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“What should I include in my resume?” is one of the most common questions I get asked on a daily basis. At first glance, the question may seem silly, but in today’s job market employers are looking for different items than they were even just five years ago.

1) First things first, make sure to include your contact information, such as your name, phone number (preferably your cell phone), email, address, etc. I have seen several resumes which lack appropriate contact information, and without it employers cannot contact you for interviews. Also, make sure to be professional. Avoid immature email addresses (sparklieponiesgirl99@yahoo.com) and ring-back tones (nobody wants to hear Lady Gaga when they call you for an interview). Remember, until employers meet you they can only make assumptions about you based on the information you provide them.

2) Another essential bit of information would be your work and education history. Those items are the “meat and potatoes” of your resume so to speak, and are really the most important sections your resume will contain. Make sure to include your employer’s name, employer’s address (City, ST), the dates you were employed, and your job title. The same goes for your education (college name, degree, GPA, graduation date, etc.). Include enough information to describe what you did at each job (if the jobs are relevant), but do not go overboard – people do not need to know every detail about everything you have ever done.

3) Include all relevant affiliations, memberships, and certifications. Although these might not necessarily demonstrate your skills, they do imply that you are interested in your career field and have to drive to continually educate and improve yourself. Employers like to see that type of initiative.

4) Your LinkedIn profile link. LinkedIn is the most popular “social network” for business professionals, and it is growing increasingly important on a daily basis. If you do not have one, get one. If you have one, update it. Connect with current and former colleagues, and get as many positive recommendations as you can. Your LinkedIn will probably contain identical information to your resume, but it shows that you are computer-savvy and showcases your prior performance (if you have recommendations – see above).

5) What not to include: hobbies and references. In today’s job market, nobody has extra time to read about what you do for fun. They want to know how you can contribute to their company, and that is it. Also, do not include references. Frequently, resumes are posted on sites such as CareerBuilder and Monster, and your references probably do not want their name and contact information online for the world to see. If an employer wants to check up on you, they will ask you to provide references after they take a look at the resume.

This is a general guideline of what you should include on your resume, but since everyone’s situation is different, it is best to consult a professional resume service when it comes to these matters. Remember, you only have one shot to impress potential employers, so make sure that your resume contains only the essential and powerful information required to “sell” you and your skills to companies.

By Drew Roark