Outlining and Creating the Backbone for Your Resume

Whether you’re new to the job search game or you’ve been in it for so long you could be considered a professional job seeker, chances are you’ve seen dozens of resume templates, guidelines, things to avoid and things to add. You may not need to tweak your resume, but it may be the thing holding you back from landing an interview for that huge career change you’re so desperately wanting.

Before you write out your resume, or rewrite it, outline what information you need to put on there so that you don’t miss anything. The outline will serve as the backbone for your resume. It will help you lay everything out correctly while giving you a structure and template to work from. Write out which sections you want on your resume. Contact information, experience, education, relevant skills, awards and certifications are common resume sections worth mentioning, but only if you have relevant information to put in each. For example, if you never attended college, don’t put an education section on your resume.

After you’ve written out which sections you want on your resume, start writing down the information, gathering the dates for the information and selecting what you want or don’t want your potential interviewer to see (Tip: Never lie about anything on your resume. If there’s something you want to withhold from your first contact at the company, choose wisely what you leave off of your resume).

Once you have everything written out, it’s time to situate the information in a professional, concise manner. Headline your sections with appropriate section titles and create your resume so that it looks great and is easily readable. Your contact information should be somewhere at the top, either center or offset depending on the overall look of your resume. After that, your sections don’t necessarily have a firm order, order them to your liking and highlight the strongest sections.

While creating an outline may seem like a pointless step, it can help you sort out which details you want on your resume and what to leave out. The outline can also help you decide which way to organize your resume. If your resume has been falling flat, it may be worth a shot to create a new outline and rewrite your resume.

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