Whether you are applying for your first or nth job, whether you have been out of the job market for a substantial amount of time, or if you are simply looking to give your career a much-needed boost, your resume should work for you — not against you. You can ensure it works in your favor by making sure all the essential components of a resume are listed on your resume.

One of the key mistakes that most job applicants make is to stuff their resumes with unnecessary details. Remember, the people who are going to look at your resume are going to pore through a high volume of applications. As such, you need your resume to stand out against the competition and catch the recruiter’s attention. How do you do that?

The most important thing to remember here is to remove the unnecessary and highlight the essential components of a resume. What are these?

Resume summary

Instead of putting a resume objective, put a resume summary statement instead. This statement should briefly summarize all the pertinent details that the recruiter has to know about you professionally. Essentially, it should encapsulate everything that makes you a right fit for the organization you are applying for.

Professional skills

If you have been employed for two to five years you can highlight your career experience under the headline of “Core Competencies.” On the other hand, if you are already a seasoned veteran, you can use the headline “Professional Skills.” And if you are applying for a technical position, the headline Technical Competencies” is more apt.

Educational highlights

Under this heading, list down the institution/s you have attended, along with the dates and degrees and certifications you have achieved. If you have continued your studies or received additional training, this is the best place to highlight these.


Instead of putting too much focus on your past duties and job descriptions, concentrate on highlighting your past accomplishments. Remember to include the names of your past employers, job title, years of employment, contributions and results you have achieved.

Making your resume your own

The aforementioned sections apply for most job seekers. However, you can add a few more sections or details that will allow you to highlight your other important qualifications. For example, if you are eyeing a management position, you can mention the activities that reflect your leadership qualities. If you have made noteworthy achievements or earned awards or distinctions, you can highlight these in a different section in your resume.

If you are unsure if a particular element needs to be included in your resume, put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter and ask, “So what?”