There’s no question about it—job seeking is a competitive business in today’s economy. In my recruitment work, I sometimes receive up to 200 applications per-job. It is important that your resume be not just well-written, but also tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. This can mean the difference between landing the interview and being rejected at the outset.

While you want your resume to be eye-catching, employers will expect to see certain resume sections, no matter what the role. Here are some tips on what resume sections make up the backbone of a solid resume. All resume sections profiled below are in the order they should appear in on your resume.

  1. The Header

Sounds basic, but you wouldn’t believe how many resumes I receive with no contact details! The header is one of the most crucial resume sections; you can’t be contacted by a recruiter without it. It contains your name and contact information—address (not necessarily a full address—these days many people just note their city and state), phone number, and email address. You can also consider including links to a relevant website, or your personalized LinkedIn URL. There is no need to include information about your age or nationality in this section.

  1. Contact Information:

Start at the top of the page leaving a one-inch top margin. Include:

Full name;

Complete address (both permanent and present if different);

Home phone number with area code, cell phone, if applicable, and work number only if appropriate to contact you there; and

Email address.

Make sure that the message on your answering machine and your email address are professional and appropriate for a potential

  1. Objective:

Gives your resume focus; tailor it to the position you are applying for.

Usually a single phrase expressing the specific type of employment you are seeking and/or the specific skills or abilities you want to use on the job.

  1. Education/Training:

List in reverse chronological order with the highest degree or education first.

Include university/college/school name and location, degree, date of graduation (or expected graduation), major, related coursework and possibly G.P.A.

May also include honors, awards, scholarships, dissertation and thesis topics.

List licenses earned or training certificates received.

  1. Experience:

Start with your most recent employment and work backward.

Includes full-time, part-time, seasonal, internships, co-op, or volunteer work.

Provide names and location of employers, dates of employment (month/year to month/year).

Describe your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments using short, powerful phrases beginning with action verbs. Quantify and qualify data with specific details and statistics whenever possible.

  1. Additional Areas: Activities/Honors/Special Skills:

List extracurricular activities that demonstrate skills, accomplishments and leadership, teamwork, self-management, organization;

Include computer skills and/or foreign languages;

Personal accomplishments (example: “financed 70 percent of college education”); and

Unique experiences such as travel to a foreign country, study abroad.

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