Ask an Expert: What Information Belongs on a Resume?

Whether you are writing your first resume out of college or are embarking on a search after several years or even several decades, you may need a tutorial or a brush-up on what to include on your resume. Here are some guidelines for you to follow.

1. Contact information

Include your name, full mailing address (hiring managers may be skeptical of resumes that contain a P.O. Box or no address at all), cell and/or home phone number, and e-mail address (professional only; no one wants to hire someone whose e-mail is "smokin21"). You may also want to include your LinkedIn URL, personal website URL if you have one and even your Twitter handle.

2. Profile or Overview

This is the big-picture view of who you are and the value you bring to employers. This is generally a better strategy than an objective statement, which references your goals but rarely addresses the needs of the employer.

3. Areas of expertise

These are the keywords or buzzwords that are relevant for your job industry and job function. For example, areas of expertise for an accountant might be general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and balance sheets. If you are not sure what the appropriate keywords for your industry or job function are, review job postings for positions you would consider applying for, pick out the relevant skill requirements and incorporate those skills into your resume.

4. Work experience

List your experience in reverse chronological order. Include company name, location, employment dates, job title, a brief description of the company and your role, and at least three of your top achievements. Repeat this for each position you have held.

5. Military history

If you served in the military, include a section noting your role and relevant dates.

6. Education

List your education starting with your highest level of education and working backward. Include the name of the school, location, degree program, degree received and graduation date. If you have an associate's or bachelor's degree, you do not need to list your high school. If you earned an associate's degree and then went on to complete your bachelor's, you only need to list the school and degree program for the bachelor's degree. If you attended college, but did not complete your degree, list the school name and degree program (if declared) and dates of attendance. Only list training classes and programs that are relevant to your target audience.

7. Certifications or Licenses

List any relevant certifications, license numbers, licensing states and dates received.

8. Language skills

Include your level of competency -- bilingual, proficient, or knowledgeable -- and note if you can both read and write the language.

9. Relevant volunteer work and hobbies

If you have volunteer experience or a hobby that is relevant to your job target that would better round out your candidacy, include it. Otherwise leave this section off the resume.

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