Work Smarter

How To Build a Dynamite Resume

by Ben Welch

Resumes are to getting jobs what good looks are to getting dates. Admittedly, this analogy is bit reductive, but the fact is that hiring decisions are often made on first impressions. As such, you want to make sure your resume not only explains who you are and what you have to offer, but also does so in a way that is attractive to potential employers. The purpose of this article is outline how you can create, beautify, and even airbrush your resume in order to make a lasting impression.

Getting Started

Begin your resume by constructing a framework that includes your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Make sure the information is current and accurate. Most good resumes locate this information at the top (so that it's easy for employers to read) but keep it relatively small and low-key. You don't want to distract from the real meat of your resume.

Objectives & Statement of Purpose

Once you've completed the heading, you may want to write a simple "objective statement" or "statement of purpose" that clearly indicates the work you want to do. This is the thesis of your resume - the single statement that every other part of the resume is will attempt to support. Try to tailor it to each employer and to each job. Avoid the grandiose "philosophy-of-life" objectives. Just be direct and keep it simple.


Typically, the section that immediate follows the objective statement deals with education. At the very least, education should include any degrees or certificates earned as well as when and where it was received. Many job seekers also include their GPA (if it's worth mentioning) and any academic honors they may have received. In some instances, you may also want to include a list of courses that would apply to a specific job. For instance, if you're applying for a computer programming job that specializes in JavaScript and you took three classes in Java, put it down.

Work Experience

Relevant work experience is perhaps the most important section of the resume and one that employers study closely. Most resumes list jobs chronologically, with the most recent - or current - job listed first. In addition to the job title, name of company or employer, and the length of time you've held this job, you should also indicate your work responsibilities and any awards or recognition you've received. Don't be modest. A resume is one of the few places where people expect you toot your own horn. That being said, it's important to quantify and qualify your work experience. Exaggerating or misrepresenting your work experience or skills is professional suicide.

Other Categories

Once you have the basic components of a good resume, you may want to include other categories as well. Recruiters and career counselors agree that not every resume needs to look exactly the same, so feel free to take some liberties. For instance, your resume might include a section on special skills, such as fluency in a foreign language or proficiency in specific computer programs. You could also include sections on leadership experience, service, or even hobbies. The important thing is to customize your resume so that it emphasizes your individual strengths and shows what makes you interesting and unique.

Layout & Typography

Finally, a word on the look and feel of your resume. As mentioned earlier, a resume is like your professional headshot. As such, make sure that its overall appearance compliments and strengthens its content. Use a simple, legible font and standard margins, and be selective about using excessive bolding or underlining. Avoid graphics or photographs. Proofread carefully for errors, as mistakes communicate to employers that either you are uneducated or careless - neither of which is good. Finally, print your resume on white or off-white paper and make sure it looks clean and crisp.

Resumes are now an indispensable part of recruitment and hiring. The question is not whether you need a resume but whether your resume will be an advantage or a liability. Remember that a well-conceived and well-executed resume can secure an interview, influence discussions of salary and benefits, and even secure your dream job. Follow these basic guidelines and you're well on your way to more striking and more memorable resume.

Benjamin Welch has been a college instructor in writing and composition for nearly six years. When he's not teaching or playing golf, he offers career and online education advice to students and professionals. Find useful career and education tools at

See more from Work Smarter

Other Pages You Might Enjoy...

The Meissen Porcelain Manufactory
For more than 300 years the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory has been a central figure in European porcelain. It was at Meissen that the first true hard-paste porcelain was manufactured outside of China, and the story of that accomplishment has the high drama of fiction - all the more intriguing because it is true.

Pirated Glassware that Collectors Want to Own
The 1996 discovery of what is believed to be the wreckage of Blackbeardís ship Queen Anneís Revenge, is providing historians and collectors new information about the fragile and transparent objects that came onto the North American Continent before arrival of the first piece of cut glass.

Collecting Antique Furniture
Of all the collectible antiques, the broad category of furniture is perhaps the most widely held and most satisfying. Frequently handed down through generations, the various chairs, tables, cabinets and other pieces are often in use, adding character and constancy to our daily lives. This guide includes an overview of the significant styles and historical periods, and other important information for collectors.

Collecting Antique Clocks and Watches
Information for collectors of antique clocks and watches. Includes a history of clock and watchmaking, an overview of styles, and important terminology.

Collecting Antique Jewelry
Embodying the wealth and treasure of bygone days, the antique jewelry pieces available today include some of the world's most valuable artifacts. Includes a history of jewelry making, an overview of the major historical periods, and a glossary of antique jewelry terminology.

Online or Traditional Education: Which Is Right For You?
Compares and contrasts online and brick and morter educators giving you the information you need to chart the course which is right for you.

How To Choose the Right Degree For You
The number and nature of college degrees are as diverse as the people who get them. They come in different sizes - associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral - and in scores of different subjects. So how do you choose the right degree for you? Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself.

Chateau Villandry In The Stunning Loire Valley - A Must See Garden
The gardens at Chateau Villandry are a sheer delight. They are lovingly and enthusiastically tended by Henri Carvallo, curator of the chateau and great-grandson of Dr Joachim Carvallo who purchased the chateau in 1906.

Singing and recording : What has changed?
Computers and software have revolutionized the way recorded music is created. We are now able to manipulate what we record beyond our wildest dreams.

6 Powerful Dog Training Tips
Dog training should be an opportunity for you to build your relationship with your dog, to create a better bond, and to have some fun in the process.

Tips for Improving Website Navigation
A business often has more than one target audience it wants to reach with its website. Different customers mean different sales appeals and a homepage needs to be able to direct visitor traffic to go to the right places to get information or make a sale.

Choosing the Right Color for Your Web Site
When people build a web site for their business (or hire a web design company to make it for them), not much thought is put into deciding what color their web site will be as most would rather focus on more important tasks like creating content, web site optimization and promotion. Most simply choose the most web-friendly colors, others use their companyís logo as base while some decide to just use their favorite color.

Designing A Website That Loads Quickly
The amount of time it takes for your website to load onto the visitor's screen is a major influence on traffic to your site. Research has shown that most internet users will leave your website if it takes more than 10 seconds to load and some potential guests will exit even faster. A quick loading website is vitally important to the success of your site.

Bring Your Web Site to Life With PHP
PHP is the scripting language that powers some of the biggest Web 2.0 content providers in the business. Whether you're looking to add a simple feedback form to your site, or have your heart set on building the next Facebook, read up on PHP in this informative tutorial and get started tonight.

The MiFio Network

Visit for more pages about business, technology, programming, home, travel and more.

Visit the website dedicated to antiques and collectibles.

Blue Ridge Review - Test prep resources. Blue Ridge Review has helped thousands of students prepare for college and graduate admissions with free tutorials, tips and study aids.