Headings in your resume are a good way to break up the content and arrange it in a coherent, easy-to-read manner. Generally, most resumes, if not all, should have a heading that tells what comes next and catches the reader’s attention. The headings should flow from most general and important information to more specific, less important information. Here are a few things you should do (and a few to avoid) when writing your resume headings.
DO: Make your resume headings stand out.
You’re going to want to draw attention to your resume headings, so be sure to stylize them a bit. Put them in a larger font, use bold font or italics, or put them further into the margin. They should be more noticeable than everything else in the resume except for your name.
DON’T: Go overboard on the formatting.
You want the font of your resume headings to be stylized enough to be noticed and to 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.
DO: Put your headings in order of importance.
Most people tend to write resumes in this order: Name/contact info, objective, experience, education, skills summary. You don’t have to do it in that order if your education is of higher importance than your experience in the field. You don’t have to include an objective section at all if you prefer not to. But the most important stuff should be at the top of the page. Save “hobbies” and “miscellaneous” for a line or two at the bottom, if you decide to include them at all.
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 that doesn’t fit anywhere else on the page, really evaluate whether it needs to be in there. If so, put it in a miscellaneous section, or find some way to wedge it into your skills summary or some other resume heading. Not everything needs its own category, and most things in your resume should fit in one category or another.
DO: Make the headings short.
Your headings should only be a few words apiece: “Work History” and “Core Competencies,” for example. You should not need to write an entire sentence or long phrase to get the point of what comes next across. Resume 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.
DON’T: Make the headings vague.
Sometimes, in the interest of brevity, we can make 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.
Resume headings help tie the document together, lead the reader through the natural order of your resume, and create focal points for the eye. They don’t have to be terribly creative, but they should be succinct, specific, and descriptive enough to recognize. If you need more help creating a resume heading, hit up LiveCareer’s Resume Builder tool for more information.