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How do I format my resume?


I’m working on updating my resume and want to ensure it’s formatted correctly to make a great impression on potential employers. What are the best practices for resume formatting? Specifically, I’m looking for advice on layout, font choices, section order, and any tips on making it look professional and easy to read. Thanks in advance for your help!

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3 Answers

  1. Hi there,

    Formatting your resume properly is crucial to making a strong first impression on potential employers. Here are some best practices for creating a professional and easy-to-read resume:

    1. Layout:
      • One Page: If possible, keep your resume to one page, especially if you have less than 10 years of experience.
      • Margins: Use standard 1-inch margins on all sides.
      • Spacing: Use consistent spacing between sections to ensure readability. Typically, 1.15 to 1.5 line spacing works well.
      • Sections: Use clear section headings (e.g., Education, Work Experience, Skills) and consider using bold or a slightly larger font size for these headings.
    2. Font Choices:
      • Font Type: Choose a clean, professional font like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman.
      • Font Size: Use a font size between 10 and 12 points for the main text. Section headings can be slightly larger (e.g., 14 points).
      • Consistency: Use the same font type and size throughout your resume for a cohesive look.
    3. Section Order:
      • Contact Information: At the top, include your name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile (optional).
      • Objective or Summary: A brief statement about your career goals or a summary of your qualifications.
      • Education: List your degrees, institutions, graduation dates, and any relevant coursework.
      • Work Experience: Include your job titles, companies, dates of employment, and bullet points describing your responsibilities and achievements.
      • Skills: Highlight both technical and soft skills relevant to the job.
      • Certifications and Training: Any relevant certifications or training courses.
      • Projects: Significant projects that demonstrate relevant skills and experience.
      • Volunteer Experience: If applicable, include any volunteer work that showcases transferable skills.
      • Awards and Honors: Any relevant awards or recognitions.
    4. Professional Look:
      • Bullet Points: Use bullet points for job descriptions and accomplishments to enhance readability.
      • Action Verbs: Start each bullet point with a strong action verb (e.g., “Developed,” “Led,” “Managed”).
      • Quantify Achievements: Whenever possible, include numbers to quantify your achievements (e.g., “Increased sales by 20%”).
      • Consistency: Ensure that dates, job titles, and formatting are consistent throughout your resume.
    5. Additional Tips:
      • No Photos or Personal Information: Avoid including a photo, age, marital status, or other personal details unless specifically requested.
      • File Format: Save and send your resume as a PDF to preserve formatting.
      • Proofread: Thoroughly proofread your resume to eliminate any spelling or grammatical errors. Consider asking someone else to review it as well.

    Example Layout:

    Your Name
    [Phone Number] | [Email Address] | [LinkedIn Profile]

    Objective or Summary:
    [Brief statement about your career goals or a summary of your qualifications.]

    [Degree] | [Institution] | [Graduation Date]

    • Relevant coursework: [List relevant courses]

    Work Experience:
    [Job Title] | [Company] | [Dates of Employment]

    • [Responsibility or achievement #1]
    • [Responsibility or achievement #2]
    • [Responsibility or achievement #3]


    • [Skill #1]
    • [Skill #2]
    • [Skill #3]

    Certifications and Training:

    • [Certification or training #1]
    • [Certification or training #2]

    [Project Title] | [Brief description of the project and your role]

    Volunteer Experience:
    [Volunteer Role] | [Organization] | [Dates of Involvement]

    • [Description of your responsibilities and achievements]

    Awards and Honors:

    • [Award or honor #1]
    • [Award or honor #2]
  2. Hi there, here are some best practices for formatting a professional and easy-to-read resume:

    • Use clear section headings and bulleted lists for a clean look
    • Keep consistent margins (0.5-1 inch) and line spacing (1 or 1.15)
    • Align text flush left and make use of white space
    • Order sections strategically (e.g. Summary, Skills, Experience, Education)
    • Use reverse chronological order within each section


    • Choose a standard, readable font like Arial, Calibri, Verdana, or Times New Roman
    • Use one font for headings and another for body text
    • Recommended size is 10-12 pt for body text and 12-14 pt for section titles
    • Avoid ornate, small, or condensed fonts that are hard to read

    Section Order:

    1. Contact Info (name, email, phone)
    2. Professional Summary or Objective
    3. Skills (technical, soft skills, languages)
    4. Work Experience
    5. Education
    6. Additional sections like Certifications, Projects, Volunteer Work


    • Use clear section titles (e.g. “Work History” vs “Experience”)
    • Left-align text, avoid dense paragraphs
    • Use bullets and action verbs to describe responsibilities/achievements
    • Quantify accomplishments when possible (e.g. “Increased sales by 25%”)
    • Adjust section order based on what’s most relevant/impressive for the role
    • Be consistent with formatting like date styling, bolding, capitalization
    • Ensure your resume fits on one page if you have less than 10 years of experience

    The key is striking a balance between clean formatting, consistent structure, and highlighting your most valuable qualifications. Let me know if any part needs more explanation!

  3. Layout and Readability:

    • Simple and Clean: Opt for a clear and uncluttered layout. Use margins between 0.5 to 1 inch and consistent spacing throughout.
    • Sections and Headers: Divide your resume into clear sections with bolded headers like “Contact Information,” “Experience,” “Education,” and “Skills.
    • Left Alignment: Align all text to the left margin for a clean and organized look.

    Font Choices:

    • Professional Fonts: Stick to professional fonts that are easy to read on screen and in print, such as Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, or Verdana.
    • Font Size and Style: Use a font size between 10 and 12 points. Avoid italics or fancy fonts for the main content. Bolding can be used for headers and emphasis sparingly.

    Section Order:

    • Standardized Order: Here’s a typical resume section order:
      1. Contact Information: Name, phone number, professional email address, and LinkedIn profile URL (optional).
      2. Summary/Objective Statement (Optional): A brief overview of your skills and career goals.
      3. Work Experience: Listed in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position.
      4. Education: List your degrees, including expected graduation date (if applicable), institution name and location.
      5. Skills: Showcase your transferable and technical skills.
    • Flexibility: You can adjust the order slightly to prioritize your most relevant qualifications for a specific job. For instance, if you’re applying for an academic position, “Education” might come before “Work Experience.

    Professional Look and Readability:

    • White Space: Utilize white space effectively to avoid a cluttered look.
    • Bullet Points: Use bullet points to present your work experience and skills for easy readability.
    • Conciseness: Aim for a one- to two-page resume, depending on your experience level.
    • Proofreading: Proofread meticulously for typos and grammatical errors. A polished resume shows attention to detail.

    Additional Tips:

    • Save as PDF: When applying online, save your resume as a PDF to ensure formatting remains consistent.