Wondering what to put on your resume? From headlines to keywords, this article has you covered. Learn which essential details to include and what recruiters love to see on your resume. Or jump down to our list of what not to include on your resume.
If you’d like a complete introduction to writing your resume, check out our resume writing guide. If you’re looking for a framework, take a look at our customizable resume templates. Otherwise, let’s get to the list.
Here are 12 things to include on your resume.
1. Name and Contact Information
Your name goes at the top of the page, the first thing on your resume, and is commonly set in a larger font. Just below your name, include your location*, phone number and email address.
*Since recruiters often use it to source candidates for jobs, we recommend including at least your city and state (or province). Read more about addresses on resumes.
2. Your LinkedIn Profile URL
Among your contact information, you should include your LinkedIn profile URL. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, we highly recommend making one. It’s not essential, but having a presence on LinkedIn will help your job search in many ways.
3. A Resume Headline
Your resume headline is a concise description of who you are as a candidate, located just below your name and above your resume summary. It has the ability to grab a hiring manager’s attention, quickly communicating who you are and what you bring to the table.
Your resume headline should:
- Be compatible with the job posting
- Include keywords from the job description
- Include concrete language and information
- Be concise
- Stand out visually on the page
Learn more: How to Write a Resume Headline That Stands Out
4. A Resume Summary Statement
Your resume summary is another great way to quickly let recruiters know who you are. If a recruiter only has time to read one thing, assume it will be your headline and summary statement, and impress them accordingly.
You can think of your resume summary statement as an elevator pitch. Include a summary of your work history, skills and most remarkable accomplishments.
Note: A resume summary statement may not be the best choice for your resume if you don’t have a lot of work history or relevant experience.
Find out more: How to Write a Resume Summary Statement
5. Your Education
For many job seekers with a few years of work history, the institution name, dates attended, major and degree is sufficient.
Here’s an example:
Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business, 2010-2014
Bachelor of Arts, Accounting/Finance
Recent grads may want to include their GPA or any honors.
6. Your Work Experience
Your work experience should be list in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job experience at the top. For each job, include the:
- Job location
- Your job title
- Start and end dates
Underneath each job, add your relevant responsibilities and achievements.
Find out how to write a stellar Work Experience section: 6 Steps to Writing Your Resume Work Experience
Don’t have any work history? Read: How to Write a Resume with No Experience
7. Your Skills
Job skills are among the most important elements on your resume. Whenever possible you should include hard skills listed in the job description. You can list skills throughout your resume: in the header, summary, work experience and dedicated skills sections.
Learn more: Top Resume Skills (and How to List Them)
8. Certifications, Awards and Accolades
Devoting a resume section to certifications, awards and accolades could make sense for job seekers with impressive distinctions. If you don’t have any relevant accolades and certifications, or only a few, embedding them in your work experience and skills sections is a good solution.
9. Volunteer Work and Extracurricular Activities
Volunteer work can be of great value to job seekers, especially students with little or no work history. If your volunteer experience is relevant and extensive, you should include it in your Work Experience section. Otherwise, feel free to include a Volunteer Experience section.
Extracurricular activities can also be great additions to your resume as long as you can tie them back to the job. If you can’t find a way to connect your hobbies to the job, then leave them out. Irrelevant extracurriculars could hurt your candidacy.
Three More Things to Include on Your Resume
Above we’ve covered the basics and below you’ll find three more things that can take your resume from good to great.
Resume keywords are typically hard skills listed in the job description. Many recruiters rely on applicant tracking systems to sort and rank candidates, while others search by keyword inside the ATS. That’s why tailoring your resume to the job requirements is so important.
11. Measurable Results
Communicating your skills and success to a recruiter or hiring manager is much more effective when you include metrics. Did you contribute to an increase in revenue? Provide details and percentages. Did you keep customers happy while? Provide an approval rate or any other relevant data. Recruiters appreciate concrete details that communicate both your value and your ability to assess your performance.
12. Action Verbs
Make your resume immediately more engaging with action words, the verbs that move your sentences forward and grab your reader’s attention. Action verbs are words like:
What Not to Include on a Resume
Now let’s talk about what not to put on your resume.
Resume writing is a study in succinctness where we’re challenged to summarize our entire careers in less than two pages. There’s no room for extraneous details. But brevity’s not the only reason to leave off many of the items listed below. Some things, like unprofessional email addresses or resume objectives, can turn off recruiters and hurt your chances of landing a job.
Does your resume include anything on this list? If so, consider replacing it with measurable results and keyword-rich text.
1. Typos and Errors
This one is obvious, of course, but it is one of the most important mistakes to avoid. Having errors on your resume can be the fastest way to get tossed in the rejection pile. Here are some tips.
- Print your resume and read it aloud.
- Have a friend look over it. A fresh pair of eyes will catch any mistakes.
- Double check your dates.
- Make sure your formatting is consistent.
Different job search professionals have different opinions on whether pictures belong on resumes, but for now we believe it’s best to leave them off. Here’s why.
- Pictures are not always compatible with applicant tracking systems.
- Headshots take up prime real estate on your resume.
- Some hiring managers will automatically reject all applicants who include pictures on resumes, in order to protect their company from any claims of discrimination.
- Pictures on resumes do not improve your chances of being noticed by a recruiter but could disqualify you as a candidate due to the discrimination worries mentioned above.
3. Objective Statement
A resume objective statement is a vague, general statement along the lines of “Interested in obtaining a project management position where I can provide leadership and direct large scale programs.” It’s a bit perplexing as to why objectives were not too long ago all the rage.
Today we know that a resume summary statement is much more effective. Summary statements communicate what you can offer the company rather than what the company can offer you, which is the case with objective statements.
Most employers don’t ask for references until the interview stage, so you don’t need to include them on your resume. You can also remove the once popular line: “Reference available upon request.” Recruiters will assume you have references. Save this premium space for more valuable information.
5. Irrelevant Experience and Skills
A great resume is customized for the job to which you’re applying. However, removing years of irrelevant experience can cause work history gaps. And so the key becomes finding ways to connect your experience to the job. It’s best if you can do this with relevant hard skills and keywords. Here are some blog posts that can help:
6. An Unprofessional Email Address
Keep it professional. Any combination of your first and last name is best. There is also some evidence that more dated email domains like Hotmail can communicate to recruiters that you are less tech savvy, or could even encourage unintentional age discrimination.
7. Columns and Charts
Applicant tracking systems are becoming more sophisticated, but in our most recent tests, charts and columns still caused parsing errors in some ATS. We recommend avoiding these formats and using an ATS-friendly resume template.
A recent study found that 78% of applicants admit to lying on their resumes and that 66% of hiring managers didn’t actually care. That may be some comfort if you currently have, ahem, untruths on your resume but we suggest taking a hard look and asking yourself if you’re willing to get caught in a lie. Many companies will vet new hires and a lie could cost you the job.
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