Table of Contents
- The 7 most important things to put on your resume
- Contact Information
- Resume Summary
- Hobbies and Interests
- Bonus Tips
Creating the perfect resume is a balancing act. You don’t want to spill your entire life story and hand in a stack of paper thicker than War & Peace, yet you have to make sure that all of the key information the recruiter wants is available within a quick scan. So, let’s have a look at what to put on a resume that gets you hired.
From your correct contact information to a great resume summary, experience and hobbies, there is some key information that you must include if you want the job.
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Recruiters want to make the hiring process as easy and quick as possible. They scan resumes with an eagle-eye and can tell right away if you’ve got the right information in place or if reading your application will be a waste of time.
Give the hiring manager what they are looking for, including these seven categories of information that all successful resume templates include:
- Contact information
- Resume summary
- Hobbies and interests
Let’s dive into each section to see what to put on your resume and how to format it.
The contact information section is extremely important, yet very overlooked. You need to ease the recruiter’s life by giving clear and straightforward information on how to reach you.
Your resume should include:
- Your first and last name
- Email address
- Physical address
Write out your name as spelled in your passport. While everyone may call you “Dick Nixon,” go with “Richard Nixon.” You want to keep your entire application consistent, meaning that your name should match on your resume as well as any supplements and social media.
Put down your telephone number so that the recruiter can reach you quickly. It’s best to include your cell phone, as you have it with you at all times.
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Your email address can make a fool out of you without you even realizing it. Make sure to include a professional email address. While you could get away with “firstname.lastname@example.org” in high school, that address will make you look silly in front of the hiring manager.
Do you need to include your physical address? It’s a good idea to do so. The recruiter will know whether you’ll need to relocate or whether you’re in the right place already. Plus, you may get some mail if you continue with the application process.
Your contact information should look like this:
1 Spring Street, Boston, MA
- Experience Details June 2013 – August 2015
Make sure to be as clear and as concise as possible. There are plenty of essential things to add to your resume, so the contact section should only take 1 - 2 lines.
The summary is essentially the first impression your resume makes on the recruiter. If you lead in with a great intro, you will have their attention. If not, well, you’re off to the shredder.
What to put on a resume summary that grabs the hiring manager’s attention:
- Your title
The ideal resume summary is between 3 and 6 sentences. They have to be engaging and clear. Let’s look at an example:
Hospitality professional looking to leverage existing skills in a good company.
The applicant hits all six points and even throws in a numerical value. Using numbers in your summary make information easier and faster to process, so definitely include them whenever possible.
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Your title is important, as the recruiter will know right away whether to keep reading or move on. For example, if you’re applying for a hotel job and say that you’re a “Concierge,” that’s relevant, and you’ve got their attention. If you lead in with “Financial Analyst,” on the other hand, the recruiter will toss your resume immediately.
Same goes for your industry. Make sure to identify right off the bat what area you work in to avoid confusion.
What to put on your resume summary in terms of education is very straightforward. Mention your school and degree, that’s it.
Your accomplishments, skills, and goals should be mentioned very briefly and have to be extremely relevant to the job. You should use the job description to identify the keywords that will catch the recruiter’s eye.
Your experience is the flesh of the resume. This is the most important section, so if you forget to include it, might as well save yourself the trouble of applying altogether.
The experience section will take up about 60% of your entire resume. It has to show exactly why you are the perfect candidate for the job. How do you do that? Tailor your resume to the job ad. Just like you can identify the keywords from the job description, you will be able to tell which of your experience is relevant.
Let’s say you were the best pizza chef in town. Unfortunately, that won’t help if you’re applying for a marketing executive position. If you worked at a magazine, however, that will score you points with the recruiter.
In the experience section, you have to make sure to put:
- Company name
- Dates you worked there
- Accomplishments, ideally quantifiable whenever possible
- Boston Foodie Magazine Boston, MA
- Managing Editor September 2015 - July 2017
- Produced and edited content on food-related topics
- Managed a team of 5 writers
- Piloted a new column that became #1 in popularity within 6 months
Keep your experience clear, in order, and detailed enough for the recruiter to see that you’re the answer to their prayers. Adding three-four lines per job experience is an ideal amount of information. Steer clear of fluff and confusion.
Your education section comes secondary to the experience, yet is still important. If you’ve got the right degree, you might just beat the competition.
The most important details about your education on the resume are:
- Your degree
- School you attended
- Year of graduation
Remember to list your highest degree first. For example:
MA in Philosophy, Yale 2015
BA in Greek Literature, Yale 2013
BA in Chemistry, Harvard 2013
Ph.D in Chemistry, Harvard 2017
MA in Chemistry, Harvard 2015
You can add your GPA as well if it’s higher than 3.5.
If you’ve been a part of Phi Beta Kappa or another honor society, feel free to mention it. Just make sure not to make this section too long. After all, seeing that you studied the industry is good, but proving through experience that you know how to do the job is best.
The skills section of the resume is a bit tricky. While it’s tempting to say “I’m the best for the job because I’m a people-person and the best negotiator you’ll see,” you have to keep your cool and show your talents instead.
So how do you delicately demonstrate to the recruiter that you’re the perfect candidate? Read the job ad carefully. Pinpoint the skills required and then match them to your own.
For example, if a job calls for someone to “Manage a team of 5,” say that you’ve got a high level of emotional intelligence and are a great listener.
The trick here is not to be copying the job description word for word. Find what the needs of the company are and show that you’ve got the skills to fulfill them.
We know you've got skills, but which ones do you put on your resume? Find out 50+ Skills to Put on a Resume [Key to Get a Job].
Think of your resume as your private magazine where you’re the star. This is your time to shine, so don’t skip the accomplishments section.
List your most relevant successes and rewards that are directly applicable to the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re after a sales job, mention that you reached and exceeded your old quota which got you promoted in a year.
The key here is to keep your accomplishments relevant.
Show the recruiter that you're a winner - learn How to Mention Accomplishments on Your Resume (10+ Examples).
Every category of information on your resume is strategic. What to put on your resume under “hobbies and interests” is a part of the main plan to tailor your resume for to the job.
While you may have awesome hobbies like laser tag or playing video games, that won’t be of much help if you’re applying for a position at a fashion magazine. Yes, your hobbies and interests should represent your personality appropriately, but they are on your resume to show that your personality is the best fit.
Let’s say that you’re after a job at a fashion magazine. Then you would want to add hobbies and interests like photography, drawing, social media and boutique shopping. It’s a good idea to mention that you’ve got an interest in reading famous designers’ biographies and that your favorite documentary is “The September Issue.”
Keep this section genuine and make it work for you by skillfully demonstrating why you’re an amazing fit.
Want to learn how to add hobbies and interests on a resume? Check out our guide on How and Why Put Hobbies on a Resume (20+ Real Examples).
Now that we’ve gone over the seven core things to put on your resume let’s look at how to score some bonus points.
- Consider adding a social media section to your resume
Recruiters already know that you’re on social media because, you guessed it, they are too. Include your LinkedIn profile up top with your contact information.
Make sure to change the URL to your first and last name instead of having a dozen random symbols and numbers. That way the recruiter will be able to do a quick search on you and pull up your nice, polished profile.
- Follow the company and the recruiter on LinkedIn
Give the company a follow. Do some research to find out what news they care about. Then engage with their content and tag them into smart posts on the same topic. If the recruiter sees your name a lot on LinkedIn, chances are that they will remember while looking at your resume.
Don’t be shy and connect with the recruiter directly. Send a quick invitation to connect and comment on the content they post. You can follow them on Twitter as well. Just remember to keep it professional.
- Make sure that your resume sections align
Pay attention to formatting because while it’s the information that gets you the job, it’s the formatting that gets the recruiter to look at the information. Organize your sections neatly, so there aren’t awkward symbols and scattered letters.
Take a look at this well-aligned example:
So what do you put on a resume if you want to get hired? Check off as many of the seven key categories as possible - contact information, resume summary, experience, education, skills, accomplishments, and hobbies and interests.
Remember that each of these sections (ok, except the contact info) has to be tailored to the job description in a relatable way. You’re going for the “show, don’t tell” effect, so prove that you’ve skillfully managed to accomplish what the position requires you to do.
Pay attention to the formatting. Keep all of your sections clean, organized and straightforward. Add your LinkedIn profile and engage with the company and the recruiter for extra points. Follow these basic steps and you’ll be all set!