You’ve quantified your bullet points, you’ve curated your skills section, and you’ve proofread it from top to bottom. Sounds like your resume’s all set to go, right?
Almost! There’s actually one more step—and that’s putting all the sections in the correct order. Like with everything job-search-related, this should be tailored to the position and your specific situation. To give you an idea of where to start, here are four great ways to organize your resume depending on where you are in your career.
1. For Most of Us
The best reason for using this layout is that everything is where a recruiter would expect it to be, which means it’s easier to find and skim your qualifications. And this almost always gives you at better shot at getting called in for an interview.
2. For Recent Grads
With that said, you don’t want to sell yourself short by not including your extracurricular activities. There are tons of transferable skills gained though leadership positions in clubs—and you need to make sure to highlight them in a separate section. Read this for a step-by-step guide on your post-college resume.
3. For Career Changers
You can offer an objective that explains your career change and the strengths you would bring to your new field. (More on that here.) Or, you can split up your experience into “relevant” and “additional” in order to highlight specific experiences. (Pro tip: Instead of “Relevant Experience,” label this section “Editorial Experience,” “Sales Experience,” or whatever makes sense for your new field.) Or, finally, if you have limited relevant experience, you can simply spell out your skills and certifications and place that section above your experience section as a way to drive that home.
4. For Senior-Level Candidates
Of course, there are some differences. If you’re applying for a senior-level position, you’re usually in the clear for submitting a two-page resume. Also, with so much experience and a two-pager, it’s absolutely necessary for you to have a summary statement at the very top. This isn’t really negotiable anymore.
While you don’t want to deviate too much from what’s expected, you do want to personalize it a bit to your own experience and needs. As a starting point, give one of these layouts a whirl and go from there.
About The Author: Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she's not indulging in a new book or video game, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.