5 Critical Résumé Sections

by Ruth Pankratz

A professional marketing tool used to secure interviews is the résumé. One reason why a résumé does not get attention is due to poor content and missing sections. A targeted résumé is effective when it includes the following sections:

1. Contact

The start of a résumé should include a first and last name, telephone number, and an email address. Some professional résumés also include additional contact information like a location, LinkedIn URL, or other social media profile information.

Avoid placing contact information in a header section of the document because some applicant tracking systems (ATS) are unable to scan header and footer content. Text boxes should also be avoided for the same reason. Contact information should be in an easy to read font.

2. Job Goal, Introduction, and Keywords

Under the contact information, include a job title or a job name aligned with the position you are trying to secure. The introduction section should list a few bulleted career achievements to highlight valuable contributions.

Keywords can be included if they align with specific knowledge. For example, “Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification” for some job opportunities will be a differentiator and key information to include.

Avoid general phrases such as “reliable team member” or “strong work ethic” because these phrases use valuable résumé real estate but state nothing unique about the professional. Avoid using an objective statement because it is self-serving and tends to state the obvious.

3. Experience

Work history is typically the most robust section of a résumé listing relevant work in chronological order. Not all work needs to be in a résumé. Previous career contributions that are irrelevant to a job goal can be reduced or omitted.

Avoid a job obituary that lists general responsibilities and no accomplishments. Instead, focus the experience content on previous successes and contributions.

4. Education & Training

The education section placement depends on the relevance to the job aim. For recent graduates, the education section could be listed higher up on the résumé under the introduction section. Career changers who have continued education or training to support a new job aim should list education and training under the introduction section to highlight new knowledge and credentials.

Professionals who have two or more years of experience related to the job aim should place the education section under the experience section because hiring managers will be more interested in learning about the experience and accomplishments than the education. Seasoned professional resumes typically have an education and training section toward the end of the document.

Only attended college for a few classes? Include education information and number of credits completed even if a degree was not awarded. Training and certifications relevant to the job aim are also important to include in this section.

Avoid education disclaimers or statements explaining why a degree was abandoned or not earned. Personal education philosophy statements do not need to be included.

5. Volunteer, Board Member, and Other Interests

This section can be a differentiator from other qualified candidates. Serving the community as a volunteer or board member can be included in a résumé to showcase leadership skills and contributions. Providing one to two sentences about hobbies and interests can spur discussions with future employers.

Avoid religious, political, or other controversial statements and views.

Ruth Pankratz is an international Master Résumé Writer, dual certified resume writer, certified interview coach, and job search coach. Her resumes have won international awards and Ruth’s cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles have been included in a variety of publications. Contact Ruth at GabbyCommunications.com.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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  1. 1

    In any case, staffing office representatives, mostly recruiters, will review the rankings and resumes and pass along the best candidates to the hiring managers. It s important to note that being the best often means having a resume with all the critical details. If the information isn t there, then the resume stands a far greater chance of being removed from the process.

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