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5 Resume Sections You Must Have in Today’s Competitive Job Market

resume sections

To stand out in today’s excellent, yet competitive, job search market, a strongly-constructed resume can mean the difference between getting a response – or not.

Make sure readers get the information they need to make this determination by paying special attention to these 5 critical sections:

  1. Name, Acronyms, & Contact Info

While the contact section may seem insignificant – in my experience, it is anything but. Details matter – from replacing an email of yesteryear (goodbye AOL) with a current one (Gmail) to including credentials that align with your career aspirations (Certified Accountants, for instance, should include CPA at the end of their names).

These small details, together with traditional info like your full name, email, phone number and a LinkedIn URL, can go a long way toward making a solid first impression.

In addition to your name and address (you can skip the street name but at minimum include your city, state, and zip), be sure to include the initials or acronym associated with any certifications that align with your career goals. This way the reader won’t miss out on the fast that you are credentialed if he/she doesn’t have time to get the bottom of Page 2!

Also read: 3 Resume Challenges Executives Need to Overcome (and how to do it)

  1. Headline

A headline directly below the contact information sets the stage by informing the reader about the types of roles for which you are well suited.

Are you a CTO or a CFO, a VP of Marketing or a VP of Financial Services Technology? Customize the headline by adding or deleting words that instantly transform you from an industry expert to being industry-agnostic.

  1. Branding Paragraph

Also referred to as the Summary Section – this section is bar none the most important, in my opinion, as it spells out for the reader how you are the PERFECT CANDIDATE for the role at hand.

Nail this section by replacing generic adjectives with details that are unique to you. Phrases like “proven track record” mean nothing. Statements like “Grew territory 30% in 12 months” mean much more and are impactful.

Also read: 6 Mistakes People Make When Writing an Executive Summary

  1. Core Competencies

Also known as a skills section, this is an area to showcase your areas of expertise. Focus on industry- or job function-related skills, rather than soft skills. Not sure what to include? Revert to the “qualifications” sections normally located at the bottom of job postings. These are often chock-full of keyword-searchable skills. 

  1. Professional Experience and Education

Count on readers skimming through this career overview. After they look at your job title, name of company and years of employment, they tend to read the very first paragraph or bullet.

Make it count by including an achievement that makes you proud – quantifying your success as much as possible along the way.

These 5 key sections, with special consideration to formatting and word selection, will help to place you in line for a call back!

About the Author

Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW is the founder of Virginia Franco Resumes which offers customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker.