The Standard Resume Sections

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Regardless of the resume type you use, most resumes have four standard resume sections.

  • Contact Information
  • Objective
  • Work Experience
  • Education

These sections display vital information about you, your work history, your education and your work ethic. They also show your value to a potential employer. Presented correctly, the resume sections you include, what information you place in them and how well you write them affects whether you receive interview opportunities.

In addition, certain types of resumes have additional sections included. A functional resume, for example, could include either of the following sections depending on your goals and experiences.

  • Summary of Qualifications (aka Profile)
  • Skills

Contact Information resume section

In the Contact Information section of your resume, the following details are included:

  • Your full name
  • Address (including a permanent address if you have a temporary school address-list both)
  • Phone number(s) to contact you
  • Professional-sounding email address (i.e., avoid using something like young_babe@gmail.com)

In addition, you can also include your LinkedIn profile information or a website URL if you have a personal website.

Formatting the Contact Information resume section is really a matter of personal preference, but stick to the guidelines of basic resume formatting to keep it looking professional.

Objective resume section

The Objective resume section includes the name of the company you are applying to, the position you are applying for and a statement about how you can help a company meet its goals. This section is user centered. In other words, avoid making a statement that focuses on you or that sounds like you are trying to use the company to further your own career. Instead, get specific with the company name and its goals.

The Objective resume section is optional. The information commonly written within it also fits easily into your cover letter, so only use an objective section if you feel it adds to the quality of your resume.

Work Experience resume section

The Work Experience resume section appears on every resume. How the information is presented varies, however. You can list your work experiences by position, by company or by date. Regardless of how you list it, the following information is usually included for each experience:

  • Company/organization name
  • Company /organization name
  • Dates you worked for the company/organization
  • The title of your position
  • Your job responsibilities

In addition, you can include certain skills that were utilized at a particular job. This is often done when the job you are applying for is very different from your past experiences. When listing skills, try to make a connection between the skills you used and the requirements/responsibilities of the job for which you are applying.

Education resume section

The Education resume section appears in all resume types. In this section, you want to list the highest degree you have obtained first, with other degrees following in reverse order of when you achieved them. Include the following information for each degree:

  • Name of the school/institution you attended
  • Date you graduated (or expected graduation date if you are a current student)
  • Degree level (Associate’s’, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate)
  • Degree field (business administration, behavioral psychology)
  • Minor (if applicable)
  • Your GPA (This is not mandatory, but it is suggested to include this unless your GPA is below 3.0.)

If you have not obtained a college degree, list coursework or certifications you have completed when they apply. However, only include information that is relevant to the position for which you are applying. Do not list your high school information unless it is the highest education you have achieved.

Summary of Qualifications or Profile resume section

A Summary of Qualifications or Profile resume section is used to draw attention to specific skills or qualifications that are relevant to a position for which you are applying. This section is optional, and its use largely depends on the field you are entering. In scientific fields, for example, highlighting your skills at the top of your resume is a good idea. Make sure to tailor the information you include to the position for which you are applying.

This resume section can take two forms: paragraph or bullet list. If you use paragraph form, keep the statement to three or four sentences maximum. Likewise, keep the number of bullet points somewhere between three and five. Label the information as “Summary of Qualifications” when using paragraph form, and label it “Profile” when using a bullet list.

Example:

Summary of Qualifications

Over 10 years of experience in an office environment, including providing resolutions to challenges with creative solutions that increase employee and customer satisfaction, employee efficiency and company profit margins.

Profile:

  • 10+ years of experience in professional office environment
  • Improved customer and employee satisfaction by 40% (surveyed results)
  • Increased individual store profits by more than 30% in over 20 stores
  • Implemented new employee training programs
  • Raised employee retention rates by 25% over a 3-year period

Skills resume section

Including a Skills resume section depends on the type of resume you are creating. A functional resume, for example, would focus on a Skills section where your skills fall across multiple work experiences and are transferable to the position you are seeking. Generally, you want to break a Skills section into three distinct skill sets; although, using only two is acceptable as well. For a management position, the following three skill sets could be utilized:

  1. Supervision
  2. Administration
  3. Customer Service

Under each skill set, list at least three skills that fall under each set. You could include more, but avoid exceeding five in an effort to keep your resume brief, to the point and easily scannable.

What resume sections you include in your resume depend on both the type of resume you choose, the position for which you are applying and your experiences. In addition to the common sections laid out here, there are additional resume sections that can give your resume a boost, so always carefully consider what information you want to present as it relates to each specific job for which you are applying.

Putting the right information in all resume sections and presenting it in a way that best highlights your strengths makes your resume more noticeable. To get your resume noticed, you must have the basic knowledge of what each section entails.