It is time to write your resume. Where do you start? It is daunting to open a blank Word document and realize the document you are about to compose may win or lose you an interview opportunity.

Don’t let the pressure get you down. Although some trends may change, the main purpose of a resume remains the same. You need to sell yourself, highlight your credentials and prove you are a good fit for a company.

Here is a list of eight items to include as you begin:

  • Contact Information – Make it easy for a hiring manager to find you by including your full name, address, phone number and email. This is a good opportunity to evaluate your email address too. An outdated domain, an education-based address or an unprofessional username may lead to unfair assumptions. When in doubt, a new Gmail account is a safe bet.
  • Links to Career-Relevant Social Media Profiles – Be careful not to overdo these. However, if you have a great LinkedIn page and/or an online portfolio or blog, it is fine to list these. Be sure to use custom and short URLs so as not to clutter your document.
  • Title – What position are you looking for? Clarify this in your header. One study found recruiters spend an average of six seconds looking at a resume (Business Insider, 2014). Make the top count.
  • Skill Set – Read the job posting and highlight skills that relate directly to position. Also, it is important to emphasize soft skills that are difficult to incorporate in your professional history. Mention traits such as work ethic, positive attitude, flexibility and motivation.
  • Keywords From the Job Posting – Many recruiters are using online tools and searching for keywords to find candidates (S. News & World Report, 2016). Customize different versions of your resume to incorporate words that actually appear in the job description.
  • Professional History – Start by listing your current position, including dates. Use bullet points with action verbs to describe your responsibilities. Omit internships and college experiences unless you are newly graduated.
  • Metrics – Whenever possible avoid general statements and provide specific data points. For example, “Increased online sales by 35% in three months” is more impressive than “Improved online sales.”
  • Credentials and Certifications – List college degrees and certifications, as well as any continuing education as appropriate. With so many rapid changes in technology across all industries, it is important to show you are proactively staying up to date.

Are you looking for more job application and interview advice in the Charleston, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Tri-State or Teays Valley areas? Check out the United Talent post, Quick Tips for Getting Your Next Job.