Resume headings break up crucial resume content and arrange it in a coherent, easy-to-read manner. Headings draw attention to the various chapters of your resume, and guide the reader through the story of your career to date.
Below are a few things that resume writers should do when writing resume headings.
DO Make Resume Headings Stand Out
You’re going to want to draw attention to your headings. Consider putting headings in a slightly larger font, or in bold, or in italics. The body of your resume should be in 12-point font; if you want to make your headings larger, consider a 13- or 14-point font (you shouldn’t go much larger than that).
Also, use a font style that’s easy to read—Georgia, Arial, and Times New Roman are all safe bets. Whatever font style you settle on, use it throughout your entire resume.
DO Keep Headings Brief
Aim to keep the titles of your headings brief. For example: “Summary” and “Work Experience.” Headings are simply a title, an announcement of what comes next. Don’t make them too long or your resume won’t look as crisp as it should.
Here’s a tip: Put LiveCareer’s Resume Builder to use if you think you’ll need a helping hand with creating headings.
DO List Resume Headings in Order of Importance
Most people tend to write resumes in this order: 1) the Header (which contains your name and contact information); 2) Summary; 3) Key Skills & Technologies; 4) Work Experience; and 5) Education. For recent grads/workforce newbies: you don’t have to adhere to this order if your education is of higher importance than your experience in the field.
“As a recruiter, I prefer to see the Key Skills & Technologies section (tailored to each specific role) at the top of a resume—it helps me understand right away if the applicant is suitable for the role I’m recruiting for.”
Below are a few things that resume writers should avoid when writing headings.
DON’T Go Crazy with Formatting
You want the font of your headings to be bold and stylized enough to be noticed and really stand out, but you don’t want to go nuts and make it look silly. Your resume still has to be polished and professional, and silly, gimmick fonts, colors (besides blue or black), or over-the-top formatting can be off-putting. Be noticeable, but don’t be garish.
DON’T Put a Heading on Everything
Some things don’t need a heading. If there’s something important that you feel the hiring manager needs to know but that doesn’t fit in one of your resume sections, step back and evaluate whether or not it really needs to be in there. If it does, put it in a Miscellaneous section (which would follow your Education section), or find some way to wedge it into either your Summary section or Key Skills & Technologies section. Not everything needs its own category, and most things in your resume should fit into one of the five sections noted above.
DON’T Make Resume Headings Vague
Sometimes, in the interest of brevity, we end up making things too short. For example, if you’re writing a heading for your work history, don’t just put “HISTORY” in block letters and then in the next line start reciting all the places you’ve worked. Write a resume heading that has enough information in it to tell the reader what comes next (but still keeps it succinct and clear). In this example, “HISTORY” should become Work History or Work Experience (either is acceptable).
In summary: Resume headings help tie your resume together, leading the reader through the natural order of your resume. They also create focal points for the eye. They should be succinct, specific, and descriptive enough to recognize at first glance. Always.