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The Basic Elements

A resume consists of several sections, each of which delivers essential information. The table below explains what each section of your resume should tell your reader.

Resume section

What it tells the reader

Top portion of resume (first third to half)

If your resume is worth reading further. This opening “snapshot” should entice readers to read more.

Header (name and contact information)

Your preferred name and how to contact you. The reader shouldn’t have to think about this (e.g., wonder what name you go by). 

Headline and Summary

What you’re looking for and why you’re qualified. Announces your job target and quickly sums up why you’re a good candidate. Note that experts recommend this approach to replace what used to be called "Objective" on many resumes. Read more in our FAQs.

Skills

Whether you have the required skills. Helps the reader quickly match your skills to the position requirements.

Work Experience
or Professional Experience
or Employment History

What you’ve accomplished that’s relevant. Explains what you’ve achieved that could also benefit the reader’s company.

Education

Whether you meet the education requirements. Again, helps the reader quickly match you to the position requirements.

Continuing Education
or Professional Development
or Additional Training

What further training you’ve pursued. Matches you to job requirements and also illustrates initiative and commitment to learning.

Other Information

What other assets you offer. Provides additional information (professional memberships, awards, etc.) to support your candidacy.

Most resumes will include all of the above sections. One key to making your resume shine is to select the best format for your particular needs.



Department of Labor CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor,
Employment and Training Administration