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Job-Hunting? Five Essential Elements of Job-Seeker Resumes

Working on your resume? Here's what you need to develop and format a resume for today's job market, including the five essential elements employers want to see on your resume.

1. Name & Contact Information. Always include your full name, email, and cell/home phone numbers. You can include your address, but given privacy issues, it's best to leave off unnecessary information. Make your name big and bold, as an indicator of your confidence.

Other optional items to include: Links to your social media profiles, but only if use them professionally and/or they showcase your work.

Finally, you could consider adding a branding headline or statement that clearly identifies your core strengths, core attributes, core benefits to prospective employers.

2. Qualifications Summary/Professional Profile. Most employers do not have the time nor inclination to read entire resumes, so the qualifications summary was developed to fill that void. I liken the qualifications summary of a resume to an executive summary of a report... it is the 3-4 key bulleted nuggets of information that showcase why you are uniquely qualified for the job you are seeking.

Always tailor each qualifications summary to the job and employer -- using the words the employer uses to describe itself to describe yourself.

Finally, remember that you need to document/support your statements with specific details within the rest of your resume.

This section replaces the job/career objective, which most employers skipped and too many job-seekers abused.

3. Keywords/Skills/Core Competencies. This section of your resume is optional, but is especially important for online job-hunting, in which employers use computer databases to search for keywords on job-seeker resumes.

This section should include a list of no more than 10 to 15 of the keywords used to describe essential job characteristics (including jargon and buzzwords) within your area of expertise... characteristics that you have, of course. (Whenever possible, also include these same keywords through the rest of your resume, especially in describing your experience.)

For example, some keywords a marketing manager might have on his/her resume include: branding strategy, marketing analysis, market research, market segmentation, consumer surveys, needs assessment, new product development, product positioning, portfolio management, social media marketing.

4. Experience. This section includes all relevant (to the job you are seeking experiences, from paid work experience to unpaid community service and volunteering positions -- and is always presented in reverse chronological order, from current/most recent to oldest.

Experience goes first when it includes your most recent and relevant information related to obtaining a job; if you are a new college graduate or have recently earned a graduate degree or other educational attainment, then education comes before experience on your resume.

Present your experience in this format: job title, organization, organization city/state, and time worked/interned/volunteered (month/year). Do not include any other information, such as supervisor's name or phone number.

Within each experience, identify 2-4 accomplishments, not job duties. Brainstorm about how you made the job your own -- beyond the requirements of the position.

Write each bullet point in this format: action verb describing an experience that includes a (quantifiable) result. For example: Assisted in development of new marketing brochure that resulted in 25 percent more inquiries/sales calls.

5. Education. This section should include all relevant information on your education and training, including degrees and certificates. This information is presented in reverse chronological order, starting with most recent educational attainment.

Present your education in this format: Full title of degree/certificate, educational institution, location, date of attendance/degree/certificate attainment. Include majors/minors. List honors and awards received. GPA is optional, but only should be used in cases of high GPA, 3.5 or higher.

If you completed a project or thesis for your degree, by all means list the title and a short description (focusing on what might interest the employer).

Once you have your bachelor's degree, you no longer need to include any information on previous education, whether community college or high school.

A few years after your most recent educational attainment, you can drop off more details, such as GPA and honors, as your experience will be much more relevant to employers.

That's it. Now you need to read my other article, Job-Hunting? Common Resume Errors to Avoid.

What about other sections of your resume? You do not need them. If you do not have enough experience to fill a complete page, you can add sections such as: Languages, Software, Activities/Interests. Finally, the "references available upon request" has become passe, but if you have a slot at the bottom of the page, you can certainly put it there; the phrase become synonymous with "the end" for most employers... just NEVER include references on your resume.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.


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