The way you layout and organize your resume depends on the purpose it is being used for.
For instance, a resume used to apply for an entry-level job will look different than one used for a senior-level job.
The key to determining how to layout your resume is to think about what the hiring manager is looking for.
Ask yourself these 3 questions about your potential employer:
- Will they read the resume thoroughly or just skim the most important information?
- Are they expecting a specific resume format?
- Have they listed any keywords or requirements for the resume within the job description?
In general, you will always want to keep your resume as concise as possible.
This means you must optimize the sections and headers to be easy to read and follow.
What are the Main Sections of Your Resume Layout?
Though resumes can differ in purpose and content, all resumes should contain the same basic information.
Here is a break down of the main sections you should include on your resume every time:
- Personal Header: A personal header should contain your name and contact information. It should be the very first information to appear on your resume.
- Professional Statement: This can come in the form of a job title, professional objective, or professional summary. It should always include a brief explanation of your professional title or goals.
- Work Experience: Your work experience section is where you detail your previous jobs. This is where you will list your responsibilities in previous roles. Typically, this will be the largest section of your resume.
- Education: Your education section is where you will list what level of education you have received and degrees earned. Some employers may ask you to include GPA information, so pay careful attention to the requirements listed in the job description.
When an employer first looks at your resume, these are the sections they will be searching for.
This makes them the most important sections on the resume.
However, other sections can be useful additions to your resume as well.
Adding extra sections will depend on how much extra space you have.
It will also depend on how relevant the extra information is.
Additional sections to consider adding include:
- Skills and Proficiencies: Skills and proficiencies can be important to include in a smaller section. These can demonstrate to employers your different talents and capabilities. When listing your skills, you should include both hard and soft skills.
- Certifications: Certain jobs require you to have specific certifications. Other times, you may have gone out of your way to earn certifications to give you an edge on the competition. Always make sure the certifications you include are relevant to the job.
- Awards and Achievements: Some applicants may have earned awards at previous jobs for their work. In other cases, an applicant may have had significant achievements within a previous role. Including these helps to show future employers your professional prowess and work ethic.
What Goes Where on a Resume?
Here is a rundown of the basic order for sections on a resume:
- Personal Information: Your name and contact information should always come first. Follow this with your professional statement.
- Work Experience: The next section should typically be your work experience section. This section is what most hiring managers will be looking for and provides the most relevant information.
- Education: Place your education section after your work experience. This can be below the work experience section or placed in a sidebar.
- Additional Information: Place extra info within the sidebar of your resume.
There are a few cases in which you will not want to make your work experience the most prominent section.
The following are examples of such circumstances:
- New Graduates: Applicants who have recently graduated may not have an abundance of work experience.
- Employment Gaps: Some applicants may be returning to the workforce after some time away. This can result in having an employment gap that makes creating a prominent work experience section difficult.
- Curriculum Vitae: The CV is a long-form resume intended for use by people applying to jobs within the fields of science and academia. This type of resume puts greater emphasis on the education section.