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Resume Content

Remember that a resume must be crafted with the audience in mind. The right qualifications are only an asset if they are presented well! The most common type of resume is a Chronological Resume. This is the format that lists your education and experience in reverse chronological order. This is most commonly preferred among employers. The information below is divided by the various sections of the resume and is listed in the order that it appears on the page, starting at the top. To view each section, just click on the section title.

 

Heading

The heading is a simple way to introduce your basic information. It should include your name, address, phone, e-mail, web address, and any other contact information you choose to provide. This should be at the top of the page, so that employers can easily and quickly identify who they are dealing with. Your name should be highlighted somehow, possibly in bold letters and larger than the other information. It should stand out, so that the potential employer is inclined to remember it. If you are in the process of moving, remember to provide both a current and future address.

Example 1:

William S. Land
11 Corner Street
Cara, NY 32105
923.781.5482
wland@net.com
www.land.com

Example 2:

Elizabeth B. Parker
100 Main Street Dallas, TX 78234 508.489.6237 eparker@studio.com

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Objective

This is an optional feature, but if included, it can communicate that you are a goal-oriented person with strong intention. The objective should briefly (one sentence) explain the goal of your job search, and it should be tailored to the job you are applying for. The wording should focus on what you hope to give to the position, not what you hope to receive from it. A vague, general objective communicates a lack of direction. If you cannot clearly and specifically communicate your purpose, it is best to leave it out.

Example 1:

Objective: To serve as a pastor, providing Christ-like leadership, preaching, counseling, and shepherding.

Example 2:

Objective: To encourage believers toward maturity in Christ by providing a cohesive Christian Education program in a church setting.

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Education

Next on the resume is your educational information. This section should include the name of each institution you have attended (college and onward), location of the institutions (optional), the dates of attendance, the degree earned there, and the degree's emphasis (if pertinent). A related thesis or special project could be included as well. Awards or special recognition you received should also be highlighted, making sure that the honor is explained. If you are proud of your GPA, include this too. The general rule is 3.0 or higher, but this is ultimately up to you!

Example 1:
Pearson College, 1982-1986
BA, English Literature; GPA: 3.8/4.0 Reynolds Scholarship Recipient (Academic Excellence and Leadership)

Example 2:
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1996-2000 -Masters of Divinity (emphasis in World Missions)
-GPA: 3.9/4.0

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Work Experience

This is the most important section of your resume. It tells the employer what you've done in a professional setting, thus indicating what you will do for the employer. Carefully wording and accurately describing your work history will be a great asset to your resume. This section may require hours of work and many revisions, but it's worth it! You'll never regret maximizing the potential of your resume!

This section should include your work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent experience. Specifically, you should include job title, company, dates of service, the location of the job (optional), and a description of the work you did. In terms of the layout, it is very important that each job listed is visually separate from the others. With only a glance, employers should be able to identify the various work experiences you have had. The title of the job, company, and dates of service should be set apart from the description by underlines, italics, bolding, etc. However you choose to highlight the information, make sure that your methods are consistent across all the work experience listed.

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Keys to Writing Success

    Action Verbs
    Your description of each position should be carefully worded using action verbs. Your resume should tell a potential employer that you are a person of action who takes initiative and makes things happen! The right verbs can provide unquestionable professionalism and confidence to your resume. Avoid using the same verb twice in your resume. Download our exhaustive list of action verbs now!

    Details
    It is also important to include detailed information regarding your past performance- number served, percent accomplished, etc. - anything to give the employer direct descriptions of your previous successes. Past performance is an excellent prediction of future performance. If you can specifically display to employers that you have a history of successes, you will become that much more attractive to them.

    Transferable Skills
    As you describe your tasks, focus on your transferable skills - the skills you possess that directly relate to the open position. Show them that you are the perfect fit! Ask yourself, "What does the employer want to see when he/she reads my resume?" If you emphasize pertinent skills, the employer will naturally regard you as a match when reading your resume. This does not mean that you list skills that the employer desires that are not currently in your skill set. Rather, you should focus on the desired qualities that are within the skills you already possess.


Example 1:

Youth Pastor, Grace Evangelical Church,Seaton, AL,
1986-1990
Planned and directed all youth programming for 75 students, grades 7-12. Taught weekly Sunday School and Wednesday Bible study, with studies in Romans, Proverbs, and the Gospels. Established and developed a Youth Leadership team, mentoring 20 students one-on-one. Launched a Youth Missions Initiative, providing monthly opportunities for youth to serve in cross-cultural contexts.

Example 2:

Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
Woodland, ME, 1990-1996
Developed and coordinated a cohesive Christian Education program for all ages. Preached twice monthly and taught an Adult Sunday School class weekly. Introduced and supervised a counseling program for those experiencing divorce. Assisted senior pastor in visitation, budget coordination, and missions efforts.

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Volunteer Experience

This information is optional, but it's good to include if you have done pertinent or interesting volunteer work. Make sure to maximize this section by showing the employer how the work has developed you and how it relates to the work you're applying for.

Example 1:

After School Tutor, Inner City Ministries, Chicago, IL, 1992-1993
Mentored five 7th graders weekly, developing their academic and leadership skills.

Example 2:

Chaplain, Oak Hill Nursing Home
Cleveland, OH, 1998-1999
Created and led weekly worship service. Cared for and counseled elderly patients. Fostered community among the residents.

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Awards and Special Honors

Include here any awards or special recognition you've received. Make sure to explain the award, if the honor is not readily evident. School-related awards could be listed here or in the education section above.

Example 1:
Smithson Award, Cancer Foundation (Awarding Leadership and Service)

Example 2:
Volunteer of the Year, 1992, Bayview Chamber of Commerce

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Related Skills and Interests

Include here additional experiences or qualities that you feel contribute to who you are and who you could be as an employee. For example, if you're outgoing socially, note that you have "excellent interpersonal skills." If you've traveled widely, are fluent in a foreign language, or have lived in other cultures, these deserve mentioning! Computer skills are especially important to note.

Having hobbies also communicates that you are a well-rounded person with a variety of interests and experiences to bring to the position. Keep in mind that an employer does not want to know too much personal information about you. Include only the type of hobbies that are somewhat related to the position.

Example 1:
Dedication to task, organization, and time management

Example 2:
Active interest in reading, travel, and the outdoors

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References

It is often preferred, though not mandatory, to mention the availability of references. Simply note, "References available upon request." Perhaps set this apart by centering or italicizing it.

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