A resume or a CV is generally a page or two long overviews of a person’s professional and educational accomplishments presented to a recruiter with the object of securing a job. Throughout his entire career, a professional never cease to need a resume. Whether he wants to apply for a new job or a new role at the same firm, any discussion commences with a resume outlining why the person’s candidature should be considered appropriate, or unique.
In this article let us explore what separates a good resume from one that is mediocre. It all comes down to including the correct /relevant information and leaving out the unnecessary. We have made a list of what to put on a resume to make this easy for you.
Top 10 Elements to Put on a Resume
1. Contact Info
The most pragmatic section of your resume. One could as well use this as the header for the resume. Include your name, your location. It doesn’t have to be your full address. They are probably not going to get in touch through letters anyway. If you are seeking a job outside your state or country, tagging yourself physically to a location may work to your disadvantage. So, focus on the phone number and email address.
You may include your LinkedIn profile or other relevant social media handles here. It is important to use your legal name on your resume. You may choose to include a space for your professional title, just under your name. Take care to pick a professional email id for your resume and be mindful not to provide the email address of your current employer.
2. Resume Summary or an ‘In Short’ Section
This is the short opening paragraph of your resume. It contains a career summary, a qualification summary and a personal statement. The importance of an engaging and authentic summary statement at the beginning of your resume cannot be overestimated. For an applicant who has years of experience in his field, find in this section the ultimate opportunity to summarize their extensive knowledge and vast experience.
Spin your personal objectives into this narrative to demonstrate how well-integrated for the job you already are. The accepted standard for this section is four to six lines, so stay concise. This section is one’s greatest chance at impressing the hiring manager. Create a combined chronicle of your work history, skills and accomplishments. A narrative that forges your personal brand.
List your educational achievements/ degrees here in reverse chronological order so that your most relevant and latest degrees stay on top. It’s important to mention the name of each institute you attended, along with the state or city where it’s located and the year of you passed out from there. All this information is what lends authenticity to your resume. Include your majors, honours, projects and publications or scholarships. Include your certifications.
One may include their GPA in this section, but only when the scores fall in a spectrum between acceptable and outstanding. For example, if your GPA is below three, it’s best to leave out that information as it might not work in your favour. One thing to keep in mind is to stick to accurate information. Do not exaggerate or lie about your credentials. If you are a working professional the section for education in your resume gets a little less emphasis than the section for Work Experience. For college graduates and freshers this section is the most important and gets the maximum highlight.
4. Work Experience
This is the core of a professional resume. Note if you are a high school student you will use this area to highlight extracurricular achievements and involvements such as sports teams, performing arts or academic projects. If you are a professional, the recruiter will be scanning this section to get a detailed overview of the positions you have held in the past. Enlist your jobs titles ordering them either from most current to old, or based on their degree of importance, listing the more significant job titles before others. You want to simultaneously recapitulate beside each such title, in very precise terms, the specific actions that the role entailed.
For example – ‘Quality Analyst – Ensured steady continuous improvement in areas of delivery through metrics and PBA tracking. The focus was on minimizing Backlogs along with compiling error-free data sets of highest contributing servers and recurring issues in order to continuously explore possibilities of automation.’ It is possible to break down your work experience section into two parts and list your ‘Relevant Experience’ and ‘Additional Experience’ separately.
It is best to start listing your skillsets with the ones that are most closely related or relevant to the post the recruiters are hiring for. If you don’t have a lot of experience in terms of the job you have applied for, it is acceptable that you highlight what you have extrapolated from the times you have found yourself in similar situations in the past. Highlight how your existing skillsets are transferable to the new position you are applying for. Touching upon skillsets like Cultural Intelligence or EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is good because these are qualities that are healthy additions to any job role one can hope to take up.
Therefore, skillsets like Active Listening, Communication and Interpersonal Skills are good skills to add to a resume, because they show that you will be a good addition to the team, not only as a technician or a manager but also as a human being who is reasonable and easy to work with. If you are lucky enough to possess more specific and technical skills, create a separate ‘Key skills’ section to highlight them and separate them from ‘Soft skills’ such as mentioned earlier. It’s a good idea to include core skills like Java Developer, Finance Actuary etc under ‘key skills.
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6. Certifications and Licenses
Include the name of the certification, name of the certifying or accrediting body and date of certification. For example Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, American Society for Quality (ASQ), 2019. Be mindful not to confuse your training with your certifications. This space is only for including training that resulted in certifications.
Language skills are invaluable in today’s global job market. Maybe you are bilingual? This is the space to flaunt it. Recount the list of foreign languages under your belt along with your level of fluency such as a native speaker, fluent, conversational or basic. If you have certifications be sure to add them under the section for certifications in your resume. Knowing a second or a third language is a niche skillset that sets you apart in the crowd.
It is known that recruiters spend 6.2 seconds on an average looking at a resume. They are looking from something that would interest them to spend an extra minute on your resume. Learning languages increases cultural intelligence and is known to Language learning has been related to subtler changes in the brain to improve comprehension. Therefore, recruiters view this section knowing that an arsenal of interesting languages is somewhat ensuring of the applicant’s general intelligence as well as a greater outreach for the business.
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8. Awards and Honours
This section can alternatively be titled Accomplishments and Achievements, depending on whether you want to highlight your professional awards or use the space to talk about times you delivered your team form a sticky situation and received the management’s appreciation and applause. If you are going to list your Awards start with the most recent ones in descending order.
This is a space for your personal interests. This should be a window into who you are after the clock strikes six and you step out of work for the day. You may include interests like art, music, collecting, travelling, or reading. If you have personal interests that may be transferable to the job requirement, integrate them here. The applicant has a chance here to pique the recruiter’s interest enough as a person, to land an interview with them.
Demonstrate that you will make a more interesting addition to the team compared to the other aspirants. For example, browsing your resume the recruiter sees puzzles and crosswords listed among your interests, she immediately thinks analytical skills and problem-solving abilities. The objective is to line up your personal interests so they will act as phrenic signals that translate to your fittingness for the job in any way.
10. Publications and Presentations
Your publications or research activities must have a place in your resume. Add them along with the title and year. Cite the source, for example, the magazine, journal or website where it was published. You may want to list your publications as bullet points so that each one gets a dedicated mention and a space to add the date and source. If you do not have many publications, you may alternatively use this section to highlight your ‘Extracurricular and Volunteer’ experience.
One may list three to five bullet points per job. Spend a couple of lines outlining each. Proofread several times pouring over every detail. Take care of the formatting. It is not acceptable to use underlines, you may use bold or capital letters for emphasis. It’s best to have an extra pair of eyes look over it before going live with your resume. Review and refine.
It is acceptable to not include photos in your resume. However, for a fashion model, for example, such a thing may be relevant or even crucial. Step back and get a sense of the bigger story you have been able to tell through your resume. Have you been able to transmit that whirlwind of a journey into ten crisp bullet points on paper? Well, our best bet is to try to do exactly that.