How should you structure a resume?

Hello you!

I am glad you came by to talk about resume writing.

Today, I will outline the structure I recommend people use when putting together a resume. It is important to recall several things when writing a resume :

  • Clarity is the most important. The person reading it should clearly understand what you did previously and why you're a match for the job posting
  • Nobody is printing resumes in 2020. Your resume can be more than 2 pages.
  • Put the most relevant experience/education first!

Great! Now we're going to put those 3 points into action.

Your resume should start with your name and contact information - don't put your full address - just email, city, province.

Next, write a summary that is specific to you and no one else. Keep it short.

You have a decision to make next, and it should reflect what is most likely to get you hired. Either your education or work experience. If you're a new grad or junior professional and are very proud of the school you went to, list education first. If your experience is more likely to get you hired, put your experience first and education second. If you didn't do the school thing, no worries, just lead with experience.

If you feel the need to add some keywords, do it at the end of the resume. Words not attached to a job description lack clarity (which is most important!) but putting it at the end cannot hurt for the ATS/SEO

You may include hobbies/interests at the end as well. Just list a few. They can make talking points in an interview!

In review, here are the sections for how I think you should structure a resume

  • Full name and contact information
  • Summary that is specific to you
  • Experience or education, list whatever you think makes you more competitive first
  • Experience or education, list whatever is 2nd most competitive 2nd
  • Keywords, hobbies, interests

Should certifications be included with education? Up to you! If it's a PMP or CSPO, absolutely. If it's an esoteric certification that is less relevant, maybe at the back of the resume.

Should you list an objective? No. Your objective is the job you applied for and nothing else. Objectives used to be listed when people mailed/faxed printed resumes into HR departments.

Should you add complicated margins and formatting? No, this always backfires. People use different systems and formatting makes PDF readers and Word challenged. This does not apply to marketing/graphic/UI/UX/visual designers, but if you can make it resume visually striking while not sacrificing clarity, you should have a greater chance of success.