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What Is A Resume & Why A Resume Is Important | Everything You Need To Know

What Is A Resume & Why A Resume Is Important

What Is A Resume & Why A Resume Is Important

What Is A Resume?

The term resume comes from the French and means a “summary.” That’s exactly what your resume is: A résumé is a brief summary of your skills, accomplishments, and history as it relates to a potential job. It shows a future employer what you have done in the past. It details your skills and training, work experience, and education, and, most importantly, the accomplishments you have made with past employers.

The resume showcases your abilities and how your background has prepared you to move forward with a new position. It is also a selling tool used to get an interview. Employers may receive hundreds or even thousands of résumés for a particular job.

The résumé may be the first document an employer sees about you. If a job does not require an application, your résumé may be the only information an employer sees and you know what this means. Surprisingly, on the average, employers scan résumés for about 20 seconds to determine whether or not candidates are worth a more thorough reading. Twenty seconds! YES, twenty seconds, with a good resume, that is enough time to make a positive impression.

Without a resume, you can’t even begin to compete, and an inferior resume will quickly eliminate you before you even have a fighting chance. That is why it is imperative to have a superior resume, one that effectively lets employers know what you can do for them.

In today’s job market, the resume has become the number one requirement potential employers request. Before an employer will take valuable time to interview you, he or she wants to meet you – on paper. How you impress that employer with your resume can, and will, make all the difference.

As helpful as social media and sites such as LinkedIn are, a traditional resume is still a necessity. Since you never know the exact format an employer or connection will require, you need to have a full set of documents prepared.

The good news is that, unlike a job application, the résumé highlights only your strengths and related information. Insights such as why you left a job or other potentially negative or damaging points are not included. Other good news is that different formats may be used to best highlight your experience. As such, the format chosen will be the one best suited to promote your assets.

Why A Resume Is Important.

Even for jobs that ask only for an application, having a résumé on hand will make filling out that application much easier. 

You may wonder why you need a résumé, particularly if you actively use LinkedIn and other social media sites, or if you are seeking a job that only requires you to fill out an application, with or without the option of including a resume. There are a few technical answers to this question.

An employer is more interested in the benefits you have to offer, than your impressive repertoire of skills. When you write your resume, make every effort to highlight these employer benefits.

For example, if you are proficient in PageMaker and desktop publishing, do not just list your skills (such as Mastery of PageMaker”). Translate those skills into benefits. Tell the employer what you are able to do with your desktop publishing skills (for example, “ability to produce attractive brochures at a low cost”).

Skills indicate your potential, while benefits demonstrate your actual accomplishments—what you have achieved with your skills. An employer realizes that many applicants are well versed in PageMaker. Your job is to explain to the employer what you can do with this skill and what kind of job tasks you have accomplished with PageMaker. This is what impresses employers.

Having a résumé can also boost your confidence. By walking through the writing process, you may surprise yourself as you come to realize that you have more experience than you thought. Or maybe your list of your skills looks more impressive on paper than you thought it would. Just knowing that you have put in the effort to write the résumé and see what you have to offer an employer can put you above the competition.

Your resume gives you a sense of security. It’s a good idea to always have an updated resume on hand. You never know when you will want to seek a better job or just a change. Also, in case you unexpectedly lose your job, it is wise to have your resume updated and ready.

Organizes you. Preparing a resume forces you to assess your skills. This in turn will help you evaluate the many employment options open to you. It will also help you plan an effective job search campaign.

Prepares you for the interview. Most employers will use your resume as a guideline when they interview you. They will ask you to explain in detail many of the statements you have made in your resume.

Can be used as a calling card. It’s there when you want to conduct informational interviews to test potential opportunities.

When To Start Writing A Résumé?

The best answer to this question is the earlier the better. A college student may not have a great deal of time to devote to a résumé, but compiling notes along the way will make the refining process that much easier as graduation approaches. New graduates can begin by making lists of relevant coursework and related projects, volunteer work, extracurricular scholarship, and more.

What To Include In A Resume.

When you are writing a resume, there are a number of resume formats you can choose, including chronological, functional, and targeted resumes. However, regardless of the format of resume you select, there are certain guidelines that most resumes should follow.

Here’s information on what to include in your resume, as well as what shouldn’t be listed on your resume. There are also guidelines for resume length, font and page margins.

Below are some key information that you should be sure to include on your resume:


  • Include your name, address, telephone number, and email address in the identification section at the top of your resume, or consider one of these other options for addressing your resume.
  • Use a professional email address.


  • When writing your objective, keep it concise and specific; state your desired job or field, and what you hope to accomplish in that field.


  • This is a summary of your skills, experiences, and goals written specifically for a job posting.


Here’s more information on what to include and how to format a resume education section.

  • Include the degrees you have received in reverse chronological order (with the most recent degree listed first).
  • Be sure to include the name of each institution, its location, and your date of graduation (or expected date of graduation).
  • When applicable, include your major/minor fields, as well as your GPA and any honors, publications, and projects.
  • Unless you are a current high school student, do not include your high school degree.


Here is more information on the experience section of a resume, including what to list, and how to format it.

  • Include your work experience in reverse chronological order (with the most recent degree listed first).
  • This section can include jobs, internships, and volunteer work. High school students might also include clubs and sports teams when applicable.
  • Include the name of the company, the position, and dates of employment.
  • List roughly three important tasks, accomplishments, or skills gained at each job. Use action verbs to describe your achievements; avoid passive phrases such as responsible for and duties include.


Here’s information on the skills section of a resume.

  • Include any computer systems with which you are proficient, particularly if they are related to the position for which you are applying.
  • Include foreign languages with which you are familiar; state both the language and your level of familiarity (beginning, intermediate, proficient, fluent).
  • List any other skills you have that relate to the job but are not included elsewhere in your resume.

Volunteer Work (Optional)

  • You can include a volunteer experience section to convey your leadership, communication skills, etc. List the name of the organization, the dates of your volunteer work, and your achievements.

Hobbies and Interests (Optional)

  • You can also include a section on your hobbies and interests if they relate to the position. For example, if you are applying to work at a sporting goods store, you can include your passion for basketball.

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