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Identify the uses or features of professional resumes.

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what's covered
In this lesson, you will learn about the importance of resumés in the professional world, as well as the main elements that these documents should include. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
  1. Purpose of Resumés
  2. Components of Resumés
    1. Contact Information
    2. Education
    3. Work Experience

1. Purpose of Resumés

A resumé is a document that summarizes your education, skills, talents, employment history, and experiences in a clear and concise format for potential employers.

The resumé serves three distinct purposes that define its format, design, and presentation:

  1. To represent your professional information in writing
  2. To demonstrate the relationship between your professional information and the problem or challenge the potential employer hopes to solve or address, often represented in the form of a job description or duties
  3. To get you an interview by clearly demonstrating how you meet the minimum qualifications and have the professional background to help the organization meet its goals
An online profile page is similar to a resumé in that it represents you, your background and qualifications, and adds participation to the publication. People network, link, and connect in new ways via online profiles or professional sites like LinkedIn. In many ways, your online profile is an online version of your resumé with connections and friends on public display.

Your social media pages are also often accessible to the public, so never post anything you wouldn’t want your employer (current or future) to read, see, or hear.

term to know
A document that summarizes a person's education, skills, talents, employment history, and experiences in a clear and concise format for potential employers.

2. Components of Resumés

Resumés have several basic elements that employers look for, including your contact information, education, and work experience. Each resumé format may organize the information in distinct ways based on the overall design strategy, but all information should be clear, concise, and accurate

2a. Contact Information

This section is often located at the top of the document. The first element of the contact information is your name. You should generally use your full, legal name. Other necessary information includes your address, phone number(s), and email address.

Here is an example of the contact information section on a resumé.

John Smith

1234 Main Street
Phoenix, AZ 85001
(928) 344-7649

2b. Education

You need to list your education in reverse chronological order, with your most recent degree first. List the school and degree for each each entry. You may also want to note any academic awards you received.

Here is an example of the education section on a resumé.


Northern Arizona University - Yuma, Arizona, May 2009
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Minor in Communication

2c. Work Experience

List in reverse chronological order your employment history, including the positions, companies, locations, dates, duties, and skills demonstrated or acquired. You may choose to use active, descriptive sentences or bullet lists, but be consistent.

Emphasize accomplishments that involved budgets, teamwork, supervision, and customer service when applying for positions in business and industry, but don’t let emphasis become exaggeration. This document represents you in your absence, and if information is false, at a minimum you could lose your job.

Here is an example of the work experience section on a resumé.

Work Experience

Dolle Company, Yuma, AZ, August 2015 - Present
Shift Manager, Lettuce Processing and Packaging
  • Supervise 30 team members
  • Develop, coordinate, implement, and evaluate shift schedules
  • Address quality-control improvements, including employee training
    • Achieved 60% increase in production quality across shifts

Saveway Grocery, Yuma, AZ, August 2014 - August 2015
Assistant Produce Manager, Vegetables
  • Stocked, ordered, and managed display of vegetables in produce department
  • Supervised part-time staff as needed
  • Managed produce budget, including purchase orders

In this lesson, you learned that the purpose of a resumé is to summarize your professional experience and relate it to the needs of a potential employer in order to secure a job interview. Resumés may take the form of a written document or an online profile. The basic components of resumés are consistent regardless of format. They should include your contact information, education, and work experience in reverse chronological order.

Best of luck in your learning!

Source: This content has been adapted from Lumen Learning's "Resumé" tutorial.

Terms to Know

A document that summarizes a person's education, skills, talents, employment history, and experiences in a clear and concise format for potential employers.