What to Include on a Resume

Crafting a Winning Resume: A Guide for Success

A resume is a key that unlocks doors to exciting opportunities. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a fresh graduate, a well-crafted resume can make all the difference. But what exactly should you include in this important document? Let’s explore the essential components of a winning resume!

1.   Contact information (Name, Address, Phone Number, Email Address)

First, ensure your resume includes your full name, current city and state, email address, and phone number. Also, include an online professional profile (such as a LinkedIn profile) or a personal website if you have one. This information helps potential employers get in touch with you easily.

Your online presence can provide deeper insights into your professional journey, so linking your LinkedIn profile is a smart move. If you are sending your resume electronically, make certain these links are clickable.

Remember to include a professional email address that includes your name rather than a quirky nickname. Recording a clear voicemail message on your phone will leave a positive impression on employers.

2.   A Strong Summary

Next, consider including a three-to-six-line summary paragraph at the beginning of your resume. This section highlights your career goals and summarizes your relevant skills and experience.

Think of it as a bridge connecting your past achievements to future aspirations. Make it concise and tailored to the specific job you are applying for. Use action verbs, focusing on your most relevant skills, experiences, and achievements.

Here’s the trick: keep it punchy yet informative. Employers should be able to glance at your summary and instantly grasp who you are, what you’ve achieved, and where your ambitions lie. Use this space to highlight how your unique blend of talents aligns perfectly with the new role and company culture.

Injecting a bit of your personality into the summary can also make it more engaging. Remember, while the professional summary is brief, it’s mighty. It should entice hiring managers to dive deeper into your resume. Polish this section until it shines; make sure it reflects your professional essence and the value you’re ready to bring to your next role.

3.   Education

If you’ve graduated from an accredited school in the last five years or are in the health field, your education comes next. Otherwise, it goes after your professional experience.

List your educational background, starting with the most recent institution you attended. Include your degree or diploma, major or field of study, the name of the school, its location, and your graduation date (or expected graduation date if you are still in school). If you have limited work experience, emphasize your academic achievements, relevant coursework, and any honors or awards received.

Be sure to list certifications or diplomas from individual relevant courses next. Include the name of the course, the school, its location, and your completion date (or expected completion date if you are still taking the course). These additional learning nuggets demonstrate your commitment to ongoing professional development and keeping your skills sharp.

If you’re in the early stages of your career or pivoting to a new field, listing relevant coursework can be powerful. It can provide a clearer picture of your readiness and enthusiasm for the role.

4.   Awards and Notable Achievements

Don’t be shy about including any awards, honors, or recognition for your professional achievements. Recognition for outstanding performance, leadership roles, and contributions to projects should go here. This can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your dedication to and excellence in your field.

5.   Work Experience

Be sure to include any work experience on your resume. The work experience could be from part-time jobs, internships, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities, if necessary. List your experience in reverse chronological order, with the most recent positions at the top.

For each position, provide your job title, the organization’s name, location, and dates of employment. Then, describe your responsibilities in a short paragraph and your accomplishments in bullet points. Use action verbs and quantifiable results whenever possible.

Did you lead a team that launched a successful product, increasing sales by 20%? Share that! Such specifics offer evidence of your impact and showcase your skills in action.

Tailor this section for the job application by emphasizing the most relevant experiences and successes. Highlight projects that demonstrate key skills or achievements aligned with your target position. That will help the hiring manager draw parallels between your past work and your future potential.

6.   Skills

Highlight the skills and abilities that are relevant to the job you are applying for. These could include technical skills (like computer programming), soft skills (such as communication), and any specialized training you’ve completed (such as in software). Tailor this section to match the requirements of the position.

But here’s where you can make your resume pop: tailor this list to match the job requirements you’re applying for. Read the job description and identify the skills mentioned.

Have experience with the project management tools they use? Great, add that! Known for your innovative problem-solving skills? Make sure that’s front and center.

Using keywords from the job description helps your resume pass applicant tracking systems. With that, hiring managers can see that you’ve done your homework and understand the job requirements. It’s like saying, “I’m not just qualified—I’m the perfect fit.”

7.   Extracurricular Activities

Include any extracurricular activities or involvement in clubs, organizations, or community service projects. This shows potential employers that you are well-rounded and actively engaged outside the workplace. It also provides insight into your interests, leadership abilities, and commitment to making a positive impact.

When selecting what to include, focus on elements that are most relevant to the job or industry you’re targeting. For instance, if you’re applying to an international company, emphasizing your language skills could be particularly advantageous. Similarly, let’s say the role calls for a strong team player. A wise addition would be mentioning your volunteer efforts, which demonstrate your collaborative spirit and leadership abilities.

8.   Formatting and Design

Finally, pay attention to your resume’s formatting and design. Use a clean, professional layout with consistent fonts and formatting. Avoid using elaborate graphics or formats, as some ATSs reject resumes designed with them.

In conclusion, a well-crafted resume is key to landing your dream job or internship. Include the essential components outlined above and pay attention to formatting and design. By doing so, you can create a winning resume that effectively showcases your skills, experiences, and achievements.

Remember to tailor your resume to each job application, highlighting the most relevant skills and experiences. Proofread your resume carefully to ensure it is error-free and visually appealing. Go ahead, polish up your resume, and prepare to open new doors to exciting opportunities!

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