This post is part of Accidental Recruiter series.

Today we’ll look at commonly used sections in a resume, also commonly called “Curriculum vitae” and discuss what to include and what not to include in a resume to maximize your chances to get to the interview.

Please note that I’ll be looking from a software developer standpoint, so some points may not apply if you’re working in another field. However, most stuff should be general enough.

Self-sufficient

First of all, a good resume should be self-sufficient. That means it should make sense even if taken outside of application context. Include enough basic info like your name, phone, email and ways to contact you, links to whatever online resources that may help reaching out to you.

Location, availability and language abilities could be helpful, depending on what is expected by the position you’re applying to.

Do not include irrelevant stuff in resume header, like posession of driving license for a remote job, or your beginner skill in paragliding. These might be placed in “hobbies/about me” sections however to complete your image.

Your resume will likely be forwarded just as a single file, without any other info you might have provided when submitting your application. If it doesn’t have a name and ways to contact you on it, there are essentialy no chances to pass inital stage.

Work experience

The single most important section is a list of periods you have been working professionally on things related to the company you are applying to.

It has so many simple but subtle things most people don’t get right, it deserves a separate super-detailed post about it.

In short, provide enough data about your past positions to convince your potential employer that you have skills and experience important to them (not you!) and can bring tangible value to the business.

About yourself

Including one or two short paragraphs describing you from both professional and personal perspectives makes it easier to imagine you as a person or potential coworker. List things you are interested in, areas you are passionate about, hobbies and things you do just for fun.

Show how you fit into your potential employer team and culture. This section is the perfect place to put in a self-deprecating joke, if you are into that thing :-)

This section might be at the top or at the bottom of the resume. Try to keep it short and sweet.

Education

Include universities or colleges you’ve attended and/or graduated from. Put years on these. Do not include high schools unless it is a special high school which provides some valuable experience in your field.

If you can, briefly describe major research projects you participated in, and your role in said projects. This is especially good if your projects are relevant to the job you want to get.

Skills/Other skills

Have any other skills not higlighted in work experience? That’s the best section for those. Bonus points for elaborating how you used them in the past.

Projects

List open source and hobby projects here. Avoid obviously “toy” projects that might come across as too “junior”. For example, don’t add a “tic-tac-toe” game to a senior developer resume.

“Objective”

This is quite a common section that goes like this:

To get a new career that helps me grow, learn, sharpen my skills and maximize my knowledge.

Do not include this kind of stuff. Ever. This section is often included as the very first section and almost automatically moves your resume to the trash.

You see, this is about what you want from the company. This comes across as an intent to take advantage of the company, instead of contributing to the mutual success.

While it is a good idea to have a clear and concrete objective for your job search (I’ll be writing about that in a separate post), you’d better keep your egocentric statements to yourself. Focus on providing value to the company instead.

Want to learn more about how to increase your chances of getting through resume filters? Read more on my post series Accidental Recruiter.

Future posts will cover:


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