Resume Writing: How To Format Resume Headings And What Should Be Included

            The first and most prominent item on your resume if your name and contact information. Your name is typically in the largest font, standing apart from all other text on your resume.
A common mistake professionals make is trying to emphasize their name in a special font type. As it is difficult to anticipate the software and its version your potential employer is using, you run a risk of not knowing exactly how your name will show up on their screen.

Stick to the basic font types – Arial and Times New Roman are most commonly used and are least risky when it comes to formatting your resume. Don’t go overboard on the font size either.

Your name should be in point size 14 or 16; all other headings should be in 12 or 14 point font, while the remaining text of your resume should be between 10 and 12 points. Along with your name, the very top of your resume should contain your mailing address, your email address, and at least one phone number where you can be reached.

Make sure that your email address contains your name, as this helps you appear more professional. You can create a free gmail or Yahoo email account; it also maybe helpful to have one email address as a point of contact for your job search.

At least one phone number should be listed; make sure to indicate if you are listing a home or a mobile number. If you have a professional web site, you can include the address to it along with your contact information.

Please note, only do so if there isn’t anything on the web site that is personal; the only reason your potential employer may want to look at a web site is if your professional portfolio or a copy of your resume can be found there. 

Whether you decide to create a chronological or a functional resume, you will need to separate the information by headings.

The best advice I can give you is to keep the section headings professional and stick to the basics. Don’t try to come up with creative titles for your professional summary, or for your qualifications. Your chronological resume should have the following sections/titles:

  • Career
  • Objective
  • Professional
  • Summary (optional)
  • Qualifications/Skills
  • Professional Experience/work experience/experience
  • Education Publications/Special Achievements (if applicable)
  • References/References and
  • Portfolio

A functional resume is slightly different, and the headings you chose will truly depend on the skills you are trying to highlight. You should include:

  • Career
  • Objective
  • Education
  • Professional Skills
  • Professional Qualifications (this section will include sub-headings as they relate to specific qualifications you want to promote, such as communications, customer relations, managements, etc.)
  • Work Experience
  • Work History (if applicable; should only include dates, titles, companies and locations without listing responsibilities)
  • Volunteer Work/Activities (if applicable)
  • References

These are the typical sections of chronological and functional resumes.

Do some research on resume styles and find sample resumes of professionals in your industry. You may need to adjust these headings based on your field, although the content should be consistent across industries.

Stick to the basics; don’t try to be creative in order to stand out. A professional and polished resume will get you noticed, so do your best to create a resume that is error free and best supports your career objective.


Keep It Short One of the main questions asked about resumes is, “Do I have to include everything on one page?” The most common misconception of resume writing is that your entire professional history has to fit within one 8 ½”x 11” page of white A4 paper but the best paper to use is the concord paper (such paper is thicker than ordinary paper). The truth is, the resume should be well written and concise, and should promote your qualifications in the best possible light. This is sometimes impossible to do in one page.

Thus, a resume can extend to multiple pages, with some consideration depending on your career level. Be concise. This is critical. Do not use lengthy sentences and paragraph forms to disclose your experience and your education.

Employers want straight forward statements that highlight your qualifications. A resume is not a place to show your creative writing skills. Perfect your resume. You have second to catch your potential employer’s attention. Make sure that your resume is properly formatted, and you are not trying to fit too much copy on a single page of paper.

Create appropriate and professional sections for your resume. Your potential employer is more concerned with the look and content of your resume than with its length. Longer is not better when you don’t have the experience to meet your career objective. If you are new to the job market, are changing careers, or you’ve only had one job, stick to a one page resume.

If you don’t have the experience to meet your career objective, no matter the reason, do not apologize for it.
Don’t try to fill up your resume with irrelevant content; instead do your best to highlight your transferable skills, and stick to the “short and sweet.” Unless you are applying for an executive-level job, or are composing curriculum vitae, your resume should not exceed two pages. The purpose of a well-written resume is to sell you as the best candidate for the job with a confident and a straight-forward approach.

Do not oversell your skills. Do not list more than three to five previous positions you’ve help. Stick to those skills and experiences that best meet the job requirements and your career objective. The most relevant information has to be included on the first page. The second page should be numbered, with your contact information included as well (just in case the pages are separated when printed, you don’t want your potential employer to discard the second page of your resume completely).

If you find yourself going over two pages, review your resume and make sure that you are not incorporating information that is irrelevant to your goals or to the position you are seeking. Make sure that your professional history warrants a resume that is three pages or longer. As mentioned above, unless you are a senior-or executive-level professional, or you are composing curriculum vitae, your resume should not extend to over two pages.
If you have a longer resume, you will have to make sure that every statement on the resume is applicable to your career goals. If you have had decades of leadership experience for example, demonstrate that using the reverse chronological resume style and only list those jobs that best qualify you for the position you are seeking. If you need to include an extensive list of publications or certifications, your resume can take up more than three pages. Make sure that the important information is still listed on the first page. This includes your career objective and professional profile, and your current or most recent professional experience. All subsequent pages need to be numbered, and include your contact information in the heading.


            The most difficult and time consuming section of any resume is the listing of your work experience, no matter the level you have reached in your professional career.

If you have just graduated college and don’t have any full-time professional experience, you are concerned if your part time job and summer internship are enough to get your foot in the door. If you are a seasoned professional with extensive work experience, you are worried how to fit all of your hard work on only one page.
If you are changing careers, you are unsure which skills best showcase your qualifications. Listing work responsibilities on our resumes doesn’t get easier as our career progresses.

The key is to consider your career objective and prioritize your work in accordance to your goals. When people are asked about work responsibilities, they have a tendency to disclose the routine items first.

This method can be a costly mistake for listing your professional experiences on your resume because it leaves all of the important and key qualifications at the bottom of the list. To avoid falling into this practice, first put together a list of your responsibilities on a sheet of paper. For your initial draft, don’t worry about how you are phrasing each statement – just make a list of everything that you do in your current or have done in your previous jobs. Once your list is completed, consider all of the responsibilities you have included.

Then ask yourself these questions:

What are the three most important items on the list for each job? 

How do those items relate to your career objective? 

Are there any other responsibilities you have listed that better support your career objective than the three you picked as the most critical to your job? 

You have to consider all these questions in order to prioritize your job descriptions on your resume. Begin each description with a power word, such as managed, developed, communicated, etc.

Make sure that the statements you list first quantify your achievements – don’t be afraid to list sales figured, customer acquisition rates, budget and time line successes, or any other figures which help put your responsibilities in a context of the business/field you are working in. Also, these statements should be aligned with your career objective. If you want to get a job in project management, letting your employer know that you managed a team of 20 people will effectively highlight your qualifications.

It is important to quantify your job description statements on your resume; however, as a word of caution, do not quantify all statements, just one or two that are most critical to your job and are goal driven.

This shows your employer that you think in terms of exceeding your goals. All subsequent descriptions of your responsibilities should support the first one or two items on your list. Prioritizing doesn’t only apply to your job descriptions, although it is the most commonly disregarded element in this particular area of the resume.

Achievements and qualifications are often misrepresented because they are not ordered properly. Same rules apply – consider which of your achievements and your qualifications are most complimentary to your career objective, and list them first. For example, if you are applying for a job in customer service, list your communication skills before your computer skills.

While both are important, your communication skills are more in line with your career objective, and therefore should take priority.

As a final test, put yourself in the shoes of your employer. Cross-check the job description and make sure that you address the qualifications required for the job with the information on your resume. Let your potential employer know you have what they are looking for, and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.
What other tips do you think which I did not mention? Please share with others for everyone to learn. Your contribution is highly appreciated.

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