The first section is the resume header with your contact information. This is more an element of the resume design than anything else. It includes your full name, phone number, and links to portfolio pages such as your LinkedIn profile. It is placed at the very top of your resume.
Next is the resume summary or resume objective. This section is a short description of your key skills and professional experience. It’s extremely short and snappy, and it’s meant to be an overview of the rest of your resume.
The skills section usually follows the resume summary. This section is a list of your most important skills that directly relate to the job you are applying to. Look to include a mix of hard skills, and soft skills. These skills are derived from your professional experience, or from certifications and education.
Next is your work experience section. This includes job titles you held, the company name where you worked, your dates of employment, and a few highlights from each previous position. Other types of work history, including volunteer experience and internships, can be included if they display skills that are relevant to the job you want. Jobs are in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent experience listed first.
Then comes your education section. Here you should list your highest education credential (e.g., college or high school degree). You can also include certifications and relevant coursework.
You may also want to add optional resume sections, such as extracurricular activities, awards, or personal interests. They’re not required, but if you don’t have a lot of experience or education to include, as recent graduates often don’t, these optional sections can help fill out your resume. Just remember that all the information you provide should have a bearing on the job you want.
The five main categories — header, summary/objective, skills, work experience, and education — all need to be in each resume you write. This is even true for people like career changers and recent graduates, who may not have a lot of work experience to include. Even for an entry-level resume, these sections are important to add. If you feel like your resume is pretty light after filling out these sections, consider filling it out with optional sections for extracurricular activities, awards, and hobbies.
Remember also that a cover letter is another important part of a job application and can put you in front of other job seekers. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience with cover letters, the ResumeHelp cover letter builder can help you create one more easily.
Although you can create a dedicated section for resume accomplishments, it’s typically considered best to scatter them throughout your resume. You can include them in job descriptions in the work experience section and in the resume summary.
No. The general career advice is that you should list work experience that’s less than 10 years old and relevant to what you’re applying to. However, remember that you can create ways to connect seemingly unrelated experience. If you’re applying to be a paralegal, for example, you may be able to include experiences and skills when you were a summer librarian. Both jobs are very detail-oriented and often require organizational skills.
When it comes to education, the prevailing wisdom is to include all college experience, but only include high school experience if you have no college experience. Additionally, don’t include your GPA, but do include graduation honors like cum laude. You may be able to include certifications in the education section as well.