Your resume is a bit like a big, detailed business card and having your resume ready and up to date should the first step in the journey to your next job. While you have a lot of freedom on what you want to include, there are some basic items that absolutely must be there.
Your name, email address and phone number are mandatory. You can put them at the top of the document or you can put it in the header. Bear in mind, if you put it in the header, when it is viewed in “preview” mode in MS Office, those details won’t show. They only show when they are in the body of the document. Weird, but true.
You can add all or part of your address. You might not want to share the exact details but it probably makes sense to put in your city. Prospective employers want to know you are in their typical commuting range.
Education is important. It can be listed at the top before your experience or on the second page, after your work details. Include everything after high school. Make sure to list the name of the school, the degree, diploma or certificate and the date that you graduated. Note that I said “graduated”. You can still include a program even if you did not complete it but mark it “incomplete” or “one course left” or “expected date of completion xx”. Don’t lie – it will bite you in the pants when you least expect it.
Finally, you need to have details about what you are doing now. Clearly lay out your title, basic responsibilities as well as the name and location of the company. You also need to let people know how long you have been in the role. If you are in transition, then use your last role.
It would be a pretty skinny resume if this is all you include but it would give someone a fairly good idea of where you are today. What’s missing is the milestones and achievements from the rest of your career.
You have a lot more flexibility with those elements. We will tackle those sections t0 get your resume ready next week.