DerrJones Recruiting Solutions

Resume Outline:
A Useful Tool in Building a Resume!

Developing a resume outline is one of the best tips we can give you. Picture this. You get a call from a recruiter who specializes in your industry. Although you're really not thinking about looking for a new job, this career opportunity is a good one. Too good to pass up. In order to get more information, you need to share your resume. But, your resume hasn't been updated in years.

Where do you start? If your approach is to just start writing, you're bound to fail. A better strategy is to sit down and create a resume outline to help structure your thinking. Resume writing is not rocket science. But, you do need to work through your experience logically, and tell a compelling story about your background.

The resume outline that follows can get you started. For each of the sections described, you'll find expanded content by clicking through the links at the end of the page. Follow our advice and you'll be on your way to landing more interviews. And yes, we've got some good advice for interviewing as well!

Your Resume Outline

I. Contact Information

Include your basic contact information at the top of your resume. Your name, address, phone numbers (cell/office/home), and your email address. Make sure that you're comfortable being contacted using this information, i.e. if you don't want a recruiter or hiring manager to call you at the office, don't provide that number.

II. Summary Statement

Do not use a resume objective! A resume objective can easily screen you out of an opportunity you are perfectly qualified for. Instead, include a summary statement that provides a short narrative about your strengths. If you aren't familiar with this strategy, you can find some good information and examples here.

III. Professional Experience

Since hiring managers and recruiters prefer a chronological resume format, we'll focus on that here. You want to include all of your work history in reverse order, starting with your most recent position and working back to your early career. For each company you've worked for, include the following information:
  • Name of the Company
  • Location (City/State)
  • Brief description of the employer - put some scope to the employer in terms of revenues, employee base, what they do, etc.
  • Dates of Employment - years only
  • Position Titles & Dates
  • Short description of your responsibilities (i.e. your job description)
  • Selected accomplishments for each position. What did you do to distinguish yourself in each role?
Note: You're not looking for a finished work product at this stage. This should be a factual accounting of where you worked, what you did, and your thoughts on some of your best work in each role.

IV. Academic Credentials

List the schools you attended, beginning with your undergraduate education. Do not go back to high school! List any graduate education and degrees you hold. If you have had significant professional training, e.g. six sigma training, sales training, list that as well. Don't include every seminar you've ever attended. You want to make note only of major training events.

V. Professional Organizations

Are you a member of a trade or professional association? If not, you should be! List any organizations you're a member of, making note of any leadership positions you hold. If you volunteer, list these activities as well. One note of caution: we recommend omitting reference to any religious or political group you belong to. You don't want to risk someone else's personal bias impacting your chances of landing an interview.

How hard was that? Getting these factual pieces included in your resume outline makes it much easier to put together your final document.

Revisit what you wrote down for your accomplishments. This is a critical section of your resume, and will play an important role in any interview process. When you think you've completed this section, revisit it! Be critical. This scrutiny will serve you well as you move into the interview stage of your job search.

Detailed information on each of the resume outline sections above can be found in these sections:

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