Contact Information Section
Contact Information Section
The Contact Information Section should include all methods of getting in touch with you.
Your name should typically appear at the top of the résumé in a relatively large, readable font (don't get carried away with fancy or elaborate font styles). Your contact information should appear directly below that. You do not need to label it as such; it simply appears below your name. At the minimum, your contact information should include the following:
- your current address
- telephone number.
Often, people also include the following extra contact points:
- cell phone numbers
- pager numbers
- e-mail addresses (e-mail is becoming a more common way for potential employers to contact people)
- personal web pages.
If you are a student, you might need to include your school address and your permanent address. However, if you do so, it is beneficial to include what dates you will be at each address. It is always a good idea to make it as easy as possible for potential employers to find you.
If your contact information changes, it is crucial that you notify potential employers. For instance, if you move or change e-mail addresses, it is a good idea to notify any employers who might have your résumé on file. You can either resend your new résumé with the current contact information and a note explaining that your information has changed, or you can send a postcard or letter to the Human Resources department asking them to change the information on their copy of your résumé.
The Education Section is the place to detail your educational history.
What to include
In the Education Section, you typically discuss the highest degree you earned. Therefore, if you have a college degree, you would NOT include information about where you went to high school. If you attended college or a technical school but did not receive a degree, you should state how long you attended and your field of study. You must be clear, however, that you did not receive a degree. If you did not attend college or a vocational school, then you would include information about your high school education or GED.
The Education Section must include pertinent facts about your education. It should include the following:
- name of the institution where you earned your highest degree
- city and state of the institution
- when you graduated or received the degree
- what specific degree was earned
- any minors and/or double majors.
Typically, people include their GPA although you are not required to do so. Keep in mind, though, that if you do not put it on your résumé, potential employers may assume that you omitted it because it was bad. Generally, if you have a 3.0 or lower, you may want to omit your GPA.
How to format the section
Formatting is important in the Education Section because there are often many bits of information that do not require full sentences or much space. In order to avoid a choppy list of short items going down the left-hand side of the page, you might want to consider columns that will allow you to include several short bits of information on one line. Remember, however, that if you do set up columns in this section, you will want them to visually match any other formatting you might do in any other sections of your résumé. For instance, if you place the city and state of your educational institution on the right-hand side of the page, you will most likely also want to put the city and state for each of your employers (in the Work Experience Section) along the right-hand side of the page.
Work Experience Section
The Work Experience Section is the place for detailing your previous employment information. This section can be called Work Experience, Work History, Employment History, Employment Experience, Relevant Experience, or whatever else indicates the type of information that is included. For instance, if you have really great volunteer experience in the field to which you are applying, you may want to title this section Relevant Experience rather than Employment Experience, in order to accurately represent the information.
What to include
This section typically includes the following:
- names of the companies you worked for
- city and state for each company
- titles/positions you held
- your employment dates for each job
- duties you performed.
This section can also include any promotions you might have gotten while on a job.
Detailing the duties you performed, though, is perhaps the most important part of the Work Experience Section. You must be not only accurate and concise but also highlight those duties that are most relevant to the position you are seeking. While it is acceptable to write full sentences in paragraph form for each position you held, it is more common to create a bulleted list of the duties you performed.
If you choose to create a bulleted list, be aware that each bullet must be in parallel form (which means that each item must be grammatically formatted the same). It is also a good idea that you put each item in the active voice and use powerful action verbs (see our Action Word List). Each job should have a minimum of three bulleted items with the most relevant duties listed first. Take some time to really think over what you actually accomplished for the job, list the specific activities and duties that you were responsible for, and craft exciting and concise bulleted items representing those activities.
The following items illustrate examples you can model:
Purdue University Business Writing Consultant Department of English Writing Lab
- Tutored clients on content and formatting required for business documents
- Conducted résumé and cover letter workshops for classes and organizations
- Promoted the Business Writing services of the Lab by posting flyers and speaking in classrooms
How to format this section
Formatting is crucial for the Work Experience Section because you must convey a lot of information quickly and concisely. You may want to consider columns in order to conserve space. You might consider putting the company name in a left-hand column, the city and state in a center column, and your employment dates in a right-hand column. Remember, if you used columns in any other section of the résumé, you must make sure they visually complement the columns you use in the Work Experience section.
Tips on handling different types of work experience
Because each person's work history is unique, you may have unusual circumstances to represent on your résumé. If you have worked for one company for many years and held several positions, you can list each position separately. If you are applying for a position outside of the field most of your work experience is in, you can also list relevant volunteer experience and community service. If this is the case, you might also want to consider a Skills Résumé, in which you group bulleted items by skills and abilities rather than by company or job. See our Skills Résumé example for more details.
If you are a student, your résumé might contain summer jobs that are not relevant to the position for which you are applying. If this is the case, remember that you honed skills in every job. Be creative and thoughtful in creating these lists. For example, if you worked at McDonald's, you learned how to do the following:
- function efficiently in a team
- work responsibly in a time-sensitive environment
- maintain flexibility in duties from shift to shift.
As your work experience becomes more relevant to your field, you can drop off the oldest summer jobs until all of your listed work experience is relevant to your field.
It can be difficult to know how to represent periods of unemployment. Consider listing what you were doing during that time period. For example, if you took time off work to raise your children, you can put Homemaker (or what you prefer) on the résumé and detail some of what you accomplished. In addition, you can list volunteer work or community service if you were not actually employed during that time period. If you took any classes (even if you did not obtain a degree), you can list the educational activities you were involved in during that time.
For more information about how to develop a résumé, visit these OWL resources: