What are the Most Important Elements of a Resume?

 The curtains on 2014 are coming to a close and we are just about to witness the onset of 2015. The time is to make amends to things that didn’t go as well as you might have wished them too in the previous year and that includes inspiring yourself to perform better in your career. One important step to that end is building a good resume. But for that you must know the critical elements of the resume. This post is about the same.

Whether you are looking for a job change or a professional who has decades of experience, there are some very important elements that should be a part of every CV. Without these in your resume, it would be expecting too much to get called out by recruiters for an interview. There are very less documents that deserve the same attention that a resume does. Almost everyone obsesses over keeping the CV perfect.

If you want to start your nresumeew year with successful job search here are five critical elements that should be included in your CV:

  • A well defined introduction or summary

It is not hard to guess that interviewers face a huge load of resumes for every advertised position. However, no recruiter takes the pain to read every word of a CV, and practically also it is not possible. In reality, an average CV is viewed for only six seconds before its fate is decided. Write your resume for making the best impression within those six seconds. For the same, it’s essential that the top of the resume is its strongest part. Instead of writing the same plain-jane objective, it is advised that you replace it with a well thought out and engaging summary. Vicky Bacal, a resume expert says, “The objective used to tell the employer what the candidate wants,” Bacal explains. “The summary is focused on what you, as a candidate, can do for the employer. This is the feel-good section.  It’s equivalent to the handshake.

  • Keywords

These days the resumes have to go through ATS or Applicant Tracking System and that’s why keywords have become so important. Therefore the resume should have a healthy dose of keywords that describe what you do, your expertise and skills. There are a couple of reasons why having keywords is so important. If a recruiter takes the traditional human way of matching the resume with job descriptions he will accomplish that through the keywords. Secondly, if the recruiter is using an ATS to scan resumes for the best matches, it will also place much importance on keywords, and if a keyword appears more frequently in a resume, it has more chances of getting selected.

  • Expertise with credible proof

With an experience of two to five years, “core competencies” is the right title for this section. However, with people having longer work histories, you can tweak the title to “professional skills”. Those who are applying for technical positions should rename the section as technical competencies. List all your knowledge, skills and experience in this section. Deliver numbers where necessary and also accentuate your experience with examples of your achievements

  • Room to breath

When you create a resume, you are essentially creating a chronological history of your professional achievements. It’s out and out an official document, but you don’t have to make it look boring and all crammed up. A lot of text on a single page, fighting for space to breathe neither soothes the neither eyes nor does it makes any recruiter feel any better about you. Thus, instead of packing in too much information on a single page use some space in your resume. Grouping relevant information is a good place to start. Put at least a line break between two jobs. Also the bullets should be well spaced out. If you find the resume extending to 3rd or 4th page, it is time to put the CV on a diet and cut the flab.

  • Achievements

You have to tell the recruiter how well you performed in your last job. But including adjectives such as very good, incredible or fantastic is not going to communicate the right message. While most resumes do sound like this, but without a proper measurable metric associated with your achievements it is hard to judge what exactly you have achieved. If you handled a team, let it be known that you handled a team of 10 or 20 people. If you were in sales, let it be known that you brought a sales of 50,000 bucks to your company. Giving measurements to what you have achieved adds credibility to your claims and makes the resume stronger.

Bottom-line: It’s possible that there are some other critical elements that should be a part of your CV, that don’t go well with a general CV. For instance, a technical writer should include experience with a tools and software, and an art professional should include information about his exhibitions amongst other things. In a nutshell, your resume should be able to show the best of you to the prospective employer.