Resumes

How to Set Up a Resume

Your resume is usually one of the first things an employer sees when reviewing your application. A resume that fits your experience and education can help you stand out from other candidates. Learning what to include in your resume ensures you show your best skills and experience, which can impress the hiring manager. In this article, you can learn how to build an effective resume that fits your history.

Common sections of a resume

Here are the basic sections you can include in a resume:

Heading

Your resume should have a heading that includes your name and important contact information.

  • Full name
  • Street address
  • City, state and zip code
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Professional networking profile or website URL

Summary, objective or profile

Resume summaries, profiles and objectives are different types of statements that you can add to the top of your resume to show your best skills, experience or education. These statements are optional, but they can make it easier for you to show the hiring manager your professional qualities quickly.

Here are the differences between the three statements:

  • Summary. A resume summary is usually two to three sentences that mainly describe your work experience as it relates to the job. This statement is ideal for those who have a lot of relevant experience that they want to display. 
  • Objective. An objective shows what kind of goals you want to achieve at a new job. It’s also usually two to three sentences and can include related skills and education. This statement is good for those who are just entering the workforce.
  • Profile. This statement mainly focuses on soft and hard skills that make you a good candidate. A profile can include your education and experience, but the attention should be on the abilities you have to offer. Those applying for a job that requires a lot of specific skills could use this type of statement.

Experience

The experience section of your resume is where you list your work history. You can order it from most recent to oldest or from most relevant. If you’re an entry-level candidate, you can add work experience that may not directly relate to the position you’re applying for. Anyone with more experience should focus on the experience that aligns with the job you’re applying for.

Here’s what you should include in your experience section:

  • Job title. You can check your original application information to find your official title. 
  • Company. List the name of your place of employment. If you have ever freelanced or were self-employed, you don’t need to include this line.
  • Location. The city and state should be enough for the hiring manager to reference.
  • Dates of employment. You can usually just include the month and year for your dates of employment. If you’re currently working, you can list ‘Present’ or ‘Current’ instead of an end date.
  • Duties and accomplishments. Use a bullet list to briefly describe your basic job duties, and note any particular accomplishments. Try to use numbers when possible so the hiring manager has a clear idea of your responsibilities and achievements. For example, ‘Answered over 40 customer calls per day.’

Education

In this section, you usually list your highest level of education. Add the degree or diploma, school, dates attended and any notable awards or achievements, such as a high GPA or academic honors. If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, you probably don’t need to add your high school diploma. You can add different degrees if they don’t relate to each other. For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in psychology, add both. 

Volunteer work or internships

If you have any volunteer work or internships that match the job you’re applying for, consider adding them to your resume. You can usually add a separate section for volunteering or internships. Include your title, company, dates that you worked or interned and a bullet list of duties. 

Skills

Any skills you have that relate to the position you are applying for will go in this section. It is essential to list your skills in an organized bullet list. Focus on skills that are relative to the job you are applying for.

Certifications and memberships

If you have any specialized certifications or licenses that are relevant to the position you are applying for, create a section for them. Include the license number and expiration date if applicable. If you’re a member of any professional organizations, it can be helpful to add those as well. 

Awards and accomplishments

If you have won any awards and achievements that you’re proud of, add them. This shows you have been recognized for your accomplishments and can work hard to reach your goals. 

Hobbies and interests

You can add any relevant hobbies or interests if you have space on your resume. List anything you do in your free time that shows a specific skill or your dedication to the field. For example, if you’re applying to be a mechanic, you can add rebuilding classic cars as a hobby. 

Different types of resume formats

Here are four common resume formats you can choose from:

Chronological resume

With a chronological resume, you list your most recent work experience first. Many people choose this resume style since it is efficient and works well for those who have studied a particular field and made progression in that field over the years. You usually add your experience right after your objective or summary.

Functional resume

A functional resume focuses on skills, work experience, accomplishments and honors. The setup of this format arranges your resume by the most active areas first. This style of resume is a good choice for people who are returning to the workforce after a few years, someone who may be in the same field for several years and hasn’t had much promotion or growth, or someone switching careers with plenty of skills that translate to the new field. For a functional resume, include your skills following your heading and career statement, followed by everything else. 

Targeted resume

A targeted resume highlights all of your skills and experience that are relevant to the position you may be applying for. When writing your targeted resume, you tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for. Unlike the other styles that show all of your skills and achievements, this resume only uses information relevant to the position you are applying for. This resume is a great way to stand out when you are the perfect person for the job. 

Combination resume

A combination resume highlights both your skills and experience at the same time. You usually include a list of qualifications and abilities toward the top of your resume, then list work experience and education after that. For work experience, you can list just your job title, company name and dates of employment. A combination resume is useful for those who want to highlight their skills as they relate to the job.