Essential Elements of a Winning Resume

Essential Elements of a Winning Resume

A well-prepared resume has the potential to set you apart from others competing for the same job. It is the first impression you make on your potential employer and it needs to be polished and professional. There are essential elements that make up a great resume. These details are sure to capture the attention of any hiring manager.

Proper Formatting

The layout of your resume is extremely important. If it appears messy or unorganized, it will be less likely to get positive attention from employers. Choose a standard font like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Use a font size of 12-14. Use bold and italics sparingly. Using ample white space in between sections will keep the resume airy and help the reader quickly spot the key information.

Accurate Contact Information

Your contact information should placed prominently in the header and includes your name, address, email address, and telephone numbers. Make sure these are accurate. Prospective employers may contact you via email but might decide to call. If the contact information is wrong, that excellent opportunity could slip away.

A Clear Job Objective

Your job objective should focus solely on the position you are applying for and should be kept relatively short (two or three sentences). It should explain what you can bring to the position and the type of contribution you hope to make in your future role. It should also mention any relevant qualifications that you possess.

Relevant Experience

The resume should focus on relevant jobs and highlight any achievements. Don’t just list experience, focus on accomplishments. Use concrete examples of improvement for past organizations or successful projects you worked on.


Include your education, any certifications earned, vocational training, and continuing education. If you have recently graduated, include details about your college or university. Don’t forget to include any awards or commendations you received as well as any relevant coursework.

Specific Skills

In any job search, employers look for specific skills and competencies related to the role. It is important to be honest: if you don't possess a skill listed in the job post, leave it off your resume. Provide your best skills, however, and make sure they are clear.


Accompany your resume with a list of at least three references. Make sure to include the name, contact details, job title, and affiliation of the person you are listing. Inform the people you are listing as references that you are adding them to your resume and that a prospective employer might contact them.

Cover Letter

Completing the package is a great cover letter targeted towards your future employer. Make sure your cover letter is compelling, well-written, and accurately reflects who you are. Talk about the hiring company and show your knowledge and enthusiasm for the position. Be certain all the information on your resume and cover letter matches.

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