A resume is a brief synopsis of your work history, your education and work related skills you possess. Typically it is limited to one to two pages with the exception of resumes for professional positions which require more in depth information about activities and experience related to that profession. In the past many "blue collar" jobs only required the job seeker to complete an application for employment. Today almost all employers require both a resume and an application as well.
The order of these sections may be arranged differently for a student going from school into the workforce, since education is the most recent and most relevant and little work history may be available or related to the occupation for which you are applying. For instance, if you are a student and have recently received an Associates Degree, you may have worked in fast food restaurants while going to school. This is not as important to the prospective employer as the recently acquired degree. Hence education should come before the work history section.
Other types of resumes might focus on skills, called functional resumes, rather than chronological work history. The above order of sections is the most common for those moving from one job to another during their career
The Header section contains full name, address, phone numbers, email and other contact information. The section is usually larger and bolder font to stand out for a reviewer.
The Objective is a statement indicating the type of work, position or career the applicant is pursuing. It is typically one to two sentences. It will change based on the specific job application.
For those workers who have experience, especially those who have been in the workforce for some period of time work history and experience are important to show skills learned in a work environment. Work history is presented in reverse chronological order with the most recent first. The time period month and year starting and ending dates, employer name and job title are usually in the first line in that order. A brief description follows of skills performed, accomplishments and other pertinent information that would be important for the reviewer to know. Work history continues with former and previous employers going back at least 10 years for multiple employers. Long-term employment with one employer would require going back farther to previous employers. Also, any experience that would be important for the job applied for should be included in the work history no matter how far back the work history needs to go.
For those applicants recently leaving school or completing degrees it may be important to order the education section prior to the work history section, especially if the degree is important for the position that is sought. Indication of degrees including high school, vocational school, certification, licenses and any college level or graduate degrees would be included. It is not necessary to include the year of graduation especially if the applicant is older and is concerned about age discrimination.
Most often references are not provided with a resume. The phrase "References provided upon request" is stated on the resume. However, always have available at least three references available to submit when requested. References should be contacted in advance asking for permission to use them as a reference. Select references carefully so that the individual knows you very well. It is better to select references who know you from a work environment rather than friends or social acquaintances. That way the reference has direct knowledge of your behavior and skills in a working environment.
Any word processing program can be used to compose and print your resume. Automated software specifically designed for constructing a resume is very helpful and easy to use. One of these programs is WinWay Resume. It is available in most office supply stores and is less than $50.00 to purchase. Another option is to use WorkOne offices. WinWay Resume is loaded on PCs in the career resource area in WorkOne offices. WorkOne services are part of the State of Indiana public employment services and are available at no cost to job seekers. If you use a WorkOne office to generate your resume take along a 3.5 floppy disk or flash drive to save your resume. You can return to update or print more copies of your resume without cost.
After your resume is ready, many job openings will require you mailing your resume. A cover letter is always sent with a mailed resume. The cover letter is very brief and basically states the position applied for and a brief mention of special qualifications you may have related to the job. Many online applications will require attaching or pasting a resume with the application. WinWay Resume can be saved as an "rtf" file (text file) which is capable of being read by prospective employers who may not have the program the resume was created with.
Remember the purpose of the resume is to catch the eye of the reviewer so that your resume will not go in the rejected pile but be placed in the pile for those selected for an interview. If your resume results in an interview it was successful.
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