Writing a resume can be a little daunting. We know, we've all been there! We've put together a basic resume checklist for you to use as a template when writing your resume. Remember, though, to write a targeted resume - and cover letter - for each position. You can use your basic resume to swap out keywords, software skills, etc., to target your resume to each job description.
- Include your first and last name, and if you know there's more than one of "you" out there, include your middle initial. Doing so will help recruiters and hiring managers figure out which person is you when they conduct their research on you.
- List your email address. Do you have a professional looking email address, such as yourname[at]gmail.com? If not, create one to use for your job search. Email accounts with sites like Yahoo! and Gmail are free. Please refrain from using one like BlueBird338[at]gmail.com.
- Include your phone number with area code.
*Note: Contact information should be the only personal identifiable information on your resume. Marital status, age, and similar information should not be included.
Write 3-5 sentences summarizing your skills and experience. Think of the summary as a snapshot of your resume. This is a good place to include keywords from the job description.
Administrative support professional with five years experience in executive office support. Skilled in time management, event planning and implementing office procedures. In-depth knowledge of Microsoft Office, including Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Excellent inter-personal and communication skills.
List work experience most recent first. Include month and years of your start and end dates. You can write this section as a mix of paragraph and bullet point formats, i.e. summary and responsiblities in paragraph form followed by bullet points of achievements.
- Include a short company summary, one sentence in length. If the company you worked for was a small company, chances are the reader has not heard of it. Example, "Jane Smith Consultants." Was this an IT consultancy? Marketing? The sentence will give the reader some context when reading your work achievements and responsibilities.
- What were your responsibilities and achievements at the company? Example:
- Lead new staff training seminars for 50 members of the office support, legal and accounting teams.
- Planned three company-wide events, each with over 300 attendees.
- Negotiated vendor contracts for event, saving the company $30,000 over three events.
Education and training
Here you'll list where you attended college, when, and the degree you earned. The placement of the education section can vary.
- If you have five years or more of experience, place your education after your work experience section.
- If you’re a recent grad or have fewer than five years work experience, place education before your work experience.
- If you did not attend college, list your high school or GED information. If you have any college experience, omit any reference to your high school.
- List any professional development courses and certifications. If you do include these items, place the education section at the end of your resume.
Spelling and grammar
Although not exactly part of the resume structure, a spelling and grammar check is a must! Proofread your resume enough times that you can recite it by memory. Really. After all the hard work you put into writing your resume, the last thing you want to do is have it get it thrown out because of a spelling mistake. You can also ask a friend to look over your resume for an extra set of eyes.
Tell us: How many versions of your resume do you have?