Resumes For Dummies
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When drafting your resume, carefully consider these categories of essential information: Education, Experience, and Skills. A skill, in job-search terms for a resume, is any identifiable ability or fact that employers value and will pay for. That means that “five years” is a skill, just as “word processing” is a skill; employers pay for experience.

What should come first in a resume — education or experience? The general rule in resume writing is to lead with your most qualifying factor. Lead off with experience when you’ve been in the workforce for at least one year. When you’re loaded with experience but low on credentials, list your education at the end — and perhaps even omit them entirely if you didn’t graduate.


List your highest degree first — type of degree, major, college name, and date awarded.

  • New graduates give far more detail on course work than do graduates who’ve held at least one post-graduation job for one year or more.

  • Omit high school or prep school if you have a college degree.

  • If you have a vocational-technical school certificate or diploma that required less than a year to obtain, list your high school as well.

  • Note continuing education, including seminars related to your work.

  • If you fall short of the mark on the job’s educational requirements, try to compensate by expanding the continuing education section. Give the list a name, such as Professional Development Highlights, and list every impressive course, seminar, workshop, and conference that you’ve attended.


Describe — with quantified achievements — your present and previous positions in reverse chronological order. Show progression and promotions within an organization, especially if you’ve been with one employer for eons.

Include the following items in the Experience section of a resume:

  • Specific job titles

  • Company names and locations

  • Dates of employment

Consider using more than one Experience heading. Try headings, such as Accounting and Finance-Related Experience, General Business Experience, and Healthcare and Administration Experience. Doing so is yet another way of reinforcing your qualifications for the job you seek.


Skills today are the heart and soul of job finding and, as such, encompass a variety of experiences. Where do skills belong on your resume? Everywhere. Season every statement with skills. Skills are indispensable. These are skills:

Collaborating, editing, fundraising, interviewing, managing, blogging (Internet), researching, systematizing, teaching

And these are skills:

Administering social programs, analyzing insurance facts, advising homeless people, allocating forestry resources, desktop publishing, coordinating association events, designing home furnishing ads, marine expedition problem-solving, writing police reports, updating Web sites

And these are also skills:

Dependable, sense of humor, commitment, leadership, persistence, crisis-resilient, adaptable, quick, results-driven

Skills used to be thought of in the classic meaning of general and industry-specific abilities. Recruiting industry professionals expand the term to include personal characteristics as well as past employers, special knowledge, achievements, and products.

What’s the easiest way to name your skills? You can use a online search engine to find free online presentations of skills. Search for terms such as transferable skills checklist, job skills list, and uncovering your skills.

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