If your resume contains the basic information -- work experience, education and skills -- you're off to a good start. But you can take your resume to the next level by adding additional information that supports and reinforces your qualifications.
"Your resume should definitely show that you have the required skills, education and experience to perform the job successfully," says Sherri Thomas, author of Career Smart: Five Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand and executive director of Career Coaching 360, a career-coaching firm in Chandler, Arizona. "But you can build a stronger personal brand by including additional information that shows something special about you that your competitors do not offer."
When writing a resume, it's a judgment call regarding what additional information should be included. "You're not going to build a powerful personal brand by stuffing every skill, talent and strength you have into your resume," Thomas says. "Instead, carefully consider whether or not the information will strengthen your resume for the job you're pursuing."
Here are examples of information that you can add to your resume:
Honors & Awards
If you include your awards, potential employers will see that previous employers or other organizations valued your accomplishments. The fact that you or your team received formal recognition for your efforts is a good indicator of your skills and work ethic.
How to Include: If you have a list of awards, add them to the Honors & Awards section on your Monster resume. If your awards are limited to one or two, "list them under the corresponding job," says Sally McIntosh, NCRW, owner of Advantage Resumes in St. Louis. Academic honors can be added to the Education section.
"Testimonials add credibility and validate the accomplishments, personal traits and areas of expertise highlighted in the resume," says Judy Friedler, NCRW, principal of resume-writing firm CareerPro International. Testimonials could include excerpts from performance appraisals, snippets from reference letters and even informal emails complimenting your work performance.
How to Include: Extract the strongest quotes and add to the Objective section of your Monster resume. "Testimonials can also be placed within the job description for the most relevant position," McIntosh says.
Career-related articles, books, blog posts, white papers and other publications are good ways of making a resume stand out. "Including a list of published materials shows that you are considered an expert in your field," Friedler says. "Even self-published content can demonstrate your excellent written communication skills."
How to Include: Add a list of your published work to the Career Highlights section on your Monster resume. Use the citation format that is most acceptable in your industry.
Employers across many industries value employees who are good verbal communicators. "If you have delivered presentations on a topic that you feel would be valued by the hiring manager, include the highlights on your resume," Thomas says.
How to Include: Add a list of speaking engagements to your Career Highlights section on your Monster resume. Include the topic, where and when you delivered the presentation and the audience size if you had a large turnout.
"I am a strong advocate of adding volunteer activities to your resume -- this demonstrates your dedication to your community and reflects positively on your character," Friedler says.
How to Include: Volunteer work can be placed in the Career Highlights section on your Monster resume. Include the organization name, location and years of involvement. "Be sure to add any leadership roles you held as well as important accomplishments," she says. Volunteer roles held during periods of unemployment can be listed within your resume's Work Experience section -- just because you weren't paid doesn't make the experience any less valuable.
Professional memberships -- especially ones relevant to your career field -- should be added to your resume. "Names of professional organizations can be used as keywords when searching for candidates in resume databases, so be sure that your resume reflects your active memberships," McIntosh says.
How to Include: Add your affiliations to the Professional Memberships section on your Monster resume.
Hobbies are tricky because some can be relevant and interesting on a resume, while others might be irrelevant or possibly hurtful to the candidate. "Ask yourself if your hobby will help employers see you in a better light, and if so, consider including it," Friedler says.