Choosing what information to include in a resume is important, but an even more important consideration is the order. The most significant elements of your background need to go at the top of the resume. Unfortunately, many job seekers fail to prioritize information effectively. A resume I read today illustrates this common mistake.
The resume was from a manufacturing professional with a good education and good experience. The job seeker didn’t know how to package his background effectively. The first problem was with the order of the sections. Below are the section headings in order:
The job seeker has more than 15 years of experience managing manufacturing operations. This experience should not be buried in the middle of the second page. Compounding the mistake, the candidate prioritized Additional Training towards the top of the resume. The additional training section contained routine courses like Hazmat, Sexual Harassment and First Aid. Classes like this are routine in most mid-size to large companies. They do not differentiate the candidate.
The Select Career Achievements section listed several impressive accomplishments. This section should have been at the top of the resume. The accomplishments will get a hiring manager interested so they keep reading.
The Education section raises a question, though. The job seeker has a Six Sigma Black Belt, an impressive credential. The remainder of their education is ordinarily – a bachelor’s degree and a few additional courses. This education is important but isn’t going to make the candidate standout. The candidate needs to move the Six Sigma certification to the top of the resume and the rest of the education to the bottom.
The Summary of Qualifications section was just a listing of responsibilities the job seeker had. This section needs to be merged into the Professional Experience section. The is no need to break the responsibilities out from the job descriptions.
After making these changes, the new resume has a top section containing the objective, the Six Sigma certification and a few accomplishments. This section becomes the Professional Summary or Professional Profile. With this new section, the resume takes its new structure:
This structure leads off with the most important elements. It then moves into the basic information about the job seekers work history. From there, the resume wraps up with other information, the skills, education and training of the job seeker. The overall impression is much more impressive.
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