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Quick and Easy Tips on Resume Categories

There are several factors that are essential to a strong resume. This tutorial will explain the importance of each category in a resume.


Make it attractive and organized by being consistent! Be sure to use tabs instead of spacing. Each element should be presented the identical way from section to section. For example:

* If you center and bold a heading, center and bold all of your headings.

* If you indent your experience under an employer, do the same for the rest.

* If you use just the years for a position held, do not use months for the other positions.

* If you skip one line between two sections, skip only one line between all sections. When you are done, examine the format. Does it look uniformed?

Many job seekers make the mistake of creating a simple, hard-to-read heading or “Resume Letterhead.” To start your resume off right, bold and capitalize your name and make it at least a 16-point font size.

Format your address in an interesting way. For example. break the address up on either side of the name, place it in the center, and add a line to separate the name and address from the body of the resume.


Indicate your objective so the reader doesn’t have to guess. Instead of using an objective statement that really doesn’t say anything specific, place an objective title in its place, all caps and bold. Or:


OBJECTIVE: Seeking to secure a growth oriented position utilizing my experience and education.


OBJECTIVE: Customer service representative with five years of experience in automotive manufacturing seeking a sales position with a major auto dealership.


List several key qualifications (hard skills) that match the requirements of a position. This could include length of experience, type of experience (e.g. sales, customer service, technical expertise, licenses, certifications, and degree).


Sparingly list soft skills and personality traits well suited for the position. This should not be confused with qualifications. This could include strong communication skills used as a group presenter, excellent time management skills, people-oriented, project-oriented, team leadership, problem solving skills, mathematical aptitude, confidentiality, patient advocate, etc.


Provide a presentation of where you worked, in what positions, and for how long. Convey what the positions were about and what your main responsibilities were. Take into consideration who you reported to, if you supervised and trained anyone, who your customers were, how you interacted with them, what type of projects you worked on, if you handled monies or managed budgets, if you utilized the computer to retrieve and update information, etc.


If you possess certain technical skills such as patient care, computer systems, automotive repair, scientific R&D, etc., be sure to emphasize it in a situational way to show the reader how you used these skills. If you have extensive computer skills, be sure to create a separate category called Technical Expertise.


List accomplishments to show you make a difference in the workplace. This could include process improvements, streamlining workflow efficiencies, training others when a new computer system was implemented, starting up a new department, etc. You can include your accomplishments directly under each position or in a separate category called Accomplishments, Achievements, or Contributions.


This is an important category for an information technology professional to itemize their expertise in hardware, software, operating systems, protocols, programming languages, website development, etc.


This is mandatory for many positions requiring state licensure. For example, a teacher (teaching certificate), nurse (registered nurse), hairstylist (state licensed cosmetologist). Some occupations offer certifications that demonstrate a level of proficiency, but is not state mandated to work in that capacity. This is true in the case of information technology. For example, it helps to maintain certain certifications to advance professionally and demand higher pay, but it is not mandatory to get a job.


As with licenses and certifications, many occupations require a degree. Some certifications and licenses are not offered without appropriate academic training. Again, these include teaching, nursing, and cosmetology. These occupations require a certain level of training defined by hours or semesters, such as student teaching, clinical training, and hands-on classroom training.

If you have experience and are not transitioning, list your education at the bottom. If you are just starting out or are transitioning, include your relevant education at the top. The main idea is to place your strongest selling points first. If you are in higher education such as a school principal, list your education at the top because that is your field.


List only the current organizations that you are affiliated with. If you were with an organization for a very long time and feel it would help to include it, then list it with the years of membership. If you are involved in doing things for the organization, include “active” in your “membership” title.

For example, Active Member, ABC Organization, 1998 – Present. If you are actively involved in many unrelated organizations, use your discretion when deciding to include it. You do not need to list experience when listing your affiliations. Just your position, e.g. Chairperson, The Organization, XXXX. You do not need to list locations.

The exception with the verbiage is if you are a college student or just graduated. You would then want to include how involved you were in fundraisers and special projects. That will show your character and leadership potential. Once you have gained experience, be sure to remove the verbiage so you don’t look “green.” By then you should have more impressive information to include.


If you are in information technology, use a Technical Expertise category. If not, list your software without proficiency level. You do not need to list email, faxing, and calculators. Those are expected.


This category is not necessary. You should bring copies of your references to the interview to leave with the hiring manager if you feel you are still interest in the company after the interview. The only time it is a good idea to include this optional category is if you are starting out in your career.

If you are very seasoned and have many letters of recommendation, you can always indicate that you have a "Letters of Recommendation and Exceptional Professional References Presented At Time of Meeting."



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