Creating a resume
Which resume headings should you use?

If you are creating a resume from scratch there are probably two steps for getting started. First you'll want to decide which resume style to use.

The next step in creating your resume is.....you develop an outline of your document by typing in the resume headings you want to use in your document.

Logically, once you've got some resume headings to work with, then you can begin to think about the content to include under each heading.

But first things first. Create and name your document "resume master" or some other suitable title using your favourite word processing software.

Resume Writing Tips

Always maintain a resume master document.

Aim to update this at least annually - maybe around your birthday, after you've done your income tax return, or some other suitable time.

This master version of your resume is only ever for your eyes - never send this document to anyone as a part of a job application.

In maintaining a master resume, you will always have access to a document containing important career information which you can tailor (or fine tune) to suit any job application you are putting together.

This raises another very important principle in creating a resume.....always tailor your document to the career opportunity or job that you are applying for.

Never send a generic "one size fits all" resume. Generic looking resumes are usually the first to hit the employer's waster paper bin!

Creating a resume
Commonly used resume headings

The following headings will be included in most resume styles.

I have listed them in the order or sequence that works best for most people, most of the time.

Your personal details

This is not one of the recommended resume headings.

You will however usually put your personal details at the very top of the first page of your resume

Align this information in the centre of the page

Type the information as follows:

  • Your name - type your first name then family name. Include a title such as Dr if relevant. Women not wishing to disclose their marital status can simply type their name, or put Ms before their first name. In instances where your gender is not obvious consider including in brackets after your name whether you are a Mr, Mrs, Ms etc.
  • Type your name in a larger font - perhaps size 14, or 16 so that it stands out.
  • On the next line, type your address - this can be either a P.O. Box, or a residential address, include zipcode or post code.
  • Your telephone contact details will appear on the next line - either/or both a landline and cell phone number. Make sure that if you have a recorded voice message for answering missed calls that the greeting is friendly and professional. This is an important opportunity to make a great first impression.
  • Next line....an email address - take care with the email names that you use - hotsexychick@xmail.com or stanthestud@xmail.com will not reinforce the positive impression you are seeking to make with the rest of your resume.

Creating a Resume - Tips

Some resume formats will suggest that you record personal details, as follows:

Name: First Name and Family Name

Address: your address

Telephone: 12345 78900

Leave out headings like these - simply type out your name, address, telephone and email details and then center them at the top of the page......like so:.

Jennifer Jones
24 Home Place
Los Angeles, CA90012
Telephone: 1234 456779
Email: yourname@gmail.com

This style of resume layout gives the top of your document an open, uncluttered look and feel.

Creating a resume
Career Objective

This is a commonly used heading when creating a resume - you'll see it included in many downloadable resume layouts. But - you don't necessarily need to have this heading in your document.

Whether you include this heading or not will depend on a number of things. If you do put this heading in you must put together a really strong sales pitch as a part of your objective.

If you decide to include this heading when creating a resume, understand that what you write will be the very first piece of information your reader is likely to focus on.

This link resume objectives explores in detail the pros and cons of having a career objective statement in your resume. And....it explains how to do this so that it make the right impact!

Resume Writing Tips

While our topic here is about headings to be included in your master resume, it is critical that you remember one of the golden rules of tailored resume writing..........

The information you decide to include in your resume must be for a purpose - so, always consider:

  • What do I want the reader to learn about me?
  • The converse of this is - if I include this information how will the reader interpret this information

What all this really means is....there isn't any single correct way to prepare a resume. You can decide what goes in, what get's left out. There's no need to tell all about everything that you have ever done in your working life!

And.....ulitmately what you decide to put in to your resume must be about making an impact, not just providing information.

Creating a resume
Profile

Quite possibly your profile statement is the single most important part of your resume.

In many instances this will be the first heading of a resume if you are a professional person in an established career (following of course your personal details at the top of the resume).

Some alternative titles for this heading include:

  • Professional Profile
  • Career Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Strengths or Key Strengths Summary

The title of the heading you choose however is less important than what you write under the heading.

Your profile must be compelling reading and include a sales pitch.

The purpose of using a Profile heading is to position you. It's an opportunity to present your "brand".

Your profile should assist the reader to benchmark you and your application against other applicants, and to be able to easily compare you with the selection criteria.

Your profile statement can cover many things - such as:

  • where you are in your career - the level and type of skill, or functional expertise you have acquired
  • the level at which you are operating in an hierarchical sense
  • the level of responsibility you have had
  • the breadth, depth or diversity of your experience
  • some areas of key strength that you have, and so on
  • key areas of functional expertise or experience that you wish to highlight

Want more information about how to write a compelling, professional profile? Comprehensive guidelines are outlined here at career profile

Creating a resume
Career Achievements, or...Related Career Achievements

This is another heading that often, but not always, appears on the first page of a resume.

Typically it will be included as a heading in either a combined resume style or a functional style resume.

As the heading suggests, a listing of career achievements relevant to the position you are applying for can be documented here.

The advantage of using this heading is that it focuses the reader on your contributions.

This is important in the selection process, because past performance is the best indicator of potential performance - so letting people know early in your resume that you have a record of achievement could be an advantage.

This page career highlights describes in much greater detail when and how to include career achievement statements in your resume.

Making a career change?

Using the "Related Career Achievements" heading is an excellent way of writing about past achievements which are direcly related to the areas of functional expertise you want the employer to take notice of.

Let's say for example that you are a marketing professional who is seeking a role more related to adult learning and development.

Instead of writing about marketing achievements under this heading, you would write about various training courses you have developed, or workshops you might have facilitated during your career to showcase your skills in this area.

Creating a resume
Education

This heading is reasonably self explanatory.

You can include this heading on the first page of your resume only if there is room, if not on the next page is fine.

The heading however usually relates to education you will have gained through the higher education system such as college and university, technical college etc.

Short courses, in-house training and the like that you've completed on your own initiative, or through your employment, should be included further down in your resume under a heading like "Professional Development" or "Training and Development".

List your education in reverse chronological order - that is your highest and most recent education qualifications first.

The suggested format is - name of the award, the institution where you completed your study, the year completed.

For example:

Masters of Business Administration, University of XXXXXX, 2005

Bachelor of Commerce, University of XXXXXXX, 1998

It will not be usually necessary to list individual courses that you've completed in gaining your qualifications.

Sometimes it might be useful to write that you what your major and/or minor areas of study were. Sometimes, equally, it will be helpful to leave out this extra detail.

Professional Experience

This is the area of your resume where you describe your personal employment history.

In creating a resume you can use either this heading, "Professional Experience", or other variations - such as:

  • Career History
  • Employment History
  • Professional Experience Summary
  • Summary of Employment History

Follow this link for comprehensive information about how to document your personal employment history or professional experience.

Resume Writing Tips

How to record your professional or career experience, including the level of detail that you provide is one of the key differences between the various resume styles and resume layouts.

The main styles are:

Follow the links to see how writing about your professional experience sections differs in each of these resume formats.

Creating a resume
Professional Experience - Other

Sometimes this extra heading can be really useful, especially if there is something older in your employment history that you'd specifically like to refer to.

Sometimes providing a broad description of older employment history, rather than a detailed description of each position you've held can help show an employer how truly "rounded" you are in your field.

Professional Development

This information is important to include when creating a resume. More and more today it is expected that people in all walks of life be life long learners.

This means you have to show how you have engaged in your ongoing professional development.

Listing short training courses and self education that you've completed - again in reverse chronological order, shows prospective employers that you have this ongoing commitment to life long learning and your development as a professional.

Interests

When creating a resume, as explained in resume guidelines the interests heading is one you may also decide to leave out.

Many resume formats will include an Interests heading, but professional resume writers, and employers, are divided on whether the information is necessary or not.

Bottom line - include it if your interests are likely to either enhance your attractiveness to the employer, or strengthen your suitability to the role for which you are applying.

Creating a resume
Referees

This is usually the last heading you'll see on most resume formats.

Unless you are specifically asked to provide the contact details of the people who will be providing you with an employment related preference, when creating a resume it is sufficient to simply write "Referees available on request".

Creating a resume - Summary

Deciding which headings to use in designing your overall resume layout is a way to start writing your resume.

It is important to remember that the headings described on this page, and even what you decide to call each heading is really up to you.

Try to think through and think about the purpose of each heading in your resume. Weigh up how to make the most impact.

If you are still not sure about getting started on your resume, try reviewing some of the basic guidelines for resume writing.

New! Comments

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