What To Include in a Resume: 7 Important Components
Updated 10 April 2023
One of the most crucial elements in a job hunt is your resume. The objective of your resume is to communicate to prospective employers who you are, as well as how your abilities and experiences are relevant to the position you're looking for. Despite the fact that each resume can be unique based on your professional experience, education and desired role and industry, there are generally a few common components to include in a resume. In this article, we discuss what to include in a resume and what not to include to help you stand out in your job applications.
What to include in a resume
It's essential to clearly understand what to include in a resume. While you may choose to add, delete or change sections based on the job you're applying for and your particular qualifications, below are seven essential components to consider including in a resume:
1. Name and contact information
A popular approach is to utilise your name as the page's title so that employers can quickly recognise your name and contact details. Incorporate your full legal name, professional email address and phone number in the contact information component. Be mindful to use a professional email address. You may also add a link to a professional website or curated online portfolio, depending on the profession you're interested in.
Chin Wan Mei
+65 8888 9999 • email@example.com
2. Resume objective or summary
A resume summary is usually a brief and simple section that describes your personality and why you're competent. Examine the job advertisement carefully to discover cues on which of your soft and hard abilities may be most significant and useful. Though often used interchangeably, resume summaries and objectives are not the same, and you typically choose to include one of the two, depending on your level of experience and the position you're applying for. Essentially, a resume summary states your professional background and experience. In contrast, a resume objective outlines your objectives and career goals.
You can include a summary if you possess any job experience, whereas an objective may be more appropriate if you've just graduated from university or if you possess limited employment experience. Be mindful to avoid discussing issues more appropriate for a job interview, like your expected salary, in either a resume summary or an objective section. Ultimately, no matter which you choose to include, aim to keep it brief and succinct.
Resume summary example:
Construction contractor with more than five years of experience managing teams to ensure the safe and effective completion of residential and commercial projects.
Resume objective example:
Recent graduate seeking to broaden construction labour skills and professional experience with a developing firm.
Employers who request a certain degree, certificate or level of experience can benefit from the resume education section. Based on your level of expertise, you may mention your most current and applicable education. The following are some of the most essential components of your education section:
The name and location of your educational institution
Your area of study
The year you graduated
Your GPA (optional)
Any relevant academic recognition or honours, outstanding coursework or exemplary achievements you've accomplished during your education
Consider outlining academic performances that are relevant to your career. That said, while high school graduates shall include their high school information, university graduates may not include their high school certificates. However, if you've completed a post-secondary degree of any sort, you can always mention it in your education area, along with any additional post-secondary educational experiences.
Singapura Maju University
Aug 2014–July 2018
Bachelor of Business Management
Finance and strategic management major
4. Professional history
This section allows you to demonstrate the value you've contributed to previous organisations and companies. As a general rule, you may start with your most recent employment and include all of your relevant job experiences here. Your professional history typically includes your employer's name, job description, employment period and a few bullet points highlighting your most significant, relevant accomplishments in each role. Begin with powerful action verbs and end with an accomplishment instead of a task. Hiring managers are interested in what you've accomplished rather than just the tasks you've completed. Use numbers to track your progress whenever feasible.
You can concentrate on your experiences in the past 10 years. If you've had a long professional history, omit the first job experiences that may have little relevance to the role you're applying for. In contrast, if you don't have much experience, you can mention any jobs you've had, even if they're not fully relevant. By doing that, employers can sense the type of employee you may be because the soft skills you gained in your previous job are often transferrable to your new position. Be mindful to keep your points focused on your most recent and relevant achievements.
Kian Tiok Construction Pte Ltd
Welder | June 2018–May 2021
Used SMAW and GMAW welding tools for developing and building projects
Assisted safety manager with regulation inspections and reduced the amount of time spent on checks by 10%
Evaluated and proposed the project schedule, speeding up the timeline by 7%
5. Collection of relevant skills, awards and certifications
In this section, you can incorporate both technical skills and soft skills that are relevant to your desired role. Moreover, you can mention any tools you've mastered, certifications you've earned, foreign languages you're familiar with or computer systems and software you're knowledgeable and experienced in. It's often best if the abilities you list relate to the job you want. For instance, you might possess outstanding hard skills in several areas, but they might not all be appropriate to the industry. Stating that you're an accomplished pianist may not be appropriate for a construction role, for instance.
Reading the job description can teach you what talents prospective employers are searching for. When you look through job postings, make a list of keywords that are aligned with your talents and put them in this section as needed. Many companies scan candidate resumes using automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) that are trained to look for certain keywords. The more closely your abilities fit the job criteria, the more likely you may be shortlisted for an interview. That said, you can customise your skills section to different jobs you're applying for.
Technical skills: Expertise in electrical systems • Knowledge of safety regulations • Welding • Familiarity with various safety equipment • SMAW welding tools
Additional skills: Passion to learn and grow • Interpersonal skills • Organisation skills • Effective communication skills • Knowledge and consciousness of safety protocols
6. Other relevant volunteer work and achievements
Another item to include on your resume is a summary of any additional relevant achievements or volunteer activities. Include experiences that provide added value or may curate a better and more attractive narrative to depict your personality in relation to the position you're looking for. Inspect the job descriptions in great detail to find keywords that intrigue you if you're unsure what information would be appropriate for this component. Consider whether you may possess any experiences beyond your work background that may assist employers to comprehend your qualifications.
Volunteer firefighter, 2017–2019
Summer food drive volunteer, 2018–2020
Safety award, June 2020
7. List your hobbies and interests
Though optional, you can outline your hobbies and interests if they're professionally relevant to your desired position. Research the company, figure out the interests that match the traits required and list those said interests to emphasise your skills. You can add a personal touch by including this section, though employers don't typically expect or require it.
Interests: Hiking, peer mentoring, cooking
What should not be included in a resume?
As a general rule, omit the following things from your resume:
Spelling, grammatical and syntax errors
Negative comments about your previous employer
Inaccurate and exaggerated qualifications or experience
Unprofessional email address
Full mailing address
Irrelevant and inappropriate social media accounts
Too much personal information, such as birthday, weight, height, marital status or children
When you submit a job application, your resume may serve as a benchmark to see if you're a good fit for the company. A well-written resume can increase your likelihood of being recognised by hiring managers and ATS. It's essential to keep your resume brief and concise while still accentuating your unique selling points and achievements.
The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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