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Resumes of Champions: Things That Should be on Every Resume

Things that should be on every resume

Resumes of Champions: Things That Should be on Every Resume

As we have stated before, resumes are used far less than in the past. This means it’s becoming a bit of a dying art, and people are becoming less adept at knowing the things that should be on every resume. With the advent of social media, especially LinkedIn, more and more job seekers and employers are turning to online platforms. Employers post jobs on LinkedIn, and recruiters search for strong candidates there, who in turn have (hopefully) robust profiles about themselves. However, that does not mean it’s wise to not have any resume at all.

Things that should be on every resume

Here are things that should be on every resume.

Sum it up. These days, everyone has more information and shorter attention spans. Here’s where the traditional one page resume can take advantage of that dynamic. While a good LinkedIn profile will be nicely rounded out with details of every step of your career and the relevant skill sets, it also can mean for a lot of reading.

A resume can still be a refreshing change by providing all the most important information in a very small space. Start with (after your contact details) a brief summary of who you are, what you want, and what you can offer an employer. That means you want to state your profession and industry, what kind of job you are looking for, and what qualities about yourself would appeal to a hiring team.

For example, don’t just say “Qualified lawyer looking for a great opportunity.” That’s vague, uninteresting and not enough information. Instead, try “Tax lawyer with more than a decade of experience in financial services looking for an opportunity with a law firm or in-house legal department. Experience includes representing small and large companies, managing others, and client development planning.”

Be contactable. This should go without saying, but, based on resumes we have seen, it seems not. This is not a place to get creative. According to a 2012 study, employers look at resumes for just six seconds, and you don’t want them to have to waste any time with something as critical.

Things that should be on every resume include your first and last name. And if you often go back and forth between a maiden name for professional reasons and married name for personal (say, on Facebook), you should clarify that as well. (Yes, employers may look up your Facebook – so keep that in mind when you post and comment.)

You want to list your phone number. People email a lot, yes, and you probably will hear by email these days, but still, HR and recruiting teams are often under tight deadlines to fill positions. If they happen upon you at the last minute, and want to cram you into a tight interview schedule, good old live conversations still work best. And related – make sure the voicemail greeting on your phone is professional – clear, concise, and identifies by name that it is your phone.

You should definitely list your email. Email is king now for correspondence. Whether they want to send you directions to the office where you will interview, or just ask a follow up question, you can expect to hear from them by email.

Again, like your voicemail, your email address should be professional and your name obvious in the address. This means no “” but instead “”. After all, if your email gets added to a list with other emails, you don’t want it to be hard to figure out who you are.

Your social media contacts, if they aren’t just social. If you have a regular blog about important trends in the industry, or a strong, thorough LinkedIn page, then by all means, add that. But if you just like to tweet about your favorite programs or post family photos on Facebook, it doesn’t belong here.

And if you don’t have any social media out there . . . could be a good time to start. Even if you don’t get called for an interview, someone important could start following you, which will help keep you top of mind for another opportunity.

Play to your strengths. When it comes to academics and career experience, a good rule of thumb is to arrange relevant – and recent — work experience first, and then your academic credentials. If you’re a recent graduate with little practical experience (no, those summers at the Gap don’t count), then list your education first, highlighting any scholarships, academic awards, or relevant course work.

If you have been out of school a long time, then it is more important what you have actually been doing that could qualify you for this job. Usually you want to start with the most recent experience unless you took a brief, unrelated, detour. Things like metrics about sales goals and budget sizes you have managed are especially helpful.

No fancy stuff. Just as there are things that should be on every resume, there are a couple of “must-nots” to also watch. Don’t play with “fun” fonts, and always use black ink on white (or cream, if you prefer) paper. Nothing silly, inventive, unusual. If you resort to these distractions, it’s at best a red flag, and at worst annoying. Don’t annoy the HR person by making them decipher hard-to-read wording, cause eye strain with small margins . . . or really anything out of the ordinary. This is not the place to try to stand out.

There are things that should be on every resume, because everyone looks for them.

It’s as simple as that – in six seconds, you have to say a lot, really fast. Be sure it’s easy to see that you have relevant experience, or went to a very competitive school, and how to get in touch. Make your resume as easy to digest as possible.

[bctt tweet=”Think of your resume as just the beginning of the conversation.”]

You just need to get them to open the door (virtually or actually) and then you can give them more in-depth details later. It might seem backwards, but a quick introduction to who you are can be more enticing than too much of information too soon.