Marketing Specialist and Freelance Writer
Writing a resume from scratch can be a daunting task. There is a lot to consider, such as what to include and how to organize skills to put on resume documents! Having a well written and developed resume is key to getting your foot in the door. It can be tricky to know what should be on a resume, especially if you are revisiting your resume after some time.
This blog article will guide you to writing a professional resume. It will also inform you on what is required when writing a resume. Know that there are no special rules when it comes to knowing what to add on a resume. However, there are guidelines on the details, which can enhance your efforts and get you one step closer to your dream job. On that note, let’s get started…
What to put on a resume
Starting your resume
The opening of your resume is the easy bit. You don’t have to start with worrying about what skills to put on a resume. You just have to write about yourself. It is a great way to get yourself warmed up for writing more resume information later on. So, this section of the resume shouldn’t take too much effort or time.
This section should include:
- Your first and last name
- Contact information
- Professional summary
If you are wondering what to put into your professional summary, don’t worry. You are not alone. Many people see the “summary” section as an opportunity to give personal details, such as where they grew up. This is not what the summary section is about. The hint here is in the word “professional”. The professional summary is a brief statement that outlines your experience, skills and qualities. Remember, your resume will cover these aspects in more detail later on, so there is no need to deep dive in this section.
Here is an example of what a professional summary should look like:
Digital marketing professional with 5 years experience in the healthcare sector. Masters degree in marketing and management, as well as 2 cooperative work placements. Nominated for best department manager 3 years in a row, as well as improving digital marketing KPIs by 120% during the first quarter as a manager in last working position.
It is important to note that the work experience section of a resume should be first if you are no longer a student. If you are still in school, then put this section after “education”.
The work experience section of a resume is an opportunity to tell the recruiter all about the other jobs you have worked in, and how you were successful in these roles. When many people are thinking “what goes on a resume?”, the work experience section is what comes to mind first. This is no surprise, seeing that this section is one of the most important.
How to organize your work history
- Put your work history in order. Having a well structured resume is key, and this includes making sure your past experiences are in the correct order. Your most recent position should be first on the list, and so on.
- Get inspiration from job listings. If it is the case that you are trying to write about a role you had 10 years ago, it can be difficult to remember what your day-to-day tasks were. It may be worth quickly having a look at some job listings for a similar role. Glance at the duties, responsibilities, and daily tasks section for inspiration.
- Mention your successes. It is one thing to write about a past role that includes what you did every day. It is a step up to include what you did that improved the company in some way. Maybe you improved profits through a campaign you managed by 50%, or maybe you closed on one of the company’s biggest clients that earned the company $5 million extra earnings a year. Consider illustrating achievements that include numbers and percentages as recruiters like to see proof of the success. Whatever the achievement was, make sure to include it in this section of your resume. Remember, employers look for candidates that are results-driven, so this is your chance to prove that you are.
- Use bullet points. Keeping your resume looking neat and organized is another important aspect. Using bullet points will aid you in doing this. Try to keep each point short enough that it gives the information but doesn’t ramble on.
- Use action words. To help you avoid being too vague, action words will help you keep each point to track. Action words can include words like “provided”, “updated”, “developed”, and “resolved”.
Figuring out how to put your educational history on your resume may be harder than it looks, and that is okay! Knowing how much information to add, or even what exactly to add can be tricky, so let’s have a closer look…
- You can add the high school you attended if you wish, but many candidates tend to leave this out if they have college or university degrees.
- Include the name of the college or university you attended, and the name of your degree(s). Similar to the work experience section, your most recent degree should appear first on your resume.
- Adding some information about your degree can be helpful to the employer, as it gives them some insight into which subjects you may have specialized. If you have just recently graduated from university, then you may want to go into a little bit more detail about your course. This is because often graduates will not have lots of experience out in the workplace yet, so describing your course is an alternative to demonstrate your knowledge in a particular field.
- Ensure you write about any major successes you had during your time studying. For example, if you received any honors or awards in college or university, now is the time to show off! Employers love to see evidence of outstanding performance in your resume, and this will definitely give you an advantage against other candidates.
Skills to put on resume documents
Most guidelines for a resume will include adding in your skills, and rightly so! Showing off your skills in a resume is a great way to indicate to a recruiter what exactly are your strengths, and what you are good at. We all know that one of the most common questions at an interview is “what are your strengths?”, and this section of your resume is gearing up to answer that.
It should be noted that the skills section of the resume may need to be tweaked and edited, depending on what job you are applying for. Look at the job requirements and try to identify particular skills. If you see good ones (and you possess those skills), make sure to add those to your resume! It is also important to add a mix of soft and hard skills. The employer will most likely want to hire someone that has some of both.
These types of skills are desirable and essential in all types of professions. Soft skills are often linked to personality traits that help you do your job well. These skills not only aid a person do their job well, but they also help give the employer an insight into you as a person outside of work too. Here is an example of some soft skills which are desirable in the workplace…
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Time management skills
- Teamwork skills
- Leadership skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Work ethic
- Organisational skills
- Critical thinking
The list could go on, as there are so many soft skills. If this list seems daunting to you, don’t worry. The chances are that you will not have every single soft skill. Instead of focusing on the skills that you don’t possess, concentrate on the ones that you would consider strengths.
Some candidates prefer to list their soft skills, similarly to the list above, and others like to go into a little detail. Either way is fine, but if you do decide to go into detail about your soft skills, try and keep it brief and to the point.
Hard skills on the other hand are more specific to a particular job, and are often more technical. As mentioned before, the hard skills listed on your resume should reflect the job you are applying for. Hard skills can be learned and constantly improved. Here is an example of what a list of hard skills might include…
- Photoshop skills
- Speed typing
- Coding ability
- Foreign language
- SEO marketing
- Database management
- Data analytics
- Microsoft Excel/Access
- Content management
- Web development
Hard skills are often closely related to the degree you may have, or tasks you performed in previous roles. Again, you can give some sort of detail here, but be sure to keep it brief. More often than not, the employer wants to see if you possess the necessary skills. If you get called for an interview, this is the stage where you can go into more detail in full.
RELATED CONTENT: Skills for a Resume Employers Will Actually Read (With Examples)
Additional Skills and Interests
Among the many things to put on a resume, including additional skills and interests is another opportunity for you to give the recruiter some insight into who you are. Employers like to see that candidates have other interests outside of work.
For example, maybe you coach a soccer team in your spare time, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or run a homework club for underprivileged children. Whatever you do in your spare time, add it in if it is relevant and helps describe you. Adding your additional skills and interests can also be a really useful way to demonstrate either the hard or soft skills you have listed earlier on your resume.
Your resume is your golden ticket
Hopefully by now you have a better sense of what goes on a resume in terms of skills, experience, and qualities. Hopefully our recommendations will help you create a resume you are proud of. As we mentioned before, having your resume in tip top shape is key to getting your dream job. Having a good grasp of what to include in a resume is essential to writing a resume that is attention grabbing, and ticks every box for the employer.
Keep in mind that it may be a good idea to review your resume before applying to different jobs to ensure that the skills and information on the document matches the job specification. Often, resumes are put through a special software that scans the document to see if it fits the job listing before the employer even opens them.
Next time you wonder “what do I include in a resume?”, use this guide to help you write a resume that contains everything needed and converts into “I got the job!” once it is submitted. Happy job searching!