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How to Write a Basic Resume


The following comments are intended to help you develop a resume that will yield the best possible results from your job search.

HEADING: Your name, full address, home, cell, and work telephone numbers, and e-mail address. If you are currently employed and it is difficult for you to talk at work, you can omit the office number.

OBJECTIVE: (optional) many templates have this in them and it is ok to use if you desire. Make it specific to each industry, company, job, etc… that you apply to. In reality let’s face it, your objective is to get a job (and we all know this) so unless you are dead set on this or need a “filler” to reach a full page—Leave it out!!

SYNOPSIS: (very optional) The three or four (seldom more) technical or specialty areas that you believe are your major areas of expertise. You might also include one or two significant accomplishments that are particularly relevant to the position you are seeking.

EDUCATION: (This is for new Grads, once you have true work experience move education below your most recent jobs) your highest and most recent degree first. Only include partial graduate work if you are currently working toward a degree or intend to do so in the not-too-distant future.

“Accomplishments say more than duties or responsibilities!”

CAREER HISTORY: Dates, Company, Location, Position/Title.

List your employment in chronological order, beginning with your current/most recent position. Show your dates of employment, the name of the company and its location, and your functional title.

*The functional title might be different from your “official” one. As an example, some companies give titles such as “Member of the Technical Staff” or “Principal”. These obviously don’t tell the reader much about what the individual actually does. Better titles would be “Mathematician” or “Consultant” or “Vice President of Business Development”.

Be sure to include every company you’ve worked for during your entire career. The reader should be able to follow your career path from undergraduate school to the present. This will alleviate any concerns on the readers' part regarding periods of unemployment or a pattern of "job hopping".

It is best to provide the most information about the most recent 2-4 years of your work experience. Address as much of the following as appropriate for your level of experience:

RESPONSIBILITIES – State what your employer and your supervisors expect you to accomplish, including personal responsibilities, duties you perform as part of a team, and, if appropriate, those you assign to others. Include specific information (e,g, the size/type of projects you are working on ($$, time frame, technology, purpose, the number/functions of people reporting to you, etc.). Specifics show attention to detail.

MOST IMPORTANT

ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Demonstrate ways in which you contributed to the company. This can be references to work that produced specific financial and/or sales results. It can also be descriptions of projects undertaken and completed, whether they are business development initiatives or technical efforts. Again be specific. *Accomplishments say more than duties or responsibilities!

Training and certifications if appropriate and/or specialized include in separate section, under its own heading.

LENGTH: Try to limit your resume to two pages (one if you have limited work experience). Start longer and then edit down is a good approach. DO NOT submit a second page unless it is a full second page. Keep the blank space to a minimum.

*Remember a recruiter or hiring manager sees several resumes a day; Be Bright, Be Brief and Be Remembered.

Earlier employment can be summarized and brief. Concentrate on recent (and pertinent) experience.

Don't use soft, fuzzy language such as “conferred with”; “played role in”; “researched possible ways to”; “kept management informed on”; “examined possible technical solutions”, and a host of others that say little about what you actually do.

Do Stress “responsible for...”, “designed...”, “developed...”, “created...”, “implemented...”, “solved...”, “resolved...”, “managed...”, “operated...”, “accomplished...”, “achieved...”, “grew…” etc.

Avoid the temptation to be too elaborate in the format of your resume. This often can be more of a distraction than a benefit. Many computer programs have resume templates that can help with this.

Your resume should be:

  • Neat and easily understood.
  • Easy for the reader to quickly grasp your experience and skill sets and be able to understand what you have been doing throughout your career.
  • Able to easily point out to a manager your potential for meeting his/her business needs.

The above comments are generalized. Use them as a guide, not as a set of unbreakable rules. Your resume should be your best expression of your background and talents.

Remember, it is often the vehicle that generates an interview for you, rather than other candidates.

Todd A. Davis

Todd A. Davis, Manager
ReliaQuest, LLC
Toll Free: (800) 925-2159 | Fax: (813) 321-1414
Email: tdavis@reliaquest.com
1413 S. Howard Avenue, Suite 206
Tampa, FL 33606

Todd A. Davis is a 2003 University of Florida Graduate with a Bachelors of Science Degree in FRE with a specialization in management. He has 8 plus years of management and recruiting experience. Formerly the Director of Recruiting and Agency Development for Northwestern Mutual, Todd is now Manager at ReliaQuest, a National Search Firm headquartered in Tampa, Florida.

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