What is the purpose of a resume?

  1. To get a job interview.
  2. To structure the interview process.
  3. To remind the interviewer of you after you’re gone.
  4. To serve as the basis for justifying the hiring decision to others.

What about “breakable rules” of resume writing?

Many of the breakable rules of resume relate to the length a resume should be; all breakable rules are covered in other parts of this FAQ.

Do I need more than one version of my resume?

Most likely, yes. You may need more than one organizational format for your resume. See table below for the most common organizational formats.

What should be included on a resume?

We offer lists of the items that you absolutely must include in your resume and a list of optional items to consider including:

  1. Name
  2. Address(es)*
  3. Phone numbers*
  4. Email address
  5. Education
  6. Experience

How should I list my address?

  • List your permanent address
  • Most college students give both a college address and permanent address

How can you sharpen the focus of your resume?

  • Use a branding statement or headline or both atop your resume.
  • Add a profile/qualifications summary with keywords relevant to the job you seek.
  • Add a keyword section relevant to the job you seek. See our Resume Keywords Worksheet.
  • Beef up portrayal of accomplishments and transferable skills. Be sure to spotlight skills that apply to what you want to do next. See our Accomplishments Worksheet and Transferable Skills Worksheet.
  • Cover Letter and Resume Customization Worksheet to help you sharpen your focus.
  • For college students and new grads: Consider adding class projects in your major (or other classes) that are applicable to what you want to do upon graduation. See our College Experience Worksheet for Resume Development.

Should I include my career objective on my resume?

Objective Statements have fallen out of favor. Many employers and recruiters claim they don’t even read them. That’s because most objective statements are badly written, self-serving, too vague, and not designed to do what they’re supposed to do, which is to sharpen a resume’s focus.

For a very detailed discussion of ways to sharpen your resume, see Your Job-Search Resume Needs a Focal Point: How Job-Seekers Can Add Focus to Resumes

What about a Profile, Skills Profile, Qualifications, or Resume Strengths section?

Whether or not you choose to include an objective statement, branding statement, and/or headline on your resume, you may wish to present a Qualifications Summary or Profile section. In addition to Profile and Qualifications Summary, these resume-topping sections go by numerous names: Career Summary, Summary, Executive Summary, Professional Profile, Qualifications, Strengths, Skills, Key Skills, Skills Summary, Summary of Qualifications, Background Summary, Professional Summary, Highlights of Qualifications. All of these headings are acceptable, but our favorite is Professional Profile.

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