Important Resume Components
For more recent jobs (those held within the past 10 years), it is reasonable to list each job assignment within each organization. Include dates of employment, followed by the company name and a one-sentence description of the scope of the company (e.g., annual sales, number of employees, principal products or services). Then, give your job title, followed by a sentence describing your responsibilities. If possible, include figures, such as annual sales, number of subordinates, or the size of the territory. After each recent job, append some of your most impressive and applicable accomplishments, specifying the action you took and the result of that action quantified in percentages and dollars wherever possible. The amount of detail for each job should diminish as you reach further back. (Jobs of more than 10 to 15 years ago can be summarized in a single line.)
Unless you are looking for a position in academia, where your educational background will be of paramount interest, a summary of your education should be included on the last page of your resume.
List your most current formal degree or diploma, then the next most current, down to the least current. Each notation should include the degree, the discipline or major, and the name and location of the institution. Note that the dates of education and degrees do not need to be included. They may provide a clue to age which could be used to discriminate.
This is also a good place to list supplementary training you have received, such as workshops, conferences, seminars, and special courses. In addition, list any licenses or certificates you've earned. You may also wish to highlight relevant academic credentials, honors, and any related academic extra-curricular activities.
Information related to memberships in professional organizations and/or published materials related to your field is an added asset to any resume. Guest speaking also adds to your credibility, especially lectures in your field of study or before organizations related to your area of expertise. However, avoid including details that are not relevant to your career objective.
PERSONAL DATA/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Personal data should only be included if it is either extraordinarily interesting - and will make the reader want to know more - or demonstrates a special skill. For example, you may have successfully coordinated a major fund-raising project in your community, demonstrating some marketing skills not shown in your work experience. Be sure that what you include here is relevant to the position you're seeking; otherwise, omit the section entirely.
If you've served in the military, set up a separate page as an addendum to your resume with details covering your tour of duty and your accomplishments. Do you have any special skills because of your military experience? Perhaps you speak a foreign language fluently or have a particular affinity for working with computers. Detail any specific training received in that specialty. Then note the years of experience you've had working in that area and your level of expertise. Also list any accomplishments related to this skill.
Do not include a line about references on your resume and don't offer them until they are asked for. You will know when the time is right, based on the seriousness of your negotiations, and you should be prepared to deliver your list at that time.
Depending on your length of service and the number of companies you have worked for in recent years, you may want to have three to six references available. Your most recent boss is an obvious choice, but don't hesitate to call on earlier bosses or someone at a higher level who may have a better impression of you. Some companies would like to have the names of one or two peers or associates who worked closely with you. Occasionally, they will ask for character references from non-work acquaintances or friends.
Ask the people you intend to list as references for permission to do so, and prepare them to be contacted by your prospective companies. Inform them of the nature of the job that is under consideration, as well as how you have positioned yourself to fit the job. This will give the reference some time to think about what to say in support of your marketing effort.
Many reference inquiries are now handled by telephone. Most companies are very guarded about what they will say in a letter; they usually confine their references to your dates of employment and the position held. In any event, try to get clarification on what the company's representatives will say in response to inquiries.
Many high-level professionals also develop an "Executive Profile" which includes such information as career highlights and a brief summary of professional affiliations. Also known as "bios," these are used most frequently at senior levels. They are designed to quickly summarize skills and accomplishments. They are more common in certain fields such as academia, publishing, government, and healthcare.
Most profiles read like the introduction of a guest speaker. The idea is to blend accomplishments and experience in a statement that reveals how the candidate is exceptional in his or her field. Most are written in a third-person narrative style.
When should you consider using an executive bio?
- When you are at a senior level in your field.
- If you are very accomplished in your field. For example, if you are a leading authority in your profession or if your work has been extensively published.
- When you wish to highlight significant achievements, such as the turnaround of a division, the introduction of several important products, or a breakthrough in science or medicine.