I prepared a new resume based on the example provided in conjunction with the "Your Resume Stinks" podcast. A friend of mine commented on the lack of section headers. I replied that this was the recommended format, and speculated that perhaps section headers are redundant. Are section headers expressly discouraged by Manager Tools or are they only seen as redundant or unnecessary? What about attorneys, should there be a section header for licenses and admissions, as traditionally done?

TomW's picture
Training Badge

The line taken up for a header is one more accomplishment that you could have listed. Three headers = three fewer accomplishments listed. That's a high price to pay for a little formatting.

iploya's picture

What about the risk of a hiring manager spending 10-20 seconds scanning the resume, seeing a strange or unfamiliar format (e.g. none of the usual headers), and taking a pass on the candidate? (Just playing devil's advocate here...)


maura's picture
Training Badge

OK, I'll bite....

I'm hiring now.  I have 138 applicants in this round, and I've seen every one of their resumes.  I promise you, if you get the overall formatting right, it is going to be crystal clear to me which section is which at a glance, without labels.   A resume like that practically *glows* compared to the others in the stack - and I think, wow, I bet this person understands how to communicate clearly and concisely in the course of a normal workday too.   And they are probably going to be good at respecting my time too.  In the role I'm hiring for, those are all key traits.  Maybe they are less important in other roles, but I don't know where they would be considered drawbacks.

On the other end of that spectrum, if someone does the overall formatting and wording poorly, section labels won't help disguise it, and I'll wonder what their status reports, emails, and general work output will look like, if this is how they choose to display the most important document in their career. 

There's a lot of room in between those two extremes, and I'm sure mileage could vary based on the role and industry involved.  If the convention in your line of work is to list Licenses and Admissions separately, I bet you can find a way to do that without putting the actual words "Licenses and Admissions" on the page.