Let's Get the Resume Basics Right FIRST.

Bottom line? You have to get the resume basics right. I will show you how to do just that.

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This page will cover:

Resume Preparation - Gather information about all previous work experience, accomplishments, and qualifications.

Resume Sections - Identify the different sections that will appear on your resume.

I will start by going over the steps you will want to take to prepare to write your resume. These steps will make it easier to get started when you start writing the content.

Resume Preparation

Preparation is the first step in getting the resume basics right.

I cannot begin to count how many times I have looked at a resume and it was obvious that the candidate had not put enough time and effort into writing their resume.

This immediately gives me the impression that the person will not put forth effort on the job if I were to hire them. I'd think to myself, "If the resume basics are ignored, will this person ignore the basics at work too?"

So please take the time to follow these basic resume preparation tips to ensure that your resume is:

  • Focused on a specific job or career field.
  • A clear overview of what you have accomplished.
  • An answer to the question, "What makes you qualified for this position?"
  • Tailored to fit the position you applied for.

Here are the first steps you can take to accomplish this:

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Decide what type of job you are interested in. Your resume must clearly identify the type of job you want and the career field you want to work in. Be specific. If your resume is vague, the recruiter or hiring manager is not likely to call you.

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Write down everything you can think of regarding your past work experience. Take your time to make sure you remember everything that you have done so far in your career. It does not have to be perfect at this time.

Just write down everything that comes to mind. You can decide which information is most important later.

The purpose right now is to gather as much information as possible. Include:

  • Previous jobs
  • Duties performed at each job
  • Skills used to perform the duties at each job
  • Highest level of education
  • Certificates / Licenses
  • Skills
  • Strengths
  • Accomplishments
  • Awards and recognition that you have received
  • Professional organizations of which you are a member
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Other skills

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Review everything you have written down and use a highlighter to highlight everything that is related to the position or career field of your choice. The highlighted information should be related to the position you are applying for.

If you have experience in more than one career field, you should create more than one resume - one for each career field. I can almost guarantee that your resume will be ignored if it focuses on customer service, but you are applying for a management job.

The information you highlighted in step 3 will become the foundation of your resume. This foundation is a critical component of resume basics. Include this information in the appropriate resume sections.

Keep reading to learn more about each resume section.

Resume Sections

Another important component of resume basics is making sure you have clear section headings that stand out to the hiring manager.

These resume headings will separate your resume into sections that make it easier to follow. This way, the hiring manager can quickly locate the keywords or information they are seeking.

Click on the section headings below for additional information and simple instructions for writing each section.

Contact Information

Resume Statement

Work Experience


Optional Sections

With no exception, your contact information must be the first item on your resume, followed by your resume statement. The remaining resume sections do not have to be in any particular order.

I recommend that you list the remaining items in order of the relevance to your career objectives. Placing the information that is most relevant first, is a key to getting the resume basics right.

Your resume sections form the foundation of your resume. Once this foundation is established, you'll want to spend some time developing your resume format.

Click here for important tips on writing a resume.

From Resume Basics to Simple Resume Writing Instructions Home

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