How to Create and Use a Resume Outline

Resume outline

Creating a resume outline or a blueprint for your resume may be hard to master if you have never dealt with it before. After completing the article, you will know how to create a stunning resume outline that will appeal to employers.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Outlining Resumes

The ultimate purpose of the resume outline is to mark out the key vectors of your future resume. The document serves as a foundation in which you are collecting the necessary information.

What to include and what to exclude is a matter of personal choice. However, you should make the final decision according to your strengths and weaknesses rather than gut feelings. In this guide, we will present a general outline-building process that can be tailored to your needs.

Contact Information and Personal Details

There is no need to dive into why to include the contact and some personal data in the resume. Nonetheless, many candidates often present this part too abundantly or too scarce. To cover your bases, you should include:

  • Your first and last name

  • Your phone number

  • Your email - a professional one, of course.

If you want, you can also cite LinkedIn and other social networks (if they are relevant), your blog, or a mailing address. A birth date, however, should be excluded.

Heading

The heading is an introduction to your resume. This is the part that is responsible for provoking an employer’s interest in your resume. Did you know that not all of them read the CVs thoroughly?

A heading statement can come in the form of:

  1. A Resume Summary. It reviews working experience and skills relevant to the position. It’s a good move if your expertise matches the vacancy.

  2. A Resume Objective. It is intended to show how your cross-functional experiences can be implemented. One is usually used when there are no relevant skills for the job opening.

Professional Experience

Now, we have come to the juicy part – your professional expertise. Today, this is probably the key section in your resume. You can present it in your resume outline two ways, depending on your background:

Extensive Expertise

One of the most popular methods is citing your previous occupations in a reverse-chronological sequence. In other words, start from your latest job, and keep moving in a descending order back to your starting point.

For each position, include:

  • An employer’s name

  • A position title

  • Period of work

  • Location

  • A list of key responsibilities

Little or No Expertise

In case your previous experience doesn’t exist or isn’t relevant, you need to focus on skills that might appeal to an employer. For this resume outline, cover your occupations and internships but concentrate on achievement and skills instead of duties.

Education

Never ignore the educational section. Yes, employers do want to know whether you have a degree or not. And if yes, which one. The key aspects to include are:

  • A university name

  • Degree

  • Major

  • Honors and Awards

  • GPA (only in case it’s not low)

If you are still a college student, merely add an expected day of graduation.

Those who have a university degree are free to exclude their high school information. Remember, it’s always better to focus on professional education.

Skills and Qualifications

This section can become your savior: if your education or professional experience isn’t very relevant, you can always gain a competitive advantage with suitable skills and qualifications. After all, today, little care about where you studied: it’s all about what you can perform.

When listing your skills, think about an employer and position, in the first place: what can attract an HR’s attention, what are they looking for? After this, present only the skills that can be implemented in terms of the position.

Besides this, you can indicate your proficiency in each skill. For this, use a star rating system, where five stars are the highest level of competence and one star – the lowest.

Other Sections

Above, you have gotten acquainted with the vital components of job resume outlines. But those are just the bare basics. You can also consider including:

  • Foreign language proficiencies

  • Volunteering, internships, freelance work

  • Any related certificates

  • Awards

  • Hobbies or interests

Your background should help you choose to include or exclude these optional sections. If any of these add to your strengths and are relevant for the vacancy, add them in. If not, however, avoid the areas.

The Best Resume outline Examples

To give you a better understanding of what a resume outline should look like, we will provide you two examples: professional and student.

The Professional Outline

This resume outline suits those who have already gained some professional experience and have worked a minimum of two-three years. The outline is as follows:

  • Contacts and Personal Data. Don’t forget to include your LinkedIn.

  • Resume Summary (not compulsory, but advisable)

  • Professional Experience in chronological order that highlights relevant expertise

  • Educational Background. Remember to include any academic awards, such as graduating with high honors.  

  • Certifications and Skills. Once again, tailor the content to the position you apply for.

  • Other Sections. If any other section contributes to your professionalism, don’t hesitate to include it.

Please keep in mind that you don’t need to cover all your occupations in detail as a professional. You can limit them to those that fall in the professional niche. Other jobs can be mentioned briefly.

The Student Outline

This outline fits candidates who don’t have extensive professional experience. Typically, it’s college students or fresh graduates. In such a resume, you will focus more on your cross-functional skills and certifications than hands-on expertise. Here is the outline:

  • Contacts and Personal Data

  • Resume Objective (advisable)

  • Education

  • College Projects

  • Any Extracurricular Activity, Volunteering, Freelance Work

  • Work Experience (if there is any)

  • Skills

  • Other Sections (if any are relevant)

Now, all you have to do is fill in the data, and voila, the dream resume is ready.

How to Outline a Resume to Land More Interviews

It’s not only employers who do their best to attract top talent. They create personalized offers and invest in the outstanding candidate experience by using automation. For example, some streamline the hiring and core HR with Lanteria – a comprehensive suite of tools that release the managers from manual processes. If you want to learn more about how we can help, please, let us know.

A candidate can also use some tricks to stand out from the crowd and appeal to an employer. Here are some of them:

1. Personalize

Never suffice with general resumes and outlines. They won’t help you to grab the attention. You should always consider the position and employer when outlining a resume. Tailor every single word to show maximum relevance. This will help you seem like an ideal fit, even if your working experience is relatively scarce.

2. Play with the Sections

Going by templates is a bad idea. For example, the majority include the languages section. However, if they aren’t relevant to your position and you don’t know any except for English, why cover it? You don’t need to spam in your resume.

3. Select the Right Format

There are many resume outlines: professional and student ones, focusing on working experience and skills, in chronological order and random. You need to select wisely the one that will make your resume easy to comprehend. Otherwise, an employer may not even read it: no one will spend even half an hour to get a grasp of your professional expertise.

Some Tips for The Best Resume outlines

When all the major aspects are covered, it’s only tips that are left to speak about. Here, you will find some small hints that will help you to stand out from an array of other candidates and come out of the blue:

  • Include the header – It’s your name and a one-phrase description of your professional experience at the very top: for example, John Smith, an HR professional with four years of experience.

  • Attract the attention – The summary or objective is your powerful weapon. Don’t neglect it.

  • Highlight your strengths – Make yourself look professional enough. Strive to make a positive impression. For example, instead of writing about poor working experience, cover the skills.

  • Never ignore volunteer work – Any work experience matters. Besides, volunteer work shows your initiative.

  • Focus on quantitative parameters – It’s always better to say, “I have coded ten applications” rather than “I know how to code applications and participated in such projects.”  

We hope that this guide was informative enough for you to create a dream resume outline. Remember: devoting time to the outline pays off when transforming it into the resume. It will be much easier and faster. Moreover, you can be sure that your resume will be complete and informative.


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