What Should I Put on a Resume? 5-ish Key Resume Sections

Oct 4, 2019 | Resumes

A graphic entitled "Anatomy of a Resume!" featuring all 5 of this article's key resume sections and demonstrating what to put on a resume. Let's Eat, Grandma's yellow pencil logo is in the bottom right corner.

Wondering what to put on a resume? Read up on these 5 key resume sections to make sure you’ve included everything.

By: Elyse Villanueva for Let’s Eat, Grandma

Resume writing isn’t easy. With so much advice out there on what to put on a resume, you probably feel something like this:

Stop your calculations! Although there are various different sections you might have been told you need to include, there are a few sections that employers really want to see. So let’s give the people what they want!

Here are 5 simple resume sections to keep your resume relevant and ready to snag that job!

Click on the links included for each resume section to be directed to more detailed blogs on how to write each one.

What to Put on a Resume: 5 (or more?) Key Resume Sections

#1: Summary of Qualifications

A summary of qualifications (SoQ) is a section at the beginning of your resume that focuses on your best achievements, skills, and relevant experience. It’s like the title sequence to a movie about your career, introducing and summarizing your best qualities.

A quality SoQ briefly discusses these topics:

  • What experience do you have?
  • What skills do you have?
  • What proof do you have that you can deliver on these?

Note: You might have heard to include an Objective Statement at the top of your resume.

Here’s our official company policy on how to include an Objective Statement:

Let's Eat, Grandma's officially policy on how to include an Objective Statement as one of your resume sections

Objective statements are redundant and unhelpful, which is why they’re being replaced by SoQ’s. The conventions for these two sections are different, so be sure to read the blog linked to above to find out how to write a great SoQ!

#2: Professional Experience Section

A gif of a television star snapping and emphatically saying "Work It!", used here to emphasize the importance of showing accomplishments when deciding what to put on a resume.

To advance in your career, you have to work it! This is true about not only your performance, but how you describe that on your resume.

Simply listing your previous jobs is not enough. Make your resume experience section relevant to the particular job posting, concise, and stand out in bullet points, brief paragraphs, or even both! (Especially for those of you with long careers.)

Elaborate on your experience using strong active words to really sell your experience! Starting each bullet with an action verb is crucial for engaging your reader.

Most importantly, show off your accomplishments! We receive far too many resumes that go into detail on the duties of a position without listing any specific projects or accomplishments. Remember that your resume is a sales pitch. I want to see that you got things done!

If you have numbers to show how much you rocked at your job, even better. Metrics grab hiring managers’ attention and show that you really got results.

#3: Education

You need to list any education experiences you’ve had so far. Regardless of your situation, employers will want to see where, when, and for what you went to school.

Even better, this section can be extremely helpful if you haven’t had a great deal of work experience. You can relate applicable classes and coursework to the job posting in this section.

Don’t think your education is relevant because got a degree in a different field? Still list it.

Best Case Scenario: The employer recognizes the school you attended and you build rapport, increasing your chances.

Worst Case Scenario: The employer knows that you can handle the various personal challenges of being a student!

The placement of this section will look different depending on a few things:

  • Whether your education or work experience is more relevant to the job you’re applying to
  • How long you have been out of school, and whether you’ve finished your degree(s)

#4: Skills

A gif of a television character saying "It's a gift!", used here to emphasize the importance if including skills when deciding what to put on a resume.

Maybe you worked on it, or maybe it’s just a gift – either way, you have skills, and you need to list them.

This resume section is a great place to emphasize both your hard skills (particular programs or aptitudes like writing) and transferable soft skills (teamwork, leadership, etc.)

Employers are looking for both types of skills, so make sure to include all the skills you have that are relevant to the jobs you’re applying for. Take extra care to list any skills found in each job description.

But what if I don’t have any skills?

You do, trust me! Think about volunteer work you have done, courses you took in school, or even hobbies, and I’m positive you can find some transferable skills. (Ex: being a part of a writing club allows you to have skills like creativity and written communication).

Moreover, including a dedicated skills section is also a great way to ensure you pass through ATS systems and make it to real human eyes!

Just make sure you list your skills in a clear, simple format like this (rather than a giant block of text):

An example of how to properly format a resume's skills section, one of the 5 key resume sections.

#5(-ish): Supplemental Sections

Here’s the -ish part.

There are a few supplemental sections you can add to really spice up your resume (if you have the room). Here are some sections to consider, depending on your industry and level of experience:

  • Volunteer experience (this is especially helpful if you don’t have much work experience or if you need to cover a career gap)
    • Just like work experience, highlight your accomplishments and specific skills!
  • Professional Associations
    • List any that are relevant to the position and/or have name recognition
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Certifications and Licenses
    • Certified Scrum Master
    • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
    • Etc.

Only include a supplementary section if it is relevant and you think it will truly enhance your resume. However, you can still include all (yes, I really do mean all) your awesome supplementary information on your LinkedIn profile.

There you have it: all of the resume sections you’ll need to land a job.

Wondering if your resume can compete with the best of them? Schedule a free call with us to find out how our professional writers can rework your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to land you that dream job.

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