For those who have just graduated last month or in the middle of the year, I can already feel your apprehensions. That impending doom of sending out your resume to as many relevant companies as you can, with the hope of getting at least one reply or offer of employment. Okay, I may have stretched the drama of it all a bit but in all seriousness; writing a good resume is no joking manner.

*Disclaimer: This article is not directed merely to fresh graduates, but to those seeking new employment opportunities elsewhere as well.*

Over the years, I have gone through plenty of draft resumes and several interviews while applying for jobs. From these experiences, I have come to realise 5 key aspects that often catch potential employers’ attention.

Here are the 5 must-haves in your resume:

1. Contact Information

Before you call on Captain Obvious, you would be surprised at how often something as simple as contact information can be unintentionally left out. Ensure you provide your phone number, e-mail and home address for your potential employer to contact you. Admittedly, I have left out my home address once when I applied for a tuition job. Sometimes there is no such as thing as being too pedantic; especially where your potential career is concerned.

2. Experience

If you were a business owner, you would market your product extremely well in order to get that dream income rolling in. So, please view your resume as a marketing piece as well. You’re basically selling your skills and capabilities to a potential employer. Use your resume to showcase relevant (this is very important) experiences related to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to a tuition school, do not add experience working in a coffee shop.

Furthermore, do not share accomplishments or interests that are completely irrelevant to the job you are applying for. Honestly, they probably couldn’t care less about you having been the president of Guitar Club in high school.

3. Numbers

I know I said phone numbers are important but that’s not what I’m talking about here. In order to attract the attention of a potential employer, it would help tremendously if you provided real data to quantify what you have accomplished in your past experiences. Consider these two examples to understand my point:

  • “managed staff and handled the department budget”
  • “oversaw 10 employees and managed a $1 million budget while reducing operating expenses by 5% over the course of 3 years”

4. Skills

Almost every job will require you to have a certain set of basic skills, so do not leave your potential employer wondering whether you could handle the tasks ahead. For example, if you applied for a teaching position at a school, you should list out what sort of key activities you’ve come up with that aided in boosting children’s interest in the subject; which in turn improved their grade as well.

5. Titles

This is it. This – is your time to shine. Do not gloss over your past jobs with generic job titles. Try to be descriptive, yet accurate at the same time. Instead of simply listing “Public Relations Assistant” on your resume, which leaves potential employers possibly closing their eyes on your resume, be more detailed by listing “In-House Writer and Event Coordinator”. If you are unsure of how to spin off your former job position’s title, search for how other companies describe similar positions. Of course, do not write a title that is too general or far-fetched like “Food transporter” when your job description is supposed to be “Waitress”.

Bottom Line

Just like a first date, first impressions matter. While your resume is only the starting point in getting a job, a good resume is your “ticket” to getting into the next round of the hiring process. Do take your time (but not too much time) in creating a resume that demonstrates your understanding of the hiring company’s needs. Finally, do not forget to do your best to accurately describe your relevant background and achievements.