Résumé Writing Guidelines and Templates
Your résumé is a key tool for obtaining interviews. A résumé is a concise summary of your educational and work experience, accomplishments and skills. Obtaining an interview is the main goal of a résumé.
Think of it as a marketing brochure. Your goal is to generate initial interest in your product. It needs to be visually appealing and grab the attention of the reader within the first few lines (and within a scanning time of as little as 15-30 seconds). Your résumé will need to motivate the reader to take action and call you for an interview.
If you are considering a career change, it is essential that you relate your skills and abilities on your résumé to your target position or industry. If you are pursuing several career options, you will need to create several different résumés, each one with a particular focus. Keep your goals and your audience in mind each time you set out to write or revise your résumé. For help getting started, watch this Webinar.
Resume Templates & Examples
Although there are 3 general formats for a business résumé (Chronological, Functional and Combination), the most effective marketing piece combines the best elements of each as detailed below.
- Chronological (with Functional Experience Headings) – The chronological résumé lists your education and work experience in reverse chronological order and presents other relevant information when applicable. Using the elements of a functional résumé, you can use functional experience titles as opposed to the generic “Work Experience”, such as “Finance/Accounting Experience” or “Management Experience” to target your résumé.
- Combination (Functional Headings with an Employment History) – The functional/combination résumé plays down your work history and focuses on the functions you performed. The functional résumé can be very helpful if you feel you may not have experience which is directly related to your career objective, but the skills you have developed are transferable. Even though it plays down your Employment History, you should still list all of your employment in reverse Chronological order at the bottom in the Employment History section.
Always be thinking about specific tasks, accomplishments, and results, quantifying and qualifying as much as possible.
- Quantifying: numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, scopes of projects, number of counties, countries, people, programs, etc.
- Qualifying: descriptors, software programs you used, businesses or high profile clients’ names with whom you may have worked, answer who, what, when, where, why and how.
- Name/Phone Number/E-Mail Address – This information can be anywhere at the top of the page. Your name should be in a larger font than the rest of the résumé. For security reasons, you don’t necessarily need to use a physical address any longer, as résumé are posted all over the internet.
- Objective – An Objective should always be used unless you are a 1st year MBA who does not yet know your career direction. An objective should be clear, concise and tailored for each position. “A ——— position to fully utilize and merge nearly # years of —– and —— experience with my current MBA curriculum (or MBA Degree) expected this spring.” Once you have stated an objective on your résumé, you must be sure that all the information which follows supports and is focused toward that objective.
- Profile or Specialties - This section can further target your résumé and can be written in a few sentences or be a horizontal list of ‘buzz’ words such as: “Financial Analysis | Marketing | Strategy | Leadership | Visionary”
- Education and … - List schools, undergraduate and graduate, in reverse chronological order. Completely spell out your degrees and place above the school. Indicate degree(s) received, dates(s) received or expected, majors/concentration/ minors, honors and relevant course work. Keep your education right under the Objective if it’s recent and relevant. You can also rename the section “Education / Certifications” and list certifications, or “Education / Licenses” …. etc…. This can save space and streamline your résumé.
- Work Experience – This section should list the relevant positions you have held, in reverse chronological order, emphasizing skills, accomplishments and knowledge. Depending on how you want to slant your résumé, you can begin with either your title or the company. Underneath this, you want to use bullets to describe your accomplishments and begin each with an action verb. (Chronological w/ Functional Experience Headings) (Use a functional title as opposed to the generic “Work Experience”, such as “Finance / Accounting Experience” or Management Experience” to target your résumé)
- Employment History – This section is used if you have only used Functional Headings in your Experience Sections without having listed your places and dates of employment yet. This is merely a LIST of your Titles, Company, City, Dates in reverse chronological order. Depending on how you want to slant your résumé, you can begin the list with either your title or the company.
- Community Service/Activities – In addition to educational and work experience, you should include other information reflecting the value and depth you can bring to an organization.
- Publications -This is where you may list anything you may have published if applicable.
- Additional Qualification – This is where you may list your computer knowledge, foreign languages, etc. if applicable.