In my 14 years of resume coaching, the number one question I am asked is “what sections have the biggest impact on a resume?”
Most job seekers are curious as to how they to give a hiring manager a basic idea of who they are and what they can do. Here are my top 5:
- A branding statement should be one or two sentences that sum up your relevant skills, experience and achievements. These statements are best if they are concise, since a full paragraph is often too long.
- An About Me paragraph should include the jobs you’ve had, the companies you’ve worked for, the years you’ve been at each and a bulleted list of your biggest achievements. List these items in reverse chronological order, with the most recent job being the first on the list.
- Your personal profile should follow your work history, with a bulleted list under each entry that describes your relevant skills and experience. This section is also usually the most extensive of the three, with up to 10-12 bullets.
- The academic achievements section should include all of your high school, college and graduate school credentials, with the most recent programs listed first. List the name of the school, the degree you earned, the years you attended and the graduation date. If you are a recent graduate with more education than work experience, add a career summary statement under each of your education entries.
- A key strengths section includes any hard or soft skills you have. Some skills, such as specific program or application skills, are relevant to only one or two jobs. In this case, you can add a list of the skills you possess that align with the job. For example, if you are proficient in Microsoft Excel, you would list that skill under the entry for Microsoft Excel.
Additional sections can include an interests and hobbies section, an interests and hobbies section and a professional summary. The professional summary includes a few sentences that sum up your experience, ambitions or goals, while the interests and hobbies sections allow you to highlight activities and pursuits that are important to you.