How to Write an Informal Resume

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Have you been invited as a guest speaker at an event? Will you be leading a casual group discussion at the library? Or perhaps you are not currently seeking employment, but want to create an informal resume that lists your education and professional history for a website or an internal-communication tool, like a newsletter? There are some situations in which an informal resume is not only acceptable but the preferred way of introducing yourself. Yet even an informal resume needs to be well-written, clear and easily scannable so it can achieve the desired objective and make a positive impression.

Print your name at the top. If you wish to be addressed by your nickname, indicate it within brackets. Unless it has been expressed to you as necessary, you don't have to mention your contact details and title.

In a few, brief lines, summarize your experience, education or interests that are relevant to the speaking situation. Tailor this section to the occasion or situation. If you are a guest speaker at a college you attended as a student, you can start with that information, the subject you majored in, your year of graduation or the nickname you were known by back then. If it is for a more formal occasion, use the summary to list the aspects of your career that are most salient\ to that occasion. For example, if you are a speaker at a copywriters' convention, you could list the clients you have worked with or the industries or niches in which you specialize, along with a mention of the ads or campaigns you have worked on.

Choose the format for your informal resume. You can use either the functional format, the chronological style or a combination of both, depending upon the situation. The functional style lists the various titles you have held and job roles you have performed over the years, along with a mention of the client, employer or industry. The chronological style lists your previously held positions, starting with the latest and working backward. In either case, for an informal resume, you may skip irrelevant positions and details and keep the document brief and to the point.

List your educational background. Unless it is relevant to the situation, you may keep this very brief, merely mentioning the schools you attended. If the occasion warrants a more detailed overview, describe your specialization, year of graduation, papers presented and awards won, all under another appropriately titled subsection, such as Awards or Published Work.

Know that an informal resume allows you to highlight aspects of your personality that may not be evident in a formal resume. These include your non-academic interests, hobbies and other activities you are passionate about. People viewing your informal resume are more likely to be interested in your personality, besides your skills and experience. So if you are an ardent photographer or engage in an adventure sport, play a musical instrument or are involved in a voluntary project, be sure to highlight it in a section titled Other Interests. If you blog or have a website about your interest, mention its URL.


Make sure your informal resume is well-written and free of typos, grammatical errors and other mistakes. It may be informal, but it should still be professional.

Refrain from mentioning details you would not want a prospective employer or client to see. You never know in whose hands the informal resume may end up.