Choosing the best resume format is the first step to writing a good resume. Having the correct resume layout is also key. Follow these resume formatting tips to make a professional resume that stands out:
1. Use bullet points and concise phrases.
Recruiters and hiring managers usually spend less than a minute reviewing a resume. Make it easier for them to read your information using bullet points and short phrases.
For example, an accounting assistant’s skills section might look like this:
2. Keep the right margins.
Using the proper margins on your resume format will ensure the information fits within the page. All sides of your resume should have 1-inch margins — it’s the industry standard.
Having 1-inch margins is also helpful for entry-level job seekers who might not have much work experience to include in their resume, as it lowers your chances of having a lot of white space.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced professional who needs extra space to include relevant skills or work accomplishments, you can reduce your margins to half an inch. Just make sure it’s consistent throughout your resume.
3. Use professional fonts.
A resume isn’t the place to get too creative. Your resume font should be clear and easy to read for the prospective employer. Your font choice also plays a big role in whether your resume will make it through ATS, which might have a harder time reading eccentric fonts.
There are two types of fonts to choose from: serif and sans serif.
A serif font features small lines or strokes that extend from the letters. Popular serif fonts include Times New Roman and Garamond.
A sans serif font, on the other hand, is considered more modern. They don’t have small lines or strokes, making them ideal for a resume that’s minimalistic and clean. Popular sans serif fonts include Arial and Verdana.
Some reliable and professional fonts for your resume format that you can consider are:
- Times New Roman
- Franklin Gothic
4. Don’t make your font too big or too small.
Readability is crucial — and that includes the font size.
Generally, the body text on your resume should be between 10 and 12 points. Your name on the header can be 16 or 18 points, while the subheadings should stay somewhere between 12 and 14 points.
You should adjust the sizes depending on your space. If you have a lot of white space, feel free to use a 12-point size on the body text. If your resume is packed with important information, however, consider taking it down to 10.
5. Use “normal” headings.
You might be tempted to replace the “Work History” header with “My Professional Background” but you shouldn’t do it. It’s unprofessional and ATS might have difficulty reading your resume sections.
3 things you can do to make your resume format stand out:
- Bold the heading
- Underline the heading
- Increase the size by one or two points so it’s different from the body text
On some occasions, you can also use a different font to differentiate the subheadings from the body text. This isn’t typically recommended but if you work in a creative industry and know how to choose the correct font combinations, you can play around with them to create a dynamic resume.
6. Keep your resume one to two pages long.
Generally, resumes shouldn’t be longer than a page but if you have an extensive work history that requires two pages, it’s OK to submit a two-page resume.
The key to creating a good resume format is ensuring the skills and experience featured are relevant. If you have a lot of work experience related to the job, include it and use bullet points to make your information concise.
7. Save in a readable format.
Unless the job description specifies the format they want, it’s best to save and submit your resume in Word DOCX or PDF format. They’re universally accepted and easy to access.
Our Resume Builder allows you to download your preferred resume format in a number of file types. You can also create as many resumes as you want for different jobs. So if you’re unsure whether you need a chronological, functional or combination resume and feel like creating all three, you can.
More resume resources
At ResumeHelp we offer more than just a thorough explanation of each resume format. Check out the rest of our expert resources to create a strong job application.
- How to Write a Resume: Learn from our experts how to craft a professional resume that effectively captures your qualifications.
- Career Blog: From the best resume writing tips to career advice, our blog has dozens of articles for you.
- Resume References: To include references on a resume or not? Our article answers that question and tells you what to do.
- How to Write a Cover Letter: A great cover letter can amplify your resume and take your job application to the next level. Here are our tips to write the best cover letter.
- Cover Letter Builder: Take the pressure out of writing your cover letter by using our Cover Letter Builder. It’s easy and efficient.