3 Benefits of Creating a Resume Outline

Your resume is a “key” component of the job search process and “one resume does not rule them all” – each resume needs to be targeted to the specific job announcement! A resume outline is your strategic advantage to highly focused resume. Remember…

Generic resumes get generic results!

Most employers, in today’s competitive environment, spend 20 seconds or less scanning your resume. That’s it – your shot at getting the job is summed up in a 20 second scan. In that time your resume needs to clearly outline how your skills, experience, education, and accomplishments “qualify” you for the position.

Many people I talk to know they need a resume, but they just don’t know where to start! I always recommend starting out with a resume outline. It takes about an hour or two of concentrated effort, but the payoff is incredible. It’s one of the best ways to cut your resume writing time in half, while allowing you to target each resume to the job for which you’re applying.

3 Benefits of a resume outline are:

  1. It consolidates all your information in one convenient place.
  2. It re-familiarizes you with your employment history, accomplishments, and the value you bring to an employer.
  3. It puts you in a better position to write a highly effective resume, because you’re prepared!

Follow the guide below to assist you in preparing your resume outline:

  • Mark out a block of uninterrupted time (turn off your cell phone & avoid Facebook).
  • Gather up all your resume documents i.e., diploma, certificates, employer reviews, awards, etc.
  • Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite refreshment.
  • Open up a word processor on your computer or grab a pad of paper.
  • Try to write in short paragraphs or bullet statements.
  • Use action words to describe your skills & accomplishments. How did you produce results?
  • Use the example outline of a resume below to create yours.

Remember…this is NOT going to be your resume, but the foundation to build future resumes. When you find a particular job announcement that you’d like to apply for, pull information from your outline to target that opening.

Resume Outline Example

Top of Page (usually centered)

  • Your name
  • Home address
  • Home phone number
  • Cell phone number (or other contact #)
  • Email address (make sure it is a professional email & not a nickname)

Objective Statement (optional)

The objective statement should be targeted to a specific job announcement for which you’re applying.

Example: Seeking a position as a Volunteer Coordinator for Mokena Humane Society

Qualification/Career Summary (optional, but I recommend using it with all resumes)

  • Over ten years experience in production management.
  • Adept at meeting organizational objectives while meeting the needs of employees
  • Proven ability to work efficiently and effectively under pressure

Education (list all relevant education)

  • Degrees (highest 1st)
  • Certifications
  • Training
  • Work Experience/Employment History
  • Current or most recent position
  • Continue listing pertinent work experience

Activities & Associations

  • Organizations
  • Associations
  • Student government
  • Community activities

Special Skills

  • Foreign language
  • Typing
  • Computer/Software
  • any other skills that “fit” the specific job description

Honors & Awards (formal recognition you’ve received)

  • Professional
  • Academic
  • Community


Question: Do you think creating a resume outline would prove to be a valuable resource? What kind of advice do you have for creating a resume? Share your tips or questions below -

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