How to Write and Format Resume Headings

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April 26, 2023
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Your resume is often the first impression you make on a potential employer, and the layout and formatting of your resume can significantly impact your chances of getting hired. One crucial element of a well-formatted resume is the use of clear and effective headings. A strong heading can grab the attention of the reader and quickly communicate your qualifications and experience.

In this article, we will provide tips and guidelines on how to write and format resume headings to make sure your resume stands out and showcases your skills and experience in the best possible way.

3 key takeaways you'll get from this article

  • What resume headings are and why they are important to have on your resume
  • Different types of resumes may use different resume headings
  • Examples of resume headings for the main sections of your resume

What are resume headings?

Resume headings are the phrases that go above each section of your resume that organize the content of a resume. The resume heading serves as a title for each section. They typically appear in bold and larger font than the rest of the text, helping to make the resume easy to read and navigate.

Resume headings help recruiters and hiring managers easily skim your resume for important details like work experience, education, and skills.

It's worth noting: resume headings are different from resume headers. A resume header is at the very top of your resume and can include your basic contact information like your name, job title, location, phone number, and professional email address. Avoid disclosing specific personal information, like your street address.

Are resume section headings important?

Yes, resume headings are very important because they help to structure the information on your resume and make it easier for employers to quickly locate the key information they are looking for. By using clear and concise resume section titles, you can guide the reader's attention to the most relevant parts of your resume and highlight your skills and experience in a logical and organized manner.

Well-designed resume headings can also make a difference in how your qualifications and experience are perceived, help your resume to stand out from other job applicants, and leave a positive impression on potential employers. They show that you have taken the time to carefully organize your information and that you value clarity and professionalism.

Common resume headings

Common headings on a resume for most job seekers include:

  • Header/Contact Information: includes your name, address, phone number, and email address.
  • Professional Summary: a short professional bio is a brief statement that highlights your key skills, experience, and career goals.
  • Education: lists your academic qualifications, including degrees, certifications, and any relevant coursework.
  • Work Experience: provides details about your professional experience, including job titles, dates of employment, and descriptions of your duties and accomplishments.
  • Skills and Interests: highlights your key skills and areas of expertise, as well as any personal interests or unique hobbies on a resume, that showcase your personality and skills.
  • Awards/Honors and Activities: lists any awards or recognition you have received for your work and describe any extracurricular or volunteer activities.

How to write resume headings

Resume headings should be clear, concise, and easy to read and understand. To ensure this, use the same font, formatting, and style throughout your resume to maintain consistency and professionalism.

While the font remains the same, the font size for your resume headings should be slightly larger than the rest of the text in your resume. This will make your headings stand out and draw the reader's attention.

Use bold or underline formatting to make your headings stand out even more, while considering margins and leaving enough white space between your headings and the rest of the text in your resume to make it easy to read and navigate.

You'll also want to position your headings in a way that prioritizes information. We recommend using a reverse chronological order format instead of a functional resume format.  Place the most important information at the top of the page and use clear categories to divide your resume into sections.

Specificity can make or break the amount of time a recruiter or hiring manager looks at your resume. Use specific and descriptive headings that clearly convey the information you want to communicate. Commonly used phrases like “Education,” “Professional Experience,” and “Skills” are all areas that a recruiter will be looking for.

Tips for writing resume headings

Here are some tips for writing effective resume headings:

  • Keep it concise: Use brief and straightforward headings that are easy to read and understand. Avoid using long sentences or complex phrases that may confuse the reader.
  • Use resume action verbs: Start your headings with action verbs that demonstrate your skills and experience. For example, use "Managed" or "Oversaw" instead of "Responsibilities included."
  • Customize headings: Tailor your headings to the specific job and industry you are applying for. Use keywords that are relevant to the position you are seeking.
  • Use clear categories: Divide your resume into clear categories, such as "Work Experience," "Education," "Skills," etc., to make it easier for the reader to navigate.

Resume headings if you have no experience

When creating a resume with no experience, it's important to highlight your skills, education, and other qualifications. It's worth noting that lacking industry-specific work experience doesn't necessarily mean that you lack relevant skills that can be applied to the position. Your previous experiences may have equipped you with transferable skills that are valuable in the industry you're applying for.

At the very top of your resume will be the resume summary section. Provide a brief overview of your skills, education, and career goals in your professional summary section. It's important to emphasize your strengths and showcase your potential for success in the position you're applying for.

Your education section should be the most robust and thorough section of your resume, including your academic achievements, your degree, major, and any relevant coursework, honors, or awards. Because of this, your resume header "Education" should be at the top of your resume to showcase your most relevant qualifications.

Other headings to include on a resume with no experience could be:

Skills: List any relevant skills that you possess, such as computer skills, language skills, or other technical abilities. You can also include soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.

Projects: If you have completed any relevant projects, include a section that highlights your role, the project goals, and the outcomes achieved. This can show your ability to work independently and demonstrate your problem-solving skills.

Volunteer Work: If you have volunteered for any organizations or causes, list them in a separate section to show your commitment to helping others and making a positive impact in your community. Volunteer work can also help demonstrate your leadership and teamwork skills.

Internships: Internships provide valuable experience and demonstrate skills and knowledge for the position, even without prior professional experience. Listing them on a resume shows eagerness to learn, commitment to the industry, and helps stand out from other job seekers who don't have internship experience.

By including these headings, you can effectively showcase your skills and qualifications even if you don't have prior work experience. Be sure to tailor your resume to the position you're applying for and use specific examples to demonstrate how you can be an asset to the company.

Resume headings for a more experienced professional

A resume for an experienced professional typically has more resume headings than a resume with no experience because they have a longer work history and more information to convey.

In addition to your professional summary, education, skills, and awards and honors, there are other sections to include on a resume for a more experienced professional.

Work Experience: This section lists your previous job titles, companies you worked for, employment dates, and accomplishments examples and metric-driven achievements for each position.

Certifications and Licenses: This section lists any professional certifications or licenses you have earned from attending conferences or training programs that are relevant to the position you're applying for.

Professional Memberships: This section identifies any professional associations or organizations you belong to that are relevant to the position. You can also highlight any leadership positions held in professional organizations.

Research and Publications: This section can help showcase expertise and demonstrate level of achievement. It should include relevant information such as the title, author(s), co-authors, publication date, and name of the publication or conference. It's important to be selective and choose the publications that are most relevant to the job you are applying for, and to use a consistent format throughout the section.

The order and importance of these sections may vary depending on your specific circumstances and the job you are applying for.

Resume headings for a creative resume

If you are crafting a creative resume, you may want to consider using headings that reflect your personal brand and style.

While many of the headings included in a creative resume are the same as a more professional resume, the information included in each section should reflect the applicant's personality.

Profile: This heading can be used to provide a brief summary of your skills, experience, and career goals. It can be written in a creative and engaging way to capture the reader's attention.

Skills: Highlight your key skills and areas of expertise in your skills section. You can use creative icons or graphics to make this section visually appealing.

Experience: Showcase your work experience. Consider using a creative format such as a timeline or infographic to make this section more engaging

Projects: Highlight your creative projects, such as design work or art pieces. You can include images or links to your work to showcase your skills.

Education: This heading can be used to showcase your education and training. Consider using a creative format such as a mind map or flowchart to make this section more visually appealing.

Awards and Recognition: Showcase any awards or recognition you have received for your work. You can use creative graphics or icons to make this section stand out.

Examples of resume headings

Having different resume heading options for each section of your resume provides flexibility and allows you to tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for.

When choosing the best heading for each section, consider the job requirements, your professional experience, and what you want to highlight about yourself.

Choose a heading that accurately reflects the content of that section, and that will make you stand out as a strong candidate for the job. Remember to keep the headings consistent throughout your resume to maintain a professional and organized appearance.

Headings for the professional summary

  • Professional Summary
  • Resume Summary
  • Career Summary
  • Professional Profile
  • Personal Statement
  • Career Goals

Headings for the education section of your resume

  • Education
  • Academic Background
  • Qualifications
  • Educational Experience
  • Relevant Training
  • Educational Training
  • Academic Achievements
  • Academic Experience
  • Degrees
  • Certifications

Headings for the experience section of your resume

  • Experience
  • Work Experience
  • Work History
  • Employment History
  • Professional Experience
  • Career Highlights
  • Professional History
  • Employment Experience
  • Professional Background
  • Relevant Experiences

Headings for the skills section of your resume

  • Skills
  • Core Competencies
  • Areas of Expertise
  • Technical Skills
  • Hard Skills
  • Soft Skills
  • Core Strengths
  • Professional Skills
  • Additional Skills
  • Additional Expertise
  • Related Experience
  • Related Skills
  • Job-specific Skills

How to easily create a professional resume with the proper headings

Crafting a resume that highlights your skills and experience takes time, but that doesn't mean you need to hire a certified professional resume writer. Teal can make this process much simpler. You can upload an existing resume or import your optimized LinkedIn profile directly to your Teal dashboard.

Using Teal's software, you can build an exhaustive list detailing your work experience, and it will all be saved in your Career History for you to pick and choose from as needed.

Index and update details about your entire career history in Teal's Career History.
Index and update details about your entire career history in Teal's Career History.

With all your professional experience conveniently stored in one place, you can tailor your resume to the specific job you're applying for and craft multiple versions of your resume. Use Teal's AI Resume Builder with built-in AI to craft professional summaries, metric-driven achievements, choose from multiple professional resume format options, cover letters, and more.

Matching your keywords and the different headings of your resume to what the job is looking for will improve your chances of landing an interview. Use Teal's AI Resume Builder to quickly compare the skills and keywords in the job posting to those in your resume.

Teal’s AI Resume Builder compares the skills in a job description to the skills in your resume to give you a match score.
Teal’s AI Resume Builder compares the skills in a job description to the skills in your resume to give you a match score.

If you're looking for inspiration - head over to our resume examples section to view resume heading samples across hundreds of job titles.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of creative resume headings that can help my resume stand out?

Creative resume headings can include "Career Highlights" instead of "Experience," "Professional Snapshot" in place of "Summary," and "Skill Set" as an alternative to "Skills." These headings can capture a recruiter's attention and make your resume memorable, while still maintaining a professional tone.

How should I format my resume headings for the best readability?

Resume headings should be formatted in a larger font size than the body text, often bolded, and can be in a different but professional font to create a clear hierarchy. Consistency is key, so ensure all headings are styled the same way. Adequate spacing above and below headings also improves readability.

Can I use acronyms in my resume headings, and if so, how do I ensure they are understood?

Acronyms can be used in resume headings if they are commonly known in your industry. However, to ensure clarity, it's best to write out the full term followed by the acronym in parentheses the first time it appears. For example, "Certifications (PMP, ITIL)" ensures that all readers understand the abbreviations used.

Becca Dershowitz

Becca is a former special education teacher turned content marketer. With a unique blend of experience from the classroom to SaaS, she leverages a variety of insights and perspectives to support marketing teams.

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