Writing Resume

Welcome to this topic entitled Writing resume! Writing resume can be a daunting task for students. It could be a nightmare for beginner students who are new in the world of job hunting. For some, it could be a formidable task which requires tremendous amount of planning and preparation. It is for this reason that we have to study the nuances of writing resume so that when the time of hunting for that dream job comes, you will have and easy time nailing it. So, let’s get it on!

Intended learning outcomes (ILOs)

At the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  1. Explain what is a resume, its types and characteristics;
  2. Write your own sample resume.

What is a Resume?

Resume is the representation of your professional self. It is a concise compilation of your educational and professional experience, as well as the skills that make you desirable for the workforce. It is what you use to sell your merit and skills to potential employers.

Your resume is arguable the single most important part of the application process. A well-organized, relevant resume will set you up to get an interview, while a poor resume will get completely lost in the sea of applicants. This is a fairly modern concern, as job postings now get thousands of online applications a day.

Difference between Resume and a CV

Some companies will indicate that they want you to submit a CV rather than a resume. A CV and a resume are not the same. CV stands for “curriculum vitae” and is meant to be an expansion of your resume. It is much longer than a resume, often three pages or more, and focuses mainly on your academic and professional accomplishments, with a particular focus on education.

Mostly, a CV is almost exclusively limited to professions in academia, science and medicine. In the case of academia, the main focus of the CV should be to identify yourself as a scholar. The added length, should be filled with proof of your skills as a teacher, scholar, and your knowledge of education. A CV should be thought of as a living document, and it will change frequently based on the updates in your education and career.

Generally, a resume is much shorter in length compared to a CV, usually limited to one page. It is meant to be a very brief synopsis of your career and education history. Resumes should focus on measurable accomplishments rather than soft skills or listed responsibilities. Like a CV, resumes need to be updated, but those updates should be made form specific job to which you are applying.

Types of Resume

So you are staring at a blank page on your computer wondering, “Where do I start?” Hundreds ask this same question every day and the reason is most likely due to the fact that there is no standard rule for formatting a resume. Your formatting decision comes down to 3 choices: Reverse-Chronological, Functional, and Combination. Each format has their own advantages and disadvantages. Below, you will find which one is best for you.

  1. Reverse-Chronological. This format has the items in the content listed chronologically from the most recent to the least. This is the more traditional format and is what you are most likely to come across. This is flexible and can be used for applicants with any level of experience. Click here for a sample.

    1. You should use this if:
      1. You want to show a vertical career progression.
      2. You want to apply to a job in a similar field.
      3. You want to promote my upward career mobility.
    2. You shouldn’t use this if:
      1. You have major gaps in your employment history.
      2. You are changing your career path.
      3. You change jobs every few months.
  2. Functional. While chronological places emphasis on career progression, a functional format focuses on your abilities and skills. Since it heavily emphasizes the applicant’s qualifications, functional format is more suitable for those with an expert level of experience. Click here for a sample.
    1. You should use this if:
      1. You have gaps in your employment history.
      2. You are changing your career industry.
      3. You want to highlight a specific skill set.
    2. You shouldn’t use this if:
      1. You want to highlight upward career mobility.
      2. You are an entry level candidate that lacks experience.
      3. You lack transferable skills
  3. Combination. As you can probably guess the combination format merges bits and pieces from both chronological and functional formats. Like the functional format, it focuses on specific qualifications, yet the body of the document contains professional experience similar to chronological format. This format is generally reserved for those with a great deal of experience in a particular industry. Click here for a sample.
    1. You should use this if:
      1. You want to highlight a developed skill set within a specific career.
      2. You want to change career path.
      3. You are a master of the subject you are applying to.
    2. You shouldn’t use this if:
      1. You want to highlight your education.
      2. You lack experience.
      3. You are an entry level candidate.

Writing resume tips

The number one tip is to keep your resume as clear and to-the-point as possible. While there is no official length limit to your resume, it is meant to showcase only your relevant work experience as fast as possible. The average time spent looking at a resume is 6 seconds, so a concise resume in a one page format is highly preferred.

The key word in resume writing is relevant. For example, if an early part of your employment history does not pertain to the job for which you’re applying, and you’re running out of space, don’t include that information. Your resume also needs these key features:

  1. Contact Information. This might seem obvious, but it is very important. Make sure your resume is updated with your most recent contact information. Recruiters and hiring managers often get thousands of resumes for one job position, so providing them with your email address, personal phone number, and home address will make contacting you for an interview much easier. When including your email address, be sure to use addresses that are professional looking and sounding. For example, [email protected] is much more appropriate than [email protected].

  2. Work Information. This section should include all relevant paid work experience, including internships. Volunteer or charity work should not be included in this section, or often at all (see below). Make the title of this section a reflection of your paid experience: “Work Experience”, “Employment History”, and “Work History” are all appropriate titles. This should be listed above “Education” unless you are a recent college graduate, since that information is most pertinent to employers. You should also include information about promotions in this section. When listing your responsibilities, start with the most valuable experience first, since the employer will likely be skimming your resume top-down depending on the type of format you are using.
  3. Education. When providing your education on your resume, list degrees in reverse order. For example, if you have a master’s degree, it should be listed before your bachelor’s degree. Again, if a hiring manager or recruiter is skimming your resume, you want them to see your highest degree first. It is very important to include dates in this section. Furthermore, if you have a bachelor’s degree, it is not necessary to include your high school education on your resume. It is assumed that you graduated high school if you’ve obtained a higher degree. So leave out this information. Only include your GPA if it is higher than 3.5 on a 4 point scale (no need to mention that 2.0 when you moved into the frat house sophomore year) and only if you are a recent graudate. There are a few exceptions to this rule, like if you’re applying for a job in academia or engineering where a GPA is expected. You can also list honors or awards if you’re a recent graduate. If you attended college, but did not finish your degree, list the number of credits obtained. For recent graduates, education and internship are your main selling point. But if you’ve already been in the workforce, tone down your education section, the best rule of thumb is that one line will suffice.
  4. Skills. Skills on your resume are important when your resume is submitted. Use skills in your resume as a hub for keywords specific to the job for which you’re applying. Your resume should be tailored to each job you apply to so the skills should be integrated organically in your work experience if possible. If necessary, you may want to include a skills section. These portions of your resume are especially well-suited to technical positions. Hard skills are provable, experience-based skills, which are the only type you should include in this section. Examples include computer programing, WordPress, Spanish fluency, heavy machinery operation and HTML. Also include a description of the skill, or your expertise level is possible.
  5. Awards. Only include this section if it makes sense for the job for which you’re applying. If you’ve received relevant awards or have affiliations that the recruiter or hiring manager would like to know about, feel free to list them. Steer clear of listing affiliations that are not relevant and potentially polarizing, such as political or religious affiliations.
  6. Community Service. This is another resume section that is a judgment call. If you’re applying for a leadership or management, or for a job with a non-profit company, your community service experience is worth listing. Always think of relevance before adding anything to your resume. For example, if you are applying for a job in marketing and have volunteer experience in social media, that’s great information to add. If you are applying for that same job in marketing and volunteered in a food kitchen, there’s no need to include it in your resume. You can always talk about your passions and volunteer experience when you’re in an interview.


  • Jobscan. (n.d.) Resume Writing Guide. Accessed from the website https://www.jobscan.co/resume-writing-guide#whatisaresume on August 201, 2018.
  • Resume Genius. (n.d.) How to Write a Resume. Accessed from the website https://resumegenius.com/how-to-write-a-resume on August 20, 2018.

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