Tips on Resume Formatting

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When it comes to creating a resume, formatting is key. A well-formatted resume can make all the difference in catching the eye of a potential employer and landing an interview.

However, with so many different formatting options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips on how to format your resume in a way that is both professional and effective.

First and foremost, it’s important to keep your resume clean and easy to read. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs and make your resume more visually appealing. 

By maintaining a consistent format, you’ll create a professional-looking document that’s easy to follow.

Understanding the Basics of Resume Formatting

A clean desk with a laptop, notebook, and pen. A resume template on the screen. A ruler and pencil for formatting

When it comes to creating a resume, formatting is key to make it look professional and easy to read. Here are some tips to help you understand the basics of resume formatting:

Choosing the Right Font

It’s important to choose a font that is easy to read and looks professional. Some popular fonts for resumes include Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri. It’s also important to choose a font size that is easy to read, typically between 10 and 12 points.

Setting Proper Margins

Setting proper margins is important to ensure your resume looks balanced and well-organized. The standard margin size for a resume is 1 inch on all sides.

However, if you need to fit more information onto one page, you can adjust the margins slightly. Just be careful not to make them too small as it can make the resume look cluttered.

Using Bold and Italics Appropriately

Using bold and italics can help draw attention to important information on your resume. It’s important to use them sparingly and only on key information such as job titles, company names, and section headings. Overusing bold and italics can make your resume look cluttered and difficult to read.

Also See: Resume Writing Tips For Journalists

Structuring Your Resume

When it comes to structuring your resume, it’s important to keep in mind that hiring managers typically spend only a few seconds scanning each resume. Therefore, you want to make sure that your resume is well-organized and easy to read. Here are some tips on how to structure your resume effectively:

Contact Information

Your contact information should be prominently displayed at the top of your resume. This includes your full name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile (if you have one).

Make sure that your email address is professional and that your voicemail greeting is clear and concise.

Professional Summary or Objective

This section should be tailored to the specific job you’re applying for and should highlight your most relevant qualifications.

Work Experience

Your work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. For each job, include the job title, company name, dates of employment, and a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments. Use bullet points to make this section easy to scan.


Your education should be listed in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent degree. If you have a high GPA or any relevant coursework or honors, you can include that information as well.


Your skills section should include a list of your most relevant skills. This can include technical skills, soft skills, and language skills. Use bullet points to make this section easy to scan.

Additional Sections

Depending on your experience and qualifications, you may want to include additional sections on your resume. 

This can include sections on volunteer work, certifications, or professional affiliations. Make sure that these sections are relevant to the job you’re applying for and that they add value to your resume.

Highlighting Your Achievements

When it comes to resume formatting, it’s essential to highlight your achievements to stand out from other candidates. This section will provide you with some tips on how to do it effectively.

Quantifying Success

For instance, instead of saying that you increased sales, you could say that you increased sales by 25% in six months. It gives the hiring manager an idea of the scale of your accomplishments.

To make it easier for the hiring manager to see your achievements, create a table with your accomplishments and the corresponding numbers. It will make it easier to read and understand.

Using Action Verbs

Using action verbs is another way to highlight your achievements. It makes your resume more dynamic and engaging.

Instead of using passive language, use action verbs to describe your accomplishments. 

To make it easier to read, use bullet points to highlight your achievements. It will make your resume more scannable and help the hiring manager to see your accomplishments quickly.

Also See: Resume Writing Tips For Engineers

Tailoring Your Resume to the Job Description

When it comes to resume formatting, one of the most important things you can do is tailor your resume to the job description. This means customizing your resume to match the specific requirements of the job you are applying for. Here are two ways to do this effectively:

Incorporating Keywords

One way to tailor your resume to the job description is by incorporating keywords from the job posting. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for relevant keywords. If your resume doesn’t include these keywords, it may not even make it to the hiring manager’s desk.

To find the right keywords, carefully read the job posting and highlight any specific skills, qualifications, or experience the employer is looking for. 

Matching Job Requirements

Another way to tailor your resume is by matching your qualifications to the job requirements. 

Then, make sure to highlight your own skills and experience that match these requirements.

For example, if the job posting requires experience with a specific software program, make sure to mention your experience with that program in your resume. If the job posting requires a certain level of education, make sure to include your own education level and any relevant certifications.

Keeping Content Concise and Relevant

When it comes to your resume, keeping the content concise and relevant is essential. A hiring manager typically spends only a few seconds scanning each resume, so it’s important to make sure that your most relevant skills and experiences are easy to find.

This not only makes it easier for the hiring manager to read, but it also makes your resume more visually appealing.

Another tip is to focus on the most recent and relevant experience. If you have a lot of experience, it can be tempting to include everything, but this can make your resume too long and difficult to read.

Instead, focus on the experience that is most relevant to the job you are applying for.

It’s also important to use keywords that are relevant to the job description. Many companies use software to scan resumes for specific keywords, so make sure to include them where appropriate.

However, make sure to use them in a natural way and avoid keyword stuffing, which can make your resume sound robotic and impersonal.

Also See: Cover Letter Vs Curriculum Vitae

Design and Aesthetics

When it comes to creating a resume, the design and aesthetics are just as important as the content. A well-designed resume can help you stand out from the competition and make a great first impression. Here are some tips to help you create a visually appealing resume.

Consistent Layout

A consistent layout is essential for a professional-looking resume. Use the same font and font size throughout the document, and make sure your headings and subheadings are consistent.

Use bullet points to organize your information and make it easier to read. Keep your margins and spacing consistent as well.

Use of White Space

White space, or the empty space around your text and images, can help make your resume easier to read and more visually appealing.

Use white space to break up your text into sections and make it easier to scan. Avoid using too much text or cramming too much information onto one page.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy refers to the arrangement of elements on your resume to create a clear and logical flow of information. Use headings and subheadings to organize your information and make it easier to read. 

Final Touches

After putting in all the hard work to create a professional and polished resume, it’s important to take some final steps to ensure that it’s error-free and ready to impress potential employers. Here are some final touches you should consider:


Before submitting your resume, it’s crucial to proofread it thoroughly. Even the smallest errors can leave a negative impression on the employer.

Go through your resume multiple times and check for typos, grammatical errors, and formatting inconsistencies. It’s also a good idea to ask someone else to proofread it for you, as a fresh set of eyes can catch mistakes you might have missed.

File Format and Naming

When it comes to submitting your resume, it’s important to consider the file format and naming conventions.

Most employers prefer a PDF format, as it ensures that the formatting stays intact and the document is easy to read. Additionally, make sure to name your file in a professional manner, such as “FirstName_LastName_Resume.pdf”.

Avoid using generic names like “Resume.pdf” as it can make it difficult for employers to identify your application.

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