You can choose from a long list of things to include in a resume. The question you need to decide is, which of them will give you the most “bang for your buck.” In other words, base your choice on the items that are most likely to gain employer attention and interest. The sections below should provide you with tips that can help you make decisions when you write a resume.
What are 5 things that should be included in a resume? Use these bullet points as a starting-place.
- Obvious items: Of course, include your name; contact information (phone and email address); city, state, and ZIP code (postal code if outside the U.S.). You can and should also include your LinkedIn URL, if your profile is in good shape.
2. Your focus/direction: Don’t make employers try to guess what you’re aiming for. They won’t do it! Let them know right away what your focus or target direction is. For example, if you want a senior management role in the sales area, put “Senior Sales Executive” or something like that as the heading of your profile section.
3. Key requirements in the job description: Firing off a resume that takes a “one size fits all” approach and ignores what the employer has stressed as vital puts you behind the curve. In fact, it could block you from jobs. Job seekers need to take note of what employers say they’re looking for. What’s more, think about whether you should submit your resume if you can offer most but not all of their “must have” items. For example, can you find a way to strengthen your value message by offsetting the things you lack? That could increase the odds of a successful job search.
4. Limited older experience: Evaluate your early career in terms of significance for your planned next step. If it offers potential value, you must decide how much or how little detail to include. Otherwise, you risk getting carried away and letting the older material look more important than it should. In many cases, less means better, so use some restraint in your choices.
5. Keywords and phrases: Quality of resume content matters. That includes use of the most closely matching keywords and phrases—those showing clearly in the job description, for starters. You can set up a brief list of the best terms, but don’t stop there. Insert them throughout the resume wherever they fit well and flow smoothly.
If technical skills comprise a core part of your value, the resume format allows for them, as described above. That is, use a separate section and/or include them where they suit the job you’re aiming for.
Examples of the 5 things to include in the resume:
- Obvious items:
Georgia Adamson * Marlborough, MA 01752 * 508-263-9454
SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVE
Transform underperforming sales organizations and open new opportunities for growth and profitability. Identify, mentor, and lead top-performing sales teams that take ownership of challenges and produce results that outperform expectations.
- Key requirements: (excerpt from sample posting)
If you were pursuing this position, how many of the highlighted requirements could you show you meet? You would need to include proof—that is, information about your actions and results that supports your claim to produce desired outcomes in these areas.
Position title: Senior Director of Sales
This position has accountability for revenue achievement within the Americas with a key target being to increase market penetration. He/she will be responsible for setting and implementing a regional strategy and deploying and prioritizing the resources and activities required to achieve growth ambitions.
Roles & Responsibilities:
• Accountable for visioning and setting the Strategic Direction of Americas region including:
• Strategic Direction, Channel strategy, Resource requirements and Global collaboration.
• Developing alongside Global Marketing function both channel and portfolio strategies in the region.
• Development and implementation of a multi-year roadmap that supports corporate strategy and growth initiatives.
• Accountable for quarterly achievement of total revenue for the region across complete portfolio of products, solutions and services:
• Implement the group forecasting process and tools to ensure robust pipeline management across the territory.
• Implement and manage the sales pipeline across the region to ensure revenue targets are met.
• Demonstrate oversight on commercial opportunities, proposals and agreements initiated by the Sales organization.
- Older experience:
If your goal is sales management, older sales experience might be relevant but should be noted briefly in most cases. For example:
Earlier sales career: Several years as a sales trainer and team leader for a leading electronics supplier, both in the United States and in Europe/Asia-Pacific regions. Exceeded sales goals, year-over year, by 10%-15%.
- Keywords and phrases:
These often include nouns and noun phrases, such as sales management, team leadership, strategic planning, job outsourcing, P&L responsibility, technology management, risk mitigation, etc. Less often, they might include one or more adjectives or adverbs, such as in-depth knowledge, extensive experience, forward-looking vision, and so on. In some cases, the terms might refer to distinct areas of expertise, such as management of worldwide, globally dispersed logistical supply teams or completion of a seamless IT move to a new location.
Do you stand out by your choices of the things to include in the resume?
Overall, look at what will make you stand out to employers. For instance, a strong lead paragraph for your current (or most recent) job creates a positive impact. However, you can enhance the effect when you support the statement by adding a few accomplishment-based bullet points that round out the picture.
Work history vs. valuable experience
Don’t confuse a chronological work history with valuable experience. The resume must show the value you have brought to past employers. On the other hand, it also needs to suggest you can provide equal or greater value for the company you are focused on now. In other words, keep your content forward-looking to show potential ongoing value.
Another inclusion possibility
Should you mention volunteer work you’ve done (current or past)? It depends on your goal. Some positions favor people who show outreach attitudes, relationship-building skills, and so on. That could make your community involvement activities useful information. However, you might do well to steer clear of including possibility controversial or sensitive aspects, such as political or religious areas.
For more ideas on resume content, see this article about creating and celebrating your accomplishments. Those can add high value.
Check it twice!
When you think you’ve included everything you need in your resume and done your best to hit the employers’ hot buttons, you might suppose you’re finished and ready to submit. Hold off that submission for a bit! How carefully have you checked your resume for accuracy, missing information, typographical errors, and other possible issues that could shoot you in the foot?
Careful proofreading is a must. Do it yourself or enlist the help of an expert to make sure you haven’t missed something important. After you’ve done that, go ahead and send the resume off to the employer, along with a carefully targeted cover letter to reinforce your value-added message.
P.S. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy when it comes to knowing if you’ve hit the target. If you have questions about how to improve your resume, “let’s talk!” 508-263-9454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.