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Your resume is a hugely important document in your life! It’s the difference between you getting achieving the next step in your career and…not. It’s the difference between you snatching a job that fulfills your life’s goals and having a job that’s just a job. So you have to make sure it grabs the reader’s attention, that it stands out from the competition. Aside from the most obvious details—contact information, the position you’re applying—here are five more items that every well-written resume needs to have.

What Should You Include in Your Resume?


1) An engaging summary

Resume objectives are boring, outdated, and often get your resume passed up. But a narrative summary of your career that highlights your professional qualifications can be a huge plus! Focus on what you can do for the employer. Include your professional history, your career goals, and those soft, intangible skills that set you apart from your competition.

2) Keywords

Hiring managers are busy! They skim a resume for an average of six seconds before deciding which pile to toss it into, so pepper your resume with key words that you’ve gleaned from the job posting. Show that your skills and experience match the tasks and responsibilities of the open position. The more keywords and phrases you can legitimately include, the better suited you’ll seem for the position.

3) Measurable achievements

Employers want to know what you’ve done to contribute to the growth of your company! Prove your expertise and show them that your strengths match the needs of their company. List any prizes or promotions you’ve been awarded, and specify the criteria you met to earn them. Include specific metrics to describe your achievements. For example, if you improved efficiency, be precise! By what percentage? In what timeframe? If you managed or trained other employees, how many? And for how long? Numbers jump out at the reader and are a quick, easy way to make your resume stand out!

4) Relevant experience, certifications, and licensures

If you recall, employers spend about six seconds scanning a resume, so don’t bore them with details about your lifeguarding job in high school. Include jobs that are similar to the one you’re applying for. If you’re new to the workforce, include experiences that helped develop transferrable skills—punctuality, organization, communication, time management, and teamwork. These are valuable skills in nearly any job or industry.

5) Education highlights

List the institution you graduated from, the dates you graduated and the degree or certification you received. If you didn’t graduate, list the dates you attended and your intended major or concentration. Include any professional development and continuing education courses you’ve taken, any on-the-job training and other nontraditional education—seminars, conferences, workshops—anything that sets you apart and will help you add value to your employer.

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