Purpose of a Resume

Even with the rise of LinkedIn and online brands, a resume is still an essential tool in a job search - especially when leveraged correctly!

The purpose of a resume is to attract recruiters to reach out to you for an interview. What attracts recruiters? A curated list of relevant achievements and experiences that align with the role you are targeting, NOT a comprehensive list of everything you have ever done. Another reason to focus on relevant information only - the average recruiter spends less than 10 seconds scanning a resume for target skills and experiences. So, make it easy for them to see why you are a great fit for the select role!


While there are no definitive rules on resume formatting, here are some key elements to consider:

  • In general, the more concise the better! While this advice can differ by sector (academia, certain technical roles), overall use 1 page per 10 years of experience as a guide.
  • Use simple formatting. Yes, the internet loves templates and interesting designs, but most recruiters prefer a basic text format (10 - 12 readable font) written in reverse chronological order. 
  • Only list relevant personal/demographic information. Again, while this advice will differ by geographic location, the most global format would only include your name, email address, phone number, LinkedIn profile, and city/state (in the US) or city/country (global). Only add more information if you are certain it's the standard in your region.

Common Sections

  • Professional Summary 
  • Education
  • Core Competencies
  • Experience
  • Additional Information
  • Technical Skills 

As you review these sections, it's important to reflect on your experiences and determine what makes the most sense for you. Here are some additional tips:

  • The most common order for experienced professionals is (1) Professional Summary (2) Experience (3) Education (4) Additional Information. 
  • Based on space (and definitely if you are seeking a career pivot), you should add Core Competencies underneath the Professional Summary. 
  • Technical Skills should be added based on the type of job - especially where many technical capabilities are a necessity. Otherwise, you can list technical skills under Additional Information. 
  • Only list Education at the top if the degree is the most important factor in your job search.
  • Additional Information can include hobbies/interests, language skills, volunteer experience, professional certifications, and relevant awards. 

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