Perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse.
C. Northcote Parkinson

How many times have you started writing your resume, stared at the computer screen and realized you have no idea what to do next? A resume ideally communicates your potential with your prospective employers. It showcases your skills in a concise format with the purpose of:

• Facilitating the hiring managers to screen potential employees within 10 seconds.
• Enabling the user to proceed with the recruitment as part of his/her employment process.

Resume categories essentially break your resume down into key points which are necessary for you to take care of both the purposes well while making it easy for you to keep your resume relevant in the competitive job market. Employers expect certain resume sections irrespective of your role or industry.

Before tailoring your resume according to the job description, you must define the resume sections that make the backbone of a standard resume. Following are the various resume sections explained. You may also find several resume sections samples in our website.

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Our Guide on Resume Sections will cover the following:

Picking the Best Resume Layout

Resume sections are categorized in the layout across several dimensions like the number of columns in the resume, the number of pages in the resume, and the elements that are present in the resume. Predominantly, the first two criteria are the most important while choosing a resume layout.

The simplest distinction in resume layouts can be in terms of how the content is organized in terms of the number of columns in the resume. A single column resume layout is the most simple resume layout as opposed to a double column layout, since it organizes the content in a single column that spans the entire resume height.

You may use different kinds of layouts as follows:

  • Simple Resume Layout which is the traditional way with extremely minimal use of graphical elements. You can use simple resume layouts for free in our online resume builder to create your resume.

  • The Modern resume layout or the Professional Resume layout design is most widely used among professionals with experience. They are created as per the industry standard and have an ideal combination of color and icons along with the text. This is something the recruiters are used to seeing every day.

  • Modern Resume Layouts are appropriate for either creative professionals or someone trying for a job which requires them to showcase their profile visually.

Here are a few sample resume layouts that you may check out. Here is a professional sample of a two-columned resume layout.


Standard Resume Sections

Your resume categories essentially fall under two groups:

• Fundamental
• Optional

A candidate should attempt to include the following fundamental resume sections in a standard resume.
• Personal and Contact Information
• Summary or Objective Section
• Skills Section
• Professional Experience
• Education Section

The resume section headings are vital additions which must be precisely scripted according to the profile. They follow a very particular resume sections order.

Apart from the fundamental resume sections, you may include optional resume sections like:

• Awards and Accomplishments
• Volunteer Work
• Training and Certifications
• Additional Projects
• Publications
• Interests
• Languages
• Extra-Curricular or Co-curricular Activities
• Conferences and other Events Managed

You can even categorize your skills section into the following different categories:

• Technical Skills
• Computer Skills
• Personal Skills
• Additional Skills

Its important to choose resume sections that best demonstrate the credibility of your profile as opposed to adding all possible resume sections.
The following are a few resume sections samples according to various industries.

If you are a Sales Executive who has been awarded for a lot of projects and speaks more than three languages, your additional resume sections you may want to include:
• Resume Sections for Project
• Resume Section for Language
• Resume Section for Awards

If you still have space left then you can add more sections to your resume. Always remember that 1 page is the ideal length of a resume - it can exceed to 2 only for professionals with an experience of 10+ years. but definitely not more than that.

HIRATION PRO-TIP: There are some section in a resume that aren't needed anymore.

A references section is one such section.

Your certificates and other valid documents are proof enough and so you do not need to put references on your resume.

Unless the JD specifies it, you need not make a references section on your resume.

Personal Details Resume Section

Although it sounds basic, yet many resumes manage to leave out contact details or other such important information. The header is the most primary resume section since you shall not be contacted by a recruiter in case these details are missing.

It comprises your name and contact information – such as your phone number, e-mail address, current location (city and state). You may even include your LinkedIn URL, but only if you think it'll bolster your chances.

There's no point in mentioning your LinkedIn if you'll only be redirecting the recruiter to an empty profile that was last updated months ago.

Mentioning your age and date of birth in your resume depends on the industry which you are in and the country which you are targeting. In the US for instance, it's forbidden to mention personal details like race, sex, age, etc. to reduce instances of personal bias during the screening of candidates.

In the UAE and Mid-east though, they also ask for your passport details. So read up on the prevalent industry norms before you go about adding more information in this section.

Professional Summary Resume Section

Whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced professional, your summary will come after your header. It displays a brief and compelling account of your skill, accomplishments, and if necessary, a glimpse of your ambitions.

The summary section is one of the important resume section since the recruiters initially address this. Therefore, it can help you stand out. Since this is in the format of a paragraph, it gives you space to best showcase your candidature.

It is extremely imperative to tailor your summary section to the specific job posting. Underscore your most compatible skills and core capabilities that correspond to the job requisites which you are applying for. Mention especially if:

• You have managed a company's budget in the past.
• You have compliaced or laiased with internal/external stakeholders.
• You led a team.

Include relevant keywords in your summary from the job description. Consider the following ideal summary:

2+ years experience BD professional with experience in dealing with firms in the UK & Europe. Skilled professional with hands-on experience in forging strategic alliances & increasing profitability. Proficient at closing B2B deals worth millions of dollars. Adept at forging partnerships to create strategic benefits. Looking forward to applying the acquired gamut of skills to a challenging role.

However, entry-level candidates, students, and more importantly, career changers, should use a resume objective section which tells a hiring manager who you are right now and what you want to become. You may check out our guide on resume summary on the website to see different summary sections. You may also find examples of resume objectives on the blog as well.

Key Skills/Technical Skills Resume Section

Your Key Skills & Technical Skills section should ideally include computer skills, language skills, software skills along with soft skill sets. For example, if you are applying for the role of a Financial Associate you may want to include:

• Financial Analysis • Cash Flow Management • Budgeting • Working Capital Management • Financial Reports • Financial Data Monitoring

It is important to personalize the skills section according to the job description as much as possible. You can write both hard and soft skills, while giving priority to the former. Use only those soft skills which you can find in the JD - there should be no other reason for adding soft skills in your resume.

Neatly dividing your entire list of key skills into relevant subsections is important. An example will better demonstrate what we mean. You'll see a myriad of key skills grouped together in the following example. To the recruiter, it hardly makes much sense.

• Project Management & Monitoring • Team Mentoring & Management • ANSI/ASME/DIN/ASTM/API/ISO • Project Scale-up • Castings, Forgings & Welding • Product Innovation/Differentiation • Equipment Trials & Development • Costing & Estimation • Cost-Benefit Analysis • Cross-functional Coordination • SPMs, Machining & Heat Treatment • Proposals & Documentation • Engineering Design & Analysis • Technical Documentation • Design Formulation & Optimization • Prototype Development • Machine Layouts and Assembly • Equipment and Fixture Design • Global Regulatory Compliance • Performance Optimization • Conveying Systems/Jigs & Fixtures • Pneumatics & Hydraulics • Risk Assessment & Management • DOE, DFSS, DMIAC, DVP&R & VAVE • R&D and Innovation • NPD & VI Projects • Project Commissioning & Launch

The same set of skills grouped under a relevant heading, makes them easier to quickly scan for relevance.

• Project Management & Monitoring • Team Mentoring & Management • Global Regulatory Compliance
• Project Scale-up • Product Innovation/Differentiation • Equipment Trials & Development
• Project Commissioning & Launch • Risk Assessment & Management • Cost Benefit Analysis
• Cross-functional Coordination • Proposals & Documentation •Performance Optimization

• Engineering Design & Analysis • Technical Documentation • Design Formulation & Optimization
• Prototype Development • Machine Layouts and Assembly • Equipment and Fixture Design
• Conveying Systems/Jigs & Fixtures • SPMs, Machining & Heat Treatment • Castings, Forgings & Welding
• Pneumatics & Hydraulics • Costing & Estimation • DOE, DFSS, DMIAC, DVP&R & VAVE
• ANSI/ASME/DIN/ASTM/API/ISO • R&D and Innovation • NPD & VI Projects

Without changing the volume of your resume skills, you optimize your resume sections for both the ATS and the recruiting manager.

Your technique for dividing your key skills into subsections may depend on the industry you are in and the norms which are conventionally followed. IT Professionals can usually classify their extensive range of key skills into various groupings like

• Tools
• Languages
• Operating System
• Methodologies
• Database

Whereas Sales & Distribution Professional should include skill sets like:

• New Business Development
• P&L Management
• Strategic Planning
• Operations Management
• Key Account Management
• Turnaround & High-Growth Strategies
• Customer Relationship Management
• Staff Training & Development
• Contract Negotiation
• Budgeting & Forecasting

You may find out how to incorporate skill sets into relevant resume sections in the examples given on the website.

Professional Experience Resume Section

The Professional Experience section is one section of the resue that is most frequently done incorrectly. In the reverse chronological resume categories,the most recent profile is written first followed by previous positions.

Make sure you write the company's name, description of the company, location, job title and dates (in mm/yy) format of joining and resigning from each position of your job profile. Write at least five points for every profile highlighting your responsibilities and achievements.

If you have listed too many responsibilities without any tangible achievements relevant to your job application, recruiters might disapprove of your candidature. If you are a fresher, list volunteer or extra curricular participations related to the job that count as work experiences.

In case of an extensive list, you can create a new section for activities, associations, and volunteer work. Check out our resume sections examples for more details.

Quantify your involvement in every work experience to back up your accomplishments. If you've got work experience of more than 10 years then tere is no need to mention the positions served 15-20 years ago in detail.

In case of extensive work experiences like mentioned above, just write the company's name, your position held and dates. The focus of your Professional Experience section should be on the jobs done in last 10 years and not more than that as recruiters will mostly look at your experience of past 10 years.

Education Section on a Resume

Your resume sections on education list your academic qualifications which includes name of the university and degree pursued) along with dates of enrollment and graduation (and not just the latter) in reverse chronological order.

If you are a fresher, your education section should be one of the starting sections of your resume. If you have relevant work experiences, your resume sections order will change as your education section will then come after your professional experience section.

In case you have attended the world's best universities such as Oxford university or a top management school, put this information in your summary category since it should stand out.

Since the aim of education is the knowledge of values rather than of facts, the resume sections on education add an impressive value to the profile of the job seeker. It is also very simple to make decisions when you know what your values are.

You may check out these strong resume sections in the following examples.

Order of Resume Sections

The order in which sections in resume are arranged depends on whether you are an entry-level graduate or a professional.

While a student's resume generally includes:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Resume Objective
  3. Education
  4. Experience/Internships
  5. Extra Curricular Activities (Leadership Section)
  6. Skills
  7. Hobbies and Interests

a working professional may order their resume categories in the following way

  1. Contact Information
  2. Resume Summary
  3. Experience and Accomplishments
  4. Associations and Certifications (Optional)
  5. Education
  6. Skills
  7. Additional Sections

Remember that resumes are written strategically in the above mentioned ways to compel a recruiter to think that you are the best bet for the profile they are looking for and he/she should hire you. Keeping it short, crisp and to the point increases the chances of you getting to the interview round.

Key Takeaways

The resume sums up your skills and experiences to a hiring manager. When hiring managers or even the ATS scan multiple resumes to find suitable candidates, your resume sections can emphasize your values from the rest. The standard resume sections are known to include a few basic resume categories in a subsequent resume sections order.

• Your Contact Information to facilitate getting in touch with you.
• A Professional Summary, to recapitulate your skills and necessary contributions.
• Resume Key Skills, to increase the chances of an ATS shortlisting your resume
• Your Employment History, to showcase your accomplishments and experiences throughout your career. It includes the names, locations, and descriptions of the employer, followed by your job title and dates.
• Your Education History, to display your certifications and degrees earned and the institutions you have earned them from.
• Any Additional Skills and Achievements to highpoint technical or special skills you may contribute to the employer.

Still have more doubts around resume sections in particular or the resume writing process in general? Drop in a comment below and our resume experts will come to your rescue!