Resumes

Common Categories to Include on a Resume

Resume categories can turn a basic resume into a unique representation of you and your qualifications. There are many options for resume categories, but it can be difficult to decide what to include when crafting a resume. Learn more about the recommended categories and sections you can include on a resume so that you can customize your own resume.

Categories to include on your resume

Here are some categories you can include:

Contact information

It is critical that the company knows which applicant has the qualifications included in the rest of your resume. Generally, the information included is a name, email address, phone number and, occasionally, a mailing address. This will be found at the very top of your resume. 

Education

This is another required section of the resume since most jobs are going to require at least a high school diploma. You should list the schools and the years you attended. If you are a recent graduate and you had good grades or graduated with any honors, you can list them here as well. This section is generally listed below the contact information and objective if you chose to include one.

Experience

The experience section is going to be one of the most important parts of your resume. It should list your job history in reverse-chronological (most recent first) order. With each previous position, you should include the dates you worked there as well as a summary of your responsibilities and achievements on the job. Quantifiable achievements look more impressive to employers than a simple list of your previous or current job duties. However, if you’ve held many different jobs you might consider including only the top three or four most relevant positions. If you are a recent graduate, you can also include unpaid internships, positions with student organizations and volunteer positions in this area.

Objective

An objective is designed to state exactly what type of job or career path you are interested in. It says what position you are applying for and what you will do on the job.

Honors and awards

This section can include any relevant honors and awards that you’ve earned. If you’ve received a number of awards, you may want to only put the most relevant or most recent items on your resume in order to fit other essential details on the page.  

Relevant coursework

This is a section you are likely to see on the resume of a recent college graduate or someone making a career transition. This section shows you have some experience in the job field by the classes that you completed in school. You should include no more than seven or eight relevant courses. 

Skills

Here you would give an overview of your skills, primarily technical or hard skills. When you highlight some of the required skills listed in a job description, you can represent yourself as a good fit for the position. For example, if you’re applying for a job that requires experience with specific software or tools, you can list your relevant skills in this section. You should not list more than seven or eight relevant skills in this portion of your resume. You can add visual appeal to your resume by using bars or symbols that represent your proficiency with a particular skill. 

Hobbies and interests

Some resumes include a section that lists your personal hobbies and interests. Resumes that include this section are not common. If you chose to include this in your resume, you should only include hobbies or interests that are relevant to the job you’re applying to. For example, if you are looking to be the manager of a sporting goods store, listing that you are the coach of a high school basketball team would be ideal here.

Volunteer work

Volunteer work can include work that is relevant to the job but not included in your experience section. If you are applying for a job with a nonprofit organization or are working with a private company that has strong ties to a particular cause, this section can be used to show that you are also committed to these efforts. It can also be a good place to showcase your soft skills and personality traits.

References

References are usually not included on a resume. In general, an employer might ask for your references after an interview. Sometimes, an employer might request your references when you’re filling out an online application. Including a line at the end of your resume that says ‘References available upon request’ is an option, if necessary. 

Certifications and licenses

Some jobs will require you to have certain certifications or licenses beyond a degree to prove that you’re competent in the very specific skills they require. If you’re applying for a job like this, you will need to include certificates or licenses. You may also want to include this section if you have relevant certifications even if they aren’t a requirement for the job.

Accomplishments

An accomplishments section can be used to describe any miscellaneous achievements you may have earned. For example, if you’ve had an article published in a research journal that covers subject matter related to the role you’re applying for, you may list that in this section.

Professional associations

You may include a list of the relevant professional associations you are an active member of. This section would illustrate to employers that you are involved and dedicated to furthering your skills in a particular sector. It also may open the door to building a more personal connection to the interviewer if they are a part of the same groups.

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