4 Tips To Keep In Mind When Organizing Your Resume

Man organizing his resume

There has been—and most likely will always be—discussions over the “best" format for resumes. While there's no debate over the need to ensure your resume is free from spelling and grammatical errors, the debate over several key areas remains.

Resume organization is a common topic many professionals discuss. But too many job seekers fail to organize their resume correctly.

Here are four tips to keep in mind while you organize your resume.

Duties vs. Accomplishments

Woman writes down how she wants to organize her resume


The majority of resumes that we receive for review still contain descriptions of "typical" job duties, not accomplishments. The lists are often long, attempting to cover every (boring) basic duty performed without any real sense of what the person actually achieved at their previous jobs. And, typically, these lists don't even get close to describing the results of the work.

Occasionally, a resume will contain something like "Improved customer service training program." That might be a good start, but if it was a true accomplishment, it would state how it was done and what the result was—at a minimum.

Here's an example of what quantifying your work experience and accomplishments should look like on your resume:

"Improved customer service training program by implementing experiential learning and a custom developed simulation that increased customer satisfaction index by 30%."

See how this example stated a number? That's how you get a hiring manager's attention on your resume—numbers backing up your statements.

Organizing your resume the right way starts with quantifying your accomplishments, not listing your job duties. Each of your accomplishment bullet points should spark interest and curiosity. Do this and you'll surely stand out in the hiring process.

Most Important First

Man changes how he organized his resume


While in 95% of cases, your resume needs to be organized chronologically, the bullet points for each of your positions should recognize a couple of key points.

First impressions can be examined in a cyclical process. For each of your positions, a recruiter may react to the first bullet point you list in a different way than the second or third. There's a key point right there as well.

Your resume is not a laundry list of everything you've done in a position. At Work It Daily, we recommend three to four solid, accomplishment-based bullet points, not eight to nine short statements that don't say much.

There's a lot of truth to the Latin phrase "omne trium perfectum" which means "All things perfect come in threes." But beyond that, the first thing listed should be the accomplishment you want a recruiter to read first. Remember, many recruiters or hiring managers are quickly scanning your resume, not studying it to see if some valuable secret is hidden in the third bullet.

The sooner you can stand out to the hiring manager, the less likely your resume will be passed over.

Objective vs. Summary

Woman organizes her resume


There is still an ongoing debate over objective versus summary statements. But let's make it simple: having an objective statement on your resume isn't doing you any favors.

Neither is a normal summary, though.

At Work It Daily, we recommend an experience summary. It's much more effective at getting a hiring manager's attention than an objective statement or other type of summary, mostly because it increases your chances of getting your resume past the ATS.

Basically, an experience summary is a list of skills you have that are needed for the job you're applying for. Once you organize your resume in this way, you'll never go back to an objective statement or normal summary ever again.

References Not Necessary

Man works on his resume organization skills


In today's world, often with organizations trying to make decisions quickly, your references need to be both relevant and timely. Alternatively, many organizations completely ignore any references you might provide and submit your name for a more formal background check.

The bottom line is that employers know they can get references from you—you don't need to tell them that as the "footer" to your resume.

The value of LinkedIn endorsements is also notable here because they are a very different form of a reference. Of course, they can be driven by friends and relatives, but they can also be driven by a high volume of colleagues, bosses, and clients. They can be presented in a priority order and edited to the extent that you can discard the two endorsements you got for a skill you don't want to present as a strength.

Don't waste precious space on your resume by telling the hiring manager your references are available upon request. If you're able to follow the other resume organization tips, this one should be pretty easy to put into practice.

Download Work It Daily\u2019s free resume mistakes guide

Organizing your resume is no easy task, especially since school never taught us the correct way to do it. We hope these resume organization tips help you write a killer resume, one that will stand out to the hiring managers at your dream companies.

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This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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