Guide to Resume Sections This Year

Get to know the major sections of your resume, and how you should best present them with ResumeHelp’s advice & tips! Keep reading to learn more about resumes!


Resume Sections

When creating a resume, one of the first things you’ll typically do is break it up into multiple sections. Each section will include specific types of information, and showcase them to recruiters depending on what experiences and skills you have. Here’s what you need to know about each section of a resume.

What Resume Sections Are Most Important?

There are typically five required parts of a resume, with the possibility of optional sections.

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.

Resume Section Order

How should you structure your resume? It mostly depends on the resume format. The chronological format emphasizes work history. On the other hand, the functional resume emphasizes skills and education. The combination resume focuses on work history and skills.  
For more help getting your resume into the right format, use a resume builder. The ResumeHelp resume builder provides professional templates and step-by-step advice for writing and organizing a resume, and our resume examples for specific jobs can help you create a resume that makes a hiring manager stop and pay attention.

How To Personalize Resume Sections to Your Experience

Personalizing your resume for the specific job you’re interested in is always top priority.. If the job description mentions problem-solving or specific computer skills, include these skills in your resume if you have them, and give examples in your work experience section of how you’ve used them.
If you don’t have a lot of experience, consider using the functional format, which devotes more space to skills and training you do have. This is also an opportunity to include some of the extra sections we list above, if they showcase abilities that match the job. 
Action verbs are also incredibly important here. The best resume reflects back the information you’re seeing throughout your job search while also adding your own flair to them. Use the action verbs to turn qualities like “Detail-oriented” into verbs and actions like “Filed hundreds of files per day with a 99.96% error-free rate.”

FAQ: Resume Sections

Q: Do I need all of these sections on my resume?

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.

Q: Where can I include accomplishments on my resume?

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.

Q: Do I need to list all of my work experience and education?

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.

Guide to Resume Sections This Year

Move your resume to the top of the yes pile!


We personalize your experience.

We use cookies in our website to ensure we give you the best experience, get to know our users and deliver better marketing. For this purpose, we may share the information collected with third parties. By clicking “Allow cookies” you give us your consent to use all cookies. If you prefer to manage your cookies click on the “Manage cookies” link below.

Manage Cookies