How to Format a Resume

FT Contributor  | 

A resume is the first contact you make with an employer. As such, it’s important for your resume to highlight all of the experience, soft skills, and hard skills you have that will be relevant to the role you’re applying for. In addition, your resume is an important component of an in-person job interview, where you’ll need copies of your resume to present to the hiring manager and anyone else you might be interviewing with.

The information contained in your resume is important, but the way you format it is just as important. In order to compete with the other job applicants, your resume should be formatted in a way that is clean, organized, and easy to read.

Discover the best ways to format your resume so that you can stand out from the competition and impress a potential employer.

Standard Resume Format

Every resume should follow a few basic formatting principles. You’ll want to make adjustments to your resume to make it unique and tailored to the position you’re applying for, but every resume should follow the same basic format.

When creating a resume, format it with a font size between 10 and 12 points. This font size is easy to read on a computer or tablet as well as on paper. Similarly, use a font that is legible. Acceptable standard fonts include Arial, Times New Roman, and Calibri. Avoid fonts that are difficult to read, as this can make the hiring manager less likely to read your resume at all.

When it comes to formatting your relevant experience, use a bolded font to draw the reader’s eye to facts such as the title and name of the company you worked for previously or are currently working for. Then, summarize your experience using a bulleted list. This makes it easy for the recruiter or hiring manager to skim your experience and see if you’re a good fit for the role.

In addition to your experience, it’s important to summarize your education. List your major and any minors you may have studied, as well as the type of degree you earned and the educational institution that you earned it from.

Moreover, it’s important for your resume to include all of the information that’s relevant to a potential employer. Include your contact information at the top of your resume. Be sure to list your name, address, phone number, and email address so that the recruiter or hiring manager can reach out to you.

Resume Formatting Tips

When formatting your own resume, consider:

  1. Keeping it simple: Your resume shouldn’t be longer than a page. Hiring managers don’t have a lot of time and typically have hundreds of resumes to go through. If they see that your resume is longer than a page, they’re more likely to overlook it. Instead, only include the experience that is most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Outline your experience in a bulleted list with strong action verbs that demonstrate what you’re capable of.
  2. Being consistent: If you bold your job title and the name of a company for one of your relevant experiences, you should do the same with the rest of the experiences you list on your resume. Doing so will give your resume a polished look and demonstrate to the employer that you pay attention to detail.
  3. Getting creative: In some cases, you can showcase your creativity on your resume. For example, if you’re applying for a career in a creative field, your resume might include more playful language. Many people also choose to include a headshot at the top of their resume next to their name and address. While it’s not mandatory, it can help you distinguish yourself from the crowd.  
  4. Avoiding certain elements: There are a few things you should avoid including on your resume, such as graphics. Other things to avoid are inappropriate language, irrelevant information, or blatant lies.
  5. Saving in the proper format: PDFs are the preferred format in which to send resumes. Unlike Word documents, which can be edited, a PDF is a more permanent and professional document.

Types of Resumes

There are four types of resumes: chronological, targeted, functional, and combination. The one you use will be determined by the experience you have and the job that you are applying for.

Chronological Resume Format

Chronological resumes — also known as reverse-chronological resumes — highlight your experience and professional achievements starting with your most current position, followed by the roles you were in previously.

Copy and paste this chronological resume template into a Word document and add your personal information:

[Your Name.]
[Phone Number.] | [Email.] | [Street Address.]

[Objective.]

Experience
[Current or most recent position.]
[Company Name, Location.]
[Start Date, End Date.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]

[Position you were in prior.]
[Company Name, Location.]
[Start Date, End Date.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]

Skills
[Skill #1.]
[Skill #2.]
[Skill #3.]

Education
[University.]
[Major, Degree.]
[Dates Attended.]

Targeted Resume Format

Targeted resumes focus on a specific job listing. Instead of highlighting all of your experience, your resume only speaks to the experience and skills that will be relevant in the role you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a managerial role, only include a summary of the roles in which you handled managerial duties. A targeted resume will change with each role for which a candidate applies.

Copy and paste this targeted resume template into a Word document and add in your relevant information:  

[Your Name.]
[Phone Number.] | [Email.] | [Street Address.]

Summary of Professional Qualifications
[Skill or qualification #1.]
[Skill or qualification #2.]
[Skill or qualification #3.]

Experience
[Relevant Position.]
[Company Name, Location.]
[Start Date, End Date.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]

Education
[University.]
[Major, Degree.]
[Dates Attended.]

Functional Resume Format

Functional resumes highlight your skills and abilities rather than a chronological summary of your work experience. This resume format is ideal for people who may have gaps in their professional careers and are looking for a way to summarize their experience without drawing attention to that gap.

Below is a template of a functional resume that you can copy and paste into a document and make your own:

[Your Name.]
[Phone Number.] | [Email.] | [Street Address.]

Summary
[Summarize your professional experience, how it is relevant to the job, and what you hope to get out of the role you’re applying for.]

Skills
[Skill #1.]
[Briefly summarize your skillset.]

[Skill #2.]
[Briefly summarize your skillset.]

[Skill #3.]
[Briefly summarize your skillset.]

Experience
[Position, Company.]
[Year.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]

Education
[University.]
[Major, Degree.]
[Dates Attended.]

Combination Resume Format

A combination resume is the best of both worlds. Your skills and experience are listed first, followed by your chronological work history. Combination resumes give the employer a full picture of the skills and experience you bring to the table.

Copy and paste this combination resume template and add your own details:

[Your Name.]
[Phone Number.] | [Email.] | [Street Address.]

[Objective.]

Summary of Professional Qualifications
[Skill or qualification #1.]
[Skill or qualification #2.]
[Skill or qualification #3.]

Experience
[Relevant Position.]
[Company Name, Location.]
[Start Date, End Date.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]
[Summary of relevant experience.]

Education
[University.]
[Major, Degree.]
[Dates Attended.]

Formatting your resume carefully can help you get one step closer to landing any job that you apply for. Use these tips and templates to create a resume of your own.


Image Sourcehttps://depositphotos.com/

This post was updated January 9, 2020. It was originally published January 9, 2020.