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What to Have on a Resume

It is easy to get stuck while writing a resume. You may wonder what to have on your resume. Here are the sections that every job-hunter should include.

What to Have on a Resume
Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
9 min read

Imagine you start writing the resume and you know a brief idea about what to include on it, but, when you put in information in it you get stuck as to how much to include and how much to miss out on. There will be times when you will feel like things aren’t going on the right path. You may feel something is missing out. Sometimes you forget to add something and a lot more problems.

We have jotted down a complete guide for you on ‘What to Have on a Resume?’ which you can use as a reference to make a perfect resume for your career.

Now, as we mentioned before you know what to include in the resume and they are:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Career Objectives
  3. Education
  4. Work Experience
  5. Skills
  6. Awards and Achievements
  7. Other Optional Sections

But you might be wondering how to fill these sections effectively that may make your resume stand out. Each section has some essential elements that you must be careful with it and add.

Contact Information

So the Contact Information is added to the header area of the resume which is right at the top. It has to be there for HR to spot it right on easily! Now you must be adding real accurate information. Any wrong information that will mislead the hiring manager will strike right back to you.

  • Your Name – First and Last Name along with Professional Acronyms, like MBA, PhD, if you have.
  • Professional Title – It is an optional area you can add that indicates your current title, previous title or the one you are looking for.
  • Mailing Address – Optional to add.
  • Phone Number – Add the number that you answer the most. Personal Numbers are more recommended than landline or house phone. In case of a voicemail message, make sure it is professional.
  • Professional Email – you really can’t afford to keep barbiegirl@gmail.com as your primary email address. Therefore, keep a professional one that contains only your name and number.
  • LinkedIn – Highly Recommended. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, make one and start connecting with professionals of your industry.
  • Social Media Handles: Not Recommended. Your professional life will not have any interest in Facebook or Twitter profiles.
  • Personal Website, Blog or Portfolio: Add a link to your website if your job requirement says though which will act as proof of your skills that you will mention later on.

Other than the points discussed above, don’t add information regarding gender, birthday, or marital status in the section. Even some experts say Photographs are not recommended to add to the document.

The Objective Section

This area is somewhat now not required by the hiring managers. Experts say to leave it out often. However, we’ll still discuss this section since if needed it must be very well written. The objective section can include the following:

  • Resume Summary: It is a short paragraph of 2-3 lines that highlights a job seeker’s professional skills and summary.
  • Resume Objective (also known as Career Objective): It is a brief statement that communicates your career goals such as the field you want to work in or the skills you want to develop.

Pick one of the two and you are good to go. They must be very well written and should not be more than 2-3 lines. You must choose them based on the background you currently have. For beginners or graduates who have no work experience Resume objective will fit well. While for other job seekers Resume Summary will do.

Educational Background

Education Section and Work Experience shift positions as per the current status of the individual into the professional world. Those job seekers who are recently graduate and are looking for a job for the first or second time add educational background first. Since it acts as a support to their resume. In reverse-chronological order, you must add your education which shall include:

  • School Name and its location (Although Location isn’t necessary)
  • Degree Obtained (if you have higher degrees then don’t necessarily add high school information)
  • Field of Study or Majors
  • Year of Graduation
  • CGPA (skip it if you are professional or add it only if it is 3.5 and above)
  • Any Awards, Honors, Achievements, Notable Projects or more.

Keep in mind any other extra information to your resume will only be valuable if you believe it is suited for your job and help you corner out other similar candidates. After all, there must be some unique factor that may lead you to interview among several other applicants.

Work experience

If you are already in your careers for more than 5-6 years then this section is really important to have on a resume. It is the section where you will be able to show your value and potential to the hiring manager. You should be listing all the relevant work experience you had in the last 10-15 years. We have an article on how far back should a resume go so do check out.

Alternatively, if you have no work experience or you are a fresh graduate then you should include experiences on Internships or Volunteering. That experiences can be used by employers to evaluate your skills or experience and to get an idea for the employment.

Here’s what the section must include:

Job Title - Your Professional Title states what you are currently, and listing them in reverse chronological order makes it easier for managers to see how much you have progressed throughout the year. Make it bold to make it highlight among other entries.

Company - Add Company’s Name and its Location. The location includes Name, City and State. Adding Location isn’t necessary but sometimes hiring managers expect us to indicate it.

Employment Date – After that add the employment date. You have to show the time span you have worked for that certain company. Add a date in the dd-mm-yyyy format or some other format acceptable in your country. If you are currently working there, then add the date and write “- Present” after that.

What You Did There – This part of the section highlights the information that may surprise or not surprise the hiring manager. You have to add key responsibilities that you handled at the place of work. Also, add the awards and achievements that you received in each position; quantify and highlight them effectively. Make sure the information you are adding is relevant and not just filling the empty spaces of your resume.

Don’t forget to begin the description with powerful words and action verbs, write quantifiable sentences and follow up with a specific task. All the above-mentioned criteria can be applied to Internships, Volunteering or any other Informal Work Experience.

Skills

This section is the last most important sections of the resume. After detailing every piece of information above, this section acts as proof of what you possess and what you have gained all these years as a professional. The skill section must include all the relevant soft, hard, technical and other forms of skill required for the job.

A job description mentions the required skill a candidate must possess for the job. If the skills are not present in the job description, then you can always look them up on the internet to see what skills are required for the job you are applying to. The skills you add also work as a keyword to the resume. There are situations where the company is passing the resumes through the Applicant Tracking System to filter out the resumes that match the criteria. In that case, your skills must act as a keyword that the ATS accepts and make your resume count!

Here are comprehensive explanations regarding the broad category of skills.

Soft Skills: Soft Skills are non-technical, personal and intangible abilities that a person possess. It relates to how you work and how you interact with other people positively. They are not job-specific but essential to decide candidate’s professional future and apply to nearly any industry. Examples of Soft Skills include – Time Management, Communication, Decision-Making, Problem-solving, Teamwork, Leadership, Creativity, Resourcefulness, Stress Management and much more.

Hard Skills: These skills, unlike their other counterpart, are abilities that enable you to perform job-specific duties and responsibilities. They don’t come naturally at hand but they are taught to through specialized education, courses or training. These skills come in handy in a specific job role and responsibility. They are important as they improve productivity, efficiency and perfection. Following are some important and prominent Hard Skills: Affiliate Marketing, Cloud Computing, CAD Designing, Machine Controlling, Book Keeping, Programming Language Proficiency, Data Analytics, Financial Analytics, Software Proficiency, and much more.

Add all the relevant skills from the above list and more that you can find on the internet along with a level of proficiency for each.

Awards and Achievements

It is a good idea to add the awards and achievement section to your resume if you have extra space. We know that you would be wondering that if you have already added those in the Education and Work Experience Section, why is it required now?

There are some Awards and Achievements that don’t belong to your Academics or Career. It may be a public speaking session, training session, outsource projects or any other task that you performed outside of your Academics or Career bounds can be added here. It always uplifts your resume and may help you move forward among other candidates.

Other Optional Section

The sections mentioned above are the common ones that you will see n every job seeker’s resume; if you didn’t see them advise them to add those sections.

To distinguish yourself, there must be an extra portion that may qualify you for the job. Sometimes these sections matter; sometimes, they don’t.

  • Language – bilingual or trilingual? It always benefits to have command over multiple languages.
  • Volunteer Work – another section to highlight your skills like leadership and communication.
  • Memberships – it is an outstanding way to indicate your potential in networking and social outreach. Memberships can be national or international. It may also serve as a plus point if the hiring manager belongs to the same membership organization.
  • Publications – shows your interest in the research area.
  • Interests and Hobbies – emphasizes your personality.
  • Certifications and Licenses – acts as proof to your technical or other hard skills.

Conclusion

You know now what to have on a resume. Start writing one or refer to our resume builder to make a classic resume for your next appointment. Happy job hunting 😉.