There are a couple of things every job seeker needs to consider when preparing his or her new resume. One is, obviously, the content, which needs to be relevant to the position being applied to. Another thing is the resume’s formatting, using proper keywords and search phrases, proper fonts and font sizes, as well as keeping in mind to have it clean of any photos, images or graphics.
But another important thing that you need to address, and one which rarely gets the deserved attention is content placement.
Where do you put certain things in a resume?
Does contact information go on top, or on the bottom?
Where do I put my earliest, and my latest job experience?
They are equally important as other elements, for two simple, intertwined reasons:
The hiring managers are short on time
The hiring managers know what they’re looking for
No matter how much time you have in this world, no one wants to spend hours reading other people’s resumes. If a company is looking to hire somebody, that’s probably because it has its hands full of work and needs more qualified employees to reduce the workload. The process needs to go smoothly, and as fast as possible.
It is up to you to make sure you hand over all the necessary information to the hiring manager in a nice, clean, organized and simple resume format for easy viewing. Which leads me to our second point:
The hiring managers know what they’re looking for...
… and in a vast majority of cases, it’s previous work experience they will look for first, right after they read your full name and, in some cases, certifications.
That is why you should list your education at the very bottom of your resume, if your work experience doesn't out-weigh your education and or credentials. Think of it as a new story. When you write a news story, you need to make sure the most important information is at the very beginning of the article, and summarized in as few words as possible. Only after that, can you expand on it with further detail, in case the reader wants to know more.
The same is with your resume. But in order to achieve that, you need to know exactly what kind of information you’re being asked to deliver. Offering key information at the very beginning means you have a professional looking resume. It will also show the hiring managers you understand their needs and value their time.
This is also one of the reasons why some people opt for a functional type of resume. A functional resume will highlight a person’s abilities, core competencies and skills, instead of listing job experiences in a chronological fashion. Even though a chronological resume is recommended, there are certain cases in which a functional resume could work better.
How to present your education in the resume?
Alright, so now we know where to put our education on the resume. But how do we sort it? Do we go from primary school up, in a chronological fashion, or from the latest education, down? Do we list seminars and courses first, or any university or college degree’s? Again, this depends mostly on the job position you’re applying to. Keep in mind the type of person the hiring managers is looking for, and present only the most relevant information. No one wants to know where you went to high school anymore.
A chronological listing is usually preferred, and then you can highlight any particular part you think is the most relevant.
Your resume is not for you, but for the HR Manager:
As you can see, it’s not just the content of the resume that needs to be addressed. There are other, equally important things that can mean the difference between you getting called to an interview, or not. Proper content placement is extremely important, as hiring managers know exactly what they’re looking for in a resume, and in an employee. By offering that information fast, you’re increasing your chances of landing the new job.
Based on our experience, it is safe to say that education is not the primary thing a company is looking for. Key skills and competencies, as well as previous experience in the same, or at least similar fields, will always have advantage over theoretical knowledge. If all of this has made you even more unsure about your resume, you can always hire a professional resume writer and get a professionally-looking resume, with all the necessary keywords, proper formatting and content placement.
If you are fresh out of college, you'll want to list your degree(s) more towards the top of your resume. Generally, you'll want to add your degree right under your "Career Summary" of your resume. If your hands-on professional experience out-weighs your educations background, list your resume and academic credentials are the bottom of your resume a this is where employers expect to find this information.