What To Include In A Resume - 4 Key Components

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Table Of Contents

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Recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds scanning a resume, according to an eye-tracking study from The Ladders. The information they glean from that quick skim helps them decide whether to call the candidate for an interview--or move on to the next document in the queue.

So what makes a great resume, the kind that gets interviews and job offers? According to research, it’s a combination of style and substance. The Ladders study showed that recruiters spent the most time on resumes that had simple layouts, bold job titles followed by lists of accomplishments, an overview or mission statement, and clear fonts.

But what about content? Learn what to include in your resume to make the best possible impression on the hiring team. If you need help now, consider working with a resume expert. We reviewed all of the top resume writing services and have some good advice to check out.

New job searchers should definitely check out ZipRecruiter once that resume is tightened up.

4 Key Components You Should Always Include In A Resume

When choosing which components to include, highlight your most relevant qualifications, using the job description as your guide.


But first things first: if you don’t include your contact info, you won’t be getting any calls for job interviews. Be sure your resume includes your full name and contact information. Place this section right at the top. This should be the first thing that a hiring manager sees.

What contact information should you include?

The goal is to make your resume as clean-looking as possible, including this section. Stick to simple fonts and color choices. Less is more with resumes.

Since you’re including your phone number, this is an excellent time to check your outgoing voicemail recording to ensure it’s professional sounding.

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume


In the olden days, almost every resume began with an objective statement, e.g., “Recently certified CNA with extensive administrative experience in healthcare settings seeks position supporting nursing staff in a hospital setting.” The purpose of an objective is to tell the hiring team what you’re looking for in a job–and why they should hire you to join their team. In one or two sentences, this statement reveals why you’re applying for the position.

You can still use an objective as an intro for your resume but you can also opt for a summary statement. While an objective focuses on what you want from the employer, a summary demonstrates what you can provide. It also gives you more room to work with. Summaries can be several lines long, although they should be tightly focused on your skills, qualifications, and experience.

Here’s an example of a summary statement:

Marketing executive with 10+ years of experience with digital advertising campaigns, SEO, and social media marketing. Successfully led eight high-level campaigns over the past fourteen months that boosted company sales by 140%.

Your summary serves to show proof of your capabilities. Look at your experience and determine ways to incorporate quantitative details that meet that goal. You may already have a summary written for your LinkedIn profile. If so, you can likely use the same summary on your resume.

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume


Many job listings will include educational requirements but even if they don’t, it usually makes sense to include your education and training. Highlight any education that matches the job description or demonstrates an advanced level of training in your field. Don’t forget to include certifications, continuing education related to the job, or any other training that demonstrates your abilities.

When listing your degrees, include the educational institution’s name, location, and graduation date. If you haven’t graduated, list your expected graduation date instead. If you have more than one college degree, list them in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent earned.

If you’re a recent grad, you may want to include the following information:

  • Your major/minor
  • Your GPA (if impressive)
  • Honors earned

Once you’ve been in the workforce for several years, you can drop your GPA from your resume. You’ll have related work experience to show the hiring manager and that will make a stronger impression than even the most excellent GPA.

Also, note that you should only include high school degree information if you’re a current high school student.

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume


Your resume isn’t complete without adding your work and life experience. Similar to the education section, list your experience in reverse chronological order.  For more information, check out our chronological resume guide.

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The work experience section should include jobs, internships, and any other relevant experiences to your career field.

Always include the following details when listing your work experience:

  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Employment dates

With each experience, list three to four job duties and accomplishments. Opt for action words to describe your job role. Potential employers don’t just want to see that you have work experience but that you positively impacted your company’s bottom line.

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume

Additional Components To Make Your Resume Stand Out

You might want to include other elements in a resume, especially if they are relevant to your current job search. Here are four more items to consider adding to your resume if it makes sense.


Include any skills or certifications that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Things you could include:

Keep this section brief if possible. There’s no need to include skills or certifications that aren’t relevant or are obsolete. Don’t lie about having particular skills just to look more appealing. Only list the skills you possess.

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume

Example courtesy of MyPerfectResume


If you’ve done volunteer work that’s relevant to your job search, go ahead and include it in your resume if there’s room.

Stick to more current volunteer opportunities. When adding volunteer work to your resume, list it similarly to your experience section. Include the organization or event name, your role, dates worked, and any relevant, actionable details that make sense.


Lastly, you can also include any additional accomplishments you’ve received. Include any education or work-related accomplishments that are relevant. Have you won any awards during your career? List those in this section, starting with the most recent ones.


Are you sending the same resume to every job opening? If so, you’re wasting an opportunity to make a good impression. Employers want to hire candidates who are a good fit for their open roles. By customizing your resume, you can demonstrate that you’re the best person for the job.

To tailor your resume to the position, scan the job description in the listing, looking for keywords related to the job requirements. Employers will specify skills, abilities, certifications, etc., and the more of their preferences you can work into your document, the better off you’ll be.

5 Components You Should Not Include On Your Resume

Sometimes, what you don’t include is just as important as what you do. Leave these five things off your resume to make the best impression.


If you’re located in the same metro area as the employer, it’s fine to include the city. But, don’t list your full address. It won’t matter to the hiring manager and it might pose a security risk.


Skip the cutesy email addresses that display your hobbies, interests, and a punny sense of humor. Dadjokes@email.com is probably not getting a call back from the hiring manager.

The best emails to use during your job search are basic and professional, e.g. Your.Name@emailprovider.com. If you don’t have an email address like this already, you can make one for free at sites like Gmail.com.


Photos are fine for social media accounts but they don’t belong on your resume. Images can be off-putting to hiring managers and take up valuable space on the page. But most importantly, applicant tracking systems have trouble reading resumes that include images. Let your experience and skills speak for themselves.


Your resume is not the place for salary expectations. You may be asked for your range during the application or interview process. By adding it to your resume, you automatically eliminate any jobs that might fall slightly outside your target. Also, talking about money before you even speak to anyone from the company may send the wrong impression to potential employers.


A resume is a highlight reel, not a biography. Include only your most recent roles that are related to the job you’re applying for.

If you’re making a career change, you can include previous jobs that demonstrate transferable skills or experience. But cut older jobs and those that are completely unrelated.

If you’re seeking new job opportunities, take a look at the best job posting sites to see what’s available near you.

Frequently Asked Questions 


In most cases, your resume should fit on one to two pages. Job seekers with extensive experience may end up with a three-page resume, but that’s pushing it. The goal of a good resume is to capture the attention of a hiring manager and showcase why you are qualified for the open position, not share every detail of your working career.


It’s OK to be selective about which jobs you include on your resume, especially if they’re older jobs or unrelated to the job for which you’re applying. However, know that employers will likely ask for your full work history during a background check. If you were fired, you’ll probably need to be able to explain the situation at some point during the hiring process.


Stick to your work experience from the past 10 years. If you have relevant work experience before then, you can include it–but consider whether a potential employer or hiring manager would be interested. The job you held 15 years ago may be completely obsolete.


Employment gaps happen. You can make them less obvious by listing your jobs by the year instead of the month and year. Choosing a functional resume format can also help highlight your skills instead of your linear work experience.

The Bottom Line

Your resume can help you stand out from the crowd of potential job candidates. Be sure to include your most relevant experience, skills, and qualifications–and don’t forget to proofread your final version before you submit it.

Need help getting started? Use free online resume templates or hire a resume-writing service. Once your resume is polished, start searching for jobs on ZipRecruiter!