What to Include in Resume

Increase your chances of getting hired. These steps will help you get more attention to your resume.

What to Include in Resume
Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
7 min read

Are you sitting at your desk pondering over what to include on your resume? To be fair, there are so many templates and a hatful of resources that advise different things, so it can be a little confusing when it comes to knowing what to include and what to leave out.

Competition for jobs is incredibly fierce, so you need to try and stand out from the other applicants. On average, every corporate job that is posted will receive 250 applications. Less than ten people will be invited for an interview, and only one person will be employed.

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This statistic shouldn’t scare you. In fact, it should motivate you to be the best applicant. It should also serve as a helpful reminder that there’s no place for complacency when you’re applying for jobs, and you should ensure you plan your applications carefully.

Central to your application is your resume, so it’s vital that you make sure it’s professional, informative, and appropriate. Let’s take a look at seven things you must include on your resume to be in with a chance at an interview.

1. Up to date contact information

You’d be surprised at how many people forget to put their contact information on their resume. Research shows that one in four job applicants forgets to include up to date contact information on their resumes!

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As such, they rule themselves out of the running for the job before they’re even considered. You don’t need to go crazy and provide every detail under the sun, but as a minimum, think about including the following:

  • Full name
  • Personal phone number
  • Personal email address (make sure it’s professional and not a gimmicky address you used when you were a kid!)
  • Home address
  • LinkedIn profile

Some people like to include their date of birth and other information, but it’s up to you. The list above should serve as a bare minimum.

2. Statement of intent

Some sources tell you not to include a statement of intent, but we think it’s imperative. Considering the fact that, on average, recruiters only look at your resume for ten seconds, it’s so important that you make a good first impression.

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Your statement of intent should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Don’t confuse your statement with an overview. It’s not the time to tell recruiters everything about you, rather an opportunity to say specifically what you’re looking for and why.

3. Employment history

You should list your employment history before your education unless you’re a recent graduate. Employment history is much more relevant to most employers, so you should ensure it’s one of the first things they see when looking at your resume.

As a guide, think about structuring your employment history in the following way:

  • Position held and name of the company
  • Years employed
  • Bullet pointed list of key accomplishments (between 4-8 bullets per job)

Lots of applicants get confused here. Instead of listing their accomplishments, they list their responsibilities. Think about this for a minute. A recruiter will know what the job of a sales manager is and won’t need you to tell them what your duties were. Instead, they’re concerned with how you performed and what you achieved.

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Instead of saying something generic like “responsible for overseeing intake of graduate salespeople,” consider something like this:

“Oversaw the recruitment and development of four graduate salespeople, guiding them to surpass their team sales goal by 140% in the first six months of 2020.”

Enriching your statements with specific details goes a long way to showing recruiters that you’re the right person for the job.

4. Core skills

The objective here is not to list every single skill that you possess but to think carefully about the required skills for the job you’re applying for.

When you’re listing your skills, don’t just copy and paste the requested skills from the job listing into your resume, as this doesn’t mean anything to employers.

Your skills should correlate with your experiences, and some applicants even choose to list the core skills they utilized or learned within a particular position, as this adds credence to your claims.

If you can, supplement your skills with qualifications. This is particularly important if you’re applying for a role where skilled technicians are required.

5. Education

The reality for many employers is that education becomes less important when you develop more professional experience. A lot of the time, education is necessary to get your foot in the door and to show that you meet the specified job requirements.

Of course, if you’re applying for a job as a researcher or if you’re hoping to start a career in academia, your education is super important, and you might want to consider putting it further up your resume.

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There’s also something to be said about how far back you go with your education. Unless you’re a recent graduate (or the job listing has specified otherwise), you needn’t go further back than college, supposing you have a bachelors’ or masters’ degree.

Why? Because it takes up unnecessary space. Also, if you have a university degree, recruiters can safely assume that you successfully negotiated high school and achieved the necessary grades.

6. Achievements and awards

Not everyone includes this section on their resume, but it’s an excellent way of standing out from the crowd. If you’ve achieved any type of professional or extra-curricular award, you should include it here. Alternatively, if you achieved your awards at school or work, you could include them in the relevant sections and save yourself some space.

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Even if it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for, it shows that you’re capable and work to a high standard. Make sure you include specific details about the award or achievement, so those reading your resume know exactly what it is and why it’s relevant.

7. Voluntary work/fundraising

Like achievements and awards, not everyone bothers to include examples of voluntary work on their resume. While it’s certainly not essential, it’s another excellent way of standing out to your potential employers. Volunteering your time or fundraising for a good cause says a lot about your personality and is something that looks good to employers.

Is there anything I shouldn’t include on my resume?

These seven sections will help you to build a comprehensive resume that includes all of the necessary information for employers. But what about things you shouldn’t include on your resume? Let’s take a look at what to avoid, including:

  • Personal information that isn’t relevant to your work, like your pets, hobbies, and family members.
  • Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. An estimated 77% of hiring managers immediately disqualify resumes because of grammatical mistakes or spelling errors.
  • Details about your sexual orientation or religion.
  • Negative comments about your current or previous employer. This never paints you in a good light and is something that potential employers don’t want to see.
  • Fancy fonts, decoration, or various colors. Remember that your resume is a professional document and not a piece of art! You won’t get extra points for making your resume look fancy.
  • Grandiose claims that are unrealistic or clearly untrue.

Top tips to ensure my resume gets me noticed.

As you can see, there are several things you shouldn’t include on your resume. But what about things you can do to ensure you get noticed? Here are some things that recruiters like to see on your resume:

  • A professional layout that exceeds no more than two pages.
  • Clearly defined headings, bullet-pointed lists, and not too much text.
  • Sections that have been clearly personalized to speak to the job requirements.
  • Links to your personal website, blog, or professional platform like LinkedIn.

The key to getting your resume noticed is to ensure the layout is professional and the content is high-quality and concise. Don’t try too hard to impress and let the content of your resume speak for itself.

Closing thoughts

Your resume is the most important aspect of your job application, so you need to make sure it’s accurate, up to date, and tailored to meet the requirements of the job that you’re applying for. When put together with a compelling cover letter, your resume will help you attract the attention of hiring managers and will give you an excellent chance of securing an interview for the position that you’ve applied for.

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Hopefully, this guide has introduced you to everything you need to include on your resume and will give you the confidence to go and search for the perfect job.