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The Anatomy of the Perfect Résumé




The Anatomy of the Perfect Résumé

Lisa Callahan

The perfect résumé summarizes your job qualifications and presents them in a clear way. The most impressive pieces reflect the personality of the job seeker and suggest a sense of wisdom and professionalism through design alone.

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Whether you’re drafting your first ever résumé or polishing one you already have, tackling the task one section at a time ensures the formatting stays consistent and the right information is included.

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The information contained in a résumé can be broken up into three anatomical parts: the head, the upper body and the lower body.


Introduce yourself as early as possible in your résumé in order to make a strong first impression. Keep it simple: First and last name suffice. You may also want to add a short title, description or tagline (no more than five words) that embodies your career goals.


  • Your preferred first name (i.e. Beth instead of Bethany)
  • Last name, with suffix if necessary

Title, description or tagline

  • Current or desired title (i.e. Brand Consultant, Graphic Designer)
  • Short description of career goals (i.e. Brand Consultant and Aspiring Web Designer)
  • Career tagline (i.e. Branding for Busy Businesswomen)

Contact info

  • E-mail address
  • Phone number
  • Website URL, if applicable
  • Professional social media handles (i.e. LinkedIn, Behance, Flickr)


Upper body

Concentrate the most relevant pieces of information toward the beginning of your résumé. List your degree, work and internship experience and any certifications that speak to your skills as [whatever you’re applying for].


  • The name of the college you graduated from
  • The type of degree you earned (i.e. Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts)
  • ...and what you earned it in (i.e. Marketing, Business Administration)
  • Relevant degree emphases or minors

Work and internship experience

  • Dates of employment (i.e. Jan 2015 – Jan 2016)
  • Name of employer
  • Job title
  • Job description (in 3-5 bullet points)

Relevant certifications

  • Name of certification
  • Date received


Lower body

The second half of your résumé complements the first. Use it to highlight achievements or leadership endeavors that set you apart from the pack (#humblebrag).


  • Name of organization
  • Dates of membership
  • Leadership duties, if applicable


  • Name of publication
  • Publication date
  • Title of contribution 
  • Short description of contribution

Honors & Awards

  • Name of honor or award
  • Date received
  • Short description of honor or award

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