A Complete Guide to Professional Resume Outline: 6 Key Sections to Include

resume-outline
Created by CakeResume

A resume/CV outline is a structural draft you create before completing your professional resume. A resume/CV outline provides you with a framework to work with all different aspects of your job qualifications, such as experience, skills, education, and more.

A resume/CV outline helps you organize your resume in logical order. Use this order as a basis to personalize your resume, either changing fonts, designing your resume, or incorporating different formats. Creating a solid job resume outline is the first step to writing a job-winning resume.

This article will show you a step-to-step guide on how to create a basic resume outline, how to use a resume outline, what are the key sections to include in a job resume outline. Read until the end to see different resume outline examples for different professions.

6 Steps to Use a Resume Outline Crafting a Professional Resume

Here is the step-by-step guide to creating a basic resume outline:

1. Write down all your previous experiences and skills.

The first step in writing a simple resume outline is to brainstorm and list out everything that could potentially be included in a resume. Write down both related or unrelated ones. Professional achievements, hard or soft skills, or side projects that you’ve accomplished are among the essentials.

2. Decide which experiences and skills to include in your resume (by referring to the job description).

Next, choose the experiences and skills that are more significant. By referring to the job description, you make a resume outline that includes the most related experiences to catch the manager’s eyes. 

3. Decide on a resume outline format that is suitable to use.

There are three commonly used resume formats to use in your job resume outline: chronological resume format, skill-based (functional) resume, and combinational resume format.

  • For experienced applicants, a chronological resume format is suitable.
  • If you have little experience but plenty of skills that make you a qualified candidate, use a skill-based format.
  • If you have a handful of skills and experiences, use a combinational format.

4. Choose a template for your resume outline that suits your style.

Based on the company’s or your style, choose a resume template that is easy to read or aesthetically pleasing. Using a template ensures that your resume has a suitable font size, font style, layout, and spacing. These elements make your resume outline and content easier to skim through and absorb.

5. Fill in all information according to the resume outline.

Finally, all you need to do is follow the resume outline and fill in the information. Make sure to tailor the content to match perfectly with the job description. Your resume outline should make your resume clear and easy to fill the content.

6. Proofread your resume.

Before you send out your resume, find someone or proofread yourself. Keep your resume typo-free and have no grammar mistakes. 

Resume Outline Samples for Reference

Here are the most common sections of a simple resume outline:

1. Resume Header

First Name, Last name 

Your Professional Title 

[Email]
[Phone number]
[Address]
[LinkedIn URL]
[Personal Website]

2. Profile Statement/Resume Summary

Resume Summary

Skilled [Professional Title] with [# of years] years of experience in [Industry]. Seeking to exercise [relevant skills] to fulfill my role as a [Job position]. Passionate worker focusing on generating value and achieving goals for [Company’s Name]. 

3. Work Experience

Most Recent Job Position
Company’s Name | Start Date – End Date | Location

  • Create a bulleted list with 2-4 accomplishments or descriptions.
  • Use quantifiable (add numbers to) results to make them persuasive.

Earlier Job Position
Company’s Name | Start Date – End Date | Location

  • List any relevant accomplishments from an earlier job.
  • Assuming you no longer perform this job, make sure you use past tense verbs to describe this experience.

4. Education

Your Major, Degree Name
University, Location / Start Date – End Date

Awards, honors, or GPA (if above 3.5)

5. Skills & Certifications

  • List any relevant hard and soft skills and certifications.
  • Refer to the job description and list the most related ones upfront.
  • Be specific: list the software names and other tools, as well as your level of proficiency.

6. Additional sections (optional)

  • Add additional information that could be attractive.
  • For example, include your languages skills, publications, volunteer experience, or relevant hobbies. 

6 Key Sections in a Resume Outline

Here are common sections of a simple resume outline:

Resume Header

Resume header is the first thing in your job resume outline. Here is what you need in the resume heading outline:

First and last name

  • Professional Job Title
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • LinkedIn profile (optional)
  • Personal website (optional)

Check out the resume header example below:

Diane Murphy

Graphic Designer 

101-555-0123
[email protected]
linkedin.com/in/dianemurphy101/
1378 Cunningham Court, Clarkston, Michigan, 48346

💡 Tip: This section does not necessarily help you land your job, but it includes the essential basic information, so make sure there are no mistakes.

Profile Statement/Resume Summary

A profile statement, or resume summary in your resume outline, is a short paragraph that encapsulates your professional history. The summary section in your resume outline highlights your previous achievements and key qualifications that make you an ideal candidate.

Check out this example paragraph of a resume profile statement.

"Creative graphic design professional with 5+ years of experience in creating brand values for companies. Nominated in the 2020 Type Director Club award for Identity/Branding. Eager to join Riverside Creative as a senior graphic designer to leverage versatile skills and generate a robust portfolio for the studio."

💡 Tip: Refer to the applying job’s description and use similar phrasing to make your resume Applicant-Tracking-System friendly.

Work Experience

Here’s the real substance of your resume outline that you make an impression on the hiring managers. Include these elements in your professional work experience of your job resume outline:

  • Current and previous job position
  • Company’s name
  • Dates in the position
  • City, state, or country
  • Bulleted list of achievements or tasks to curate the wordings

Check out the work experience section of a resume example below.

WORK EXPERIENCE

Graphic Designer
One and Another Studio, Seattle
Jan 2018 - Jan 2021

  • Managed a team of 3 junior graphic designers and interns to produce social media marketing content. 
  • New York Type Directors Club’s Identity/Branding Award winner for a project for client Jellico. 
  • Contributed to the company’s 20% income by maintaining robust relationships with clients and launching the studio’s interactive website. 

Graphic Designer Assistant
NON-Creative, Seattle
May 2016 - Dec 2018

  • Led 15 rebranding design projects that contributed to an average 25% increase in brand awareness.
  • Worked with banks, governments, and companies to attract young segments and launched 20k worth of design projects.

💡 Tip: Be specific when describing your achievements. Use numbers to make your impact more specific. Describe how you solved a problem to make a difference by how much or how many.

Education

Remember to include education in a basic resume outline. Many job listings require a minimum education. List these elements in your job resume outline:

  • Degree & Major
  • University Name, Location, and (expected) graduated date
  • Awards, Honors, & GPA

Take a look at this education section on a resume example.

EDUCATION

Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
BFA in Graphic Design |
 June 2016
GPA 3.8

  • Completed courses in: Digital Marketing, Photography & Videography.
  • International Student Association 2014 Committee: Head of Design Team.

💡 Tip: For college students writing first resumes, consider adding relevant coursework. 

Skills & Certifications

Your dream company is looking for specific talents. Add skills in your resume outline to show them you have the exact skills they are looking for. Certifications are also hard proof of your extraordinary skills.

Use a bullet-point list or categorize your skills in your professional resume outline:

  • Skill Set 1
    • Skill 1
    • Skill
  • Skills Set 2
    • Skill 1
    • Skill 2

Here’s an example of a skill section on a resume.

SKILLS

  • Graphic Design Skills
    • Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Procreate
    • p5.js, Processing
    • Design strategy planning
  • Animation and Video editing
    • Premiere, After Effects
    • Photography
  • Soft Skills
    • Communication
    • Active listening
    • Rapport building

💡 Tip: The skills you list should be precise: list “After Effects” instead of “ Motion Graphic”

Additional sections (optional)

Highlight your uniqueness by including some of these extra sections in your resume outline.

1. Volunteer Work

Volunteer work shows your personality and passion for helping others, definitely a plus to include in your job resume outline.

VOLUNTEER WORK

Food Rescue Providence, Graphic Design Volunteer

  • Creative food rescue awareness campaign that reached 25k local residents to successfully raise attention.

2. Projects

Perhaps you were a freelancer or have accomplished a side-project with a team. When writing a resume outline, big or small projects that are related to the job position are no doubt remarkable experiences. Add these projects to your job resume outline.

Take a look at this example.

PROJECTS

Airbnb design system case study, 2018
Role: UI Designer Lead in a team of three

  • Analyze brand design systems throughout multiple platforms and identify 3 major accessibility issues on smartphones. 
  • Proposed design solution and launched testing to validate the outcome.

3. Publications

Publications are robust proof of your substantial knowledge on a subject. Experience in submitting a paper or publishing a book are ideal materials for your professional resume outline.

Here’s an example of publications on a resume.

PUBLICATIONS

  • “User Experience and visual representations”, Hachette, 2020.
  • Joslin, P. and Murphy, D., “Meditating with Javascript: Motion Metaphors in life”, HCI International 2019.

4. Hobbies & Interests

Whether or not to list hobbies in your job resume outline depends on the level of relevance. If your hobbies are related to the job you’re applying for, they can help you stand out from other applicants. Nevertheless, you should take the level of formality into consideration to avoid being too casual when writing a professional resume outline.

You can list hobbies and examples on a resume as illustrated in the example below.

HOBBIES & INTERESTS

  • Photography
  • Sculpture creating
  • Swimming (Red Cross Lifeguard Certificate)

Resume Outline Examples for Different Roles

Before you write a professional resume outline, don’t forget to refer to the following resume outline examples and their structure.

Remember to organize the sections on your own resume outline based on your job:

College student resume outline

As a college student, you might have limited professional achievements. Nevertheless, you can highlight other sections in your resume outline to make up for lack of experience.

  1. Resume Headings
    • Name 
    • Professional Job Title
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • LinkedIn profile (optional)
    • Personal website (optional)
      
  2. Resume objective (Optional)
    Short and brief paragraph with 2-4 sentences that describe your professional goal.
    
  3. Education
    • Degree
    • Major
    • Concentration or minor
    • Start and graduation date
    • Awards and honors
    • GPA
    • Relevant courses
      
  4. Related Experience
    • Intern Experience
      • Company name
      • City and state
      • Start and end date
      • Job duties
    • College Projects
      • Course name
      • Duration of project
      • Your role, project summary, and outcome
        
  5. Skills or certifications
  6. Extracurricular Activities
    • Activity or Student club Name
    • Start and end date
    • Your role, activity summary, and achievements
      
  7. Volunteering Experience
    • Organization name and location
    • Start and end date
    • Volunteer responsibilities

Professional resume outline

For professionals who have 4+ years of experience or more, the work experience section is going to be your job resume outline’s main section.

  1. Resume Headings
    • Name 
    • Professional Job Title
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • LinkedIn profile (optional)
    • Personal website (optional)
      
  2. Resume summary
    Short and brief paragraph with 2-4 sentences that presents your most outstanding and relevant work performances.
    
  3. Work experience
     
    • Most Recent Job Position
      • Company’s Name / Start Date – End Date / Location
      • Accomplishment 1
      • Accomplishment 2
      • Accomplishment 3
    • Earlier Job Position
      • Company’s Name / Start Date – End Date / Location
      • Accomplishment 1
      • Accomplishment 2
      • Accomplishment 3
        
  4. Skills or certifications
    • Hard skills (Technical skills)
    • Soft skills
    • Certification name
      
  5. Education
    • Major and Degree
    • End date
      
  6. Additional section
    • Awards
    • Professional affiliations
    • Publications
    • Language

Resume outline for high school students

For any high school students looking for their first job, here’s how your resume outline should be.

  1. Resume Headings
    • Name 
    • Professional Job Title
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • LinkedIn profile (optional)
    • Personal website (optional)
      
  2. Resume objective (Optional)
    Short and brief paragraph with 2-4 sentences that describe your professional goal
    
  3. Education
    For high school students looking for a first job, here’s how to outline your resume education section:
    • School name and location
    • Start and expected graduation date
    • GPA, notable achievements, or coursework
      
  4. Related Experience
    • School club activities
    • Student contests
      
  5. Skills or certifications
    • Hard skills (Technical skills)
    • Soft skills
    • Certification name
      
  6. Volunteering Experience
    • Organization name and location
    • Start and end date
    • Volunteer responsibilities
      
  7. Interests
    • Related interests or hobbies that could be helpful for the job

CakeResume is an online resume builder tool that provides you with free professional resume templates and examples that help showcase your best qualifications to land your dream job. Start your CakeResume journey today!

--- Originally written by Wu Chao Min ---

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