A resume should be concise, clear and chronological. Employers want to see your professional progression, your achievements, and your ability to be a stable and valuable asset to their business.

An effective resume is made up of the following components:

Contact Information
At the top of your resume, list your name, current address, phone number(s), and your email address. Keep in mind that prospective employers are likely to call during business hours, so give a daytime number, whether it’s your cell phone number, current work number (if appropriate), or your home number.

Your objective is a short paragraph that may be customized according to the specific prospective employer. It highlights your qualifications and strengths. It shouldn’t be vague, and it shouldn’t be about what you want out of the job; tell them what you can do for them. Never put anything negative in your objective, such as “I may not be the most experienced applicant” – you’re selling yourself, so be positive and confident.

Work Experience

Listing your work experience is about more than just giving names, dates and duties (although you need to include those things, too). It’s an opportunity to really show what you can do. Always list your accomplishments for each job, in addition to your responsibilities.
All of the jobs on your resume should be relevant to your goal. Irrelevant experience includes jobs that have no bearing on the job you’re looking for – for example, restaurant serving experience when you’re applying for a job in accounting – and jobs that are more than 15 years old, unless they’re a selling point. Concentrate on your more recent experience, as that’s what will concern prospective employers most. Older, but relevant, items in your work history don’t need the same amount of detail; simply list them below your recent work history under “Prior Relevant Experience.”

If you only have one company in your work history, list your jobs by position rather than by employer. Start with your most recent, highest position and work backward chronologically to your entry level position. This will show that your career has been varied, and that you have progressed in your career so far.

For periods of self-employment, list your job as a consultant. Be specific about any notable assignments, and offer client references on request.

If you’ve taken time off from working in your field to care for your children full time, further your education, travel, or work in an unrelated field, leave it off your resume unless you can show how the experience directly benefits your career. There’s nothing wrong with leaving gaps between jobs on paper, but you or your recruiter should explain the situation to your potential employer.
Use action words to describe your previous jobs. Instead of phrases like “my duties included,” use strong action words like “Achieved,” “Collaborated,” “Developed,” “Maintained,” “Planned,” “Solved,” and “Succeeded.”

What does an effective resume look like?
Here are some samples: