Experts Agree, Your Resume Should Have These 5 Things

Writing a resume can be a challenge. What should be included? What is the best way to present your accomplishments? Even years into your career, you could be struggling to update your resume with the new skills and experiences you’ve gained. If it’s been awhile since the last time you wrote a resume, or if you’re crafting your first one, take this advice from an Ivy League source.

Yale University offers free professional job-hunting resources online. Anyone can access these resources even if you never attended the Ivy League school. Yale’s Office of Career Strategy has some strong opinions on what you should include in your resume. We’ve rounded up the top 5 tips here:

Use resume accomplishment statements.

These statements summarize the results and successes of your past work. Yale’s experts say that employers want to know how you can contribute to the team, and we agree. Give clear examples of the value you added to your past experiences. This value can be expressed in simple bullet points following this simple format:

Accomplished X as measured by Y by doing Z.

Make the resume easy to read.

Yale’s office wants you to provide the employer with an easy and quick to read resume. Paint a clear picture of your skills. Font choice and formatting matters, so here are some quick tips:

  • Choose between 10 and 12 point font.
  • Break up content with bullet points, bold fonts and italics.
  • Stay consistent with those format choices. If a job title is bold, then every job title should be bold.
  • List accomplishments in reverse chronological order with the most recent achievement listed first.
  • Proofread to catch spelling and grammar mistakes and remove slang or abbreviations.

Highlight your experience with consistent headings.

Your work experience makes up most of your resume so take some extra time with it. This section, and the whole document, needs to be visually appealing and easy to read. Make sure each role includes the employer name, job title, location, and duration of the role.

Avoid Passive Language.

Select an action verb to write concise explanations of your experiences and skills. Passive language and personal pronouns don’t have the same impact as these strong word choices. Action verbs include:

  • Defined
  • Created
  • Measured
  • Managed
  • Helped
  • Contributed
  • Supervised
  • Calculated
  • Negotiated
  • Budgeted
  • and more . . .

Provide your quantified results.

We call these your quantifiable accomplishments. Your resume should quantify the results and impact of your work. Describe this in terms of percent improvement or percent increase. Use firm numbers to show your success clearly and with impact. You can read more about how to define your quantifiable accomplishments by clicking here.

A focused and impactful resume will help you land that next interview. Using these tips will help you craft that great resume so you can reach that next step. For more advice on making your next career move, contact us to talk to an experienced recruiter in your industry.