What To Include In A Resume?


“Dear Pete: It’s been a long time since I conducted a job search.  Can you tell me what to include in a resume?”


Before we discuss what to include in a resume, let me emphasize one very important point often missed by career coaches and resume writers.  Make sure you are clear on which type of job you are trying to obtain BEFORE you decide what to include in a resume.  This cannot be emphasized enough. 

Your resume must be designed with your target positions/employers in mind.  For example, your resume should look very different if you want to land a sales and marketing with a pro sports franchise than if you want to land a teaching job at a high school. 

In general, there are 5 main categories for what to include in a resume:

  1. Your Contact Information.  This should include your full name, phone number, mailing address, and email address.  You can also include links to web sites or social media accounts that are relevant to your career (i.e. your LinkedIn profile, a professional blog you run, etc.)
  2. Your Summary.  This could include any of the following:
    1. A 1-2 sentence “branding statement” or short paragraph that highlights your unique value.
    2. A list of your top 3-5 academic/professional achievements.
    3. Your top skills, specialties, or core competencies.
  3. Your Experience. This can include relevant work experience (i.e. internships, part time jobs, and full-time jobs) and relevant volunteer/leadership experience (especially important for students or those with limited work experience).  Your experience can be broken out in multiple sections (i.e. “Work Experience” and “Leadership Experience”) or combined into one section titled “Experience.”  Include your primary responsibilities and your most impressive results/achievements for each position.
  4. Your Education.  Include your schools/colleges attended, degrees/minors, certificates, GPA (if 3.0 or higher), honors, and relevant extra-curricular activities. 
  5. Your Extras.  This is a broad category that could include any of the following:
    • Relevant honors/awards/recognition
    • Professional affiliations, memberships, licenses, certifications
    • Professional development (i.e. seminars, courses, training programs)
    • “Hard” skills (i.e. technical skills, computer skills, etc.)
    • Intellectual property and content (i.e. articles/papers published, presentations delivered, media appearances, patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.)
    • Military experience
    • Athletic experience
    • Volunteer/Service experience
    • International/Travel experience
    • Other languages spoken
    • Relevant personal interests/achievements

Again, make sure you are clear on your job search objective before you decide what to include in a resume. 

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