What should I put on my resume?

Q: What should I put on my resume?

A: As a recruiter in science and engineering, my advice is put three things on your resume.

Relevant information. By relevant, I mean that you should list education and jobs where you learned skills that will make you an attractive employee. If the job seems out of context, be sure to highlight the relevant experiences and skills you learned on the job. A chemical engineer who served as an assistant manager at a restaurant might not think to include the experience on his resume. She should because she probably learned basic business accounting and how to lead teams while on the job. These are critical skills for almost any position.

Eligibility for clearance. If you are looking for a federal or government contractor job that may require a security clearance, you will help your chances by listing any security clearances you have held in the past. If you have not held one, state whether or not you are eligible.

Your personal philosophy. I’ve got a list of things I look for in potential candidates. Most recruiters do. While I will tell students what they should be studying in hopes that they naturally build themselves into the perfect employee, I don’t tell resume writers how to write a resume that artificially builds a nice, but false, picture. What you write must be true to you. Your resume should communicate what you can do to make your potential employer successful. If your potential employer doesn’t think what you can do will help them, the job is a bad fit. Keep looking. When you meet with an employer that resonates with your abilities, you have a good match. Remember that you are a customer, too. No job is worth sacrificing your own values, so don’t take one that will.

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