Home > Resume Tips > 5 Simple Resume Must-Haves

5 Simple Resume Must-Haves

Asides from having a standard font and a clear format, your resume should have these 5 must-haves!

1) Have the right verb tenses.

For many, the common rule in writing is to keep the tenses the same.  Even when we have a conversation, we don’t suddenly switch from past tense to present.

Interestingly, that doesn’t always apply to resumes!  “Wait, why?” You may ask.  It’s good to keep the tenses the same, apart from two exceptions:

#1: You currently hold this job 


Feb. ’11 – Present    Microsoft Corporation, NY

Sales Coordinator

    • Processed Processing 100 orders daily to meet end-of-day sales review

#2: You currently hold this job, but you’re describing a role that you’ve already finished


Feb. ’11 – Present    Microsoft Corporation, NY

Sales Coordinator

    • Processing 100 orders daily to meet end-of-day sales review
    • Trained 5 new interns in the sales division



2) Save the creative email addresses for friends.

Does your current email address look something like this?


Showing your creativity and personality is great, but save that for the interview.  Don’t be the candidate an employer wants to contact, only to be discarded from consideration due to a non-professional email address.

Similarly, this also applies to emails you use for job search sites or job search tools, such as StartWire.  It’s simple to just create one professional email address for all employment search purposes.

What should you do? Use a combination of your first and last name, along with numbers.


3) Listen to your voicemail.

Many people list their cellular number as a reference for employers to reach them.  What they forget to double check and re-record is the casual and maybe amusing voicemail previously recorded for their friends.

We all get moments where we can’t take the call or fail to hear our ringtones.  If an employer were calling, he’d be redirected to leave a voicemail, so make sure your voicemail leaves a good first impression.

Don’t let your amusing voicemail be the deal breaker!

What should you do?State that the caller has reached [your full name] and that you’ll be in contact as soon as possible.  Example: “Hi.  This is [first and last name].  I’m unable to take your call at this moment.  Please leave your name, number, and a brief message.  I will contact you as soon as possible. Thanks.”


4) Show/Describe/Quantify.  Don’t just state your skills.

Employers and recruiters shuffle through countless of resumes.  They are used to seeing “excellent communication skills” and “diligent worker”.  Instead of saying it, try showing it.

When you’re convincing a friend to go to the movies, you wouldn’t say:

“It’s a good movie.  You should come.”  You would go into details to really convince him/her that it’s a must-see, “It’s action packed with a car chase scene that was filmed off Bay St.—a block from where you live!”

What should you do?

Avoid: Responsible for product marketing in field events

Use: Marketed company product to 1,500 customers at field events and sold 35% of monthly inventory


5) The right keywords make a difference

Before your resume even gets skimmed by a person, it might go through an Applicant Tracking System that only selects resumes due to specific keywords.  If your resume is missing those keywords, it won’t make it to an employer’s desk.

What should you do?  Look at the job posting and take relevant keywords from it.  The job posting is your biggest clue on what keywords the company’s applicant tracking system are looking for.  Read more about this on  The Two Sides of the Resume Black Hole

Categories: Resume Tips Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.