16th Jul 2019 by Cam Brierley
Updated 16th Jul 2019
What To Include In The Perfect Resume
Learn what a resume must include, as well as the extras you can add to really stand out from the crowd.
The job-hunting process can be filled with uncertainty. Between the rejection emails that can take weeks or months to come and - worse still - the complete lack of any contact at all about your application, it can leave people wondering where they’re going wrong.
One area you shouldn’t have any uncertainty in is your resume (CV), though, which is why we’re here to help guide the way if you aren’t sure what you should put on it.
At HitmarkerJobs.com, we see resumes every single day from users who come to us for help to enter the niche industry we work in - esports. With so many unique and creative resumes landing in our inbox each week, we really do see what works best when applying for jobs in our space.
And while we’d always encourage our users to let their resume reflect them and their skills as best as possible, rather than following a template, there are some staples that employers will expect to see on your application document.
Here are some sections that you HAVE to include in a resume:
An easy one to start with! Your name should be somewhere at the top of your resume and written out in full with big, bold letters. Take this early opportunity to sear your name into the hiring manager’s brain.
A must. Without these, how could an interested hiring manager reach out to you? An email address is essential, and while a telephone number is becoming less and less prevalent these days, it’s still worth adding, and it’s also worth adding your home address (or at least your general location). It can also really benefit to have your LinkedIn page and a Skype (or Discord) username on there too!
This is the meat of the resume! If you don’t have past experience, then be sure to go in-depth with achievements and experiences from school.
If you do, make sure you’re including the company name, your job title/s and the dates you were employed. If it’s your current position, then just write it out like this: May 2017 - Present.
Then, underneath those details, you want to speak about what you did in the job. Don’t just list off what you were responsible for - really sell your experience there and show the hiring manager what you achieved and the value you brought to the company you were working for.
To be more specific, try to use a variety of your daily job responsibilities that relate to the jobs you’ll be applying for, key achievements while you worked there such as sales made, staff managed, events executed, etc, and any skills you learned or honed while on the job.
If you’re applying for your first few jobs, it’s likely the Education section will form a large portion of your resume content. If that’s the case, be sure to write about the classes you excelled in most, what skills you’ve learned from school that you think would be useful in the job you’re applying for, and the grades you achieved.
If you’re a more senior candidate with plenty of years of work experience behind you, your education section doesn’t need to be that large at all. It should be enough to simply mention your most recent education to keep this as concise as possible and to open up space to talk about your past jobs.
Just like the Past Experience section, be sure to format your education by including the school name, the area you studied or majored in, the dates of study, and your grades.
Portfolio (Certain Sectors Only):
For creative sectors, it’s typical that you’ll be expected to provide a portfolio, so including a link to this somewhere prominent on your resume is vitally important. “Creative sectors” include ones like video editing and production, design, web development, on-camera roles, art and photography.
So, those are the things that you really need to include on your resume. They’re the “unmissables” that even the most creative and outside-of-the-box documents should contain.
Here are some optional additions for what to put on your resume:
Drop this right next to your name or place it underneath your name. It should sum up your specialism in just a few words, such as “Business Development Specialist” or “Network Engineer”.
Summary / Profile:
Something that we always think improves a resume is a descriptive Summary section. This only needs to be three or four sentences long and should appear near the top of your resume, or in a sidebar. It gives you some room to let your personality shine through, to show the hiring how much you love the job / industry you’re applying to, and to demonstrate how your skills are a perfect fit for the role the company is hiring for.
Primarily used in North America, a Career Objective is a small section of your resume that speaks about your short and long-term career goals. It’s a perfect place to sell your ambition, and let the company you’re applying to know that you’re in this for the long haul.
A favorite of ours, and something you can add to your resume either towards the bottom or in a sidebar (if your design has one) is a list of your skills. There are a few things to remember if you do opt to include this in your resume, though!
Firstly, don’t go overboard. While it might feel like the more skills you list the more skilled a candidate an employer will think you are, the opposite is actually usually the case; it can reduce the value of each of the skills as it could look like you’ve thrown anything and everything in there.
Secondly, make sure the skills you list are tangible. This is super important, as vague terms like “motivated” and “enthusiastic” are personality traits rather than skills. Instead, list your main strengths in the field you’re applying to. If that’s marketing, your skills list might look a little like this:
- Digital Marketing
- Media Buying
- Social Media
Do you see the difference between a list of skills like that compared to going down the path of writing generic terms like “enthusiastic”, “motivated”, etc? An employer can look at the above list and compare how that measures up with what the job entails, and therefore quickly see how suitable a candidate you are.
It’s an incredibly efficient way of showing the hiring manager your core strengths, to entice them into wanting to give your resume a really thorough read through (which doesn’t happen all that often, unbelievably enough!)
References aren’t something that need to be included in a resume, but it can be a good idea to make mention that you have them if an employer wishes to see them. This is especially true in jobs where the company you’re applying to is going to be more likely to want to background check you, such as education, finance or security jobs.
You can go about this in two ways. You can list out the references you have by providing their names, job title, the company they work at and their email address. When listing people here, you’d usually include at least two from different jobs you’ve worked.
If you’d rather save space on your resume, it’s also perfectly acceptable to simply write “References available upon request” in your References section, as employers will typically only ask for referees after progressing you through the first stage of their hiring process.
Ah, the headshot! Often a hot point of debate in recruitment, some people find headshots to add a personable touch to a resume, whereas some are wary of the unavoidable risk of discrimination that a headshot brings.
We can see the arguments for both sides, although do feel that they can be a great way to distinguish yourself from other candidates and to make an impact on the hiring manager the moment they open your resume.
It is important, however, to judge a company’s culture first before sending a resume with a headshot, as it’s a bit more of an unorthodox practice than not including one.
For you folks in on-camera positions, it’s important to say that a headshot is nearly always preferred!
An achievements section focuses on particular awards or recognitions that you’re proud of and feel could help you in a job application.
Often times, this can be trimmed down and any career-based achievements put under the relevant period of work experience, though for military achievements and other well-respected awards there’s definitely value in including a section like this.
Hobbies / Interests:
Listing down some of your main hobbies and interests can be a good way to make your resume appear a bit more human, and to show that you’re not all about work. There’s an added bonus as well of you being able to twist this slightly to play to the job you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to a job in sports, than putting “Playing and watching sports” as a hobby of yours is a no-brainer to show you have an endemic grasp of the industry.
The same goes for the industry we work in - competitive gaming: we’ve seen resumes that list the gaming titles the candidate plays to great effect.
With a selection of the above topics you can include in a resume, we hope you’re now feeling more confident of what should a resume include.
We’ll end this piece by saying that these are all general points to help with your resume, and in some industries they might not fit as well as in others.
Ultimately, you want your resume to describe your professional capabilities, and why they make you the perfect hire for the company you’re applying to.
If you write the document with that in mind whilst keeping track of the key things to include, you should be able to produce an authentic, compelling and well-rounded summary of your career so far.
Good luck out there!
Image credit: DreamHack // Stephanie Lindgren
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