The Resume Series: Resume Basics - content and structure

There are any number of websites, blogs and career pro's who will tell you how to put your resume together. There are templates you can download and advice you can seek, but here are the basics for the content and structure of your resume as I see it.

  • No matter what job you are applying for, some stuff should be the same. This is the basic skeleton of your resume - name, contact details, qualifications, job position and company, format and length. Some parts should change depending on the role.
  • Put your qualifications, if any, up front. Put your most recent and senior qualifications first. To clarify, a qualification is something achieved through a university or college or school.  No one cares that you attended a course on PowerPoint and this is not a qualification.
  • After your name and qualifications you may want to list up to five career highlights. There are achievements that stand out from everything else you have done. These should be in dot-point-style and succinct. These should be tailored depending on the job you are applying for.
  • Next start with your most recent role stating the company, month and year you were there and your role
ABC Equipment Hire
Operations Manager
May 2008 - current  
  •  Under this you might like to start with a couple of achievements and then list your main responsibilities. Again you could tailor this section depending on the role to highlight what's relevant. Some people also like to include the reason for leaving but as you will be asked about this anyway, I don't think it needs to be included. Do this for each job.
  • I like reading resumes that don't have big paragraphs of words. Short summaries and dot points are best. A resume is like a taste of who you are and what you have achieved. If you get to the interview stage you will be able to elaborate.
  •  It's ok to have one or two gaps in your resume. Perhaps you went on an overseas trip? Perhaps you were on maternity leave? Perhaps you took time out to study? Perhaps you were just unemployed? It's all ok. Just be honest. Good people will understand.
  • Once you have followed the above format for all your main roles you may want to add something about your other interests but do so carefully. Read point number 6 in this post if you aren't sure.
Anything you would add?

Lisa x