Crafting the perfect resume isn't easy, and industry experts sometimes disagree on what makes them stand out. However, despite the nuances of high-end resume creation, there are a few items every resume should include. Inspired by Business 2 Community, we've four, basic, must-have items your resume should include. Some of them may seem like common sense aspects of a resume, but in the complex world of business, not everything does.
1. Contact Information
Whether you electronically submitted a resume or left it with an interviewer in person, it should always include accurate and clear contact information. Many employers won't know you beyond what's on your resume, so if you don't provide a means to get in touch, they won't be able to contact you. Aside from the impracticality of foregoing contact information, doing so appears highly unprofessional and would most likely tarnish your professional reputation with prospective employers.
Including contact information on a resume is very easy. In general, the best way to do this is to place your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the page with one on top of the other. Your physical address isn't always necessary as long as you tell employers how to contact you through email and phone. Keep in mind that your email address should appear professional as well.
Keywords have always been a part of successful resume writing to some degree or another, but the advent of the internet has made them more important than ever. To hiring managers, keywords reflect an applicant's understanding of the job requirements and how well they address them. If an employer is looking for someone who's a team leader and good at compromising, it wouldn't bode well if an applicant's resume talked about being a lone wolf and having exceptionally strong opinions.
Aside from looking good to the people posting the jobs, keywords are sometimes sniffed out by programs to compare them against a desired set. If a resume doesn't include enough choice keywords, it gets chucked. Not all companies do this, but it's a good practice to keep your resume fresh and keyword-focused.
3. Accomplishments and Achievements
If you really want to stand out, you have to show that you didn't just occupy a position for a certain number of years; you need to showcase what you accomplished. For each position you've held, think of something you did that went beyond the job description in a way that helped the whole company. Maybe you helped boost sales metrics, or streamlined communication among team members, or increased page views. Listing these types of accomplishments will help you stand out, but at a minimum show that you were invested in your previous job.
4. Showcasing Metrics
Sometimes it's not enough to just talk up your accomplishments – if you can put down numbers to quantify your success, do it. Hard data lets employers know with little doubt how big of an impact you actually had at your previous company. Instead of just talking a big game, saying that you increased sales by a certain amount, or saved a certain number of hours with better communication methods is impressive and easily understood.