Resumes should be concise and, ideally, no more than a page long, but you don’t want to leave important information out, either. That’s why it’s important to have the right resume structure.
Some resume headers are essential, while others just waste valuable space. So, let’s take a look at the resume headers you must include and the ones you should forget about. We’ll also include resume header examples, so you can use this article as a resume header template.
Don’t label your resume “Resume” — the recruiter already knows what it is, so you’re just wasting space. Instead, make your name the document title or first header, and then include your contact details underneath.
That said, you should definitely include “resume” as well as your full name in the document file name.
This is your chance to give a quick overview of who you are, why you’re applying for the job and what makes you a good choice. Try to use metrics or achievements when describing your skills and background. You should also work on key phrases from the job listing.
As a Shop Manager with three years of experience in a high-street store, I’m looking for a more challenging role in the luxury goods market. With a proven track record of boosting sales by 150% over the last twelve months, I am a strong salesperson and have excellent communication skills.
Use this section to detail the technical and soft skills you have that make you a good fit for the job. Ideally, you’ll mention points from the job listing and back them up with metrics and achievements. Aim for around four to eight skills, each with its own bullet point. For example:
- Written communication skills: rewrote company landing page leading to an 80% increase in sign-ups
For some jobs, you may wish to divide the skill section into two parts. For example, if you’re applying for a translator role, and you speak five languages, it would be worth adding a languages section as well as a more general skills section. Similarly, programmers might have a programming languages header, and graphic designers might opt for a software section.
When choosing whether to divide your skills section into two parts, ask yourself: are these skills highly relevant to the role? Is there a clear distinction between the two types of skills? And are there enough of each type of skill that it makes sense to have two sections?
Also called career history or professional experience, the work history section goes into the details of your past roles and responsibilities. You don’t need to include every job you’ve ever had, however, especially if you’ve been in the workforce a long time. Stick to the roles that are recent and/or relevant.
When listing roles, include your job title, the company name and the start and end months and years. For the most important roles, you should add a bullet point list describing your responsibilities and achievements. Try to also include key phrases from the job listing where relevant. For example:
Accountant, N&R Accountants, March 2018 — January 2022
- Worked on P&L statements, balance sheets, audits and tax reports
- Reduced clients’ annual tax bills by up to 17% by advising them on deductibles
If you have limited relevant work experience, you might want to move the education section above your work history. For example, this could apply to you if you’re a new graduate or looking to change careers to something more in line with your major. Otherwise, keep the education section below your work history.
Your education section should be brief. There’s no need to include your GPA unless you recently graduated and your GPA was 3.5 or above. If you graduated from college, you don’t need to include your high school certificate, either.
For example: Master of Arts in Corporate Communication, GPA: 3.9, 2021 The City University of New York
Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies, 2019 Fayetteville State University
If you have multiple certifications or licences that are relevant to the role in question, it’s worth creating a section for them. However, if you only have one certification, either include it in the education or skills sections.
Again, if you have multiple relevant affiliations, you can create a section for them. Alternatively, you can include them in the professional summary if you think they are important enough.
Your contact details need to be on your resume. They don’t, however, need a header. You can just list them under your name. Make sure you include your phone number, email address and any relevant links, e.g. to a personal website or portfolio. Don’t include your address, date of birth or photo.
There’s no need to include your references on your resume, or even that single sentence: “References available upon request.” Recruiters and HR managers will decide if and when they want to see references, so skip this section to save precious space.
Do your hobbies demonstrate your aptitude for the job in question? If so, you can work them into the Skills, Certifications or Affiliations sections. If not, they don’t need to be on your resume.
As interesting as they may be, no recruiter will change their mind and invite you to the next stage of the applicant just because of your hobbies. And if the interviewer really does want to know about your interests, they can ask you in the interview.
You’ve worked hard and gained valuable experience as a volunteer or an intern, and this should definitely go on your resume. However, it doesn’t need its own section. Include all internships and voluntary roles in the work history section instead. After all, that’s where the recruiter will look to learn more about your professional experience.
You have just seconds to impress a recruiter with your resume, so it’s important to include all the right information.
Our resume builder will help you decide how to structure your resume based on your experience level and qualifications. It will also suggest recruiter-approved phrasing, skills and more.
We have over 2 million resume templates that will launch you to job-hunting success.
It takes just minutes to customize them to the job in question and your background. What’s more, they’re all ATS machine-readable, so your resume will look as good to a computer as it will to a job interviewer.
So, what are you waiting for? Start building your resume today.