Wondering what to include on your resume? Here are the essential parts:
Your header should be located at the top of the page and include:
- Phone number (just one, please!)
- Email Address
- Address (city, state, and zip only)
- LinkedIn URL
- Portfolio/Website URL (optional)
* If you possess a Ph.D., MBA, PMP, CPA, etc., you can include it after your name. Unless you want to look pretentious, don’t include degrees/certifications that do not indicate the peak of academic achievement in your field (MA, BS, etc.).
Title / Power Statement
You have two great choices on how to begin your resume. Pick one of the following:
- Place the title of the job you’re applying for just below the header.
- If you haven’t held the job before, follow the title with the word “profile.”
- Incorporate the title into a power statement to quickly illuminate what you bring to the table.
Whether you chose a title or power statement for your resume, it’s a good idea to include 3 – 5 sentences further demonstrating your professional abilities. You can use a paragraph format or bullets. Either way, incorporate words and concepts directly from the job description.
A bulleted Key Skills section is a great place to populate your resume with essential keywords that will assist you in sailing through applicant tracking systems (ATS – resume robots) and engaging recruiters.
- Techies: Include a separate Technical Proficiencies section in addition to your Key Skills section if you have a lot of relevant technical skills. To make these skills easy to discern, group them together under the Technical Proficiencies header (i.e., Platforms, Software, Hardware, Methodologies, etc.).
Work History (Professional Experience)
This section is mainly written as bullets or as a paragraph/bullets hybrid. If you have a lot of achievements to share, it’s best to put your day-to-day activities in a paragraph of 3 – 6 sentences and follow it with several achievements bullets. Include as much quantifiable information as possible (like dollars and percentages).
To reduce exposure to ageism, focus on the past 10 – 15 years of work. If your earlier work is vital to include, do it in a separate section (Early Career Success) without dates or just in a footnote. A separate section or footnote is also a great way to deal with overlapping work.
The Education section of your resume should include your college coursework or degrees. If you didn’t go to college at all, include your high school diploma. (There’s no need to include your diploma if you have degrees.)
Also, share your certifications, licenses, and formal/informal professional development activities in this section. You’ll look out of touch if you include your GPA, Dean’s list ranking, or scholarships after being out of college for more than a year, so don’t.
Final Thoughts on What to Include in Your Resume
You’ll have the best success with your resume if you include these parts in the order that I’ve listed them. Don’t be mesmerized by fancy formats; ATS scanners (and most humans) prefer basic Word documents. As for volunteer work, clubs, patents, and hobbies, most experts recommend omitting anything that is not directly related to the job you’re pursuing.
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