5 Must-Have Resume Sections (And 3 Optional Ones)

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What are your career goals in 2020? A well-written resume can help you reach them. It’s a critical document in every job search, and for some people that’s intimidating. That’s why we’ve created an easy-to-follow template that will work for almost any position. Here are the basic sections every resume needs, along with many of the optional categories that can help get your foot in the door.

Always Include These Resume Sections

Make your resume visually appealing and simple to understand so employers can see what you offer at a glance. Use easy-to-read font, high-quality paper and consistent formatting. Here’s what every resume should include.

The Header

The top section of your resume should include your full name and all of your contact information. Use large letters for your name, then list your name, phone number, cell phone number and email address. Including your physical address or social media handles is optional. Avoid using your current work email address on a resume, and make sure the email address you do provide makes a good first impression.

Summary/Objective

In this section, briefly communicate what you’re looking for and why you’re the best pick. Start with an objective statement that includes the job title you’re applying for. Then state two or three of your top qualifications or most relevant skills. Conclude by letting the employer know what they stand to gain by choosing you.

Education Section

This resume block is pretty straightforward. Start with your highest completed degree and work backward. If you earned a college degree, you don’t need to list your high school diploma.

Include the type of degree you earned, your major and minor, and the name of the school from which you received your degree. If you received academic honors, list those as well.

List licenses and certifications in much the same way. State the name of your certification, the institution from which you received it, the date you became licensed or certified and applicable location information. For example, if you’re only licensed or certified in a certain state or region, clarify where you can use that education or qualification.

Work Experience

Again, start with your most recent job experience and work backward. Include this information for each entry:

  • Employer name
  • Your job title
  • Dates employed
  • Job tasks and responsibilities

Under each employer, highlight your achievements using data wherever possible. If you increased sales by 15 percent, reduced marketing costs by $3,000 a year or saved 100 man-hours every month, let that hard evidence speak in your favor.

Skills

Employers are looking for candidates who already possess the skills the position requires. They’re looking for abilities like problem solving, teamwork, organization, flexibility and strong time management. Evaluate your strengths and make a list, then revisit the skills section of your resume every time you apply for a job.

Look at the skills each employer lists on the job description. If you have those skills, make sure they’re on your list.

Optional Resume Sections

Almost all employers are looking for the above information on your resume. You also might want to include the following optional sections:

  • Awards
  • Volunteer work
  • Professional associations

How do you know whether or not you should include optional sections? Ask yourself how each relates to the position. Your first place award at the state chili cook-off doesn’t make you a more attractive candidate at a CPA firm, but it definitely counts if you’re applying to be the kitchen manager at a local restaurant. If you’re applying for a social worker position, your volunteer experience at that children’s summer camp says something about your heart.

When your hobbies or professional associations show you’re more qualified, connected or passionate, include them on your resume. If they aren’t connected to the position for which you’re applying, leave them off.

More Job Resources

If you’re looking for East Texas jobs, we want to help. Find more resume tips in our online resources or browse our available positions today.

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