When writing a resume, the starting point is often the resume template, as it sets out the basic structure of the resume. Most resumes follow the resume template format below. As you write your resume, you can start with this basic format and then go on to modify it according to your particular circumstances.
The Resume Template: General Outline
The following is a general outline of the key sections that a standard resume should have. This outline uses the reverse chronological resume format.
The Header of a resume refers to the portion of the resume that includes the name, professional designation(s), address, contact information (phone, email) and social media references (LinkedIn, blog URL) of the candidate. Some people no longer include their address in their header as that information is technically not relevant.
The Objective refers to the past practice of including an "objective statement" at the top of the resume. Such practice is no longer recommended by most professional resume writers and has been replaced by the Title and the Summary of Qualifications.
The Title is sometimes included as a branding statement, such as “Dedicated Customer Service Professional” or “Banking & Lending Executive.”
The Summary of Qualifications
The Summary of Qualifications refers to the first paragraph of the resume highlighting the candidate's key qualifications or what he wants to put in evidence. Most resume templates now include a Summary of Qualifications. Whereas the objective statement was often written from the candidate's perspective (i.e. what his objectives are), the Summary of Qualifications is written in function of the employer's needs (i.e. what the candidate can bring to the job).
The Summary of Qualifications sometimes ends with a "Skills" section where the candidate lists his key skills in relation to the position he's applying to.
Accomplishments / Career Highlights
The Accomplishments section is sometimes included in the resume, just below the Summary of Qualifications, to highlight the candidate’s key accomplishments over the years. More appropriate for executives.
The Employment History
This is the main section of the resume where the candidate lists his employment history in reverse chronological order. For each position held, you should include the employer's name, the location, the title of the position(s) you held, your period of employment, a description of the position and key accomplishments. It is sometimes recommended that you include a one-liner describing the employer, especially if the employer is a small or medium size business, not well known.
The Education section is where the candidate refers to his education in reverse chronological order, including the name of the institution, where the institution is located, the degree obtained, the year of graduation and anything else relevant about the curriculum. The level of details may vary depending on the candidate's career stage. If the candidate is a new graduate, this section goes before the Employment History and should provide more details.
This is where the person lists his membership in professional organizations, including the role that he plays (e.g. member, executive member, chair, etc.).
Refers to the practice of including quotes from various people.
This is where the candidate lists his references, although references should not be listed on a resume, unless specifically asked. Instead, references are normally given after the job interview, upon request.
The above provides the general outline for a basic resume template. From there, you can tailor your resume depending on your specific circumstances and the specific objective you're trying to achieve. To give you a head start, here are some free resume templates.