Top 5 things that MUST be on your resumé

There are hundreds of advice columns and opinions on what people should include on their resumé.  So many, that it can often get confusing.  Your resumé is a window into who you are.  It gives an employer an understanding of what you’ve done in your professional career up to this point.

Your resumé needs to convey two things very clearly.  What have you done so far, and how can you help the company hiring you.  By including a few key elements on your resumé you can make sure these questions are answered clearly.

Before we list our top 5 must-haves, we’d like to make a point about the resumé itself.  EACH resumé you submit must be UNIQUELY TAILORED to the job that you are applying for.  You cannot submit a standard resumé to hundreds of employers and simply sit back and wait for the phone to ring.  Make sure you read through the job description of the position you’re interested in and tailor your resumé to that job.  Now lets take a look at the TOP 5 must have items for your resumé.

Keywords
Every job and the functions within that job are unique.  As we mentioned about, every resumé must be crafted to match the language of the job you’re applying to.  This shows employers several important things:

  • You’re actually applying for this job, not filling out random job applications.
  • You’ve taken the time to read about the job and the company.

Having specific keywords on your resumé also makes it easier for application scanning software to find you.  With companies receiving hundreds of applications for jobs, many now use software to scan those applications to find the most qualified candidate that meets the jobs requirements.  It relies heavily on keywords to sort that data.

Education and Certifications
Most people know that you should list your college degree on your resumé.  What many people don’t realize however, is that a degree is considered the minimum requirement for most jobs.  If you only list your degree, your resumé isn’t likely to stand out.  After all, every application has that listed.

Most employers understand that continual learning and self-improvement are critical.  If you haven’t taken a training class or certification recently, employers may think you’re unmotivated or your skills are out of date.  Certifications also help you to add those important keywords.  Perhaps you have a project management or six sigma certification.  Maybe an industry specific certification like information technology or human resources.  Make sure these achievements are prominently listed under the education section.

Your Social Picture
Many years ago it was enough to simply list your name, phone number and address at the top of your resumé.  Not anymore!  With so much public information readily available, creating a clear social profile of yourself can give employers an understanding of who you are.  Things you MUST list now include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Linkedin Profile link
  • Facebook Profile link
  • Specific Metrics

Gone are the days when you could list vague information like “Helped the company save one million dollars in logistical expenses”.  Employers today are looking for very specific information.  Paint a clear picture on exactly what you did to help previous employers.  If you saved them money, write a short paragraph with specific information on how you did it.  Perhaps you helped a previous company increase sales or profits.  If so, the more detailed the better.  * One side-note here – Always be careful not to inadvertently discuss company or trade secrets from previous employers.  Divulging the wrong information can backfire.

Translatable Experience
You’ll notice we didn’t just say “experience”.  The real question is – How does all your past experience TRANSLATE into something that will help your new employer.  Make sure your resumé paints a picture of how your past performance can help your new company.  Many times this can be accomplished with a Summary Statement at the beginning of your resumé.  You can also include it in a cover letter or even create an “Experience” section.

Answer the question – “How can you help the company”
Getting a job isn’t about you, it’s about the company hiring you.  How can you help them?  Do you have the skills to improve profits?  Improve customer service, Improve logistics, Cut Costs?  What is it that would make the company want to hire you?  Not only should you answer this question on your resumé, but you should also ask the question during the interview.  When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, say something like “Are there any problems within the department that I may be able to help solve?”.  This lets the interviewer know you’re serious about helping the company and that you’re actively engaged.