What are the “must haves” on every resume?

As a professional, if you asked yourself “What is that one important document that will power your growth?” more often than not, the answer is straightforward. You probably have guessed it right—the resume. A strong resume is an extremely important part of your professional dossier. It documents your background and unveils your skills to potential recruiters.

In most cases, shining up the CV is the first step to landing the perfect job. In today’s dynamic world, the face of the resume is undergoing a lot of change, thanks to the creative approaches of recruiters and headhunters. It is not uncommon to spot a video or infographic resume these days.

Whether the job market is booming or not, competition for a given role in a given company can be tough. It’s your resume that will help you stand out and get you shortlisted. What does it take to be on that shortlist? How can your resume help you get noticed? Let us look into a few vital “must haves” on your resume.

Restrict the length of the resume. No matter what your experience is, the length of your resume must be limited to two or, at the most, three pages. The reason is skimmability. The recruiter must, in less than 10 seconds, get an insight into your skill, experience, and the kind of work you handled in the past. A tip to do this is to highlight keywords related to your areas of expertise that can grab eyeballs. As you can imagine, the most important keyword is your desired job title.

Emphasize your job roles and responsibilities. This is probably the first thing recruiters want to see on your resume. It tells them that you are cut out for the job and you are a serious candidate. A description of the skills you use in your current role helps to establish how well you are qualified for the new role. Treat these as your “selling points.”

A mere listing of experience is not sufficient to establish credibility with the recruiter. List your accomplishments and the impact on your role and hence the company. Related accomplishments and the impact on the company (e.g., business or revenue, stakeholder feedback, reputation, market sales) go a long way in underlining your efforts. Accomplishments can demonstrate that you have helped the business move the needle. Thus, metrics are a key part of the narrative.

Ensure perfect spelling and grammar.Misspellings can be an instant turn-off for a recruiter. Precision and accuracy have great value for business. Small errors such as improper punctuation can detract the recruiter, even if your resume is backed by strong content. A key tip to ensure an error-free resume is to reach out to friends or family and seek their feedback on both the narrative and the text.

Consistency in the narrative, use of words, spellings, and formatting bring value to the resume. Besides consistency in roles and tenure, the way your skills are projected is key to landing a dream call from the company you want to join. Recruiters often frown upon variations, (e.g.“.NET” and “.net”) while skimming through a resume. Ensure content on the resume also matches your related social media profiles. A mismatch can be frowned upon and treated as “tampered” narrative.

Do not hesitate to include your Affiliations and Certifications. While this is not necessarily a must have, listing them boosts your profile. It showcases your commitment to your field and that you have the ability to go above and beyond your basic education to stand out among your peers. Affiliations with renowned institutions can be the icing on the cake.

Have your contact details built-in.Yes, you read it right. Missing phone numbers, email addresses or LinkedIn profiles can amount to missed opportunities! Recruiters sometimes find it easier to contact you to have an open dialogue than read through the resume. Make it easy for the recruiter to contact you. Including your up-to-date social media profiles that are relevant to the application, with LinkedIn first on this list, is key to being shortlisted.

Author: Liam Copsey