The best resume format depends on your career stage and the type of job you want to apply for. If you have a consistent work history, choose a chronological resume format. If you have gaps in your employment, consider a functional resume format emphasizing transferable skills.
Ensure you use a font that is easy to read and professional looking. Arial and Verdana are good choices.
1. Use Bold Fonts
If you want to make certain sections and words on your resume stand out, consider using bold fonts. However, you must be careful not to overdo it.
Avoid Times New Roman, which is often used by too many applicants and looks tired and dated. Instead, try Garamond, a classic serif font that can convey the impression of professionalism and competence. Another option is Lato, a sans-serif font that looks neutral in small sizes and can be easily read.
2. Use a Bold Header
When formatting a resume, bold fonts are the way to go. They help make your name stand out, and they also look professional.
While the standard font size for a resume is 11 or 12, you can use a slightly larger font for your header and section titles. This helps the text stand out and makes it easier for recruiters to skim the document.
3. Use a White Background
Using a white background makes it easy for hiring managers to read your resume. It also helps the document appear clear on computers, phones, and print copies.
Color can be used to highlight important sections of your resume. You should choose colors that are readable on a white background. Blue conveys professionalism and trust, making it a good choice for your resume.
4. Use a One-Page Format
If you are an experienced professional applying for a new role, you should only include job-relevant information. Focus on your work experience and highlight unique accomplishments. Try to quantify these achievements by using complex numbers whenever possible.
Short, achievement-oriented resume bullet points backed up by complex numbers are the best way to communicate your abilities without wasting space. Avoid including irrelevant information such as hobbies, college extracurricular activities, or special skills.
5. Use a One-Inch Margin
When formatting your resume, leave about an inch of margin space. This allows your resume to be read clearly and will help give it a professional look.
All text should be left-aligned, except for your header and the title of your work experience section. Right-aligning minor information like your education or certifications is acceptable, but only if necessary.
6. Use Bullet Points
Just as you wouldn’t show up to an interview in clothes that don’t fit, a professional resume format should “fit” your work experience. This is why using measurable results and metrics in your bullet points is essential.
Also, remember to put periods after your bullet points if they are written as complete sentences. Otherwise, they could look messy and unprofessional.
7. Use a Clean Design
When formatting your resume, keeping it clean and professional is essential. This is especially true for formatting your work experience and education sections.
Using a clean design will also help ensure your resume is easily read. Use a consistent font size and maintain a one-inch margin throughout the document. You should also avoid overlapping text.
8. Use a Sans Serif Font
Use a sans serif font for your resume’s body text. These fonts look modern and are easier to read on screens.
Avoid fonts that have a cursive style. These may be harder to read for ATS systems and appear unprofessional to hiring managers.
Lato is a sleek font that works well in digital and print formats. This font has a professional feel that conveys seriousness and friendliness.
9. Use a Clean Line Format
Designer David Baez combines a compact and sophisticated layout with eye-catching graphics in this colorful resume template, which he offers as a free download here. The result is a professional-looking resume with enough room to include your headshot and a substantial summary.
Choose a format that highlights your strengths. Chronological resumes work best for those with consistent experience. At the same time, functional formats are suitable for those with gaps in their career or who need to emphasize skills over job experience.