Resumes & Cover Letters

Why You Need a Resume (Including Resume Components)

June 17, 2021

Resumes can provide beneficial information about a candidate's skill set, qualifications and background. By creating a well-written resume, you can help a hiring manager better assess your fit for the role to which you've applied. Understanding the information to include in a resume helps you provide accurate and helpful details to your readers. In this article, we discuss what a resume is, the reasons you need a resume and some components you should include in a resume.

What is a resume?

A resume is a brief document—usually one page in length—that provides employers with a summary of a candidate's academic and professional qualifications. By providing a resume that showcases your unique skills, like the ability to adapt to and perform in difficult situations, you can demonstrate your ability to do the job. Consider the job you're applying for and list applicable qualifications on your resume to ensure it aligns with the job listing.

For example, if you are a nurse who is applying to a new job as an ER nurse, your resume can mention your bachelor's degree in nursing, your nursing license, your patient care skills and details about your previous nursing experience.

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing (With Video)

Reasons you need a resume

Hiring managers review many resumes when searching for an employee, and a resume gives you a brief opportunity to provide vital information about your background. Here are a few reasons you need a resume when applying for a job:

  • Showcase your skills: A resume is a chance for you to market your most impressive skills to a hiring manager. You can showcase your abilities related to the position and explain how they can contribute to the success of the organization.

  • Convince employers you're an ideal candidate: Use your resume to convince employers you're the best candidate for the job by customizing your resume for each position to which you apply.

  • Brand yourself: Having a resume allows you to brand yourself in a way that shows employers how you would like them to view you professionally. For example, you can create a resume that shows that you're ambitious and how you're prepared to use your experience and skills in the new role.

  • Highlight your achievements: A great way to distinguish yourself from other candidates is by highlighting specific professional or personal accomplishments that apply to the position you're seeking.

What components do you need in your resume?

Here's a list of the general components you need in a resume:

Contact information

The first section of a resume usually includes your contact information, which provides a way for hiring managers to contact you if they're interested in scheduling an interview. Typical items to include in this section comprise your first and last name, a phone number and a professional email address. You can also list the current city and state where you live.

Resume introduction

A resume introduction is a short section after your contact information that quickly summarizes your qualifications and highlights accomplishments. Although it's not required, it's beneficial to include because it highlights your strongest qualities, and it is the first thing hiring managers read on the resume. There are four types of resume introductions you can include in your resume:

  • Summary: A resume summary comprises a brief paragraph that highlights a candidate's experience and abilities related to the specific position.

  • Objective: A resume objective is usually a one- to two-sentence statement that identifies the job you are applying for and your career goals. It can also be helpful to explain how you plan to benefit the organization if hired.

  • Qualifications: Professionals with a lot of experience may begin their resume with a bulleted list of four to six points that highlight the greatest skills and achievements of their career

  • Profile: You can use a resume profile when you are looking to showcase more information in the opening of your resume. They can be in bullet point or paragraph form and detail your years of experience, your specialty, hard and soft skills, achievements and career goals.

Related: 12 Examples of Strong Resume Profiles

Experience

Including experience on your resume can show your level of knowledge in certain areas while also highlighting some transferrable skills. The experience section usually comprises at least two previous jobs related to the role you're applying for, but if you don't have experience in the field you're interested in, you can list other jobs. Include the responsibilities in your previous positions that relate to the job for which you're currently applying.

Those with more work experience often use a chronological resume format, which has a longer experience section that calls attention to their daily tasks and responsibilities at each previous job. They can also list accomplishments or awards they received while in previous positions. Individuals typically list jobs in reverse chronological order, which includes listing your most recent or current job first and ending with your oldest work experience.

Related: Chronological Resume Tips and Examples

Hard and soft skills

The skills section of a resume gives you an opportunity to list your relevant hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills or training related to a position, such as data analysis or photo editing. Soft skills include traits that shape the way you work, such as organization or time management.

It's also beneficial to look at the job description for the position of interest and search for any keywords that you can also list in your resume. This can show a hiring manager that you have abilities similar to the ones they're looking for in an employee.

Related: Get Your Resume Seen With ATS Keywords

Education

The education section lists your degrees, diplomas or relevant certifications and licenses. In this section, you typically include the qualification you earned, the name of the institution and the years you attended the institution. You might also include your GPA, honors you received or other educational accomplishments you achieved.

Accomplishments

Listing accomplishments on your resume can show the employer that you're focused on success. If your resume is close to or already over a page long, it might be best to list your accomplishments in another part of the document, such as the summary or experience section. However, if you have space and prefer to add an accomplishments section, consider including these achievements:

  • Awards you received in your current or previous positions
  • Positive comments your supervisor gave during a professional review
  • Measurable goals that you met or surpassed
  • Team accomplishments

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