Critical Resume Sections

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,437
    Certified Expert Resume Writer Laura DeCarlo teaches you how to approach critical resume sections.

    Laura Decarlo: Hi! I'm Laura Decarlo, certified expert resume writer and President of the Professional Association of Rsum Writers and Career Coaches, Career Directors International. I am sharing strategies for creating your dynamic and compelling resume. Right now, I am going to talk about the critical sections you will want to include in your resume. While resume section titles can vary, there are four components that will make your resume more easily demonstrate a match to the employer. Surprisingly, these are the first four sections of the resume, and the ones most left off or misused. These sections include contact information, job target or objective, summary section and keyword competencies. The first thing an employer should see on your resume is who you are and how they can find you. You can make it easy for an employer to contact you with these steps. Center your contact information at the top of the page with your name bolded and capitalized. Include nicknames, if they are how you want to be addressed; list acronyms of any critical certifications or degrees or licenses after your name. Make sure that your email address and phone number are error free. Avoid including contact information at your place of employment. Include a URL for your web portfolio or Linkedin profile, if you have one of these.

    After creating your contact information, you will need to provide guidance to the reviewer and what job target you are seeking. This is typically referred to as a job objective or objective header. Many job seekers leave these off or write something generic and vague thinking it gives theme options. However, neither strategy is effective. You will always want to target your resume, starting with the inclusion of an objective header. This is extremely simple to do. For instance, if you're looking for a position as a Marketing Manager, then your objective header can state Marketing Manager; centered bolded and capitalized to stand out to the reviewer. That's all there is to it.

    Your next step is to create your summary section. Don't let the title of summary on this section mislead you. This is not an overview of your responsibilities and skills. Instead, this section, which is typically one to two brief paragraphs, will provide the equivalent of your 30 second commercial to highlight how you stand out from the competition. To create your summary, ask yourself what is the return on investment I can add to an employer? What unique strengths do I possess and what do they contribute to a company? What makes me stand out?

    Additionally, in this section, you might include a desirable qualification such as a license or a language skill. Just resist the temptation to start listing areas of expertise in the summary, as they will not help you capture an employer's attention.

    The final of our four neglected or misused sections is the keyword competencies or areas of expertise section. This section creates a quickly scannable checklist of areas of expertise directly following your summary. This allows your resume to show a potential employer that you have the skills for the position, while also enhancing the computer keyword matching of your document.

    In this section, you will focus on including areas of responsibility and job functions that you perform. Depending on your experience, this could include concrete items such as budget administration, recruiting and hiring and strategic planning. Typically, the best format for presenting your keywords is in two to three column list of 12-21 competencies. Once you've mastered these four key sections, you have developed a major component of your dynamic and compelling resume.

    Next, I'll share with you strategies for creating and formatting the body of your resume, which is typically made up of every employment work history.