Resume Sections

Resume for a Graphic DesignerNo matter what style you choose to follow, your resume will always include several basic sections. Each one is described below, and you can see how they can be arranged in an innovative way in the resume in the image to the right.

Here you will list your name, any relevant degrees, your phone number, and email address. You no longer need to list a street address on your resume as potential employers will not need to mail you anything until after you are hired. All communication will be digital, so email and phone suffice in the heading.
Professional Summary
This section will come after your heading.

Depending on where you are in your career, a professional summary or profile can be an important part of today’s resume. A summary is essentially a professional profile. This section helps you stand out, shows your technical and proven skills with evidence, shares your passion and dedication to your work, and can list some key skills and accomplishments that are unique to you.

In a summary, you can tell employers what you can do for them, the value you bring, your strongest areas of expertise, and other standout information that entices them to read more. Instead of writing, “This is what I want from a job,” you are communicating, “This is what I can do for you”—a message that will resonate with employers.

This section, if you include it, could appear in a variety of places depending on the job for which you are applying and your desired field. It is appropriate to add this list right after your summary, or, if you don’t have very many skills to highlight, you could include this section after your professional experience. Either way, only list skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the desired position and field. For example, if you are applying for a job in the technology world, you would not need to list office management skills, even if you have stellar ones. Similarly, if you are applying for a teaching position but happen to know how to write in various coding languages, you would not need to list those skills on your resume.
Professional Experience
In this section, you will list each of your professional roles or positions in reverse chronological order. You will list first your title, the company or institution at which you held that title, its location, and the years you worked there. For example:

Director of Operations, Albuquerque Technologies, Albuquerque, NM, 2017-2020


Talent Acquisition Specialist, Human Resources, Excelsior University, Albany, NY, 2015-2021

Notice how the title is in bold and the rest of the text is not. This helps to highlight each of your various past and current professional positions.

Under each position, you will also include a bulleted list that highlights skills, accomplishments, and other noteworthy aspects of your role. Make sure you list things in parallel form, always starting with an active verb, such as administered, coordinated, oversaw, evaluated, etc. Here you would also include exemplary and measurable achievements, such as “onboarded 35 new employees” or “successfully evaluated and redesigned 8 separate academic programs.”

Examples of good resume verbs can be found in the following article: 180+Power Action Words for Your Resume

One rule of thumb is to list only the last ten years of your work experience. However, if you think it is important for a potential employer to see particular jobs or roles, it is certainly okay to list jobs older than 10 years.

On most resumes, your education will typically come after your professional profile summary and work experience. An exception to this rule is if you have just graduated from a college or university, or you are changing careers, and have very little work experience in your desired field. This section should include the full name of the degree or certificate you obtained, the institution that granted the degree, and the year you obtained the degree. You can include exemplary GPA or academic achievement such as magna or summa cum laude, as well, if you like. One example could look like this:

Master of Science in Nursing, Excelsior University, 2021


Bachelor of Arts, University of Southern California, expected 2023
Other Resume Sections
You may want to include some other sections on your resume if you have experience outside of your job that you think it would be helpful for a potential employer to know about such as volunteer work, academic honors or awards, or presentations or publication. Some of these could include:

  • Volunteer work of any kind
  • Special awards for jobs well done or other recognized accomplishments
  • Presentations given at a conference
  • Publications such as articles or white papers
  • Special or additional certifications in your field
  • Work on a Board of Directors or similar board

If you do include any of these sections, title them by category, such as “Volunteer Work,” “Awards,” “Publications,” “Certifications” and the like, and format them similarly to the way you formatted your Professional Experience and Education sections.

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