Resume Sections And Headings
Employers often have mere seconds to look at a resume. They simply don’t have the time to go through bullet point by bullet point to get a complete understanding of you and your entire work history.
How can you ensure the most critical information on your resume is getting seen?
By using sections and headings to make your resume easier to read.
Having the right sections and headings helps to give your resume structure, making you appear organised and professional. They also help to highlight the most important information and guide your future employer’s eyes, so they read what you want them to read.
Now, some headings and categories may be obvious, like your education and work history.
But what about those other headings?
Like what’s a resume objective? And how do you know what order it should be in? What font size should it be?!
Helvetica or Helvetica bold!?
Ok after freaking out with questions then looking at cute pictures of cats to calm yourself down, read the rest of this blog to get all the resume section and heading answers you’re looking for!
We’ll tell you:
- What resume sections to include
- What goes in the different resume sections
- How to format resume section, headings and descriptions
- What order the sections should be in the resume.
- And how to tailor resume sections to your desired job and your experience
The cat is about to be let out of the bag.
Section Heading Size and Font
Start by picking a simple and standard font to use for the entirety of your resume.
Go to fonts should be:
- Times New Roman
Your font size should also stay consistent throughout your resume, including headings, so pick a font size between 10 and 12 and stick with it. The only exception is your name, which should be slightly larger than the rest of the text on your resume with a font size of 12 to 14.
You’re probably thinking, “If your section headings are the same size font as the rest of your resume, how will you be able to tell the difference between each section?”
Ah, yes. I remember when I was a young resume kitten asking the same thing.
But now as a wise Resume Cat, I can tell you the answer is boldface text.
To make your section headings stand out, write them in bold! You can even underline them too.
Now, you could make your section headings a larger font, but that will take up more space on your resume. And with only one page to demonstrate that you are paw-sitively the one for the job, you’ll need every bit of it.
So using boldface and underline text for your headings will clearly define each section without wasting space.
If you still need help with your font, check out our blog on Choosing The Right Font For Your Resume.
Sections And Headings
Now we’ll go through section by section, telling you what the headings should be, what goes in each section, and how to format them.
Name And Contact Info
No matter what job you are applying for or what experience you have, your name and contact info go at the top.
You want to make sure whoever is reading your resume knows whose it is and how to contact you. If your name and contact info aren’t readily available, your resume is getting tossed into the litter box immediately.
So at the top of your resume, include:
- Your name
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Mailing address (optional)
- Link to online portfolio (if required/relevant)
Formatting Your Contact Information
Your name should be at the very top and in a slightly larger font- 12 to 14 font size (as mentioned earlier).
Beneath your contact info will follow in no particular order in a font size that matches the rest of your resume.
There are a couple of ways you can display your contact info:
Across the top:
John M. Catterson
firstname.lastname@example.org ⬤ (123)456-9876 ⬤ 39 Stark Dr. Bishopsgate, E1 6AN, England
Or in list form:
John M. Catterson
39 Stark Dr. Bishopsgate,
E1 6AN, England
Resume Objective or Summary
After your contact information, it can help to have a small section to give your employer a general idea of you, your career and your goals.
This can come in the form of either a resume objective or a resume summary.
Someone with a lot of experience in the field they are applying for should go with the resume summary, which is a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, as well as your most notable achievements.
If you lack experience, then a resume objective is the way to go, which is a statement explaining your career goals.
Formatting Your Resume Summary
Your heading for this section can be “Resume Summary,” as well as “Qualifications Summary” or “Professional Profile.”
Underneath the heading, write one to three sentences summing up your career and highlighting your skills.
You can even include a short bullet list of some of your more notable achievements and/or awards.
Experienced social media manager who has helped multiple companies triple their followers on multiple platforms and increase their lead generation from LinkedIn by 20%.
Formatting Your Resume Objective
Your resume objective will look and sound very similar to the resume summary, but you will be focusing on your future goals more so than your past experience.
The heading can be:
- Resume Objective
- Career Goals
- Personal Statement
Or some variation.
Underneath, include a one or two sentence statement defining your career endeavours while highlighting your skills and relevant experience if you have any.
I’m a recent graduate who studied finance and real estate at an esteemed business school, looking to find an entry-level job at a property investment firm where I can apply what I have learned, as well as gain practical experience.
This section is all about highlighting how Cat-terrific you are.
It is essentially a list of skills and abilities you have that will prove useful to the position you are applying for.
- Soft skills– Interpersonal skills (ex: managing people, communicating)
- Hard skills– Specific technical skills (ex: proficient with excel, experience with Adobe photoshop)
- Transferable skills– Skills from previous experiences that can be applied to a new job
What skills and which type you include in your resume will depend on what is required of the job you are applying to and what experience you have.
The first thing you should do is look at the job description. If it has a “required skills” section, you better include those on your resume.
It’s that simple.
After that, read over the rest of the job description and look for keywords that will hint at what other skills they are looking for and how to word them.
For example, if part of the job is “organising and overseeing projects.” One of your skills can be “Able to efficiently organise and oversee projects.”
You could say something like “managing people,” but using keywords in the job description will help it stand out to your employer.
Formatting Your Skills Section
The heading for your resume skills section can simply be “Skills,” although you can make it more specific to the job or your skills. Some other options are:
- Professional Skills
- Technical Skills
- Computer Skills
- Managing Skills
- Communication Skills
- Writing Skills
- Hard Skills
- Soft Skills
- Related Skills
- Areas of Expertise
- Relevant Skills
- Job-Specific Skills
- [Insert job title] Skills (for ex: Mechanic Skills)
You can also organise your skills by including multiple skills headings. For example, you could do a “Hard Skills” and “Soft Skills” section.
How you display your skills will depend on your experience.
If you have a lot of professional experience, you may only need a simple list of your skills.
Keyword research, using SEO tools such as ahrefs, web design, analysing on-site content for SEO…
On the other hand, you may want to emphasise your skills section if you lack experience. You can do this by writing brief descriptions underneath each skill, explaining how and where you acquired the skill and tangible proof.
Wrote 20 blogs and edited on-site content for a local start-up as well as manage my own blog.
This section is probably the most important one of your resume.
Your work history will be a major indicator to your future employer of what experience you have, what you are capable of, and if you are qualified for the job you are applying to.
Only include jobs that are relevant to the position you are applying for. You only have one page.
If you are trying to be a mechanical engineer, it won’t make sense to include your time as an ice cream server from high school.
However, if you find that you are lacking relevant professional experience- because you are changing fields, a recent college or high school graduate, or took a long break- you can include jobs outside of your desired field.
Just be sure to include responsibilities, tasks, and skills that can be transferred.
For example, emphasise tasks that showcase skills like:
- People managing
Formatting Your Professional Experience
Your heading title for this section can be“Professional Experience,” “Professional History,” “Career Summary,” “Employment Background,” or something similar.
If you have relevant internships, you can also include a section with the heading “Internships.”
Then, list out your relevant past jobs in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent job first.
For each job, write your title/role and the company/organisation (boldfaced text optional).
Underneath, include the time period you were employed for and a brief description of your responsibilities.
You can also include tasks, achievements and skills learned- either in a short paragraph or with bullet points.
The more experience you have, the less you will write underneath each job.
Joe’s Pizzeria, Assistant Manager
July 2015- Present
Helped run day to day administrative tasks for pizza restaurants.
- Reviewed applications for chef and waiter/waitress positions
- Organised and oversaw food orders and delivery
- Dealt with customer disputes
- Managed and trained new hires
Your education is also another critical section of your resume.
What this section will look like and what you include will vary greatly, being impacted by your experience and how long it’s been since you graduated.
No matter what though, you will always include the most recent school you attended or are attending, and your degree.
And that may be all you need if you have an extensive work history and it’s been years since you graduated.
But if you are a current student or recent grad with minimal professional experience, you may want to include other subsections, such as:
- Relevant courses with descriptions
- Extracurricular activities
- Skills learned
Formating Education Section
A simple “Education” will work great as a heading for this section, but as always there are other variations you can use:
- Educational Background
Just like with your professional experience, you will list your past schools attended in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent school.
For each one, write the name of the school in bold followed by the years attended. If you are still at the school, write “present” instead of end date (ex: 2019-Present).
Underneath include your degree type (bachelors, masters, etc.) and major and minor (English, finance, etc.), and your GPA (if a recent grad).
As for your sub-sections (if you include any) write your headings in bold text.
Underneath your subsections, a simple list of relevant items will do. Or if you want to beef your resume up, a one-sentence description for each item can do the trick.
Oxford University, 2016-2020
B.A. in Communications, GPA 3.6
HonoursDean’s list 3 times (4.0 GPA in a semester), James Fields Scholarship (2017)
- Cherwell Student newspaper
Columnist 2017-2018, Editor 2019-2020
- Model U.N
Board member 2019-2020
If you find that there is still a lot of white space on your resume, you can include a volunteering section to your resume.
This is especially useful if you have done volunteer work that is directly related to what you’re applying for.
For example, if you were a volunteer videographer, then that experience would be directly relevant in applying for a job at an independent film company.
If the relevance isn’t as obvious, be sure to include tasks or skills you used that relate, such as “organising projects” or “managing people.”
Formatting Optional Sections
The formatting for your volunteer section will be similar to your professional experience section.
Your heading can be “Volunteering,” “Volunteer Work,” or “Community Service.”
Underneath, list in reverse chronological order your relevant volunteer experiences.
For each one, list the organisation (boldfaced text optional). Underneath your position (if you had one) and then the timeline of your time volunteering for them.
Then below that, a one or two-sentence description of relevant tasks and skills.
Uptown Food Bank, School coordinator
January 2017-May 2019
Contacted and set up food drives with students at local schools
you know all of the sections, hot to title them, what information goes with each and how to format that information.
Resume Section Order
Ok now you know all of the sections, hot to title them, what information goes with each and how to format that information.
But you’re still wondering what order you should put them in?
If only the author of this blog thought ahead and made the layout of this blog the same as a resume.
Wait! He did!
Yes just go through the different section headings for this blog, and you’ll have a standard go-to order for your resume.
But to save you the time of decoding this blog like your Nicholas Cage on National Treasure, here is the order your resume sections should appear in:
- Contact Information
- Resume Summary/Objective
- Professional Experience
- Volunteering (optional)
But this isn’t the ONLY way you can order your resume. Feel free to switch things around a bit.
For example, if you’re a recent college graduate with minimal experience, you may want to put your education before your professional experience.
Or if you are changing career fields, maybe you put your skills section first to highlight those.
The only things that HAVE to go in specific places are your name, contact information and resume summary/objective. These should ALWAYS be at the top.
As for the rest, it’s up to you!
And there you have it! A Cat-tastic resume that is easy to read and is sure to highlight your best features.
If you still need help creating the purr-fect resume, check out our resume builder!
Resume Cat’s can help you build a winning resume in just 15 minutes!