3 Job-Winning Resume Outline Examples [Download]
Before you even start working on your resume, you need to get your outline right.
You probably already have a general idea of what you’re going to include in it - your job experience, contact info, education, all the usual stuff.
How do you structure it, though? Does your work experience go before, or after your education? What are the most important sections that should go on top?
Well, depending on your background, the answer can be different.
At the end of the day, though, the main goal of your resume outline is to make it easy to read for the HR. They should be able to scan your resume in a single glance and tell whether you’re relevant for the job or not.
Look at your resume outline as a foundation for your resume - get the structure right, and you’re already half-way there to a great resume!
So, want to learn how to create the right resume outline for your field?
Read on to find out:
- The 10 essential sections to include in your resume outline
- Tips and tricks on how to format each section correctly
- 3 practical resume outline examples for professionals, college students, and high school students
So, what goes in a resume outline, exactly?
Let’s take a look:
10 Most Common Sections to Include in a Resume Outline
Depending on where you’re applying and your experience level, what you put on a resume is going to be a bit different.
For example, you will most likely always need a contact information section, but your resume objective can be optional.
Here’s the complete list of sections you can include in your resume outline:
- Contact Information
- (Optional) Resume Summary or Objective
- Work Experience
- (Optional) Certifications and Awards
- (Optional) Languages
- (Optional) Hobbies and Interests
- (Optional) Volunteering Experience
- (Optional) Personal Projects
Now, we’re going to go through each of these sections and explain how to format them. At the end of the article, we’re also going to show you what are the 3 most common resume outlines:
- Resume outline for professionals
- Resume outline for a college student
- Resume outline for a high school student
So, read on!
Starting with the basics, contact information is a must-have section for any resume.
Here, you want to include:
- Full name - first name, last name
- Professional title - you can use the job title you’re applying for word-for-word
- Professional email - something professional like [Name][LastName]@email.com
- Phone number - make sure to include your country code if you’re applying for a position abroad
- Social media (optional) - do you have any relevant social media profiles? Feel free to include them in your contact information section. GitHub if you’re a developer, for example, or Behance for a designer.
Following your contact information comes the resume heading:
Resume Heading - Summary or Objective
Your resume heading is usually the first thing most recruiters will read from your resume.
That’s where you write a resume summary or objective.
So, what’s the difference?
Your resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your work experience and top achievements. It’s perfect for pretty much anyone that has worked more than one job.
A resume objective, on the other hand, is a statement where you describe your professional goals. You mention your top skills, education, or experience, and explain how you’d use it to help the company achieve its goals. You’d go for a resume objective if you’re a student or someone going through a career change.
Both sections are optional - if you feel like they add value to your resume, feel free to add them.
The work experience section is the most important part of your resume.
In this section, you list out all the relevant jobs you’ve worked at till now - pretty simple, right?
To make sure your work experience is easy to follow, we recommend including the following:
- Job title and position
- Company name, description, and location
- Dates employed
- Responsibilities or achievements
If you want to go the extra mile and really stand out, you should consider listing achievements over responsibilities, if possible.
Simply because listing your achievements gives you more credibility.
Mostly people simply list their tasks and responsibilities in their work experience and call it a day.
What’s wrong with this approach is that the HR manager already knows what your responsibilities are.
If you’re a sales manager, applying for a sales role, chances are, you and most of the applicants had the exact same responsibilities.
By listing achievements over your responsibilities, you can stand out from other candidates.
Keep in mind that the best way to show off your achievements is by backing them up with numbers, and being extremely specific about your contributions.
Which one of these sounds more credible?
- “Increased sales”
- “Exceeded sales KPIs by 30% for 3 months in a row”
In the first example, you can’t know whether they did anything significant or not.
With that in mind, here’s what a real-life example might look like:
Work Experience Listing Example
Example Recruitment Company X
Aug 2017 - Sep 2019
- Managed all recruitment activities, including sourcing, interviewing and hiring talent.
- Worked with hiring managers to create accurate job ads.
- Used Facebook and LinkedIn to source talent.
- Sourced 20+ senior professionals in a single year.
Most HR managers want to know what’s your educational background. Heck, in some cases, a degree is even part of the basic requirements.
So, you should know how to list it right.
Here’s what you’d include in your resume education section:
- Name of degree (optional: minor)
- Name of educational institute
- Years attended
- Location of program (optional)
- GPA (optional, include if relevant and noteworthy)
- Honors (optional, include if relevant and noteworthy)
- Courses relevant to the job (optional)
- Exchange programs (optional)
To keep things simple, always include education regardless of the position you’re applying for.
Feel free to skip your high school diploma, though, if you have any other degree.
Now, here’s what an education listing looks like when done right:
Education Listing Example
B.A. English Language and Culture, Minor in Teaching
University of Groningen
2016 - 2019
Magna Cum Laude
Modern Popular Literature Track
Exchange program in Oslo, Norway
There are 2 types of skills:
- Hard skills - which refer to the technical knowledge or training you acquired from experience (e.g. software, tools, language skills, etc.)
- Soft skills - which describe skills that are not concrete (e.g. your people skills, leadership, organizational skills, etc.)
When listing your skills, it’s important they’re relevant and tailored to the job you’re applying for.
No one cares about your underwater basket-weaving skills if you’re applying for a job as an accountant.
Not sure which skills to mention? Check out these 150+ must-have skills for any resume.
By this time, you probably already have most of the main sections down in your outline.
Now, you can also consider some of the other optional sections that can help you land the job:
Certifications and Awards
This is where you mention any relevant certifications, or awards related to your field.
So, for example…
- Publication in a journal
- Language certificate
- Professional certificate
And here’s how this looks...
Most companies are very international nowadays.
If you know an extra language or two, you can use this to your advantage and stand out from other candidates.
You never know when it’s going to come in handy.
Make sure you mention your proficiency with each language, too, as such:
- Be realistic. Don’t exaggerate your language skills, or you might end up in some very awkward situations. You never know which languages your interviewer knows!
Hobbies and Interests
Your hobbies and interests can really help you stand out from the rest of the candidates.
True, they’re not going to be the game-changer. The HR manager won’t hire you just because you’re both into snowboarding.
If, however, they have 2 equally qualified candidates, and they have to pick between:
- Someone they have a lot in common with
- A stranger with whom they don’t have anything in common
You can bet that they’d go for option #1!
Check out our 40+ hobbies and interests you can put on a resume if you’re not sure which hobbies to mention!
You can’t ever go wrong with volunteering.
No matter what your field is, a volunteering section can really help you stand out as someone who’s passionate for a cause (and not just another nameless, faceless candidate).
Your side projects can also be really helpful and show off your passion for your field.
Have a blog? A side gig you really enjoy? Or maybe, you helped grow a social media page for your favorite band?
Feel free to include any personal project, as long as it’s more or less relevant and adds value to your resume.
Make sure you explain what each project is about too:
Even if your side projects aren’t relevant, they can still be useful! They show that you have initiative and drive, and are the type of person who can get a lot done.
3 Practical Resume Outline Examples
What you include in your outline primarily depends on your experience level.
So, we came up with these 3 examples...
Resume Outline Example for Professionals
If you have 3-5+ years of experience, your work experience section is going to be your main focus.
Here’s how you can outline your resume:
- Contact Information - Pretty self-explanatory. Make sure you include your job title here too along with all the necessary contact info
- (Optional) Resume Summary - If done right, a resume summary can grab the HR manager’s attention instantly.
- Work Experience - This is going to be the meat of your resume. Make sure to include only relevant previous positions and any specific career highlights or achievements
- Skills - depending on the job position, you can use a mix of hard and soft skills
- (Optional) Languages - If you know more than one language, you definitely want to include a language section
- (Optional) Other Sections - if you still have some space left, you can include your personal projects here, awards, or even organizations you’re a part of.
Now, here’s what this could look like if you transformed the outline into a resume:
Resume Outline Examples for College Students
As a college student, you might not have a whole lot of work experience, but you can focus on other sections to make up for that.
Here’s what your outline might look like:
- Contact information
- (Optional) Resume objective - A resume objective, while optional, can really help you stand out
- Education - As a college student, your education section is very important. If possible, you should also include any relevant classes or courses you’ve taken
- College Projects - If you worked on any interesting class projects during university, you should definitely mention them. If done right, they can even make up for the lack of work experience.
- Extracurricular Activities - Maybe you were the captain of the fencing team? Or lead designer at the Startup club? Whichever the case is, you can mention it on your resume.
- (Optional) Work Experience - If you have any work experience, it might be a good idea to mention that. Even if it’s something very unrelated - say, a summer-time gig at the local restaurant - it can still be useful. After all, it shows that you’ve done some work, and aren’t completely clueless about the job market.
- (Optional) Volunteering - If you have no work experience, volunteering is the next best thing you can include. This shows that you’ve been in a semi-professional environment, and that you’re not afraid to work hard for a good cause.
- Skills - We’d recommend mentioning any hard skills you picked up in uni - excel magic, programming, software tools, etc.
- (Optional) Languages - While not mandatory, language skills are always welcome on a resume!
- (Optional) Other sections - If you still have space, you can also include certifications, awards, hobbies, and any other optional sections.
Or, to give you a better idea on what this would look like in real life, here’s a student resume example:
Resume Outline Example for High School Students
If you’re a high school student, chances are, you probably don’t have any work experience.
But don’t worry, making a resume with no experience is actually much easier than you might think.
Here’s what you can include in your resume outline:
- Contact Information
- Resume Objective
- General skills - You can include skills you’ve learned from school or list the classes you’re taking here (e.g. math, communication, tech, etc.).
- Education - You can elaborate on your education section a bit more here. You can list your GPA, classes, or any other notable achievement.
- Achievements - If possible, you can include any academic achievements here (e.g. olympiads, contests, creating a school club, etc.) or even personal projects.
- Volunteering - If you have any volunteering experience, feel free to include it. It can definitely give you the edge.
- Interests - Especially if the position you’re applying for is relevant to your interests.
- Projects - You can include personal projects, achievements or any organization you’re in (e.g. school council).
Or, for a more practical example, here’s what a high school graduate resume looks like:
Decided which resume outline to pick?
If you still haven’t, let’s quickly go through everything we learned in this article to help you decide!
- There’s no one-size-fits-all resume outline. You should pick the sections that are most fitting for your work experience
- Your sections should be in the correct order. The most important information goes on top, and all the optional stuff goes on the bottom
- If you’re a student, focus more on your education and extracurricular activities, as opposed to work experience.
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