One of the first things you need to do when starting a job search is to make sure you have a resume or make sure your current one is up to date. Since I have been working for over twenty I have had a resume for a long time, but have not really had a need to use it recently. The job search criteria has changed a bit since I was last actively looking for a position and the resume format has evolved as well. I mean when I first put my resume together LinkedIn wasn’t even around. My resume was due for a major renovation. I did some homework and attended a recent class to help update my resume.


The Basics

A resume is usually the first introduction a perspective hiring manager will receive, so you better make it count. A resume should list both features and benefits of your previous work history. It should magnify accomplishment relevant to the target position. Meaning you may have multiple resumes, and it’s a living and changing document depending on how often and what position you are applying too. You should always try to match common requirements and key words from research from existing position from the major job sites. It should be no more than two pages in length and contain the three main parts of a resume, a summary, experience, and education.

Three Main Parts of a Resume

Most resumes are broken down into three main parts, a summary, experience and, education section. You can also add an additional relevant experience section and professional development section if applicable to position you are applying. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Summary (Max of 6 lines)
    • Who you are
    • Job title & level
    • Impact – main value and contribution
    • Hard Skills
      • Expertise & Knowledge
  • Soft Skills
    • Strength, experiences and personal attributes
    • Technical Skills/Knowledge
  • Professional Experience
    • Prove you case
    • List last 10-15 years
    • Company, Location, Years of employment
    • Job Titles
    • Job scope statement (max of 4 lines)
    • Accomplishments and Contributions
      • Bulleted
      • Features
      • Benefits
  • Additional Relevant Experience
  • Education
    • Degree
    • Major if relevant
  • Professional Development
    • Additional training and certificates.

It’s good to leave some white space between each section to make it easy to read and easy to find each section. The resume is your personal brand, you want to convey the value you bring, the main impact and what you are best known for in a two pages. You need to get it right.

Resume Results

I applied this type of thinking and formatting to my resume and transformed it into a much more powerful piece of paper. It went from a list responsibilities over the last 20 years to list of accomplishments and achievements. One that I think is much more likely to land me my next position. Isn’t that the goal? Our income is the best tool we have for building wealth.

Do you have a resume? When the last time you updated it? What are your best resume tips?


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28 thoughts on “Resume”

  1. I work in a college career center, and you touched on many of the key points I make to my students. (They don’t have enough experience for a summary section, though.) I think the most critical is to remember that, as you said, your resume should not be a list of tasks and responsibilities. It should highlight your relevant skills and experiences. Use strong, action verbs, and tie in your accomplishments as much as possible. Great post!

  2. A resume is something that people forget about until they need it, while in reality it’s easier to review/update it every quarter or at least every six months. I know some people who have gone over a decade without updating their resume. I have one and I’ll need to review/update it for my MBA application.

    1. Good point DC. I have always tried to keep mine updates, but was really missing my accomplishments, which have now been added.

  3. Yes a resume is a good tool if you are not self employed business owner. If heard mixed reviews about adding a summary or not, because most jobs want a cover letter. I also heard that if you have over 1 page it is not beneficial. (Sometimes you need 2 pages to show more details) I like that you said to show accomplishments, as that is what truly matters in the modern resume.

    1. With 20 years experience and multiple roles it would be tough to squeeze it all in on 1 page, but with the latest edit I have removed a lot and just focused on tangible accomplishments.

  4. I just updated my resume a couple weeks ago. It is much easier to update once a year or so, then to do it the night before you’re supposed to send it out to an employer, potential employer, school, etc. I’d rather just have to give it a glance over than to start from scratch.

  5. During law school I really put in a lot of work on creating a resume, including going to a couple of workshops. You’ve hit on the highlights. The things I remember were that they encouraged us to have only one page (as we didn’t have lots of experience) and to use action verbs to really describe our responsibilities/achievements. Additionally, we were encouraged to have different resumes tailored to different types of positions we might be seeking and to always draft a new cover letter specifically for the job to which we would be applying. I haven’t updated my resume since I started my current job in 2013. I’ve been meaning to, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Yes it possible to have multiple resumes tailored to the position you are applying to. Good idea to do some research on position your are targeting before hand and make sure your resume fits the description.

  6. If you were ever in between jobs for a significant amount of time (e.g. 3+ months), take out the “month” when you list your jobs. E.g. instead of saying “from January 2014 – February 2015, I worked at XYZ” just write “from 2014 – 2015 I worked at XYZ”.

    1. Good tip Tony. That also work when applying for positions for say 10 years experience and you have 15. If you just list you last 2 positions that total 10 years, its a good way not to be overlooked.

  7. This is actually a great reminder that I need to update my resume. The hardest problem I have had is actually writing what I do since I started my own business. I just can’t seem to capture everything I do in resume format, but as I am raising money for this business, I have definitely seen the need to have it updated for potential investors to review.

  8. My husband has a very “eclectic” background – one where certain certifications mean as much as the education and where his experience is in a different field than his degrees. He recently had a call with a career counselor in his field, who suggested that he do a skills based resume. The man is a hiring manager for a very large company and said that my husband has a lot of in demand skills, it they get lost in the traditional resume format, which almost makes him look spazzy. He went with a skills based resume and got three companies interested in him in one week. He finally got an on site interview with one of the three… Skills based was the way for him to go.

    1. Skills based is another great format depending on your experience and skills. 🙂 I would often see these types in the IT field.

    1. For a freelancer and someone who conducts most of their work online I think it makes sense to have your resume online only.

  9. Your résumé sounds purposeful, powerful, and concise. It probably helps you to define your strengths and to determine where you would like to go with them. I’m glad that you have a severance package and an emergency fund so that you won’t have to jump at the first thing that comes along. I think that you can take some time to really figure out what you want your next move to be. All the best as you continue through this unexpected chapter.

    1. It is now. Not rushing into just any position, making sure I make the choice that is right for me and the family.

  10. I´ve recently started seriously job hunting, too, and it´s been a total shock to me how seriously people take LinkedIn. I thought it was just a networking tool, like facebook, but I´m more and more finding out that recruiters really look at LinkedIn, almost instead of resumes in some cases. It´s definitiely wise to keep both up to date and spruced up.

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