How long has it been since you've updated your professional resume? Even in today's competitive job market where most job hunting is done online, your resume makes a difference.
Your resume structure is also important. Your resume needs the right headings and sections. Your resume formatting makes affects the impression you make on potential employers.
Learn how to structure a resume with proper resume sections and resume headings. Discover why your resume structure is important and a few go-to template resources.
How to Organize Your Resume Better: Resume Must-Haves
A good way of learning how to organize a resume is to view the information through an employer's eyes. Ask yourself:
- What information about me does a potential employer or client need to know?
- What information about me would they like to know?
Let's take a closer look at the basic resume sections and resume headers that every resume needs. Here are the sections of a resume and a brief look at why each section is important:
- Contact information. You won't get hired if you don't include a way for hiring managers to get in touch. Yet too many job hunters wrongly submit their resumes with incomplete or outdated contact information.
- Strong summary statement. The summary statement is a short phrase that describes your skills and experience. It should appear towards the top of your resume since many employers look at it first.
- Keywords. What terms will your employer look for in their candidates? Read the job ad carefully and sprinkle the employer's terms throughout your resume. Keywords can help you get around filters and gatekeepers.
- Job history. When you list past jobs on your resume, describe what you accomplished at each job. Don't merely repeat your job description. They key to standing out from other candidates is to show how you excelled in your prior positions.
- Education. Under the Education resume heading include your formal education beyond high school. Don't forget to list certificates and continuing education as well. Include any coursework that specifically relates to the position you're applying for in this resume section.
Organize your resume into sections with related information grouped under separate resume headings. Well-defined resume headers make it easier for potential employers to quickly find what they need to know about you.
That’s why I include a good resume template on the list of resume must-haves. A good template makes it easier for recruiters to read your resume. The basic resume structure and resume headings are already in place, so you don't need to waste time figuring out how to organize your resume. A template also ensures that your finished resume will have a polished, professional look.
Now that we’ve discussed the resume sections your resume needs, let’s take a look at some things it doesn’t need.
5+ Resume Mistakes to Avoid
Resume structure has changed over the years so what you know about how to organize a resume may be outdated or irrelevant, especially if it's been some years since your last job search. Even worse, following outdated resume advice can cost you a job.
Here's a short list of common resume mistakes and outdated advice:
- Objective. The old advice was to include a resume heading called Objective at the top of your resume. The section described your career goals. Many human resource professionals agree that this section should be replaced by the more employer-oriented resume heading of Summary Statement.
- References. Another piece of old resume writing advice was to include your references in a section at the end of your resume. If an employer or potential client is interested, they'll ask for references. Keep a separate reference sheet handy. Bring it on your interviews, but don't submit it with your initial resume unless it's asked for.
lots of pages. A longer resume isn't always better, it just shows that you don't know how to organize a resume so that only the important details are there. Your resume should
be long enough to cover your information, but not so long that it overwhelms a
recruiter. Learn how to organize your resume properly to avoid repetition.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes. If you make mistakes on your resume, potential clients and employers may assume that you'll also be careless on the job. Consider having a friend review your resume to make sure there are no mistakes. Another option is to hire a professional resume writer who specializes in resume and cover letter writing.
- Fancy paper. Years ago, nearly all resumes were received through the mail. It became common practice to pre-print resumes on expensive stationery. Today, most resumes are initially received online. You'll need a few printed copies of your resume to take to interviews, but don't invest in reams of pricey paper. A good quality basic paper (make sure it's not too thin) is fine for most interviews.
- Fabrication. Lies have no place on your resume. Remember, most companies will verify your education and work experience, so don't make it up. Take a look at what HR professional Liz Ryan has to say about resume lies in her article on Forbes, The Truth About Lying On Your Resume.
Read this post to check if your resume is guilty of other blunders:
Now that we’ve looked at the dos and don’ts of how to organize a resume, and what to include in it, let’s discuss your resume structure.
Why Your Resume Structure Is So Important
The information is all there, you might think. So, why should I bother with getting my resume structure just right?
The answer is simple. Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes. Often, they only have a few minutes to glance at each resume and decide whether they want to consider a candidate.
A good resume structure helps HR professionals find relevant information quickly. Resume headings should be well-defined and easy for a rushed recruiter to scan. Plus, an attractive and informative resume shows that you're well-organized.
How can you make sure your resume structure will catch a recruiter’s eye? You could spend hours and hours trying to create an attractive resume and still not get it right.
8 Structured Resume Templates With Organized Designs
Below are examples of eight attractive resume templates that'll also give you a good idea of how to organize a resume.
This brightly colored structured resume template and cover letter gives you a good idea of how to organize a resume so that each section has enough space for text, and the "white space" that prevents resumes from getting too crowded.
The design highlights your skills, accomplishments, and professional history without making your application look too old fashioned or stuffy. It also includes an editable cover letter.
Do you think a colorful resume might not be well-received in your industry? Use this minimalist resume template instead. It includes a cover letter template, too.
It's easy to edit and has all the basic sections you would expect with an organized resume structure. The designer also included a PDF guide to help you make this resume your own, in case you don't know how to organize your resume using this template.
Want to know how to organize your resume in a seamless yet creative way? Look no further than this template.
This template includes a cover letter, and a modern but colorful design that highlights previous skills and accomplishments.
This creative resume template should give you an idea how to organize your resume if you want to include an image. Note that this image doesn't have to be your picture, it could be a picture of a design or product you created.
Resume formatting matters. You need to make best use of the sections of your resume, your resume headings, and the structure of your document. This simple, clean resume template is laid out to present your work experience professionally.
Also, you can demonstrate your skills and creativity with simple infographics. This template includes a cover letter and portfolio, in addition to the main resume page. It's easy to edit this organized resume template and prep it for your job application!
This easy-to-use one-page resume template features a strong typographic resume structure. It's well-organized, making it user-friendly. It's fully editable in Photoshop or Microsoft Word. There's also a matching cover letter.
If you're looking for a resume that's very structured, yet still easy-to-customize, this might be the choice for you. Choose between multiple color options including: blue, orange, and violet. You'll love the clean and professional look of this one.
This structured resume/CV template boasts a modern and clean appearance. Tailor the document to any job requirements and any applicant background. This is the perfect resume if you're looking for a simple, but well-organized document.
Learn even more about how to organize a resume and discover other ready-to-use resume templates here:
Learn More About Crafting a Professional Resume
If you're currently updating your resume, use this tutorial to learn the basics of how to structure your resume. It also describes the basic resume sections that all resumes should include.
While you're at it, you should also check out our ultimate guide on creating resumes. It contains everything you'll need to know about writing a resume that lands you a job interview, including how to organize a resume, write bullet point achievements, and more.
Depending on your profession, you may want to include other resume headings and sections. To learn more about how to create a resume for a specific situation, review the following tutorials on our network:
- CareersThe Secret to Writing a Simple Resume That Works (+Best Tips for 2019)David Masters
- BrandingHow to Write a Personal Brand Statement for Your ResumeJulia Melymbrose
- ResumesHow to Write a Functional or Skills-Based Resume (With Examples + Templates)Charley Mendoza
Make a Great Organized Resume in 2019
It's 2019, the majority of recruiters read resumes on screens. But whether they look at it on a laptop, desktop, or even on a mobile, a resume's readability is still important. You don't want them to give up reading your application because it's too text-heavy, right? That's why it pays to learn how to organize a resume the right way.
Good news is you don't need to spend hours doing this, as there are lots of ready to use templates available for you to choose from. Why not download the perfect resume template for your job hunt today?