You’ve completed your resume and you're ready to press send.
But even after writing everything down, it still feels like you might be missing something important.
You’re not sure what it is, or how to confirm it.
While there are specific information employers will expect in your job application, the essential things you’ll need to include are:
- Contact details
- Work experience
- ATS keywords
It doesn’t stop there – there’s more to it if you want to impress employers.
That’s why in this guide, we cover everything about what to put on a resume, what not to put, and the other factors to consider.
The Essential Sections Your Resume Needs to Include
As we’ve established, there are 5 things every basic resume needs to include.
It leaves gaps in your application if you haven’t included any of these. More importantly, you’re less likely to overcome the applicant tracking system.
1. Resume Header
The resume header contains your contact information and is placed at the top. This should include your:
- Full name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Website links (portfolio or LinkedIn profile)
It’s straightforward but necessary for all types of ATS resumes. For any job application, the employer needs to know how to reach back out to you.
To save space, one line is more than enough. Here’s an example:
2. Work Experience
The work experience section lists out the previous job positions you’ve worked in the past.
Your employment history shows hiring managers what duties and responsibilities you’re familiar with in the field. It also gives insight into your level of ability and if you know what to expect in your line of work.
When describing your professional experience, mention the:
- Name of the company
- Job position title
- Dates of employment
- Tasks and responsibilities
However, these should be listed in reverse chronological order. So, from the most recent job going back to the oldest. These tend to be the more relevant experiences, which would be better for your recruiter to read first.
Plus, it reveals no gaps in your career timeline.
Your education refers to your academic background and formal education. This section consists of:
- What you studied
- Where you studied (e.g. university or college)
- The qualification received (e.g. bachelor’s degree)
- Date of completion
You can also mention your GPA as long as it’s a score of over 3.0.
4. Resume Skills
The skills on your job application are arguably more valuable than your experience.
After all, what matters more is whether or not you can carry out your responsibilities and deliver results.
You’ll need to match the job description by including the relevant hard and soft skills required. It tells employers you’ve optimized your application and that you have the capability to get the job done.
Examples of other types of skills include:
- Transferable (leadership, problem-solving…)
- Language (French, Korean…)
- Technical (spreadsheets, programming…)
- And more!
Here’s one good sample:
5. ATS Resume Keywords
The first obstacle in reaching the hiring manager is to beat the resume scanners. In order to do that, use good keywords contextually. Don’t force them if it doesn’t fit in – it should be natural.
This shows the hiring team you have an understanding of the role and positions you as a match.
One of the main purposes of this is so recruiters can immediately find good quality candidates. For larger companies, they’re likely receiving thousands of resume applications. Therefore, they would only want to spend time assessing those who meet the basic requirements.
To get the full list of keywords that are required, follow these steps:
- Sign up for free on Rezi.
- Head over to the “finish up” tab.
- Enter your job title.
- Copy and paste the job description.
- Press the save job description button.
Here’s a 45-second live demonstration of how our keyword targeting feature works:
9 Impressive Things To Put On Your Resume
Now that we’ve got the essentials out the way, we’ll look at some other influential factors. These are good to use for personalizing your resume and making up for it when you don’t meet all the desirable criteria.
Additional Resume Sections
Most times, job seekers have life experiences and achievements that are relevant. Including hobbies and interests that have expanded your knowledge.
- Designing a website in your spare time has developed your technical proficiency.
- Growing your blog has developed your digital marketing and SEO skills.
Having your own custom resume sections enables you to highlight your unique selling points, tailor your job document, and showcase your strengths.
Here are a few examples of extra sections:
- Relevant coursework
Minimal Resume Design
While you might be craving to demonstrate your creative ability, what matters more than how you’ve presented your resume is what you’ve written.
Subtle resume formats are not only important for overcoming the resume scanners. But, it also improves the readability of your application for human readers. The key is keeping it clean and simple.
Even for design job resumes, it’s better to make a resume with minimal visual aspects. If you’re trying to use tables and color, the ATS won’t pick up on them.
Again, these should be minimal. With small intricate details like this, it improves the readability of your resume.
Another formatting option that’s pretty much necessary for modern applications is bullet points.
These are better replacements for big paragraphs as it makes your resume easy to skim through and is more effective for keeping the reader engaged.
Professional Resume Font
The aesthetic and appearance of your resume have an impact on your reader’s first impressions. That’s why modern font choices should be taken into consideration. These should also be kept professional and scannable for the ATS.
A summary section allows you to portray your corporate value within the first few seconds and what you can offer to the company.
This should provide an overview of your career timeline and professional background. Or, you can cover your career objectives and goals if you don’t have years of experience in the workforce yet.
That being said, it works well for professionals at all levels, e.g. entry-level up to executives.
It works well for student applications too. Especially if you’re struggling to come up with things to write about.
Actions say a lot more about us than words do. It’s more or less the same with your achievements.
This may include:
These could be dedicated as an additional resume section if necessary. By listing a variety of accomplishments, it implies you’re better than the average worker. It’s one effective way to create a strong impression on your recruiters and hiring managers.
Data and Statistics
Whenever you want to make a statement, use data and statistics to support your points.
Most times, this will be in your work experience section when describing your importance and the impact you’ve made.
By adding the results you’ve been responsible for, it shows how you actually provided value and made a real difference. In general, it’s impressive for anyone to see how your actions have led to a positive outcome.
Here are a few examples:
- “Increased the number of appointments booked by 35%”
- “Reduced employee turnover rates by 25%”
You can see how this adds to your credibility and perceived value as a professional. It also prevents you from seeming biased since you’re using numbers and being specific.
Everyone has their own experiences in and out of the workplace that could be relevant to talk about. For example, showcasing your progression from how you worked up to where you are now.
This helps with tailoring your resume further and demonstrates a degree of creativity. If you’re making claims and don’t have numbers to back it up, you’ll need to at least use examples.
When looking at what to put on a resume with no experience, one of the best things to do is send a cover letter.
This is another way of making up for not meeting all the desirable requirements.
Even if you don’t have the ideal employment background, it gives you the opportunity to present yourself as a candidate that’s a strong cultural fit. You do this by aligning your personality and objectives with the job position and company values.
What You Shouldn’t Include In a Resume
Now that you’ve got an idea of what to put on your resume, we’ll look at what you shouldn’t include and some of the red flags.
This is when you make a statement based on your own thoughts and opinion.
A better approach is to be factual and write from a cognitive perspective. Since resumes resemble a report that summarizes your professional background, it makes sense for it to be more fact-based rather than opinion-based.
However, the only exception to this is when you’re writing a cover letter.
The only personal details required is your contact information. Anything other than that isn’t necessary to include.
Employers should never ask you for sensitive details such as:
- Political beliefs
- Marital status
Spelling Mistakes and Typos
It’s a simple mistake that’s immediately picked up by the ATS. Grammar mistakes, spelling errors, and typos are not acceptable. So, double-check your application before submitting it to your employers.
Don’t lie on your resume. Period.
It’s still common for job seekers to write misleading information. In fact, roughly 40% of employees have been dishonest in their job applications.
The hiring manager interviewing you will have interviewed hundreds of candidates. It’s not difficult for them to see through your resume if you’ve lied or added any false information about your professional background.
Weak Action Verbs
This is supposed to be used to spice up your resume.
For instance, to highlight a positive outcome or the actions you took which led to an accomplishment.
But, it could have the opposite by making your application seem generic. That’s if you’re using resume action verbs that are weak.
We’ve made a list of buzzwords to avoid that make your resume a lot less effective based on over 100,000 applications.
Most of the time, they don’t show much to your employers and can become a distraction. When applying trigger words to make your reader think, they should fit in with the context and be used naturally.
It’s one of the most common mistakes of a resume and it’s why most candidates get rejected.
If the word is unnecessary and doesn’t show much, then there’s no point in including them. This includes vague terms and filler words, e.g. hard worker.
The Ideal ATS Resume Length is One Page
Aim for a one-page resume. These are more concise, well put together, and easier to skim. It also respects your hiring manager’s time by getting straight to the point and keeping your application free from fluff. Unlike two-page resumes, a single-page resume does a better job at making an impression.
Proven Resume Examples From Rezi
We’ve compiled a list of 4 resume samples below. Take inspiration from what’s already been written and use some of those ideas for your own application.
Marketing Insights Resume Template
Embedded Software Developer Resume Template (Interviewed at AMD)
Data Engineer Resume Template (Interviewed at Facebook)
Assistant Policy Intern Resume Template (Interviewed at Accenture)
For more proven examples, you can browse through our gallery of 300+ ATS templates!
Create a Full Tailored Resume Automatically
If you’re struggling at any point and not sure of what to write, try using Rezi’s AI resume writer.
You’re guided through a step-by-step process and you have the opportunity to automatically complete different sections of your resume.
Here’s how you can do it in just a few clicks:
After using Rezi, here’s what Drew had to say:
“I was stuck for weeks unable to make any breakthroughs on the format and content of my resume. I just started using Rezi, and no joke, it has been like rocket fuel accelerating my progress. I feel much more confident and optimistic about my career outlook!”