The 8 Essential Resume Sections

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 5, 2021

To showcase your background effectively, your resume should include key components organized in a standard order: sections that reflect your work experience, skills and accomplishments. In this article, we discuss eight essential resume sections along with tips for what to include in each part.

Why are resume sections important?

Resume sections are important because they allow you to showcase your skills, education and professional experience in a way that makes sense to potential employers. Using standard resume sections lets you present your professional highlights in a format that hiring teams can use to determine your ranking as a candidate.

Related: 3 Best Resume Formats in 2019 With Examples

Eight sections to include in your resume

When you write your resume, plan to include as many sections as possible that are relevant to your background. List these parts in order as follows to reflect all aspects of your professional experience, and incorporate keywords from the job description in each section. Here are the eight essential resume sections to include:

1. Header and Contact information

At the beginning of your resume, start by listing your contact information. Include your full name, address, phone number, email address and any professional social media links. You can also include your website, especially if you work in technology or if you have a portfolio to share. Always ensure that your personal information is correct and updated so potential employers can contact you easily.

For example:

Hannah Lee
555 State St., Unit 59
New York, NY 11101
212-559-5599
hannah.lee@email.com
https://hannahmlee.com

2. Objective or summary

Next, include your professional objective or a career summary. Most entry-level professionals write an objective, which defines your career goals. In contrast, most mid- and senior-level professionals write a summary, which highlights the most important aspects of your professional qualifications and accomplishments. For example,

A professional objective might read: “Driven web designer seeking a mobile-first creative role within a mission-driven design firm.”

A professional summary might read: “Seasoned and versatile web designer with over 20 years of experience in multiple industries.”

3. Work experience

List work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with your current or most recent position. Plan to include only professional experience that relates to the job for which you are applying. Mention your employer, your title, your employment dates and your most important responsibilities. Aim to be as specific as possible, including numbers and statistics when relevant.

Example:

Junior Web Designer, Edison Firm, 2016 to present

  • Develop responsive websites for clients in the financial and accounting industry

  • Manage user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) needs

  • Create still and animated graphics

  • Use CSS, HTML5, WordPress and JavaScript

Web Design Intern, Miller & Miller, 2015-2016

  • Assisted with researching client needs and preparing pitches

  • Created drafts of website wireframes for advanced colleagues to reference

  • Developed still graphics and icons

Related: How To Write Work Experience on a Resume

4. Education

Next, outline your degrees and diplomas, starting with the highest achievement. List the institution, your degree and your date of graduation. You can also list additional information, such as your major, any honors you received or your grade point average (GPA). If you are completing a degree or diploma program, mention your expected date of graduation.

Example:

Bachelor’s in Website Design, National University: 2016
Honors: Magna cum laude
GPA: 3.8
Coursework: Communications and Media, Multimedia Applications, Advanced CSS, UX for the 21st Century

5. Certifications and licenses

If you have received professional certifications or licenses, list these next. Mention the certification name, the issuing organization and the date of receipt. You can also include information like honors or areas of specialty. If your profession does not call for these qualifications or if you have not earned any, omit this section.

Example: 

Adobe Certified Expert (ACE), Adobe: 201
Amazon Web Services Certified Developer, Amazon: 2018
Microsoft Technology Associate, Microsoft: 201

6. Skills

Next, include all relevant skills, including your level of competence, when applicable. You can include both technical skills, which are learned, and soft skills, which are attributes and behaviors. Include software platforms you use regularly and languages you can speak or write, too. As you decide which skills to include here, review the job description to identify important keywords that you can highlight in this section.

Example:

Technical Skills:

Adobe Animate (advanced)
CSS (advanced)
HTML5 (advanced)
JavaScript (intermediate)
PHP (advanced)
Responsive design
UI/UX
WordPress (advanced)

Soft Skills:

Attention to detail
Creativity and innovation
Time management

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

7. Awards and honors

In this section, list the professional honors and awards you have received. Include the name of the award, the issuing organization and the date you received it. You may also include additional details, such as the context or the reason for the award or honor.

Example:

Web Designer of the Quarter, New York Professional Web Designers Association: 2018

8. Outside projects

Finally, list any projects that you have completed independently that has contributed to your professional experience. Include the name of the project, the date of completion and a short description. When possible, include specifics and data. If this section is not relevant to your professional experience, leave it out.

Example: 

Savings Challenge: Designed the website for a promotion led by a nonprofit organization, Save New York, in 2018. Used Adobe Animate, JavaScript, CSS, HTML5 and UI/UX skills. Contributed to a 20% increase in savings among New Yorkers throughout the third quarter of 2018.

Tax Assistance: Led the design team that created a tax assistance website for the nonprofit organization, Tax New York. Used responsive design, UI / UX and leadership skills. Generated 600,000 unique visitors to the website throughout the first half of 2017.

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