Guidelines for What to Include in a Resume

resume with magnifying glass
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When you are writing a resume, there are a number of resume formats you can choose, including chronological, functional, and targeted resumes. However, regardless of the format you select, there are certain guidelines that most resumes should follow.

Here's information on what to include in your resume, as well as what shouldn't be listed on your resume. There are also guidelines for resume length, font, and page margins.

What to Include in Your Resume

Here's some information that you should be sure to include on your resume:


Objective (Optional)

  • This section is optional. If you decide to include a resume objective, keep it concise and specific; state your desired job or field, and what you hope to accomplish in that field.

Profile (Optional)

  • Another optional section is a resume profile, which includes a summary of your skills, experiences, and goals written specifically for a job posting.


Here's more information on what to include and how to format a resume education section.

  • Include the degrees you have received in reverse chronological order (with the most recent degree listed first).
  • Be sure to include the name of each institution, its location, and your date of graduation (or expected date of graduation).
  • When applicable, include your major/minor fields, as well as your GPA and any honors, publications, and projects.
  • Unless you are a current high school student, do not include your high school degree.


Here is more information on the experience section of a resume, including what to list, and how to format it.

  • Include your work experience in reverse chronological order (with the most recent degree listed first).
  • This section can include jobs, internships, and volunteer work. High school students might also include clubs and sports teams when applicable.
  • Include the name of the company, the position, and dates of employment.
  • List roughly three important tasks, accomplishments, or skills gained at each job. Use action verbs to describe your achievements; avoid passive phrases such as responsible for and duties include.

Skills (Optional)

Here's information on the skills section of a resume.

  • Include any computer systems with which you are proficient, particularly if they are related to the position for which you are applying.
  • Include foreign languages with which you are familiar; state both the language and your level of familiarity (beginning, intermediate, proficient, fluent).
  • List any other skills you have that relate to the job but are not included elsewhere in your resume.

Volunteer Work (Optional)

  • You can include a volunteer experience section to convey your leadership, communication skills, etc. List the name of the organization, the dates of your volunteer work, and your achievements.

Hobbies and Interests (Optional)

  • You can also include a section on your hobbies and interests if they relate to the position. For example, if you are applying to work at a sporting goods store, you can include your passion for basketball.

Resume Writing Guidelines

Resume Length

Your resume should be as concise as possible; two pages is typically the maximum length, but one page is preferable if you can fit your credentials on a single page. Here's more about resume length and how long your resume should be. If you need to get your resume on a single page, here's how to tighten it up and gain extra space.

Review Examples:

Font and Size

Do not use ornate fonts that are difficult to read. Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or a similar font is best. Your font size should be between 10 and 12, points although your name and the section headings can be a little larger and/or bold. Here's how to select a font for your resume.

Page Margins

The standard page margins in word processing programs (1" margins on the top, bottom, and left and right sides of the page) work for most resumes. However, if you need to tighten the margins to reduce the length of your resume, it's fine to reduce the margins to a 1/2" on the sides and top and bottom.


However, you decide to organize the sections of your resume, be sure to keep each section uniform. For example, if you put the name of one company in italics, every company name must be in italics. If you bold one job title, bold them all.

Information to Avoid

You don't need to include personal information such as birthday, height, weight, marital status, children, etc., on your resume.


Be sure to edit your resume before sending it. Check spelling, grammar, tenses, names of companies and people, etc. Have a friend or career services counselor check over your resume as well. Use this proofreading checklist to make sure your resume is perfect.

Resume Sample

This is an example of a resume. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a resume sample
 @ The Balance 2020

Resume Sample (Text Version)

Frederick Fixer
1234 Outback Ridge
Jackson, WY 83002
(123) 456-7890


Highly skilled Automotive Technician with 7 years’ experience in repair and maintenance of domestic and foreign automobiles.

  • Proven track record providing excellent service to automotive repair shop customers.
  • Outstanding work ethic and team building skills; willing to work overtime and flexible shifts.
  • ASE Certified Mechanic.

Ace Auto Repair, Jackson, WY
Automotive Technician / Mechanic, January 2020-Present
Skillfully diagnose and repair issues with domestic and Japanese import automobiles. Rebuild and repair engines, radiators, and water pumps; perform power system tear down and repair.

  • Created a process checklist to help train new hires and ensure consistency in automotive diagnostics and repair.
  • Ensured operational compliance with all state vehicle requirements and emissions control standards.

Johnson’s Auto Repair, Idaho Falls, ID
Auto Mechanic, June 2016-December 2019
Inspected vehicles to identify, resolve, and fix damage and malfunctions. Installed new parts and systems; operated pneumatic and air compression tools.

  • Pursued continuing education in rising engine safety and emissions control regulations and technologies.

Howard Brothers Construction, Idaho Falls, ID

Laborer, June 2014-June 2016
Concurrent with education, worked on residential construction projects as a framer. Utilized hand and power tools; operated backhoes and mini excavators.

  • Maintained perfect attendance record.


Advanced Technical Certificate in Automotive Technology, 2016
College of Eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls, ID
ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) Certified

More Resume Resources

Resume SamplesIt's always helpful to review sample resumes to get ideas for your resume and to see what a properly formatted resume should look like. Here are sample resumes for a variety of occupations, types of jobs, levels of jobs, and resume formats to review to get ideas for your own resume.

Resume TemplatesUse these resume templates as a starting point for creating your own resume. Add your information to the resume template, then tweak and edit it to personalize your resume, so it highlights your skills and abilities as related to the jobs for which you are applying.

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