Along with your cover letter, your resume serves as an introduction. It tells potential employers who you are, what you’ve done, and why you would be an asset to their company. But exactly what information should you include? Here are the sections that all professional resumes should contain.
What Should Be Included On a Resume
At the top of your resume, list your name, telephone number, and email address. Be sure to use a professional-sounding email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also want to list your city if you’re searching for jobs in the same city. In today’s world, though, there is no need to include your entire home address. And if you’re planning to relocate or commute, it’s generally better to wait and mention that during the interview.
Objective or Summary
Just below your identifying information, add either an objective or a summary. An objective is what you are seeking in your position, while a summary is a very short highlight reel of your previous accomplishments. In either case, be sure to tailor it to the specific job listing.
List every degree or certification you have, with the most recent first. For each entry, include the name of the school, its city and state, and your date or expected date of graduation. If relevant, you can mention your major, GPA, and any special projects or honors that are relevant to the job. If you have any education beyond high school, leave off your high school diploma.
Unless you’re going for a position that requires security clearance, you don’t need to list every job you’ve ever had. In fact, it’s typically best not to go back more than 5 to 10 years. You may also want to limit this section to jobs that are directly related to the position you want. You can then cover any time gaps with an “Other Experience” section that just lists other positions you’ve held (and the years you held them) without any commentary.
When you’ve decided which jobs to include, list them here starting with your most recent position. You can also include volunteer work and internships if they’re relevant. Note the name of the company, your role, and the years you worked there. Then list your top three accomplishments in the position. Be sure to use action verbs such as overhauled, spearheaded, or streamlined.
Most resumes now go through an automated system before a human ever lays eyes on them. To get through the filters, you’ll need to use keywords that exactly match specific words in the job description. The easiest place to do this is in a “Skills” section. Go through the job posting and pick out skills they want that match with your personal strengths. List those here, along with such general skills as computer systems or foreign languages.