Job Search 101: Resume Building Blocks

Job Search 101 Series: Resumes 101 Corridor Careers

This post is the first in our Job Search 101 series, focused on crafting a resume in 2023. Specifically, we’ll focus on something more like a template that you are going to use in many ways. Let’s get started on making a resume that helps you tell your story while keeping things brief and snackable.

Beyond Resume Paper

Gone are the days where you would (gasp) mail a printed resume to an employer…or are they? My guess is that in Eastern Iowa if you mailed a resume to an employer, you’d certainly stand out, but you’d have to be pretty careful in how you positioned yourself, so you don’t come across as old-fashioned and invite unconscious bias. Besides, you’re probably going to have to apply online for that job anyway – either in the form of an application or by submitting to some sort of corporate applicant tracking system.

The Building Blocks of a Resume

The following items are the basic building blocks of resumes. Every year, trends will affect how your resume is laid out, but these elements will remain.

  1. Your contact information, how you can be reached.
  2. Career objective.
  3. Summary of skills.
  4. Relevant experience.
  5. Education.

We’ll address each of these and how you can optimize them for how you will actually use them.

Personal Contact Information

Take a fresh look at your personal contact information. Are you suggesting an employer email you at or something equally ridiculous? It’s not hard to set up a professional email address. You can even use it exclusively for job searching so you stay organized. You can even let the employer what method of contact you prefer.

Josie Sample, 12 Sample St. Cedar Rapids, IA 52401,

Cell: 319-555-1212, preferred.

Career Objective

Why are you looking for a job? This can be the basis for a simple and clear career objective. There’s only one you on this planet and you have something unique to bring to the table. Adding a bit of personal touch to this building block is okay. How will you use this outside of a resume? Think of a career objective as a mission. (Hopefully, not a mission impossible!) Throughout our lives, our interests and experiences change. Likewise, your first career objective (mission) could be “to gain experience in x industry to grow my skills.” As you become more experienced your mission may be to expand your knowledge or share your passion for a particular activity.

Summary of Skills

This section is more straightforward. Use bullet points to document quickly what skills you bring to the table. Having trouble coming up with them? Ask for help from a friend, or just brainstorm around your current job. What repetitive tasks do you do currently? What software or tools do you use over and over?

Lastly, don’t forget to list your ‘soft skills’. If you’re high-energy or have a positive attitude, list it. That might be a useful skill if you have served on a company emergency action team or organized company potlucks. Keep this section brief, however. If you’re applying for a technical role, some of the software jargon can be relayed in your experience section, while you can convey your troubleshooting and people skills in this section.  This is a must for your resume in 2020.

Relevant Experience

Now here’s where you have to make choices. This resume-building block is key to winning an interview if done right.  If you’ve got a lot of variety in your work experience, think about what experience you have that would be most relevant to the employers you are really interested in. There are special considerations for the type of job you are looking for and what phase of your career you are in.

When Your Experience Makes You Look Old

You want your resume to shout “capable” and “experienced” rather than seem old-fashioned. If you’ve been working for a while, hanging on to what worked before may seem safe. However, it’s important to modernize your resume to respond to the current hiring practices. Recruiters spend 5-7 seconds scanning a resume to know if they want to put it into the ‘consideration’ pile or the ‘no’ pile.

Remember that it’s best to keep your resume to one page. No matter how talented or experienced you are! Think of your resume as a summary, not a book. Pare down your years of experience to just what is relevant to the job you are applying for. If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is.  Start saving versions of your ‘relevant’ experience building block as separate versions. Then you will have it at the ready should that perfect role open up.


  • Jay-Smith-Sales-Manager-Resume.docx
  • Jay-Smith-Plant-Manager-Resume.docx
  • Jay-Smith-Change-Manager-Resume.docx

Career Change Considerations

If you don’t have much experience, or much industry experience (for instance, if you are trying to change careers), consider cross-functional experience. Database experience cuts across many fields. Experience in one industry could be highlighted to show revenue growth, attention to detail or other cross-functional skills.

Example: Say you wish to move from Banking to B2B Supply Sales

Seven Falls Bank, Alton, MO August 2005 to January 2009
Assistant to Retirement Accounts Manager

  • Worked closely with the manager to grow and manage contributions to existing and new accounts.

In this example, the job seeker highlights account growth through her work experience.


This last bit is fairly straightforward. List any relevant higher education. If you only have a high school diploma list it and any additional certifications you have (like CPR or other workshop-style skills). Don’t go overboard with honors and GPAs unless it’s important to the company you are applying for. Last tip? Be accurate about your education and watch out for spelling errors. List your completion dates, and use the full name of your educational institution.

Build a Resume Based on Building Blocks

If you have each of these building blocks you will be well-prepared for applying to jobs online whether it be by email or through a corporate career site. Need help putting this all together? Simply log in or sign up for a Job Seeker Account with Corridor Careers and use our Resume Builder to craft a shareable, easy-to-upload resume for future use. You could even (ahem) print them out to bring to our Spring Career Fair!

Download our Corridor Careers App to get the latest local jobs.

Job Search
Job Search 101 and Resumes