Top 5 Resume Format Tips


There is a lot of advice out there concerning how to write the perfect resume. Unfortunately, some of the resume writing tips you find on the internet are conflicting, outdated, or downright incorrect.

Don’t worry, though! If you’re looking for reliable advice on how to format your resume, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve weeded through the information to bring you these five inscrutable resume formatting tips.

You may also wonder about the nuts and bolts of optional resume sections. Should you include a career summary? A qualifications summary? Hobbies and interests? A mission statement? Check out these career-specific esthetician mission statement examples for inspiration and consider Tip No. 4 below.

Tip No. 1: Use Chronological Format – Usually

The chronological resume format – sometimes called reverse-chronological format – is by far the most common and useful resume format.

In fact, a chronological resume is what most employers expect to see. It has been determined that most hiring managers spend only six to seven seconds looking at your resume. In that amount of time, they want to know if you have the skills, schooling, and experience to do the job.

If you do, they might consider your application further. If they can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, your resume will probably end up in the trash. The chronological resume helps you prove your credentials.

So, how do you write one? The basic format is as follows:

Contact information: Name, address, phone number, professional email address, LinkedIn profile URL

Skills: List five to ten of your most relevant soft and technical skills

Work experience: List your work in reverse-chronological order, starting with the most recent and working your way back. List only your three most recent jobs or those from the past 10 years.

Use the following format:

Job Title | Company Name

Location | Dates

  • Description

Education: Also in reverse-chronological order, with your highest degree(s) first.

Use the following format:

Degree Name

School Name | Location | Graduation year

This format works best for almost everyone, but there may be specific circumstances in which a slight variation is in order.

Tip No. 2: If You Don’t Use a Chronological Format, Opt for a Combination Format

Traditionally, job seekers with long career gaps, those changing careers, and other unique circumstances may have opted for a functional or skills-based resume to highlight their skills outside of their education and work experience.

But functional resumes are not beloved by employers. How can you highlight your unique skills while still giving the hiring manager the (chronological) resume they expect? Cue the combination, hybrid, or chrono-functional resume.

The combination resume format is almost exactly like the chronological resume discussed above. The difference is that it starts with a Skills Summary. Therein, you will list approximately three of your most valuable skills with a bullet list below each. In those bullet points, talk about how you learned the skill, how you’ve used it, and what you’ve accomplished.

Tip No. 3: Make it Visually Appealing

The University of Texas recommends that you keep your resume “visually balanced” by picking “a legible font and avoid using text smaller than 10 points. Don’t include photos and keep graphics to a minimum. If you choose to use color text, make sure everything is legible when the document is printed in black and white.”

Also, you should maintain ample margins and limit your text so that the resume does not appear crowded.

Tip No. 4: Don’t Distract from Your Key Talents and Experiences

There are lots of optional sections you can include on your resume – Hobbies and Interests, Languages, Awards, Certifications, Publications, and Volunteering, to name a few.

When these optional items are clearly linked to the job to which you are applying, they can truly strengthen your resume. But when they are not, they can actually detract from your value as an employee. So, choose your optional sections carefully. When in doubt, omit them.

Tip No. 5: Use a Professional Resume Template

From gathering all the right information to setting the font and margins of your document, writing your resume can be a stressful process. But it doesn’t have to be.

Today, many websites provide step-by-step guidance, asking you questions and arranging the information within a professionally designed resume template. This is one of the best ways to ensure that your resume is optimally formatted. You won’t have to worry about margins, text size, etc.

In fact, many templates even allow you to customize them with color and design choices. In this way, you can create a hassle-free resume that is uniquely yours.

When you are finished, download your resume in PDF format. This will ensure that all the hard work you’ve put into formatting your resume won’t be lost when it is opened on a different device. It will maintain its formatting whenever it is transmitted electronically.

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