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What to Put on a Resume

Your resume serves as a marketing tool, presenting a concise summary of your skills, experiences, and qualifications. It is vital to make a positive and lasting impression, as recruiters often spend just a few seconds scanning each resume they receive. By strategically organizing and highlighting your key attributes, you can maximize your chances of getting noticed.

Basic Information

The first section of your resume should contain your personal details and contact information. Include your full name, phone number, email address, and location. It’s important to ensure your contact information is up to date and easily accessible.

Next, you can add a professional summary or objective statement. This brief paragraph should provide a snapshot of your career goals, skills, and achievements. Tailor this section to align with the specific job you’re applying for, emphasizing the value you can bring to the role.

Work Experience

One of the most crucial sections of your resume is the work experience section. Here, you should list your previous job positions in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent one. Include the company name, your job title, employment dates, and a concise description of your responsibilities and achievements in each role.

When describing your work experience, focus on quantifiable achievements and specific results. Use action verbs to convey your contributions effectively. This section should highlight your relevant skills and demonstrate your ability to handle the responsibilities of the desired role.

Education and Certifications

Your educational background plays a vital role in showcasing your qualifications and academic achievements. In this section, include the names of the institutions you attended, the degrees or certifications you obtained, and the dates of completion.

If you have recently graduated or are a student with limited work experience, you can place the Education section before the Work Experience section to highlight your academic accomplishments. Include any honors, awards, or relevant coursework that demonstrates your knowledge and skills in the field.

Additionally, mention any certifications or training courses that are relevant to the position you are applying for. This could include industry-specific certifications, workshops, or specialized training programs that showcase your dedication to continuous learning and professional development.

Skills and Abilities

Employers are often looking for specific skills and abilities that align with the requirements of the job. In this section, highlight your core competencies and relevant skills. These can include technical skills, such as proficiency in programming languages or software applications, as well as soft skills, such as communication, leadership, or problem-solving abilities.

Be sure to tailor this section to match the job description, incorporating keywords that are commonly used in the industry or field. This can help your resume pass through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and increase your chances of being selected for further consideration.

Achievements and Awards

If you have received any notable achievements or awards throughout your academic or professional journey, make sure to include them in this section. This could be recognition for outstanding performance, leadership roles in projects, or any other accomplishments that demonstrate your capabilities and dedication.

Highlighting your achievements not only adds credibility to your resume but also shows potential employers that you have a track record of success. Quantify your achievements whenever possible, such as by stating the percentage of revenue growth you contributed to a project or the number of clients you successfully managed.

Projects and Portfolios

If you have completed any relevant projects or have a portfolio of work, this section is the perfect place to showcase them. Include details about the projects you have worked on, your role in each project, and the outcomes or results achieved.

If you are in a creative field, such as graphic design or photography, consider including a link to your online portfolio or attaching samples of your work. Providing tangible examples allows employers to assess your skills and expertise firsthand.

Volunteer Work and Extracurricular Activities

Engagement in volunteer work and participation in extracurricular activities can demonstrate your commitment, leadership skills, and ability to work well in a team. Include any volunteer experiences or involvement in clubs, organizations, or community initiatives.

Describe your responsibilities and contributions in these roles, highlighting the transferable skills you gained. Volunteering and extracurricular activities can also indicate your passion for certain causes or interests outside of your professional life, adding depth to your resume.

Professional Associations and Memberships

If you are a member of any professional associations or industry-specific organizations, be sure to mention them in this section. This demonstrates your active involvement in your field and your commitment to staying updated with the latest industry trends and advancements.

Membership in professional associations can also provide networking opportunities and access to resources that can enhance your professional growth. Highlight any leadership roles or active participation within these organizations to showcase your dedication and influence within the industry.

References and Recommendations

Including references or testimonials from previous employers or colleagues can strengthen your resume. If possible, provide the contact information of individuals who can vouch for your skills, work ethic, and character.

Before listing anyone as a reference, seek their permission and inform them about the job position you are applying for. This allows them to prepare and provide a positive recommendation when contacted by potential employers.

Formatting and Design

While the content of your resume is crucial, its presentation and formatting also matter. Ensure that your resume has a clean and professional appearance by using an appropriate font, consistent formatting, and appropriate spacing. Choose a clean and easily readable font, such as Arial or Calibri, and use a font size between 10 and 12 points for the body text.

Organize your resume into clear sections with appropriate headings. Use bold or slightly larger font sizes for section headings, such as “Work Experience” or “Skills and Abilities,” to make them stand out.

Consider using bullet points to highlight key information and make your resume more scannable. This helps employers quickly identify relevant skills, accomplishments, and experiences.

Ensure that your resume is well-structured and visually appealing. Use consistent formatting for dates, job titles, and bullet points. Keep the overall layout clean and avoid cluttered designs or excessive use of colors.

Tailoring the Resume

Each job application may require slight adjustments to your resume to better match the specific requirements of the role. Tailoring your resume involves customizing the content, skills, and experiences to highlight the most relevant information for the position.

Carefully review the job description and identify the key skills, qualifications, and experiences that the employer is seeking. Adjust your resume accordingly, emphasizing the relevant skills and experiences that align with the job requirements.

By tailoring your resume for each application, you demonstrate a genuine interest in the role and show that you have taken the time to understand the employer’s needs.

Proofreading and Editing

Before submitting your resume, it is essential to carefully proofread and edit it. Check for any grammatical errors, typos, or inconsistencies. Read through your resume multiple times and consider seeking feedback from a trusted friend or mentor.

Pay attention to the clarity and coherence of your sentences and ensure that the overall content flows smoothly. Remember, even a single mistake can create a negative impression and impact your chances of securing an interview.

Using Keywords and SEO Techniques

In today’s digital age, many employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter and screen resumes. To increase the chances of your resume passing through these systems, incorporate relevant keywords and phrases throughout your resume.

Keywords are specific words or phrases that employers commonly use to search for resumes that match their criteria. Identify the keywords relevant to your industry or field and incorporate them naturally throughout your resume.

However, avoid keyword stuffing or using unrelated keywords. Maintain a balance between incorporating keywords and ensuring that your resume reads naturally and makes sense to human readers.


How long should my resume be?

Ideally, your resume should be one to two pages in length, focusing on the most relevant information.

Should I include my high school education on my resume?

If you have a college degree or higher, it’s generally not necessary to include high school education unless it’s directly relevant to the job.

Is it necessary to include references on my resume?

It’s not necessary to include references on your resume. You can simply state that references are available upon request.

How often should I update my resume?

It’s a good practice to update your resume regularly, especially when you gain new skills, experiences.

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