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5 Sections Your Resume Is Required to Have

Every resume can be broken down into clear, distinct sections, like “Skills,” “Employment History,” and “Education.” Some of those sections are optional. Others aren’t. If you want to get positive responses, callbacks, and interviews, you need to ensure that your resume includes all the most important sections.

the number 5 with the words "5 sections your resume is required to have"

This is something that seasoned pros, like a resume writer service in Denver CO, understand well. But a lot of casual jobseekers struggle to distinguish between the “must-have” sections and those that aren’t all that important. To help, this guide will highlight five resume sections you simply can’t ignore when submitting future applications.


Contact Info and Job Title

This one will be obvious to many, but it’s still worth mentioning, as a startling number of people forget to include their contact details on their resumes. Or they forget to update their resumes when they get a new email address or phone number, making it impossible for recruiters to get in touch with them.


Every resume should have a succinct contact section near the top. Include your name, along with a single phone number and email address for clarity. That way, if any recruiters want to contact you for more info or an interview invitation, they’ll have no trouble getting in touch.


Career Job Title Objectives

It’s also wise to include a headline at the top of the page, under the "Contact Info" and above the "Career Summary" sections, citing the job titles that you’re actively pursuing.


You’d write “Business Systems Analyst / Operations Analysts / IT Project Analysts" here, for example, if you were seeking a role in systems analysis. Since each employer labels their job titles differently, make sure you include 3 similar job titles to cast a wider net and land more opportunities. You can either use the exact title of the job you’re going for, or a more general variation of it.


Career Summary

Next, the career summary, or professional summary. For a long time, resume experts debated the relative value of career summaries and career objectives. These days, there’s a consensus that a summary is a much better option for the vast majority of resumes, providing a simple, scannable introduction to the applicant.

images that compares a resume summary with a resume objective

As an introductory text, the career summary should be positioned at the start of the resume, right below the contacts and headline. It’s designed to sum up the candidate’s skills, achievements, and career so far. The best summaries need to be catchy, impactful, and engaging, like the opening page of a book.


The career summary is also a great place to incorporate ATS-friendly keywords into your resume – words like “business development,” “value proposition,” or “data analytics.” These days, with 99% of Fortune 500 firms and an ever-increasing number of smaller businesses all using ATS systems, this technology simply can’t be overlooked.


Core Competencies

No resume is complete without a list of competencies or key skills. This is the section where you can show off (usually in a bullet point list) your most relevant and important attributes that make you a great fit for the job. It’s also, like the career summary, a good place to include some of those aforementioned ATS keywords.


However, a lot of people make mistakes with the core competencies section. They’re too vague or fail to adjust their list of skills to suit the role they’re applying for. It’s important, therefore, to read the job description carefully, look at the kind of skills needed, and tailor this part of your resume accordingly.

image with the words "Experience, Ability, Growth, Advanced Training, Knowledge, Learning, Competence, Training" to help employees advance in their career

If you’re applying for a role as a managing director, recruiters will want to see that you’ve got the key characteristics of a leader, with a mix of relevant hard and soft skills. Alternatively, if you’re going for a role in Information Technology like coding or software development, employers will want to know about software and programming languages you’re versed in, like CSS, HTML5, JavaScript, and so on.


Remember, nothing is more difficult than finding a reputable IT resume writer that understand the challenging world and language of the technology field.


Employment

Employment history is arguably the No. 1 most important part of your resume. When surveyed, 70% of recruiters said they put most of their focus on this section when scanning through resumes. It’s not hard to see why – your employment history shows how much experience you’ve got and what kinds of roles and responsibilities you’ve been trusted with before.


In short, it’s a great guide to what kind of candidate you are, what level you’re used to working at, and how well-prepared you are for the job in question. That’s why you need to ensure that this section, above all others, is as detailed, informative, and effective as possible at selling you to the recruiters you contact.


It’s customary to list your experience in reverse chronological order (starting with your most recent role at the top of the list). It’s also an unwritten rule that you should only include experience from the last 10-15 years, maximum. Cite the name of your employer, as well as your job title, for each subsection, and list some of your key achievements in each one.


Education

Last but not least, we come to the education or academic history section. This is where you list your academic achievements, like any degrees, diplomas, or other relevant qualifications you’ve got. You can also cite the name of the college, university, or school you attended, and mention any key certifications or achievements from your time there.


Note that of all the five sections listed in this guide this one is arguably the least important. In fact, some professional resume writers Denver might recommend leaving it all off altogether in some cases or cutting it down to a small size. If you’re a seasoned worker with decades of experience, for example, there may not be much need in having a lengthy education section.


However, for younger workers and especially fresh graduates, the education section is crucial. If you don’t have much experience of the working world, you can use this section to sell yourself in other ways, focusing on your academic accomplishments and performance. Even details about your GPA could help to push you ahead of other candidates in the hunt for an entry-level position.


Ensure Your Resume Has All of These Sections Before Sending It Out

There you have it. Five fundamental sections that no good resume should be without. By focusing on each one and fleshing them out with well-written and relevant information, you should be able to build a strong foundation for all your future applications. That’ll give you the best chance of more positive responses, more interviews, and a faster path into work.


But that doesn’t mean you can’t include other sections, too. In some cases, there’s value in adding lists of hobbies or personal interests to your resume, as well as foreign languages you’re skilled in, or achievements and awards. It’s all about assessing each application to decide which sections are most relevant for the roles you’re going for.

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