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Conference information typically has its own section of the resume. Whether you aspire toward an academically-oriented position or you're aiming for a more business-oriented job, showing that you have experience presenting at conferences can add something valuable to your resume. If you really want to underline a particular conference experience, you might also mention it in more detail in your cover letter.
When It's Appropriate
Listing conference presentations can add depth to your resume, but include that information carefully. If you're applying for a job in which you'll be expected to speak publicly on behalf of the company, adding information about conference presentations can be a good thing. It can also help to establish you as a known expert on a particular facet of business or academic research.
When It's Not
On the other hand, hiring managers will also be on the lookout for so-called "resume padding," a tactic recent graduates or those with little experience in a field sometimes use in an attempt to show they have more experience than they really do. The conferences you add should be ones that took place outside of your workplace or institution, and not ones that you did within your own graduate program. Likewise, don't add guest lectures you did as part of your academic course of study or in your capacity as a teaching assistant. Don't add conferences you've attended but haven't presented at. That will be construed as padding.
Ordering the Sections
Create a section of your resume titled "Invited Talks" or "Conference Speaking Engagements." Add the section under your Education and Work Experience sections, among other additional sections you might have, such as your Volunteer, Awards, or Professional Affiliations sections. Since there's no right way to format a resume, it's up to you where to place this section in terms of order -- and since your resume should be tailored to each individual job for which you apply, it can depend on the job. If public speaking is paramount to one position, you might put the section directly under your work experience section. If public service is more important, on the other hand, the conference section might go under the ''Volunteer'' section.
Formatting the Section
To format the conference listings, list the most important information on the left-hand side of the listing, as you'll do with other sections of your resume. Start with the title of your conference talk, followed by the name of the institution or conference at which you presented the information. Then include the year of the conference talk. You can also include the month of the talk, but only if it's relevant to the job. For example, if you want to show that you're capable of presenting on many different topics in a short amount of time, you might include the months that demonstrate how many presentations you gave within a six-month period.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.