Career: How do you structure your resume?



For many of us, the resume is one of the most important documents in our life. It is under constant construction and change. I had a chance to be a recruiter for a while and I have to admit that the worse thing is when I see a CV of a perfect candidate, but just don’t feel like talking to this person because of the document’s structure, or actually the lack of it.

I will not give you the recipe for a perfect resume, but I can give you some tips about how to change it from good to great. (Coming up soon: “7 tips for a great resume’) Today I would like to focus on the structure of your CV.

Have you ever asked someone to have a glance at your resume and give the first impression comment?

The worst resume I had in my hands had a mix of experience and education in a timeline and one page of bullet points on how great the person was. I had to admit it was a disaster and it immediately ended up in the bin. I just need to tell you that the application was for a senior auditor position. Even if the person was superb I would have never dared to give this document to my client. Of course I could redo the format, but, for goodness sake, I was not hired to redo someone’s CV, but to find a person fitting the position and my company’s culture.

How to best structure your resume?

First of all, start with who you are: name, surname, nationality, where you live. Do not forget to provide your telephone number and email address.

After that it is advisable to place a short objective statement in 2-3 short sentences. What position you are interested in, what are your soft-skills that make you fit the job. Do not make it too long. Don’t forget that you will have a chance to give a more detailed motivation in the Cover Letter.

Next put the Education or Work Experience part, but don’t mix tem in the timeline unless the company specifically asks for it. Each of those should have a structure as well: for example in Education you can have:

University of xxx in London

09/2000 – 08/2002

Faculty: Human Resources

Degree: Master in Human Resources Administration

But do not limit it just to that. If during your studies you had an interesting achievement or joined a contest, or were a student representative, or were a part of international exchange program, it is worth to be mentioned here. It should be brief yet clear information about what you have achieved in addition to just your degree.

Work Experience is as important as Education. It shows where you gained your experience and what you did in each role. Listing each is important, but more important is to list in bullet points examples of actions you had in each role. This part will show the reader how well you fit the role. Do not forget to adjust this information towards the job you are applying for. If you see the company had listed “drafting minutes and board documents” on top of the job description, do not leave this action to the end, but place it as the very first on the list. Keep in mind that the reader will have many CVs in the pile and only a little time to look at yours.

After those most import parts add chapters like:

Language Skills,

Computer Skills,

Courses and Certificates.

Remember that bullet points are more visible than detailed descriptions.

People also like to add chapters like Volunteer Experience and Awards. Both show what you care about and what a great person you are. But I would be careful with this part. Do not overdo it. Keep it focused and again related to the post you are applying to.

What is your hobby?

The last thing I really like to look at in people’s CVs is Hobby. It shows who you really are. The more specific the hobby, the more interesting the person is. But I will tell you a story about this another time.

Take a look at Project CV that the company is running to support you find a new great opportunity

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