Formatting Your Resume

The most common resume questions we get are in regard to formatting. Here are some simple steps to make sure you create a clean, organized resume...

Avoid using a template.

Start from scratch by writing down your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Always create a resume tailored specifically to the job for which you are applying.

  • Choose between a chronological resume or a functional resume. 

    • A chronological resume lists your work history in chronological order with your current/recent position listed first. Employers typically prefer a chronological resume because it's easier to review employment history.

    • A functional resume focuses on a person's skills and experiences. This type of resume is often used by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history. 

Use bullet points.

Listing your attributes make your resume easier to read and increases your chances of getting it through a scanning system. Your resume should read like a data sheet, not a narrative. Save the lengthier, narrative writing for your cover letter.

Keep your sentences succinct.

The ideal sentence should be between 13 and 17 words. Shorter sentences are fine too, but definitely avoid getting too wordy.

Never use photos or background images.

Background images or professional photos are are unnecessary and may even prevent your resume from being read. Save professional images for your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t go smaller than a size 10 font. 

Employers may have difficulty reading your resume if the font is too small. For headings, use size 14 or even 16. For your name, you can use up to size 22. 

Use bold and italics to visually vary your resume.

Using bold and italics can help organize your resume and make it easier to follow.

Use an appropriate font.

Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Myriad, Garamond, Calibri, and Book Antique are all safe font choices. Fancy scripts, and Comic Sans are inappropriate choices.

Justify your text.

Formatting your text as justified will give you a clean edge that has a nice professional look.

Submit your resume as a PDF.

Different computers have different software programs, so you never know if your Word document will look the same on someone else's screen. If the formatting is all messed up, it could cost you the job. To avoid this simply go to File>Save As>Format>PDF.