While the styles and substance of a resume do drastically vary, there are aspects of the structure of the resume that should remain constant. For the most part, everyone’s resume should contain the following sections:
The professional profile serves as a mini-synopsis of a candidate’s prior experience. From a macro-view it quickly educates a prospective employer as to what career path the candidate has pursued thus far, and briefly focuses on his or her areas of expertise, i.e “Demonstrated history of directing all business development initiatives for numerous Fortune 500 companies”. It should be written in a fragmented manner, and be nearly 5 sentences in length. The purpose of the professional profile, above being an introduction to the candidate, is to entice the employer to read the resume in length.
This section should consist of key buzzwords relating to your profession or industry that quickly convey what your skill sets are, i.e payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable etc. This is an important section because it will ensure that your resume is not filtered out by the computer programs that hiring manager are using to quickly scan resumes for appropriate candidates. If a Human Resources Manager is looking for a qualified Accounts Receivable Processor, and the terms accounts receivable or processor are absent from your resume, your resume will be filtered out of the search. Ensure that the buzz words in this section highlight your experience or areas of expertise.
Your work history should be laid out in a chronological manner, from your most recent employment dating back. You should provide the name of your employer, the location of the referenced job, and your title within the company or organization. In addition, make certain that you include all accolades that highlight your accomplishments. Utilizing numbers as metrics of your success is the most efficient way to demonstrate how effective you were within each role. It is far more powerful for a car salesman to show that he “sold 50 automobiles per month”, rather than just saying that he “sold automobiles”.
If applicable, this section should briefly mention your academic career. If you have graduated college, you need not reference high school.
If applicable, remember to list any memberships or affiliations you have to outside organizations. This can include local organizations such as a Chamber of Commerce, or any volunteer work.
You should customize the resume to encompass sections that may fit outside one of the above mentioned categories. For example, if you have an Information Technology background, feel free to create a section that highlights your technical abilities and skill sets.