Your resume should show a prospective employer that you have the skills required for the job. Background information is also welcome to help recruitment professionals form a more complete picture of you, but your skills must be the main focus. Skills are not an independent part of the resume, but can be understood through the applicant's academic and professional qualifications, as well as experience and references.
Your degrees are the big weapon in your resume, especially if you are young and lack professional experience. List your qualifications in chronological order, placing the latest on top. If the connection between the degree and the job is not direct, for example a liberal arts degree for a secretarial job, mention why you believe your qualifications are relevant. Stressing that you have an honors degree will give your application a boost.
Experience in the field is essential, especially for high-profile jobs. A successful resume must clearly state your achievements in your previous jobs. List only the relevant past jobs from last to first chronologically and explain the reason you left each job. Professional training programs should be included as a tangible fact of your expertise and reliability. Naming references from previous employers is also a big plus since references prove the truthfulness of your claims.
Mention skills that do not fit in with work experience or academic degrees such as advanced computer literacy, foreign languages and skills you acquired through extracurricular activities such as working for the school newspaper, or volunteer work you may have done for a charity organizations.
Leave extracurricular skills for the end of the resume because they are not formal qualifications. However, they will help you show an employer that you are the ideal candidate. These extra skills can prove your can-do attitude for the job and your willingness to work on your own time.
You don't have to mention every skill you have; only those that are relevant to the job. Basic computer skills, such as Internet knowledge and typing skills are best omitted, as well as irrelevant job experiences. Law firm employers do not care if you have been a waiter in the past and may get frustrated searching through your resume for relevant experience. Hobbies, like fishing or painting, have no place in a resume, unless the employer explicitly expresses interest on them. Never lie about your skills; be honest and give the employer the impression that you can improve. Your lie may be uncovered later on, either through your poor performance on the job or through a background check.
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