Resumes & Cover Letters

The 6 Most Important Parts of a Resume (with Examples)

February 22, 2021

Several components go into an effective and well-rounded resume, but with few exceptions, all resumes should include a contact section, objective or summary, experience, education and skills sections. A resume with all of the appropriate segments provides your potential employer with an overview of your credentials and reason to consider you as a candidate. In this article, we explain the most important parts of a resume and provide examples of resumes you can reference as you create your own.

Why are the different parts of a resume important?

Including the most important parts of a resume is crucial to providing potential employers with an in-depth outline of your qualifications, experience and education. Commonly suggested parts to include in your resume are your contact information, resume profile or summary, experience, education and skills. Your resume may also stand out from the rest if you include optional sections describing your hobbies or accomplishments. Each part of a resume plays a significant role and can influence your chances of being considered for an interview. Leaving out important sections in your resume can prevent potential employers from realizing why you would be a good fit for the position you have applied for.

Related: Resume Samples and Templates

6 parts you should include on your resume

While resumes vary depending on your career and education level as well as the type of position you are applying for, the following six components should typically be included on your resume:

1. Contact section

The contact section should be at the top of your resume and include your first and last name, address, email address and phone number. If you don't feel comfortable putting your full home address, you can simply list your city and state. Depending on the job you are applying for, you may also want to include your social media platforms, blog or website. Your contact information should stand out from the rest of your resume so potential employers don't have to search for it. You can make your contact information bolder or a larger font than the rest of your resume to make it easy to see.

2. Resume profile, objective or summary

After your contact information, you may choose to include a resume profile, objective or summary depending on your preferences and goals. In general, these can be helpful if they concisely describe your immediate employment goal, but it is not an essential component of a successful resume. You may prefer to include an objective or summary in a job-search letter or cover letter instead.

Resume profile

A resume profile is a quick snippet of your skills and experience as it relates to the specific job you are applying for. You will need to modify your resume profile each time you apply for a different position.

Resume objective

A resume objective is another optional section you can include that is also unique to each position you apply for. An objective provides the potential employer with an overview of the goals you have for your employment. An example of a resume objective could be the following: "To secure a position as a marketing manager with a reputable organization where I can utilize my extensive marketing training and skills."

Resume summary

This optional part of your resume is one to two sentences or a list that outlines your top skills, experience and achievements as they relate to the position you are applying for. Your resume summary could include information like years of experience in a particular job or industry, skills you possess that are needed for the position and any specific achievements that demonstrate your eligibility for the job.

Read more: Writing a Resume Summary (With Examples)

3. Experience

Your resume should include an experience section that clearly outlines the specific work and other experience you have that is relevant to the position you are applying for. You should include the companies you have worked for, the title you held at each company and the specific duties you had in your position. You can also include any significant achievements or awards received in previous jobs you have held.

If you have held several jobs, only include the last 10 to 15 years of your professional experience in this section. If you are a recent graduate, you can include internships and summer jobs as well. Remember to write your job descriptions in the past tense for previously held jobs and the present tense for your most recent experience if you are still employed there.

Example:

ABC Company
Social Media Manager, May 2015-Present

  • Lead and manage campaigns on social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • Strengthen customer relations by monitoring online company presence and branding
  • Have seen an increase in web traffic by 30% by implementing new promotion strategies
  • Utilize social media analytics tools to monitor consumer engagement

4. Education

The education section is also a necessary part of your resume. This component of your resume outlines your educational background as well as any academic achievements or awards you have received. You should include the name of the college you attended, the degrees you completed and honors or achievements you earned. If you are a recent graduate, you can include your high school education information as well.

Example:

University of South Florida
Bachelor of Arts in English
Summa cum laude

5. Skills

In this section of your resume, you can list the specific skills you have as they relate to the job you are applying for. Common skills you could put in this section include computer skills, technical skills and soft skills that are specifically relevant to the position. You can use the job listing as a guide for what the most appropriate skills to include would be.

Example:

Key skills include:

  • Data analysis
  • SEO/SEM marketing
  • Content management
  • Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Content editing platforms, including WordPress and Microsoft Office Suite

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

6. Optional parts to include on your resume

There may be additional information you wish to include on your resume that doesn't fit in other sections. For example, your community service experience may directly relate to the position you are applying for. Before including additional information, however, be sure to ask yourself whether including this makes you a more appealing candidate to the potential employer. If the answer is no, you shouldn't include this extra information.

The following are common optional sections you could include at the end of your resume:

Awards/achievements

If you have additional awards that you were not able to incorporate into the experience section of your resume, consider doing so here. For example, you could include international recognition, publications, honors and testimonials that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Languages

If you speak fluently in more than one language, you may wish to include this in a section after your skills.

Community service

Some companies prefer candidates who have a passion or experience in community service. If this is true for the position you are interested in, be sure to include any community service commitments or experience you have as it relates to the job.

Hobbies

More and more companies are interested in understanding their candidates on a personal level. While you don't need to include a long list of your hobbies, you could consider listing two or three things that you enjoy doing in your free time that speak to your personality.

Example:

Reading mystery novels, running marathons and woodworking

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