A resume is a brief document which highlights an individual's experience, qualifications, and skills, in the hopes of securing a job interview. In some regions of the world, the term “resume” is used interchangeably with Curriculum Vitae (CV), while in other places, the two terms refer to very different documents. A resume is a standard inclusion with any job or internship application, and it may be requested for applicants into graduate and professional schools as well. As a general rule, a resume is only one page long, although special circumstances may call for an additional page.
A good resume contains basic information about the applicant, organized in a way which is easy for the reader to comprehend. Clear contact information is usually at the top, followed by work experience, educational achievements, a list of skills, relevant certifications or awards, and contact information for references, though not necessarily in this order. The organization of a resume is a fine art, and it requires some work to create a strong resume. In some cases, people ask for professional help when assembling a resume.
There are several different philosophical approaches to a resume. All are designed to sell the resume writer in some way or another, and by convention many job seekers tailor their resumes to a specific job or employer. This tailoring allows job candidates to bring out their strongest skills for an individual position. Some job seekers also add deeper levels of personalization, designed to humanize them to potential employers. Some employers actively request more personal information, such as hobbies or favorite vacations spots, in an attempt to learn more about the psychology of the applicant.
In some cases, a resume is arranged strictly chronologically. In this instance, educational accomplishments will usually lead, followed by employment history. A chronological resume often includes all work experience, since gaps will be easier to spot. In other cases, a resume is organized by relevance, with blocks of similar information clumped together. A resume put together in this fashion usually features only relevant work experience for a position, so that potential employers do not have to slog through the applicant's entire life history.