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The Job Information You Should Include on Your Resume

published January 21, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 7 votes, average: 4.6 out of 5)
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A job resume is a summary of a person's job experiences and factors that relate to his or her job qualifications. It's like a job application form, but with a major difference: Where employers use standardized forms to simplify comparisons among applicants, job seekers write resumes to emphasize their special skills and desirable experiences, and can make up their own forms to suit their purposes.

The Job Club Resume

The Job-Club type of resume is fairly distinctive in both content and form. In its usual form, a resume resembles an employment application; it gives information about previous jobs, education, job titles, health, number of dependents, and so on. But application forms don't let you tell the complete story about your special circumstances. The Job-Club resume, however, does.

Talking about you as a person: The Job-Club resume presents you as a person with special interests and experiences—not just as another job seeker, or waitress, or accountant, or another easily forgotten name. To produce this effect, the resume includes a photograph stapled to the front to help identify you, and information about your hobbies, reading habits, family background, place where you grew up, sports activities, and other interests. Nobody might read most of it, but this information still makes you stand out as a distinct person.

Cueing common bonds: The Job-Club resume provides information about interests that your employer might have in common with you. The more employers have in common with you, the better they will feel they know and can trust you.
The information that will go into your resume, in this approach, correlates with the types of questions and topics that interviewers frequently bring up in the job interview. (Obviously, interviewers find these topics important, or they would not ask about them.) Some of these special topics are hobbies, occupations of your parents, schools, cities you have lived in, branches of the military you have served in, sports interests, club memberships, and so on.

For example, during an interview an employer might glance at your resume and comment, "I see you belong to the American Legion [PTA, Elks, YMCA]. I'm a member, too. Isn't it a great organization?" Consequently, most of the interview time might be spent discussing your common interest—which would mean that less time would be spent on your job qualifications.

Or an interviewer might say, "I see you played baseball in high school. So did I. What position did you play?" Or "You lived in Cleveland? Where in Cleveland? That's near where I lived for two months. Do you know Eddy...?" and the discussion about Cleveland would occupy much of the time. Employers will trust you more if they have a bond in common in terms of friends, interests, and background. To help the employer discover factors in common with you, the Job-Club resume includes this kind of information.

Pitching your social capital: Drop in a few lines about other members of your family and where they work and so on. Social capital counts, as does family work culture. Especially, when you have no prior work-experience or track-record to bank upon.

A few lines like “My father was a tailor and had his own shop, where I helped out and learned how to run a business. He enjoyed coaching Little League baseball. My mother is a registered nurse and taught us what it meant to be dedicated. She was a den mother for Girl Scouts. Camping was their favorite sport and gave me a love for living in the country. My wife is a 3rd grade teacher and belongs to the League of Women Voters.” – can land you a job and help you differentiate yourself.

Be careful about the placement of personal information

Always be careful about placement of information about your social capital or personal information or cueing social bonds – never let such information stick out in a position overwhelming information about your work-experience, education, or past employers. This information can mean a world of difference, but in the modern world, most HR people might regard them as irrelevant, and view them as unnecessary fillers. So always be careful about this kind of information, but placed wisely and succinctly, they can cause a difference.

Details about previous employment

In this section, show your employment history. In order to conserve space, try to list only three employers, preferably the most recent three. (However, if an earlier employer is more relevant to your present job preferences, then list that person instead.)

Duration: Do not put the dates of employment (for example, Jan. 1974-July 1975)- Instead, write down the duration in months or years (for example, 1 1/2 years); usually, an employer is interested in how long you worked at a place. If the job had a brief duration—say, less than a year—it is best to omit it and put down longer-lasting jobs instead. Of course, if all your jobs lasted less than a year (this may be the case if you haven't worked much before), include them. Also, you will have to balance the duration factor with the job's importance. You might want to list a job of less than a year if it involved many skills similar to those you would like to use in your next job.

Position. In listing your positions, use a job title that is descriptive and favorable rather than the title designated on the payroll or any other title that carries no specific information. So, instead of listing your job as "clerical" or "Office Worker II," use a more descriptive term—"private secretary," "executive secretary," "office supervisor," "bookkeeper and secretary," and so on.

Duties. List the duties you performed in your position, even if they were incidental to those covered in your official job description, or if you did them occasionally or as extras. Especially include duties that indicate supervisory responsibility, training others, sales, meeting the public, operating special equipment, special skills, and any other incidental duties that might help you be considered for the type of job you'd currently like to get. The following examples illustrate this descriptive method.

Work Skills

In this section, describe your job skills and only secondarily list how long and where you did each one. Whether you were paid for the skill is not important. If you used it in more than one job or place, list all those jobs or places. By telling employers what skills you have, and how long and where these were used, you help them to decide whether their companies need you. So be sure to list all the types of job skills you have, and don't be too concerned here about being brief. If you end up listing more than 15 skills, however, combine some to reduce the number of categories.

See 6 Things Attorneys and Law Students Need to Remove from Their Resumes ASAP If They Want to Get Jobs with the Most Prestigious Law Firms for more information.

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Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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