How To Write Effective Resume Sections (With Samples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 6, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021

Updated October 6, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: How to Format a Resume for Success in 5 Easy Steps

In this video, we show you how to craft the perfect resume in five easy steps so recruiters can find you.

Resume sections include all relevant information required for hiring managers to consider you for a position. These sections discuss your various skills and experience to demonstrate why you're the best candidate for the position. Understanding how to write effective sections can help you be more competitive when searching for jobs. In this article, we discuss sections to include in your resume and provide tips to help you write your own.

Resume sections to include

Here are resume sections to consider when writing your own:

Contact information

Your resume needs to include information to help the hiring manager to contact you for questions or to discuss progressing through the hiring process. Include your full name, phone number, email address, city, and province or territory. When appropriate, include your social media profiles and portfolio. This is best for jobs in the arts or that involve work in social media. For example, marketing, content writing, and social media management frequently require information about your portfolio or social media profiles.

Summary or objective statement

Include a summary or objective statement at the top of your resume. This typically includes two to four sentences about your qualifications and why you want the job. If you're a recent graduate, consider your career objectives and discuss how this job contributes to them. This is also an opportunity to discuss your most impressive skills and achievements.

Experience

Your work experience is the most important part of your resume because it discusses previous achievements and responsibilities. It also provides employers with an overview of how your previous responsibilities translate to the job position. Remember that it is unnecessary to include every job or experience on your resume. When listing jobs with similar positions or titles, show diversity in responsibilities. If the position is entry level, consider listing part-time and volunteer experience in this section.

Related: How to Describe Your Work Experience on a Resume

Here is an example of listing similar job positions with diverse responsibilities:

Social media manager
The Hawkesbury Social Media Management Company
Hawkesbury, Ontario
November 2019—August 2021

  • Optimized all social media pages for search engines

  • Interacted with viewers, visitors, and clients daily

  • Implemented new tracking software to determine best posting schedules

Social media manager
Toronto Media Company
Toronto, Ontario
September 2016—October 2019

  • Managed media for 20+ websites

  • Increased company leads by 157% in three years

  • Increased productivity by implementing new scheduling software for social media posts

Education

Consider how your educational background translates to the desired job position. If you have multiple degrees, list them in reverse chronological order. This resume section needs to include your degree title, your graduation year, location, and school name. If you completed your degree with good grades, consider including your GPA or letter grade. Here is an example of how to list education on your resume:

BA Social Work, 4.0 GPA
Pine Grove University
Montreal, Quebec
2021

Skills

This section, also called core strengths and competencies, is where you can list five to ten abilities that qualify you for the position. If this is the last section of your resume, use the rest of the page for these skills. Consider reading the job posting to determine which skills to list. Examples of common skills include multiple learned languages, computer programming languages, research skills, and problem-solving skills. When necessary, split this section into separate parts for soft skills and technical skills. This is appropriate for job postings that ask for several technical skills, like computer engineering.

Optional resume sections

Here are some optional sections to include in your resume:

Professional accomplishments

If you have space left on your resume, consider including your accomplishments. This section demonstrates your ability to create results. It also shows that you create results of high quality and that you're recognized for those achievements. If you write a cover letter, consider expanding on these accomplishments there.

Volunteer work

This section, otherwise called community engagement, is common in resumes. Demonstrated experience volunteering with your community is useful when applying for jobs in the community or nonprofit organizations. Format this section like work experience, with your title and responsibilities listed in reverse chronological order.

Related: Tips for Listing Volunteer Work on a Resume (With Examples)

Certifications

Consider including this section if you have certifications that apply to the job position. Some job positions also require specific licenses. If you have certifications for your field, create a separate section to list them. If you're in a profession that has a regulatory board, also include the regulatory board with the certification. When including your certifications, list them with their name, the date you received them, and the certifying agency. Remember to write the full name and acronyms to include their full title.

Related: How To List Your Certifications on a Resume

Awards

If you have awards that are relevant to the job position, create a section for them. These awards can both be educational awards and awards you earned in previous jobs. For example, include any "Employee of the Month" awards you obtained. When listing awards, include the award name, the date you received it, and the name of the school or employer that provided you with the award.

Extracurricular activities

List activities or hobbies that coincide with the company's goals, values, and culture. For example, if you apply for a position at a company that produces sportswear, consider including any sports you play. This section particularly applies to recent graduates and those who lack professional experience.

Tips for writing your resume

Here are some tips to help you write your resume:

Keep the appropriate length

When writing your resume, try to keep it to 350 words or fewer. Your resume also needs to be less than one page. Hiring managers read several resumes daily and lack the time to read resumes with several pages. By having a concise resume, you're more selective with your words and which experience you choose, which increases the quality of your resume. If you have a large amount of recent, relevant experience, your resume can be up to two pages.

Related: What Is the Right Resume Length?

Consider presentation and format

When writing your resume, consider how the hiring manager reads it. Your resume needs to have a clear presentation and formatting. Your resume layout requires proper structure because the recruiter's attention usually goes to the centre of the page. When writing your resume, include the most important and valuable information in the centre of the page.

Related: How to Write a One-Page Resume (With Tips and an Example)

Include keywords

Review the job posting for keywords before writing your resume. Keywords include anything from repeated words in job descriptions to skills, education requirements, and experience. Target your resume to the specific job and hiring manager by including these keywords. Consider creating a general resume that you then tailor to the needs of specific job positions and employers. This requires you to research employers and job positions to determine which information to include in your resume.

Consider your references

When applying for jobs, consider which references you want to provide. At the bottom of your resume, include a short phrase that states your intention to provide references upon request. Contact your references before submitting your resume to prepare them if a hiring manager asks for a reference.

Related: Key Steps To Asking for a Reference

Research resume examples

When writing your resume, consider researching resume examples for your field. This provides you with information about employer expectations and what other professionals include in their resumes. By researching these examples, you develop targeted and unique resumes with increased competitiveness.

Consider font

Hiring managers review resumes quickly, so your font needs to be clear and easy to read. Consider using Arial or Times New Roman and choose a font size between 10 and 12 points. These fonts create more professional resumes and increase your chances of being hired. While adjusting the font, consider removing extra white space by increasing your font size. You can also reduce white space by including more sections.

Include relevant sections

When writing your resume, only include sections that are relevant to the job position. If you lack relevant work experience, consider identifying previous responsibilities that translate to the position. This helps employers identify how you aid their business.

Related: Should I Include a Photo on My Resume? (With Tips)

Use active voice

Use an active voice when writing your resume. This creates a resume that is concise and clear. If your resume is hard to read or is too long, using active voice removes unnecessary language. Using an active voice in your resume provides the impression that you're actionable and direct, which helps make you a desirable candidate.

Proofread your resume

Your resume needs to be clear of errors. Consider asking someone close to you to read your resume to identify spelling or grammatical errors. You can also use online proofreaders or programs to identify mistakes you would otherwise miss.

Related articles

Should You Put Your Address on Your Resume (And Reasons Why)

Explore more articles