Although formatting is important, a resume’s content is critical. There is a number of key pieces of information every resume needs to contain. No matter how pretty, without these, a resume isn’t complete.
Contact Information: Your resume needs to make it easy to find you. It should have your name, address and phone number, at an absolute minimum. I would also strongly suggest you have an email address. Finally, providing multiple phone numbers, home, work and cell, is usually preferred.
Education: Any degrees you hold should be listed, with the degree, major, school, city and state. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, listing your high school graduation/GED is a good idea.
Work Experience: You need to provide all of your current positions. How far back you go isn’t always clear cut. New college grads should list all their job since they have little employment history. Experienced professionals should list all the jobs from college on, although positions held more than 20 years ago can be omitted.
For the positions listed, you need to provide your employer, job title, location, starting date, ending date, key responsibilities and your accomplishments. Hiring managers want to see both months and years for the dates. Many people with gaps in their employment only list the years for each position. I do not recommend this. Most hiring managers will assume the worst if you don’t provide the detail. If you do have a gap that you are worried about, the are ways to explain this in either your cover letter or resume.
If you provide the information listed above, your resume will cover the basics. There is a lot of additional information you may consider. Look at the job description you are pursuing. The requirements for the position will tell you what information the hiring manager will want to see. If there is a requirement not covered above, such as a technical skill or foreign language, add a section to resume to provide this information.