The truth is that everyone needs a resume whether they’re applying for a job or just keeping their options open. Even those who are self-employed or students usually get a resume made up “just in case” or for summer employment. There are many different styles, templates, and forms available online for resumes but what is absolutely essential in a resume? Here is what is usually regarded as necessary on a resume:
Your Contact Information
This is something that any resume can’t do without for obvious reasons. A person has applied for a job, they got an interview, and the employer now wants to give them the position. Problem is that they forgot to put any contact information on their resume!
A resume without a phone number would kind of defeat the purpose of giving them the resume in the first place, wouldn’t it? So yes, all resumes need to have the candidate’s name, address, phone number, and many employers still like to see an e-mail address, as well.
A Summary, Profile or Objective
This is most often at the top of a resume and serves as a sort of introduction to the applicant without it seeming like the opening to a profile on an online dating site! This can be accomplished with a simple paragraph or bullet list that states what the person’s objectives in their career are.
The second option is to give a concise summary of the applicant’s illustrious career. In both cases, however, the objective is to work at that company, and the summary shows how they would be an ideal employee for that business.
The emphasis being on “relevant”. It is always important to show an employer that you have the needed skills to do the advertised job and to do it effectively. What you don’t want to do is unload a long list of skills where many of them wouldn’t be of any interest to the potential employer.
This is actually a good reason why everyone should have a few different resumes where each emphasizes the skills and summary of the specific field they’re applying for.
Now, this is the one that a resume really can’t do without. Even for people who have little or no previous work experience, it’s always a good idea to put something in there to show a good history. Yes, that might mean putting down a summer job flipping burgers, but it’s still work experience.
Depending on the position, it’s also wise to keep work experience down to a certain number of years. Many people in their thirties, for instance, don’t need to go further back then about ten years in the past. For people with relevant job experience that would be valued by a prospective employer, twenty or thirty years of work history is acceptable. Most resume crafting services are of great help when deciding on how exactly this should be done.
Apart from work history, it is the norm across North America to at least have a high school diploma. People don’t, of course, put on elementary or middle schools as part of the list. Just the name of the high school that the person graduated from and the year is sufficient. People never consider the month as important when it comes to education.
Do some people just have a high school diploma to put on a resume? Yes, but it’s still important to ensure that it is there because every resume needs to have a section for education, even if it isn’t a long list. For those who do have a long list of education, don’t be afraid to list it all. Post-secondary education is always a plus.
Hobbies and Volunteering
The debate on whether or not these sections are essential in a resume goes on. Some people say that what someone does in their spare time is of no interest to potential employers. Others say that it’s important to show that an applicant is engaged in their community.
Again, this is where having a few different resumes comes in. There are some fields where a person might be applying where their volunteering may be of great interest to a prospective employer. If a person was applying for a job at a non-profit charity, for instance, their history of volunteer work would likely be of at least some importance.
When it comes to hobbies, the same rule applies. It’s true that most companies would likely not have much of an interest in what an employee does in their spare time, but if they do have hobbies relevant to the job, it might not be such a bad idea to include it. If someone was applying for a job with a publishing company, for example, showing that they are a serious reader might help them to get the position.
These are the major parts of a resume, but also keep in mind that they should be kept in the listed order, as well. It’s also a good idea to not just tailor one resume for one person but to create a few that they can use according to the job they’re applying for.