Career Resource Center

5 Resume Essentials You Need To Know

For any job posting, there could be hundreds of people turning in their resumes. So, how can you make your resume stand out from the others? At Resume Writing Group, we can create a job-winning resume for you that includes all of the following resume essentials.

1. Include Necessary Information Only

Every resume should include a few obvious items, such as your name and contact information. You also want to include your work history, education and additional skills. However, there are certain work experiences, educational experiences and skills that you will want to leave off your resume.

For instance, unless this is your first professional work experience, you will want to omit your high school education. In general, entry-level employees might only want to include high school if they were a distinguished student, such as those with a high GPA, those who served as class president, belonged to the National Honor Society or served as valedictorian. Otherwise, the high school experience isn’t that relevant and only the college degree or degrees will be important.

The same is true of work experience in general. Unless this is your first job out of college, don’t list part-time jobs you held in college and high school. This can be relevant information for entry-level employees, and we recommend that you include a few of these jobs as well as any internships or volunteer experiences you completed during your high school and college years. However, if you are already working in your field as a professional, you will want to omit these job experiences as they are not as relevant as your actual professional experience.

Additionally, leave out any very personal information, such as your marital status, whether or not you have children, your religion and your gender. Hiring managers should not ask you about any of these questions, and in many cases, asking these types of questions is illegal, so don’t put it on your resume. You also shouldn’t include a photograph. While in some countries a photo is required, in the United States one typically does not include a photograph with a resume.

2. Keep It Short

When it comes to resume essentials, it’s essential that you keep your resume short and sweet. In most cases, entry-level and professional resumes should be no longer than one page in length. For high-level executive resumes, a two-page resume may be acceptable as your skills and experience are deeper and these positions yield a higher salary so hiring managers or hiring teams will need more information than would fit on a single page.

Additionally, make sure the general style of your resume is consistent and easy to read. Each section should have the same margins and use the same typefaces. Line spacing needs to be consistent throughout. If you use bullets to highlight skills in one section, use bullets in every section.

We also highly recommend that you submit your resume as a PDF. If you submit as a Word doc or Google doc, the formatting you see on your screen might not match what the hiring manager sees when they open up your resume. With a PDF, what you see on your computer will match what the hiring manager sees.

3. Personalize Your Resume

While it might seem like a great idea to just send out hundreds of resumes to potential employers, this is not a great strategy. You should begin by researching companies and finding perhaps 20-25 companies that seem like a good match for your skills and personality.

These days, with so many people working remotely, company culture might seem less important, but you will still be interacting with co-workers via Zoom, Slack or other programs, and you need to feel comfortable with the style in which the companies runs and the values set forth in the mission statement. Also, while remote work is common these days, that probably won’t be the case forever, so do consider the physical location of each company as a factor in your decision-making process.

Once you’ve found companies that meet your criteria, send in your resume, but personalize it to the needs of the company or the job posting. Any time you send out a resume, it’s important that you read the job description or job posting carefully to ensure that the skills listed on the job description match what’s listed on your resume.

If you are sending in a cover letter and a resume, be sure that you personalize the letter with the correct name of the hiring manager or whoever is in the position to make hiring decisions. This might be a division head or even the CEO of a smaller company. The cover letter body also needs to be personalized to each company. Never send out a cover letter that begins, “To Whom It May Concern,” because that probably will wind up in the trash bin.

4. Quantify Your Skills

Too often, people forget about strategy when resume writing. They simply make a list of their work experiences and add some vague responsibilities for each job. Hiring managers need to understand not just where you work and what you did there, they also want to see the scope of your skills or abilities.

For instance, if you managed a team, how many people were on that team? If you were responsible for creating software, how did this software benefit the employer? Did it decrease costs? If so, by how much? Quantifying your skills is one of those resume essentials that many people find difficult, which is why it can make sense to hire a resume specialist.

Let’s take a simple example. In a hospitality resume, a hotel manager might state that they “Managed front-desk staff.” But that doesn’t tell you much about the scope of these responsibilities. It would be better to state that you “Managed 25-person front desk staff for a 250-room hotel.” This provides the hiring manager with a clearer picture of your skills.

5. Show Some Personality

If space permits, consider adding a Hobbies & Interests section. This is less essential than our other tips, and if your resume is about to hit a second page in length, you could omit this section. However, more and more hiring managers and employers enjoy learning a bit more about job candidates than simply their skills and experience.

Your work ethic, skills, education and employment history are crucial, but hiring managers also are looking for people who can work well with the current team and people who fit in with the company culture. Your Hobbies & Interests section can showcase your personality, and, if you craft this section carefully, it also can highlight some of your strengths.

For instance, if you simply put interests such as reading, watching movies and cooking, this is fairly blah and you need to dig a little deeper. For instance, if you volunteer at a food bank or shelter, this shows that you care about others. If you run marathons, this showcases your ability to work hard and work toward a goal. If you belong to a chess club or scrabble club, this speaks to your ability to concentrate and strategize.

You also can add a splash of whimsy in this section, but don’t go too far out. For instance, rather than listing that you are the winner of multiple beer pong contests, it might be wiser to stick with less controversial activities. Perhaps you take gourmet cooking classes or participate in local theater or love adventure travel. These all can shed a positive light on your personality.

While using these resume essentials can help you develop your resume, it’s usually wisest to simply use a professional resume writing service. At Resume Writing Group, we can provide you with top-quality resumes for any industry, as well as cover letter services and professional LinkedIn profile writing.

We will ensure that all of the aforementioned resume essentials are accounted for, and provide you with a job-winning resume. In fact, we are so confident in our resume writing skills, that we stand by our work with a solid guarantee. If you use our resume and follow our advice, but are not hired in 45 days or less, we will refund the cost of your resume and pay you an additional $100.


Jacob Mathias

Jacob Mathias is a content writer and SEO specialist for Resume Writing Groups. He also works as a web developer and designer. He's passionate about sharing ways on how to get the job you want and living life to the fullest.

Need help with your resume?

We offer a FREE resume critique! Simply fill out a few fields and upload your resume!

Get the information you need to land your dream job faster – delivered to your inbox, every week.