work history: This is where you list chronologically any work experience – titles, employer and dates of tenure. List only the most recent and relevant information; no one cares about your ninth-grade babysitting club … unless you are looking for something in childcare (even then, save it for your cover letter).


Education: Include your dates of graduation, college major and minor, degrees earned or expected graduation date.

  1. Pingback: Résumé 101: New Résumé, New Year « Canadian Engineering Jobs

  2. Pingback: Résumé 101: New Résumé, New Year « Sales and Marketing Jobs

  3. My current contract ends in Feb. I need a new contract in March. Please send me any details how I could secure another good contract.


  4. Hi, Ms. Zupek,

    I am just trying to help you out. Don’t take this as a criticism. Thank You!

    The percentages on today’s (01/04/10) article
    are a wee bit wrong.
    For example:
    You write: 1. Oral pathologists
    Current salary: $188,577
    Last year: $159,759
    Percent increase: 6.83

    An percent increase from 159,759 to 188,577 is calculated as follows :
    188,577 – 159,759 = 28818
    28818 / 159,759 = 0.1803 = 18.03 %

    Likewise with the others. If you want me to check your math, I’ll do it for free. Because
    I don’t have any idea how to get a job through the HR interview process. Math is easy, people are a mystery.

  5. My resume is listed by job/chronologically… I was unemployed the entire 2009 year, but kept busy with various volunteer and travel opportunities. I don’t know how to update my resume after I was let go from my last job. Do I leave it stating my last job ended in 2008? Or, is there something else I should do?

  6. I have a quick question that pertains to education. I attended a university but had to leave for financial reasons (no degree). I then attended a local state college, and again had to leave for various reasons without a degree. During the time I was attending classes I did not work. How is the best way to express my educational background? With no degrees and no full time work in the last three years I am afraid that any potential employers will see my resemue and think that I will not be a reliable/responsible employee.

  7. For technical people (and I’m not talking computers or software, ha!) I’m talking people who have travelled and actually accomplished real things in life and career..(Offshore Petroleum, Nuclear Power, Dams, Bridges, complex Manufacturing Facilities, etc) writing a short resume by the standards of modern youngsters and those “HR” people is impossible.
    One cannot reflect one’s experience from one employer in 2 or 3 sentences.. it just becomes a gross understatment of one’s capabilities.
    The Resume of a senior engineer or project manager must be two full pages excluding education and it’s going to take more than two minutes to read and consider. What’s worse employers insist on using these rediculous HR people who haven’t a clue about the real world. I submit to employers.. if you want capable technical people (irregardless of career level) who can go out and accomplish technical assignments, advertise for the job with replies coming directly to you – NOT HR.. let HR hire clerical staff only!

  8. The article suggests including your dates of graduation. Only do this if you want perspective employers to know your age. If they can conclude you’re over forty, you run the risk of being discriminated against and you may not even get an interview.

  9. As with the post from Lauren, I am confused as to the best way of explaining my lack of “paying” position in my profession. I too have been doing volunteer work and low paying retail clerk work just to keep busy and to have some income coming in until the economy and job market improve. I am always asked as the interview as to what have I been doing all this time and explain that to them, but they never seem satisfied and I automatically get the feeling that my resume is put in the “no” pile when I leave. Any sugestions?

  10. You recommended CBR Resume, but they do a lousy job. I sent a resume in to check it out. From the feedback I received, I don’t think they even read it from their comments,

  11. I am a dietetic intern. I have no real work experience (with the exceptrion of a RD assistant) as I am completing my internship this spring. I will be sending out resumes as an upcoming graduate. Any suggestions?

  12. Pingback: PrimeCB » 10 ways to make your resume stand out

  13. To Lauren & Barbara: I like to list the volunteer or at home work right in with the paid work; i.e. I would list Household Manager as job title, My Last Name Residence as the workplace with city and state and then write:

    Established and maintained household budget; provided a safe, clean and healthy environment for family; coached and encouraged children to promote healthy bodies and minds; planned and prepared nutritious meals; established rules and regulations of the household; scheduled appointments and recreational events; planned and participated in quality family activities; also worked a temporary part time position at Walmart.

    Home Health Care for job title if you cared for sick relative or Child Advocate if you tried to get services for a special needs child or Community Volunteer if you worked around the neighborhood. You can make it work. Just plan what you will say. Good Luck.

  14. You must have a fly on my wall the other day because I said almost the exact same words to my girlfirend. I am a mechanical engineer too. It makes absolutely no sense for HR to do the hiring outside of what they are competant in, in which engineering and many other jobs fall outside their level of competance so they don’t know what to look for and they follow the silly 1 page and 20 sec rules because that is what they been trained to do not to mention they don’t do their job much of the time and just toss the resumes just because they tired of looking at them. Good post!

  15. Make sure you get someone with a CERW to write your resume. I have a great one that did mine. Anyone without this, you’ll get what you pay for.

  16. “Now that’s we’re in a new year, we want to make sure that you’re armed with best information so that you can land a job ASAP.”

    Seriously, do you have an editor — because you need one. If you can’t afford one, try spell/grammar-check. People are reading this and take it seriously? I guess this proves that most people are just like pigs in a chute, and will really believe anything in print — especially if it’s on the Internet.

    Your opening sentence is atrocious — read aloud, it sounds as if English is not your first language. (I’m reading aloud now with my best “Boris and Natasha” accent, and really it sounds more believable that way.

  17. Hi, Aimee,
    I am an RD and understand how you feel. It seems not that long ago I was in your shoes. Hopefully you find something useful here!

    During the internship, do you have access to a free career center? Are you able to ask your internship director to bring in professionals or recruiters who can offer insight on resume writing and with what employers look for when hiring? Have you solicited your preceptors for suggestions?

    As far as the resume itself, some people with limited employment history choose to have a section called “Supervised Practice.” This is where one can break down the internship rotations like employment entries, stressing patient populations and clinical and transferable skills. Searching on-line for resume/cover letter tips and examples has provided me with many useful suggestions. Without plagiarizing, on can take ideas from what she finds and combine them to make her own stand-out resume.

    Congrats for all you have achieved! Best of luck to you.

  18. Hey Mitch,
    There is no such word as “irregardless”. The proper english is “regardless”. Maybe that’s why your job hunt is fruitless.

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