What to Put on a Resume

Woman reading over a resume

Writing a resume is a process, and there are thousands of resume and cover letter examples out there on the Internet. So how are you supposed to know exactly what to put on a resume? We’ve created a one-stop guide for you – think of it as your personal resume assistant!

A great resume is like a trailer for a movie. A recruiter should get a solid understanding of what to expect, but be eager to see more. So how do you know what “scenes” should make the cut?

We’ll start with the basics. There are four things that absolutely must be on your resume. These components are the essentials for an effective resume, so make sure you include all of them.

Your Name

The first element is simple: start with your name. Believe it or not, recruiters receive resumes with misspelled and abbreviated names, even some with no name at all!

There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t include your full name (first and last) on your resume. Highlight your name by placing it at the very top, in a large, clear font. Make sure it stands out from the rest of your resume text.

Pro-Tip: If you’re job-hunting on the DL and are worried your current employer will get calls, simply don’t list the company name.

Contact Information

If you’re sending out resumes, it’s safe to assume that you’re actively seeking a change of pace. Make sure that when an opportunity comes knocking, you’re there to answer the door (or phone, or email, or Skype call, or… you get the message!)

Your basic contact information is comprised of two elements: your phone number and professional email address.

Note that we said, “professional email address,” not just any old email address. [email protected] looks a ton more professional than [email protected]

Make a professional email account, they’re literally free!

Your phone number and email should be prominently displayed below your name. Recruiters want to talk to you (shocking, I know!) Make their job easier by giving them multiple ways to contact you.

If you have a website or a professional social media account, you can include that in your contact section as well. Don’t link to accounts that are inactive, personal, or that you don’t update often.

Work History

Your work history should include four main parts: your job title, the company name, dates of employment, and a few lines about your responsibilities and achievements within your role.

This information should appear in the order listed above.

Pro-Tip: If you want to avoid calls to your current employer, feel free to replace the organization’s name with “Confidential Company.”

In the event that you had multiple job titles at one company, list your most recent title and include a line mentioning your promotion.

For example: Promoted from Marketing Assistant to Coordinator within 6 months.

Keep your resume slim by limiting the amount of information you include when discussing job responsibilities and achievements. Paragraphs have no place in a resume… Aim for 3-5 highlights per job. Featuring your achievements shows recruiters that you’re a high-performer.

Instead of including a bullet point that says you were responsible for ‘managing and maintaining the organization’s website,’ list tangible achievements. For example: Increased website page views by 45% in one month.

Learn how to make your resume stand out.

Educational Background

Last, but not least, is your section that covers your education. Regardless of what level of schooling you’ve completed, this section is a must have.

List the name of the institution you’re attending, and then on the line below that, list the type of degree you achieved. Don’t forget to include your area of study (major) and the year you received your degree.

If you’re in the process of completing your studies, replace the graduation year with “Expected graduation, January 2019” or, if the date is in a future year, it’s acceptable to list the full span of years attended: 2016-2020.

Education is often a prerequisite for a position. Job posts may state that a GED/high school diploma, AA, BA/BS, or any other type of degree is required. By including your educational background on your resume, you make it clear to recruiters that you have the credentials they’re looking for. Hand them as much relevant information as you can – don’t make them guess!

Remember that your resume is intended to catch the eye of a recruiter and provide them with enough information to believe you could be successful at the job they’re looking to fill. It’s not supposed to chronicle every job, achievement, and responsibility over the span of your life. Keep things short and sweet, and be selective with the content you choose to include.

Now that you know the four basic components of a resume, check out our other resume advice, or have us review yours and give you helpful feedback, for free!

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