How to Create a Traditional Resume That Works

When it comes to applying for a job, a traditional resume remains a tried-and-true tool. Learn how to create a powerful traditional resume with these tips.

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Traditional Resume

Traditional resume layouts and formats have a lot in common with minimalist resume formats, but they are not the same. While minimalist resumes are spartan in appearance (though not always in content), a traditional resume is about simplicity and elegance. They are designed to be aesthetically pleasing yet easy to scan for information. This makes them uniquely suited to running the gauntlet that are applicant tracking systems (ATS). Where creative resume formats may have graphic designs that throw off some ATS systems, traditional resumes utilize straightforward fonts and formatting to create a pleasing effect.

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What Do Traditional Resumes Typically Have in Common?

That said, not all traditional resume layouts are the same. There are differences in appearance and section layout depending on whether the job seekers wish to emphasize their professional experience, skills or education section. Nonetheless, there are some things that traditional resumes tend to have in common. They are:

1. Reverse-chronological resumes

Chronological resumes are very common in traditional resume formats, and reverse-chronological resumes are one of the most common resume formats overall. The appeal of this style in traditional resumes is the way it highlights the most recent (and most relevant) work experience job seekers have, drawing a recruiter’s attention to their current skills and position.

2. Classic formats and layouts

Traditional resumes tend to favor classic, Sans serif fonts, one-inch margins, and bold headers. These features create a professional and clean-cut appearance while ensuring high readability for applicant tracking systems.

3. No added graphic design

The addition of graphic design features such as those found in an infographic resume is something not found in traditional resume formats. These features fall into the creative resume category and while they can be beneficial for job seekers who work in creative industries, they may not impress recruiters in other industries.

These are some of the most prominent features that you will see in traditional resume templates and formats. While traditional resumes are generally well received, they are best suited to certain industries.

How Can I Use a Traditional Resume?

As the name might imply, a traditional resume is best used when you are applying to a traditional field of employment. The clear, concise, and clean nature of these formats makes them perfect for a job search in traditional industries like law, accounting and civil service or public sector roles.

ResumeHelp has a number of traditional resume templates you can use to create a resume that will catch the attention of a hiring manager and land you your dream job. Just be sure to create a matching cover letter to maximize the effect.

1. Kingfish

The Kingfish template is one of the most traditional resume formats available via ResumeHelp. With lots of space for the work history section, this resume template is ideal for those who have a lot of work experience to talk about. You will be able to list your job title and a number of key points for each position if you choose this template. The skills, summary and education sections are comparatively small as a result of this layout.

2. Empire

With subtle hints of color, wide margins and defined sections, the Empire template is an ideal traditional resume format for those who want to seem traditional but not stuffy. The bar header has plenty of space for your contact information without disrupting the resume’s overall appearance. You could even fit your LinkedIn profile in if needed. This can be classed as a combination resume as it balances the work experience and skills sections, giving plenty of space for noting your skills, certifications and previous job titles by minimizing the education section and resume summary section.

3. Gazelle

Light and simple, the Gazelle template is a traditional resume template with some modern features. Flexible sections for work history, skills and education make it versatile while the liberal use of bullet points maximizes space.

These are just some of the most popular traditional resume templates that you can find. Whether you want a simple resume, an ATS-friendly template, or a resume with more character, there are plenty of options available. If you want to make the most of your traditional resume, be sure to customize it for each job application. A unique resume and cover letter will give you the best chance of being invited to a job interview, no matter what type of resume you submit to recruiters.


FAQ: Traditional Resumes

Q: Do I need to use a traditional resume?

No, you do not need to use a traditional resume format. You can choose a modern resume template if you want to. It’s all about personal preference; as long as you present a professional resume that is suitable for the job description, recruiters will not prioritize your resume format.

Q: How can I know if a traditional resume will work for me?

Traditional resumes can be applied to almost any situation, but they are best for people seeking employment in traditional fields and industries as well as those who have a lot of work experience.

Q: What other resume options are available?

As well as the basic chronological resume, functional resume and combination resume, there are modern formats such as a minimalist resume or an infographic format. You could even opt for a reverse-chronological order format. If you want detailed information about the many different resume types, you can find educational articles on the ResumeHelp blog.

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