What Do I Need to Put on a Resume?
Among jobseekers, this might be the million-dollar question. In today's competitive job market, it can be hard to know exactly what to put in your resume. There are a few major elements that belong in every resume. They are:
- Name and contact information
- A summary statement
- Key skills
- Work experience
Another important thing to keep in mind is versatility. Don't be afraid to tweak your resume to match job listings, moving things up and down on the page or even adding and removing portions.
1. Put Experience in Your Resume
In most fields, it is difficult for employers to evaluate the quality of a college degree. There are so many schools and majors that nobody can know which programs are rigorous and which are not. When an employer is comparing two resumes from schools he has never heard of before, he will prioritize each applicant's job experience over their education. Nothing compares to direct, relevant job experience in terms of showing employers that you know exactly what the job is and what you need to know to do it well. Make sure to highlight your job experience prominently in your resume.
If you do any volunteering, that is also a good thing to add to the resume. It shows employers that you have interests in causes outside of work and you are willing to put in time to move them along. It is also a source of discussion for interviews- you can explain how you became interested in the organization at which you volunteer and talk about what kind of work you do for them. Volunteering may seem too personal or irrelevant to put on your resume, but it is actually a sign of having a well-rounded personality with a variety of interests. Employers want good workers, but they also want interesting people who will get along with their coworkers, and having nothing but job experience on your resume might communicate that you are a bit of a bore.
Some fields, like actuarial science, accounting, and information technology have important milestone credentials and certifications that signify you have a certain skill or ability to employers. Some credentials are useful to include, and others are not. For example, including your high school diploma and GPA probably won't help you at all, while the information that you have a CPA license could be the most important part of your resume. In this case, you will need to keep track on your own about which certifications might be important for the jobs to which you send your resume. Keep in mind that it might be critical in some jobs and meaningless in others, so don't waste the space on it if you don't think it will make a real difference.
Ultimately, the ideal resume will vary depending on the job, the recruiter, the field, and the job market. However, these three elements are at least worth strong consideration to put on your resume. Sit down and think about your particular situation and what a person looking to hire you would most want to see. If you want some guidance about proper resume construction, and would like to take a look at some job-specific resume templates tailored for your needs, check out LiveCareer's Resume Builder.