The Jigsaw Puzzle Resume

Your resume should convey information quickly and efficiently. To do this, organize information in a simple, easy to follow format. Don’t make is confusing and don’t break up the information into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle.

This may seem obvious, but it wasn’t for the person that wrote the resume I read recently. Below is an outline of the resume:

Professional Summary

Summary of background

Professional Experience

Listing of Job Titles with dates, not in chronological order.  No descriptions or employer names included here.

Listing of Employers with dates, not in chronological order but in a different order from the job titles.  Detailed descriptions of each job provided under each employer, no job titles in this section.


Listing of degrees

I’m not sure why the job seeker put all the job titles in a single list apart from the employers and job descriptions. The order of the information made it more difficult to understand. If there was a reason for the order, it wasn’t clear to me – it looked random. The employers and job descriptions were in another order that also appeared random.

This organization requires a reader to pick a job title, look at the employment dates and find the same dates in the employer list in order to read the description of the position. It’s like putting together a puzzle, but far less fun.

When presenting a list of positions, you should keep the job title, employer, dates and description together. The order needs to be in reverse chronological order. This order starts with your most recent position and lists each in order to the oldest. It’s a very simple structure and is very easy for the reader follow. The more the reader of your resume has to concentrate on the structure of your resume, the less they will focus on the content.

I only have one guess for why the job seeker chose the order of the information they used.  He may have tried to put the information in order of how impressive it would be to a hiring manager.  The advice, that you should prioritize information and place the most important at the top, is good to follow.  It can be taken too far, as it was here.  The sequence you use for information should draw the reader from one section to the next.  In this case, the order was confusing and a detriment to the resume’s effectiveness.

On a plus note, the resume didn’t require a decoder ring to read it.