Even if you’re not looking for a new job, you should always have your resume ready. You never know when you might be asked for it — maybe for a volunteer position or promotional opportunity. The reason? Your resume is a summary of your qualifications. Any time the subject of your knowledge and skills comes up could be a time when people want to see your resume.
So, what should you include in your resume? Here are five things to consider:
1. Contact information. This might seem obvious but it’s not about simply having the information available. It’s about including the right information. For example, it’s becoming more common not to include your mailing address. A phone number is a necessity and it could also be helpful to note if you’re willing to accept text messages. Finally, time to ditch the AOL and Yahoo! email for a more modern, professional address. Be sure it includes your name instead of your gamer tag or some funky WhatsApp name.
2. Objective or summary. Many recruiters will tell you including an objective or summary dates your resume. One thing is certain, though: A badly written objective or summary definitely hurts your resume. Including an objective or career summary can be valuable — especially if you have a long career history or you’re planning to change careers. The rule to follow is if you’re going to include it, make sure it’s a good one.
3. Responsibilities and accomplishments. If your job title isn’t an immediate giveaway to what you do, then consider including a very brief overview of your position responsibilities. However, more important than job responsibilities are your accomplishments. Tell the recruiter what you’ve achieved. If you can quantify it, even better. This tells a recruiter why they should consider you for the job.
4. Education and transferrable skills. If you’re changing industries or professions, think about how you can mention those transferrable skills in your responsibilities and accomplishments section. For example, if you want to move from the hospitality industry to health care, find ways to mention those things that both industries share: 24/7/365 work environments, sense of urgency, customer service skills. Use your resume to tell recruiters how your current education and experience will be valuable in the job you’re applying for.
5. Cover letter or email. Some people say cover letters are dead. Think of a cover letter also in terms of the introductory email you might send as well. The point is there are things you might want to tell a recruiter upfront that don’t necessarily need to be on your resume. It might involve salary requirements or your availability. The cover letter or email is part of the first impression a recruiter gets of you. Put some thought into what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Finally, once your resume is updated, proofread it from the bottom up. Make sure you’re as interesting at the end of your resume as the beginning. That’s how you’ll know it’s complete.
If you’re looking for more resources about how to update your resume, check out these articles: