The core components of any resume are:

  • Contact information: full name, address, phone, email, and website, if applicable.
  • Executive summary: this section should be approximately 50 words that provide a snapshot of your special industry and technical skills, as well as hard-to-find competencies and niche expertise (e.g., “able to deal with ambiguity,” or “expert in innovation management”).
  • Experience: list your employers, positions held, primary responsibilities, and promotions in reverse chronological order. Where necessary, explain your reasons for leaving.
  • Key accomplishments: This is the “heart” of a resume and focuses on very specific, even quantifiable, results you have achieved. Organize your accomplishments in categories relating to your job function, such as “Business Development,” “Project and Team Management” or “Media Relations.”
  • Education: List the highest degree you have attained first, with the area of study, institution, year of graduation, and any honors you received or special academic programs you pursued.
  • Professional associations, awards, and publications: Include these details only if they reflect your standing in your field.
  • Languages: Proficiency in multiple languages can give you an advantage. Do not overstate your abilities, however. Specify your skill level in writing and speaking, and indicate whether you are comfortable in either a social or business context, or both.

Determining how much emphasis to place on these elements should be based on your work history. If you’ve worked at the same company or held one position for a long time, you might need to structure your resume differently from someone who has progressed steadily up the ladder. There are plenty of resources about building great resumes, online and in print, that you can refer to for more guidance.

* Information courtesy Korn/Ferry.