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Although resume format and design may vary between industries, tenure, and personal preference, there are a few standard requirements for any resume that should never be overlooked.

This checklist, courtesy of the Southwest Search team, lists all the essentials that you must include in your resume if you are looking to stand out from the rest.

Check out the must-have items you must include on your resume below and some advice on best practices and tips from our recruiting team.

Check them out below!

Contact Information

You would be surprised at the number of resumes we receive where the individual’s contact information has been left off the resume. A postal address is not always necessary, but it’s a good idea to include a contact phone number and email address (a professional one – keep for your pals!)


Kick off your resume with a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) that highlights who you are and what you can offer. This is a great section to throw in a personal touch and offer the recruiter some insight into your personality or interests outside of your 9-5 as well.


For some, including any skills or certifications is a great way to stand out from other candidates. Examples include (Microsoft Tools, Tool Specific Experience or Certifications). Be sure to highlight these if the role you are applying for is looking for someone with experience in a specific tool.


One of the main purposes of your resume is to share your past work experience. List your previous roles in reverse chronological order, focusing on the last 10-15 years if your career spans longer than that. For each role, you must include the name of the company you worked at, the dates you worked there, the position you held and any responsibilities/ achievements while in that job.


When listing education, you should include the degree you completed, the college you attended and the year you graduated. Keep this portion short and simple.


Be sure you have proofread you resume to check for any spelling and grammatical errors. A good way to double check your resume is to print it off and read it to check in case you’ve missed anything. Also, try to avoid using slag on your resume and be sure to include plenty of “action verbs.”


Your resume should not cover more than 1-2 pages based on tenure. Be sure to include keywords throughout your text that are applicable to the job listed in case the company is using an ATS (applicant tracking system) so that it will pick them up.

Also, here is a recent article from our Southwest Search team on formatting your resume for success based on your tenure and career.

Let’s get started!

Are you looking to make a career change, but not sure where to start? Our recruiters at Southwest Search will not only help you land your next role, but we also provide resume advice, interview coaching and negotiations. Learn more about our team and why candidates choose Southwest Search for all their hiring needs.

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