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How to Outline a Professional Job Resume


Are you getting ready to create or update your resume and wondering what to include? A job resume outline is a great way to make sure all the necessary information is included and presented in the most logical way.

professional resume template
This sample resume format from Envato Elements provides a good chance to apply your resume outline.

Whether you’re looking for your first job or getting ready to find a better job position, a job resume outline will steer you in the right direction and in this post, we’ll show you the key elements your basic resume outline should include as well as share tips on how to structure each resume section.

Five Key Resume Outline Elements

When you set out to outline your resume, there's one key thing to keep in mind: What does your potential employer want to know about you? In other words, you need to know which information would be most beneficial for your employer so they can easily tell if you’re the right candidate or not.

With that in mind, your job resume outline should include the following five sections:

  1. Contact information and personal details. Your contact information and personal details are, perhaps, the most important part of your resume. After all, if there are no contact details, how will potential employers get in touch with you?
  2. Headline or your resume objective statement. The headline or the objective statement should clearly and briefly state your skills.
  3. Experience. The next section should list previous job experience in reverse chronological order.
  4. Education. You'll also want to list your education beyond high school along with relevant certifications or coursework
  5. Skills and qualifications. Finally, make sure to include any relevant skills and qualifications that might help you get the job you’re applying for.
Resume Elements Example
Resume Elements Example - Note the skills section on the lower left. 

With that out of the way, let’s talk about how to outline a resume the right way by sharing more details about what each of these sections should include.

3 Tips for the Personal Information & Contact Details Section

First things first, let’s start at the beginning with three tips for the section that's got your personal information and contact details.

1. Which Contact Details to List on Your Resume

The most important contact details that should go on your resume include your name, email address, and phone number. Traditionally, your resume should also include your mailing address although there's some debate when it’s better not to list your physical address.

If you’re wondering if you should list your birthday, be aware of the fact that including your date of birth could subject you to ageism so it’s better to leave this information off your resume.

2. How to List Contact Details

Your contact and personal details should be listed in the following format:

First and Last Name

Street Address

City, State, Zip

Phone Number

Email Address

When it comes to your contact details, include your personal cell phone number that’s always with you. Another tip to keep in mind is to use a professional email address. In an ideal situation, you should use an email address that’s tied to your personal domain such as name@yourwebsite.com. However, if you don’t have a website, make sure the email address looks professional such as yourname@gmail.com.

Resume CV Template Contact Details Example
Resume CV Template Contact Details Example

3. Optional Personal and Contact Information

While not necessary, you can also list your LinkedIn profile and your resume website (if you've got one) if they're relevant to the job position you’re applying for. Your potential employers will more than likely Google you, but by listing your LinkedIn profile and your website on your resume you’re giving them a starting point rather than leaving it to chance.

As far as any other social media profiles go, list them if they're relevant to the job. For example, if you’re a developer, linking to your Github profile is perfectly acceptable.

How to Craft a Catchy Heading and Resume Objective Section

Next up is the resume heading section. Considering recruiters spend an average of six seconds on each resume, this section needs to grab their attention. In most cases, this headline also serves as either your resume objective section or your resume summary.

Resume Objective Statement

A resume objective statement is a heading that outlines your career goals as they relate to the job you’re applying for. If you decide to use the objective statement, keep it between two and three sentences long and place it at the top of your resume. It goes without saying that your resume objective statement should be tailored to the job you’re applying for.

Keep in mind that your objective statement should demonstrate how your particular set of skills, experiences, and education will benefit the company that decides to hire you, rather than what you hope to get out of the position.

Resume Summary

A resume summary is a concise and catchy overview of your best work. It should highlight your skills, achievements, and measurable results as they relate to the job you’re applying for. As with the objective statement, you should keep the resume summary between two and three sentences long and tailor it to the position in question.

Your resume summary should focus on highlighting qualifications you've got that'll benefit the company that decides to hire you and show your passion for the industry.

Professional Resume CV Template with Heading Example
Professional Resume CV Template with Heading Example

Resume Objective Statement vs Resume Summary: When to Use Which

Now that you know the difference between the two, you’re probably wondering when to use the resume objective statement and when to use the resume summary. The answer is simple.

If you've got little or no experience in the industry, use the objective statement. The resume objective statement is a good choice if you’re a recent graduate about to enter the workforce or if you’re in between changing industries or career paths.

A resume summary, on the other hand, is best suited for those who have years of experience under their belt along with specific and measurable achievements to go with.

How to Structure Your Experience Section Effectively

Next up is the experience section. This section of your resume should include your recent job history, listed in reverse chronological order. Best practice for this section isn't to list more than ten to fifteen years of job history if you've got extensive experience. Each entry should include the name of the company and its location, the dates of employment, your job title and a bulleted list of key job responsibilities and achievements.

How to Format Your Experience Section

The experience section of your resume should be easy to read, especially if you've held a lot of positions over the years. To ensure employers can easily read all the information follow this format:


City, State

Dates Worked

Job Title

  • Key responsibility 1
  • Key responsibility 2
  • Key responsibility 3

Keep the list of responsibilities and achievements down to three bullets to avoid information overwhelm and to keep your resume to the point. Another benefit of this approach is that you'll be able to keep your resume down to one page.

Experience Resume Section Example
Experience Resume Section Example

If you've got little to no experience, consider highlighting relevant skills and achievements instead of responsibilities. Stick to the reverse chronological order and keep those skills and achievements down to three key points.

How to Outline a Resume Education Section

Once you’ve narrowed down what to list in your experience section, work on your education section. Here, you need to include your college education as well as any relevant certifications, coursework, training, and classes you’ve taken to further your education.

Avoid including your GPA as it’s not a requirement and might hurt your chances of getting a job if it’s on the lower side.

How to Format Your Education Section

Like the experience section, the education section needs to be easy to follow. Here’s the recommended format to follow:

University Name and Location

Years Attended

Degree and Major

Awards, Honors, & GPA

Minimalist CV Resume Vol 28 with Education Example
Minimalist CV Resume Vol. 28 with Education Example

If you’re still in college, be sure to add in the expected completion date instead of years attended.

Another tip for this section is to move it near the top of the resume if you've got little or no experience.

How to Create the Skills and Qualifications Resume Outline

The last section of your resume is the skills and qualifications section. This section should be the icing on the cake that helps potential employers reach a decision on whether or not they should call you in for the interview. This section should round out your resume and show them which particular skills you've got that would make you a good candidate for the position as well as unique qualifications.

How to List Skills and Qualifications on Your Resume

The first thing you need to consider when it comes to skills and qualifications is how they relate to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re an accountant, listing your foreign language skills is pointless unless you’re applying to work for an international company. Listing your organizational skills, on the other hand, is desirable as nobody wants an unorganized accountant.

Professional Resume CV Clean  Minimal Design with Skills Example
Professional Resume CV Clean & Minimal Design with Skills Example

As far as formatting goes, this section should follow a bulleted list format. You can also get a little creative here and use a graph or a star-rating system to show your proficiency in a particular skill.

When it comes to unique qualifications, consider what unique strengths and talents you've got that would be beneficial for the company. For example, do you have any volunteer experience, or do you have an award that shows your proficiency in a particular software? As with anything else in this guide, make sure this section is tailored to the job you’re applying for.

Professional Resume Template Inspiration

Once you've outlined your resume, the next step is to create it. Creating a resume from scratch can be time-consuming, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to marketplaces like Envato Elements, you can get access to thousands of resume designs with professional designs.

resume templates
Envato Elements has a ton of professional resume templates.

Envato Elements is a subscription-based marketplace that allows you to download as many design assets and templates as you need and use them in an unlimited number of projects; all for a low monthly fee.

Here are some of our best resume templates from Envato Elements to give you a taste of what you can expect when you sign up for the monthly subscription.

1. Curriculum Vitae/Resume - Simple Resume Template

Curriculum VitaeResume - Simple Resume Template

Try the Curriculum Vitae/Resume template if you want a clean and simple resume template. This resume design can easily be edited with Adobe Illustrator and is fully print-ready. The template uses simple typography and a well-organized two-column layout that makes it easy to see relevant information.

2. Minimalist CV Resume Vol. 29 - Elegant Resume Template

Minimalist CV Resume Vol 29 - Elegant  Resume Template

Consider this beautiful and elegant resume template. You can edit the template with Photoshop or Illustrator. The template is fully print-ready and has plenty of space for all the necessary sections, including extra sections like hobbies and interests.

3. Resume Eliza - Professional Resume Template

Resume Eliza - Professional Resume Template

The Resume Eliza template features a modern and professional design. The template can be edited using Adobe InDesign and comes with a stylish personal information and contact section. You'll also get a matching cover letter.

Create a Stellar Job Resume Outline

Creating a resume outline before you actually write your resume is a great starting point that'll help you ensure you’ve included all the necessary elements. From opening with a strong headline and a catchy resume objective to sharing your education and other relevant information, this article has all the tips you need to create a stellar resume outline.

Once you’re done with your resume outline, the next step is to create your resume. Why not save time and start with one of our resume templates from Envato Elements or GraphicRiver?

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