If you’re job hunting, it is vital that you have a dynamic, well-crafted resume that shows off all of your best features and downplays any liabilities. Think of your resume like an advertisement for yourself. This is your opportunity to talk yourself up and let any potential employers know what you bring to the table. Sites like Hloom have downloadable resumes that are easy to fill out, so if you’re out of work, don’t delay. Start crafting your resume, and make sure that it contains these four essential elements.

Education

Unless you’re applying for an entry level fast food job, your potential employers will be taking a hard look at your education. Whether you have a Bachelor’s, a Master’s, or a Doctorate, you’ll want to have it on there, along with your G.P.A. and your areas of study. This is especially important if your degrees have to do with the job for which you are applying. However, even if that isn't the case, just showing that you finished college, or got multiple degrees, is a reliable indicator that you have work ethic and can function in a professional setting.

Professional Experience

You need to have a detailed work history on your resume, and if you held previous positions that relate to the ones for which you are applying, so much the better. If there was an extended period that you were out of work, be ready to explain what you were doing over those months or years, as you can be sure that your interviewer will ask about them. If your work history does not have very much to do with the job for which you are applying, that might impede your employment, or it might not. That will depend on many factors, including how badly the company needs to fill the position and if any other candidates are obviously more qualified. Be ready to make a good case for yourself if your qualifications are a little shaky.

Skills

Your skill set could be related to your previous positions with other companies, but not necessarily. You should be selective here. If you have skills of which you’re proud, there’s nothing wrong with that, but if they won’t be of use to you in the position for which you’re applying, then you probably shouldn’t mention them, or you should downplay them. You’re trying to emphasize whatever on the resume will make you seem the most attractive to an interviewer or hiring manager.

Contact Information

It seems basic and obvious that your contact information should be complete and free of errors, but you’d be surprised how many applicants forget that phone number or email address. All of your contact information should be front and center on your resume in bold lettering, preferably in a different font from the rest of the document. You want to be sure that the company will have no trouble finding you if they're going to offer you the position.  

With these vital elements of your resume covered, you should be ready to dress up in your finest and go on some interviews. Have your best smile and a firm handshake ready, and remember the adage, you only get one chance to make that all-important first impression.