"These four points are important to a strong resume."
April 26, 2016
Resumes. They can be daunting, but you know they’re necessary. They are often the first thing potential employers see from you, so you want it to reflect well on who you are. There are basic templates online, but do they have everything you need? How creative should you get? What information is actually necessary?
We reached out to our hiring experts and found the four essential things your resume needs.
1. Your contact information. This is the very most important part of your resume. It could be the best document ever created, but if there’s no way for somebody to reach out to you to set up an interview, it’s pointless. “You want to be sure a potential employer can easily access your email and phone number to contact you,” Ashley from Cardinal Health says. Don’t bury or hide your contact information on your resume, but display it clearly toward the top.
2. Your objective. “As the objective statement clearly states the purpose of your resume, make sure to tailor it to the type of job you’re applying for,” Dan from Mutual of Omaha recommends. This statement can be short (one or two sentences is great) but make sure it communicates the type of job you are looking for and why you are applying. This is a great way to start your resume and highlight who you are from the start.
3. Your education/experiences. “You should always include your previous work experience and extracurricular activities,” Ashley says. “When adding your work experience and extracurricular involvement, add your roles and responsibilities. If you held a leadership position within an organization, highlight this as well. After you reach your sophomore or junior year of college, you should remove your high school experience.”
If you’ve had a long list of different jobs (such as internships, part-time jobs, seasonal work, etc), it isn’t necessary that you list every single one on your resume. “If you can select 3 solid positions that really showcase your industry skills, this would be a great outline for your resume,” Marisella from American Express says. “You can always list out other job positions you have held in the interview and reference checks.” If you don’t have any prior work experience, make sure to include your education and expand on your degree, coursework, and any other relevant activities or roles.
The order of the sections on your resume doesn’t need to be any particular way, either. Steve from Caterpillar Inc. explains: “For example, if one is a student and does not have extensive work experience, then this should not be listed as prominently on the resume. Instead, they should start the resume by focusing on their strengths, such as their education, leadership experience, and community/campus activities. The work experience should be place later in the resume. Remember, the resume is a tool on which you are selling yourself.”
4. Your skills. This is a great way to show how well-suited you are for a job position. “The job description is often a good road map as well,” Stephanie from AT&T says. “The employer is telling you what the must haves are. Don't make it hard for them to see that you have them.” You can include technical skills here, certifications that you’ve earned, relevant courses you’ve completed, etc. Anything that shows your marketable abilities is resume gold!
Want to add even more to your resume? Feel free, if you have room after including these essentials.
Here are some final thoughts from Stephanie:
“Your resume is potentially your first introduction to a potential employer, so it is often a good idea to tailor it to your audience. Having more than one version of your resume is a good exercise in looking at your experience from different angles and how it might appeal to different employers who are looking for a variety of skill sets.”
She also adds: “If you are looking for a job in a creative field, you may want your resume to demonstrate your ability to be design focused or utilize media resources in an innovative way. One note of caution though, as mentioned in a previous reply, you should make it simple for a recruiter to find the key ingredients.”
When you boil it down to the basics, your resume is all about contact information, objective, experience, and skills. Start there, and you’ll be on the right track for career success!