Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated July 27, 2022 | Published August 25, 2020
Updated July 27, 2022
Published August 25, 2020
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A great resume can help you stand out from other applicants. Formatting your resume properly is an important step in your job search. In this article, we will discuss the best ways to format your resume for your career objectives.
Three popular resume formats:
Three popular resume styles are chronological, functional or combination. Certain roles may be more suited to one style. Your goal should be to present your information in a way that allows employers to recognize easily why you are an ideal candidate.
The chronological resume will display your work experience in reverse-chronological order. Note your most recent position at the top. This is a very traditional format and is often used in many industries today.
A chronological resume often lists information in this order:
Additional information (i.e., volunteer work and special interests)
A chronological resume suits candidates whose employment record is consistent. If you've spent the past several years in the same profession advancing steadily to more senior positions, this type of resume format is a good option for you.
A functional resume features skills rather than work history. It may include information in this order:
Summary or objective statement
Additional information (i.e., volunteer work and special interests)
A functional resume is also a good idea if you're re-entering the workforce after a lengthy pause.
A combination resume may work for you if you don't have many gaps in your employment history. A combination resume is a blend of the chronological and functional resume types. It emphasizes your work experience along with your relevant skills.
The combination resume often includes the following information in this order:
Goals or objective summary
Relevant skills summary
The combination resume is a more flexible format; you can list either your skills or your work experience first depending on which you consider more important for the role.
How to format a resume
A well-formatted resume is an easy-to-read document. Employers only plan a short amount of time to look through resumes, so your formatting decisions must present the information clearly and make your most impressive qualifications easy to find.
Here are the key steps for formatting a resume:
Adjust the font size to 12 point
Use section headers
Use bullet points where appropriate
Look at other resumes
1. Choose appropriate margins
Standard margins for resumes are one inch on all sides. If you adjust your margins out of this measurement, it is best to keep them under 1.5 inches. Left-aligning your resume makes it easier to read. Using centre-alignment judiciously for headers is an option if you want to further stylize the resume.
2. Select a font
Many companies employ an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to aid in screening resumes. It doesn't always read and interpret intricate fonts correctly. Avoid “light” or “thin” fonts as they are often more difficult to read. Sans serif fonts (fonts without tails) are excellent fonts for resumes. Their clean lines are easy to read.
Here are several examples of the best resume fonts:
3. Adjust the font size to 12 point
Generally, 12-point font is a standard size. Anything more might appear cartoonish or unprofessional. If you think you need a smaller font to include more information, you may actually need to streamline.
4. Use section headers
Stylizing the font for section headers can help employers quickly find the information they are looking for. You can do this in a few different ways:
Make your section headers bold
Enlarge section headers to 14 or 16 points
Use underlines for section headers
These adjustments can also be applied to your contact details at the top of the resume.
5. Use bullet points where appropriate
Bullet points can be used to list achievements in an eye-catching way, but if you have less than three pieces of information, simply list them in sentence form.
For example, under a position you've held in the experience section, you would use bullets to communicate how you were successful in that role:
Consistently operated overhead cranes, hoists, power tools and other project equipment in a safe manner
Anticipated needs of 11 on-site workers and delivered parts to 23 field technicians
Completed weekly service reports, time cards and other related project equipment paperwork
In the education section, you might not have three or more ideas to share, so it might look something like this without bullet points:
Aug. '11–May '15
6. Look at other resumes
Researching other resumes that have been submitted for positions you are interested in can help you decide on a format. Examples are available for various fields on the internet. You may notice a certain format is particularly popular for a specific job, and it can be used for inspiration for your own. You may also confirm that the format you have chosen aligns with the industry in which you are seeking a role.
Resume format examples
Here are some popular resume format samples:
Montreal, QC H3N 6YJ
Communications professional seeking a position in a nonprofit organization. I'd like to put my public relations skills to work and exercise my passion for philanthropy.
Public Relations Manager
Charity Help, 2017–Present
Plan and direct public relations programs to increase awareness of Charity Help in the community. Manage PR staff. Mentor to junior public relations personnel.
Public Relations Specialist
Charity Help, 2015–2017
Collaborated with PR team on all fundraising efforts and special projects. Developed the organization's brand guidelines.
Synergy Company 2013–2015
Increased brand visibility via social media campaigns and digital advertising. Conceptualized and distributed printed marketing information.
Brock University, 2008–2012
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology
Soup Kitchen Manager
1234 Town Road
Toronto, ON, P7H 2G9 Canada
I am a hardworking sales professional with more than 10 years of experience seeking a senior sales position in the automotive industry.
Areas of expertise
High-end cars and specialty vehicles
I have a wealth of experience in selling luxury vehicles ranging from classic sedans to custom turbomachines. In previous roles, I've expanded the customer base, handled account management in high-volume showrooms and bespoke operations.
I am skilled in fostering new client relationships and I understand how to deepen connections with existing clients. I have drawn on my experience as an amateur racecar driver to build rapport, thereby increasing client retention rates.
Sales team leadership
I have overseen a team of more than eight salespeople at a time. I enjoy coaching and mentoring junior sales representatives. I have repeatedly helped teams exceed monthly, quarterly and yearly quotas.
Regional Sales Manager
York Autos, 2012–2017
Managed a team of sales associates. Trained and mentored new sales representatives. Collaborated with over 100 existing clients and 60 potential clients.
Luxury Car Den, 2008–2012
Managed a large account list including private custom work and mid-sized fleet orders. Optimized account growth through regular follow-up on a monthly basis with quarterly updates.
Junior Sales Associate
Drive Away Deals, 2006–2008
Increase awareness of Drive Away Deals inventory in the luxury automobile market through on-site education. Shared information about new models to help establish relationships with new prospects.
University of British Columbia, 2002–2006
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Certified Formula One Driver
555 Main Avenue
Kingston, ON J7H 2B8
Taxi Ads, 2015–Present
Oversee a team of 12 creatives; designers and copywriters. Manage all in-house projects. Confirm all deliverables meet brand stipulations.
Senior Graphic Designer
Taxi Ads, 2013–2015
Create designs for all digital work. Initiated website revamp. Formulated the current in-house brand style guide utilized by the entire creative department.
Swift Logos, 2010–2013
Designed concepts for web and print design, featuring websites, mobile sites, digital ads, business cards and trade show material.
Mentor, coordinate and lead team meetings for creatives.
Oversee creative process, timeline, resource coordination, internal communication. Share progress reports with outside stakeholders.
Design logos, create brand styles, offer brand colour possibilities and make style guides to secure continuity across all projects.
Illustration, Typography, Liaison, Administration, Mobile Design, Adobe Creative Suite
Concordia University Montreal, 2005–2009
Bachelor of Art in Graphic Design. Certificate in Advertising.
Related: 10 Steps on How to Update a Resume
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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