A resume is a one to three page (depending on your target) marketing document intended to communicate your professional experience and qualifications. It provides the reader with a snapshot of your past accomplishments and ideally leads to an interview.
The basic components of a resume include your contact information, academic background, professional experiences, and other relevant experiences.
• Contact information should include name, address at which it is best to reach you, email address and phone number(s).
• Your academic background should appear by most recent degree received or course of study taken and include name of institution, degree obtained or seeking, city and state of institution,course of study, graduation date and accomplishments realized.
• Professional experiences are outlined in reverse chronological order with deference paid to relevance. For example, if your most relevant experiences with respect to the job you are applying for are not your most recent, it would be advisable to create one heading titled “Relevant Professional Experience” and a second heading titled “Other Experience”. Volunteer
and co-curricular experiences are perfectly appropriate for a resume and where they fall on your resume will largely depend on your role and their relevance to your current search.
Bulk of Resume:
The bulk of your resume will be dedicated to describing your responsibilities and accomplishments in past professional experiences. Accomplishment statements often appear in bullet format and tell a succinct, yet complete, story. A well-formulated accomplishment statement consists of two parts:
1. The action you took that led to
2. Results or benefits for your employer or customer. Stated in terms of value added, quantifiable difference or tangible results.
Good: Developed and implemented grassroots campaign strategies to fight for human rights.
Stronger: Developed and implemented grassroots campaign tactics to fight for human rights. Strategies included print materials and person-to-person contacts. Campaign reached 100,000 individuals and resulted in the approval of a ballot initiative.
When developing your accomplishment statements consider the following questions:
1. Does the statement begin with an action word that describes what you did?
2. Have you eliminated unnecessary words? Remember, your resume statements do not have to be complete sentences.
3. Have you quantified things that can be quantified?
4. Does the statement reflect how you helped your employer or customer?
Finally, you may wish to consider adding a heading/section outlining some of your technical skills, language skills, professional memberships, and/or non-professional accomplishments/interests.
(Adapted from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Career Center Resources)