The concept of a resume is simple enough. In essence, you’re creating a highlights reel to promote yourself to potential employers. It sounds easy enough, but things can quickly get complicated if you don’t have a clear plan for setting up your resume. How long should your resume be? What should you include? What shouldn’t you?

We’ve got a plan to help answer all the swirling questions about how to organize your resume. Here are the 5 things you can do to when setting up your resume will help set you apart from the rest.

1. Start with the most important information.

Beginning with who you are and how to get in contact with you. And you can skip the objective statement, professional summary or whatever else they’re calling it these days. Early in your career, it can be hard to summarize limited work history or craft a meaningful one-liner about your professional goals. Cut to the chase and go straight to why you’re qualified for the job.

If you’ve got a few years in the field under your belt, feel free to add a professional summary statement. But realize that it’s not as necessary as it used to be. So if you’re struggling to get it right, it’s okay to leave it off.

2.  Don’t neglect your skills section.

Skills sections often languish at the bottom of resumes, and by the time an employer reaches them, their eyes are glazing over. So bump your skills to the top!

You’re getting hired (in theory) for what you’re bringing to the table. Get right down to business and show off your capabilities to the hiring manager right away.  Follow this section up with your work history to show how you put your skill set to use – and the impact it had.

3. Use an easy-to-read structure.

One of the few times you should be aiming for an “F” is when you’re setting up your resume. Structuring your resume in an “F” or “E” pattern will make the information easier to digestion and process, compared to a wall of text. Use bullet points to breakup dense text and keep the reader (you know, the person who is hiring you) engaged and moving through your resume.

F & E structures follow the natural path a reader’s eye wants to take. Which is all the more reason to start with your skills rather than bury them!

4. Make it tailor-made.

Unfortunately, you can’t write one resume that’ll be a perfect fit for every job application.
So instead of playing it safe and staying vague, take a tailored approach when deciding what to include on your resume. Choose your skills based on keywords in the job description and you’ll stand out as the most relevant candidate.

Here’s a quick example.
If you worked a standard retail job when you were home on break, you’ve got valuable skills like:

  • Customer service
  • Time management
  • Communication skills
  • Inventory management

But you got a degree in journalism, so you’re trying to get a job at your local news station.
For this application, you should only include communication and time management in your skills section – plus relevant stuff you learned in school. By focusing your resume’s skills and work history, you’ll stand out as the obvious choice to bring in for an interview.

5. Keep things short and sweet

Because hiring managers spend so little time looking at your resume, you want to get right to the point. A one-page resume is perfect for entry-level to mid-level job seekers. Unless you’re an industry professional with more than a decade of relevant experience, you don’t need more than a one-page resume.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll craft a resume that sets you apart from the competition. Keep in mind that these days, resumes need to win over both robot and human reader to land an interview. Structure your resume the JobFlare way and you’ll steer clear of the resume black hole.