The Basics of a Resume

Resumes come in two main flavors: chronological and functional. Numerous variations and hybrid versions combine the two (combination), but these two basic formats, once mastered, will provide the guidelines for any resume. These two forms vary mostly in the way that they lay out and prioritize work history information.

The following information appears on almost every resume.

  • Name
  • Phone number – at which you can be reached or receive messages.
  • Address
  • Job or career sought.
  • References–often just a statement that references are available suffices. If your references are likely to be known by the person who reads the resume, however, their names are worth listing.
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Special talents
  • Personal information – If some of this information is directly job related–the height and weight of a bouncer is important to a disco owner, for example–list it. Otherwise, save space and put in more information about your skills.

Should you include an objective at the top of your resume? While many resume books say yes, I am anti-objective. Why? Objectives tend to be either so specific that they convince the potential employer that you are interested in something other than the job at hand, or they are so vague that they include practically every position on the planet. During a recent search for a Film Producer Assistant, one candidate’s objective was to become a TV producer; another wrote an essay on his career ambitions, the future of the film industry, and general U.S. policy. Neither candidate got an interview. Though these are extreme examples, objectives tend to do more harm than good.

Salary and References
Unless a want ad specifically asks for salary information, do not include it. If you do include salary information, you run the risk of either pricing yourself out of a position or limiting your earning potential. For references, unless an ad requires them, a simple ‘references upon request’ at the bottom of your resume will suffice. You can bring a list of references and letters of recommendation with you to an interview.

Don’t be intimidated about writing a resume — just keep it clear and concise and you should get good results.

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