Students often ask, “What is the one thing I can do to improve my résumé or CV?” This is in the context of applying to jobs in the industry. While my feedback about format and content is unique to each person, there are also recommendations that I find myself sharing during nearly every appointment.
If you are applying for a job or internship-type of position and your document does not have a qualifications section, consider adding one! This is not a summary or overview section, but rather a section that features a few ways that you are well qualified for the position to which you are applying.
When creating a résumé or CV for jobs in the industry, you are usually making a document that can be effectively scanned by an applicant tracking system and easily reviewed by a human being (typically only after it scans well in matching keywords and desired qualifications in the job posting). A qualifications section lets you show the important ways you are qualified by featuring your knowledge, skills, experience, and training by using keywords and components from the qualifications and responsibilities listed in the job or internship posting. The qualifications section also makes it easy for the human reader to see how you can do the job immediately – and then the rest of your document should reinforce how and why you are qualified. Applicant tracking systems can also track the number of times keywords appear in a résumé or CV (cover letter, too, if one is submitted). A qualifications section might provide you with another opportunity to feature a skill you possess. This means that a skill you have, listed in the job posting, could appear in your qualifications section, skills section, and even within a bullet point statement for a work or research experience you have held.
The qualifications section is most often added directly below your contact information and uses a bullet point statement format. Here are some ideas of what it might look like:
Adding a qualifications section is a great strategic addition to any résumé or CV for industry opportunities and can be considered as an option when applying to positions in other career sectors. It is not common to include a qualifications section when applying for faculty positions.
Consider scheduling an appointment with a career coach to review your documents and/or access our CV and résumé guides here: https://career.uconn.edu/graduate-students-postdocs/