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Preparing Your Résumé and Cover Letter

Separate the heading section and all subsequent sections with a page-width horizontal line to aid the reader.

Occupational or Career Objective

The first section of the résumé is a statement of occupational or career objectives, specifying the industrial sector, profession, or occupation, and the level of responsibility (individual contributor or supervisory/managerial). You can begin this section with a general title of your occupation written in bold font, such as "Senior Computer Support Specialist," "Pharmacist," "Grocery Produce Department Manager" or "General Accountant." If you are pursuing an occupational or professional change, or if you’re returning to the workforce following an absence, explicitly state that fact in the objectives section.

Skills, Capabilities, and Qualifications

Present your critical or (especially for career changers) transferable skills, capabilities, and qualifications in a bulleted format, limited to the 10 to 12 most important factors. You can tailor these factors to the position sought. Cite specific knowledge, certifications, and credentials (degrees, workshops, or seminars), technical capabilities (for example, computer skills), personal attributes (leadership, organization, and interpersonal skills, an orientation toward results, or the like), and industry-specific items. For example:

Staff Supervision – Effectively supervised groups of five to 15 employees in varied environments

This specific example of work history is vital to the person scanning your résumé. You can briefly expand on each qualification or simply list the bulleted items.

Work History

In reverse-chronological order, list each employer (accounting for the most recent 10 to 20 years) including the employer’s name, a description of the enterprise, the city and state where you had the job, calendar years of employment (you don’t need to include months), the most senior job title achieved, accountabilities, primary activities, and achievements or notable results. You can place the achievements and notable results in a bulleted list, but limit the bulleted items to two or three.

You can consolidate other previous experience into a brief, general paragraph, such as “Previous positions in (insert your occupation and industry).

Education, Training and Affiliations

Enter formal education, including the name of your school, its location, and your course of study. You don’t need to put a graduation date unless it has been within the past 20 years. If you did not complete a degree program from the school, note either "attended" or "completed coursework." Formal education is often checked during background inquiries, and any misrepresentation is likely to be discovered.

List any meaningful training in a bulleted list. This includes recognized, rigorous, and relevant programs with a direct bearing on your occupational objective and qualifications. For example, if you completed a bookkeeping course from an accredited institution, such as a community college, or if you took a Microsoft Office certification classes. Don’t use this space for webinars or seminars.

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