It’s that time. You’ve experienced one of the following things: you were recently laid-off from your job, you can’t stand where you work and you’re ready for a new position, or you are having a (potential) mid-life crisis and just want something different. That means it’s time to dust off your old resume and start applying for those new opportunities. If you haven’t written your resume in a while, you may have no idea where to begin. Read further for three items that you HAVE to include in the top portion of your new document.

First: You need to have a heading or several job titles listed. These can be descriptors of yourself or potential titles of new jobs. For example, You could say something like Marketing Professional and Sales Leader or Business Leadership | Marketing Management | Sales Guidance. The idea is that the instant someone sees your resume, he or she will know exactly the skill-set you are offering and types of jobs you are seeking.

Second: After the heading area, you HAVE to have a career summary. This takes place of the old and tired objective area. In the past, candidates would typically place a fluffy objective in that area that really didn’t provide any details on how the prospective employee was going to help the company. Instead, a career summary will provide a three-to-five line high-overview of the candidate and will utilize key words that align with the job opening.

Third: The last portion for the TOP of your document is a skills or areas of expertise section. This is the PERFECT place to highlight those abilities that directly correspond to the key words in the posting. It is VITAL that you match as many of these as possible so that you can get through the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) scanning software that is utilized on company websites.

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