Four Key Sections Every Resume Needs
By Theresa Neal
Writing the perfect resume isn’t easy. Most people writing their own resumes tend to do one of two things: downplay their achievements or include a lot of unneeded information. Understanding exactly what to include is an art form.
If you are applying to an administrative position, you likely won’t need to include a section that lists your debate club experience or the class you took on mastering your smartphone. Go through each key section of your resume using this guide to help you build the perfect document.
“To obtain a job where I can demonstrate my great computer skills and further my professional career!”
While resumes in the past used succinct, straightforward objective statements, this method is outdated. Now, the summary is one of the most important areas of the resume. Because this short paragraph or bulleted list (usually) serves as your first impression, it needs to sell your skills. Vague statements about how you are looking for a job aren’t needed; if you weren’t looking for a new career, you wouldn’t be handing out your resume.
Instead, use this space to highlight your best skills. Write a few eye-catching sentences about what you can bring to the table.
Professional Tip: Write your career summary in first person, omitting the personal pronoun, “I.” Stick to hard facts and accomplishments that specifically align with the position you are pursuing. Revise this section for each of the jobs to which you apply.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Standard resumes list 12 to 15 quality skills. Don’t use this section to list basic responsibilities or common expectations employers have. For example, “on time to work,” “friendly,” or “calculator” are not very good points and won’t help you stand out. Keywords like “customer service” or “financial analysis” are much more detailed and paint a clear picture of what you are offering.
Professional Tip: Stick to hard skills rather than soft skills, and select skills that are most in demand for the position you are seeking. For example, customer service is an important skill in most positions, but if you are applying for an accounting position, GAAP, A/R, A/P, and Bank Reconciliation are more important.
No matter how relevant all of your classes were, do not list them all in your resume. The education section should be the shortest area and the most straightforward. List degrees, honors, schools, locations, and years (if you graduated recently). Industry-related certifications can also be added to this section using the same format.
Many students have more educational experience than anything else. If you have never held a job relating to your career field, you may want to consider adding sections for special activities, organizations, or awards.
Professional Tip: If you are a recent graduate or in an academic field, it makes sense for you to go into more detail about your education. A professional resume writer can help you translate your educational experiences and projects into a format that will impress a prospective employer.
The most important section of a resume is your work experience. This is often one of the most complex areas to write. You need to have strong job descriptions and a few achievements for each position. Never simply list the jobs you’ve had. Let this section show what employers can expect should they hire you.
Professional Tip: Employers are most interest in your contributions and achievements. Prioritize these over the duties of your former position, and make them stand out.
Writing a resume is tough. If you’re not sure that you’re making the right decisions, Morley Career Solutions is available to help. Contact us today to learn more about our career services and how they can help you achieve your professional objectives.