Best Resume Formats With Examples And Formatting Tips
The right resume format will grab the hiring managers attention immediately and make it clear that youre the best candidate for the job while deemphasizing aspects of your career that youd prefer not to highlight.
There are three types of professional resume formats:
Each of these formats is a template that you can customize to meet your job search needs.
Make Your Employment History About Your Most Impressive Accomplishments On The Job
List the relevant jobs youve held in your field for the past 10 to 15 years, providing the name and location of the company, your job title and the years you worked there. Then include some bullet points below each one that focus on your most impressive achievements at those jobs.
Avoid saying Was responsible for or Duties included and focus on what you actually accomplished. Be specific, using facts and figures like revenue growth, customers served, employees you supervised, etc.
If youve held lots of jobs, you dont have to list them all. But if your work experience is thin, look for opportunities to mention internships or volunteer experience.
In most cases, work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order current or last job first, and first job last. But if youve had a nontraditional career path, if youre a freelancer or contractor or if there are gaps in your work history, you may be better served by the functional format, which groups past work by job category rather than along a timeline.
How Far Back Should A Resume Go
Your resume shouldnt go back further than a maximum of 10 to 15 years.
You want to keep the information on your resume relevant to the job you are applying for.
The HR Department is most likely not interested in what you were doing 20 years ago. Even if its very impressive, chances are, you’ve done much more significant things in your past 3 positions than whatever you did 18 years ago.
- Not going back very far also sidesteps age discrimination. If your resume dates back more than 15 years, the HR department might guess your age. And if its a young applicant theyre looking for, your resume can be rejected right away.
Are there times you need to absolutely include more than 10-15 years‘ worth of work experience in your resume?
More specifically, you would want to include dated experiences if:
- You are applying for a job in a field you used to work for more than 15 years ago and you dont have the recent professional experience to account for. In that case, old relevant experience is better than no experience.
- Your dated experience is actually of extremely high importance. Maybe you used to be president of the United States or CEO of Coca Cola. You can choose to use that to your advantage since it speaks to your qualifications and prestige, even if its old news.
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How Applicant Tracking Systems Work
When you apply for a job online, your resume will likely be scanned by an ATS before it reaches an actual human being. An applicant tracking system immediately scans your resume for terms and keywords that match those used in the job description. Say youre applying for a digital content producer role. If your resume includes the word digital and content creator, along with other requirements for the role, the system will likely pass your application on to a real person. If your current job title is listed as Editorial/Production Executive with other irrelevant or mismatched information, your resume may be rejected.
Of course, not all systems are so unforgiving. Some ATS brands are better equipped to take synonyms into account. The problem is older, exact-match systems. There’s no surefire way to check whether your prospective employer uses an ATS, or which kind, but it’s safe to assume they do.
So, how do you adjust your resume so applicant tracking software wont sort you out? Two things you should check before applying are your keywords and font.
What Are Resume Samples
Resume samples are examples of what a resume might look like in a certain job title or industry. If youre looking for multiple samples that may be relevant to your field, you can begin by looking at resume samples by industry and then browse different job titles in that category. Because resumes can look different depending on years of experience, its useful to see samples for both more junior employees and more senior-level ones.
5. Skills6. Optional
Instead of copying resume samples directly, use them as inspiration for your resume. These samples are meant to give you ideas from examples of resumes in your industry rather than being a template to follow exactly. Employers can easily tell when resumes have been copied and will quickly be able to learn if you do not have the experiences that are listed on the resume you submit to them. So, make sure your resume is an accurate and honest representation of your skills and experiences.
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Review The Job Description And Research The Company
Though you may have several different areas of strength, include only those that are relevant to the job. Recruiters often have limited time when reviewing resumes, so its best to keep your skills section specific and concise. Once you move on to the interview phase, youll have the opportunity to elaborate on additional skills not mentioned on your resume.
Start by reviewing the job description and making note of any required skills or abilities that match your own. In addition to job requirements, consider the description of the company and its culture.
For example, a job description for a medical assistant may require proficiency in electronic medical records software and scheduling programs. It may also share that the company values teamwork and patient satisfaction. In this case, the best skills to put on a resume might include the following:
- Electronic medical records systems
- Interpersonal communication
- Customer service
If you dont see any clues about company culture listed in the job description, check out Indeed Company Pages or review the employers website for additional information.
Dont Forget Your Education
If youre still in school or just graduated, your education can go at the top of your resume, but for pretty much everyone else, this goes near the bottom. Most people include their school, graduation year , major, and degree. Brand-new grads might also write in their GPA, honors and awards, study abroad, thesis, or other notable achievements. But keep this section super simple, as you dont want it to take up too much space over your work experience.
Its possible you have unique education experience, such as taking an online course or certification. If you did this specifically as a way to boost yourself within your industry, definitely include it. Again, list everything more or less reverse chronologicallyso a grad school degree would go above an undergrad degree, and a more recent relevant online course would go above that.
Learn more about the ins and outs of listing your education on your resume:
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List Your Experiences Or Skills
For Chronological/Combination Résumés, List Your Experiences
Starting with your most recent or current job, list your previous work experiences.
- This section shows where you have worked and when. It also states specific accomplishments for each position or job.
- This is where content can make your résumé run over a page, so be selective about what you include.
- Pick experiences that seem most relevant to the position you seek. For inspiration, think of your full-time or part-time work, summer jobs, occasional jobs, internships, fieldwork and special projects.
- Don’t worry whether your experiences are “good enough.” Employers admire people who have worked hard in a variety of positions.
- Always start each achievement with an accomplishment verb, like accelerated, achieved, expanded, influenced, solved, maintained, generated, effected, advised, controlled, trained or utilized.
- Don’t worry if there are gaps in the timeline, but keep everything in chronological order, with most recent jobs at the top.
Southwestern Writing Center, Peer Writing Tutor, Yuma, AZ
Camp Granite Falls, Area Director, Mountainville, TNJune 2013September 2017- Directed staff of four while supervising 20 campers.- Taught crafts, sports and cooking.
For Functional/Combination Résumés, List Your Skills
Self-Motivated: Proactively organized volunteers to assist with distribution at the community food bank.
Use Bullet Points Where Appropriate
Using bullet points in your experience, skills or education sections allows employers to easily read the most relevant information from your background. Bullet points should be used to list your achievements. Avoid using only one or two bullet points in a single section if you have less than three pieces of information, simply list them without bullets in sentence form or use other punctuation to separate different ideas.
For example, when describing a role youve held in the experience section of your resume, you would use bullets to communicate how you were successful in that role:
- Consistently operated overhead cranes, hoists, power tools and other project equipment safely
- Anticipated needs of 11 on-site workers and delivered parts to 23 field technicians
Completed weekly service reports, time cards and other related project equipment paperwork
In the education section, you might not have three or more ideas to share, so it might look something like this without bullet points:
CORAL SPRINGS UNIVERSITY, May 2020Juris Doctor
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The Best Resume Format Guide For 2021
By now, as a seasoned job hunter and student of The Interview Guys, you should know there are a few essentials you should have in your arsenal: business cards, a solid cover letter, your elevator pitch, and your well-formatted resume.
Hang on, havent we already gone over all this in that other article, How to Make a Resume 101?
In that article we did go over how to write a resume, but in this article, were going to take you to the next step and focus specifically on one seemingly small but massively huge part of resume building: resume format and how to select which one is right for you in 2021.
FREE BONUS PDF CHECKLIST: Get our “Perfect Resume CHECKLIST” that gives you a handy 38-point Checklist that will let you craft the perfect resume.
List Any Awards You’ve Won And When You Won Them
When you’ve been recognized by someone else, you should let potential employers know about it. But you shouldn’t worry if you haven’t received any awards just skip this section.
Richmond County National Essay Contest, Honorable Mention, May 2006.
Honor Roll, South Satchewan High School, Junior and Senior Years, 20082010.
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What Not To Put On Your Resume
Dont title your resume resume. The hiring manager should know what it is just by looking at it. If they dont, then its not a resume and you should re-read this article.
Dont fluff your sentences with unnecessary words. Remember, short and sweet.
Dont include salary requirements or information. For more info on how to discuss your salary and when and how to bring it up, check out our blog on When to bring up Salary.
Dont list why you left your last job or jobsand on that same topic, dont trash former employersever
Dont include personal information beyond your name and contact. They dont need your age, race, marital status, sexual orientation or hobbies.
Dont include a photo of yourself. Unless youre an actor and applying for a roleotherwise, its just creepy.
Dont get sloppy. Double-check for errors. Then check again.
Match Your Master List With The Skills Needed For A Job
The skills you write on your resume should be whatever overlaps between your master list and the list of skills you created from researching jobs.
A general rule of thumb is to never include skills that arent important for the job you are applying for.
For example, if you are applying for a project manager position, there is no need to list that you know yoga or CPR.
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Decide Which Type Of Rsum You Want
There are three types of résumés: chronological, functional and combination. You might want to consider more than one format of résumé if you’re applying for multiple jobs.
- Chronological is the most traditional format and lists experiences according to the order in which they took place. These résumés generally appeal to older readers and may be best suited for a conservative field.
- Functional is a type of résumé that lists your experiences according to skill. This is the format to use if you’re changing career direction . Because it displays your skills first, your work experience, or lack thereof, is not the main focus.
- Combination combines the best aspects of the chronological and functional styles. Be careful with length for this format the résumé can quickly get long.
Top It Off With Some Skills And Interests
The skills section of a resume gets a bad rap, but its just as important as the rest of the stuff you include. Its a quick list a recruiter can scan to see if your skill set aligns with what theyre hiring for. And its super ATS-friendly because it allows you to add in keywords the machine is scanning for.
Usually this section goes at the bottom of your resume, but in special casessuch as a skills-based resume or when someones switching fieldsyou may place it further up.
What exactly do you throw in here? Youll want to list any hard skills and applications youre familiar with , and, if relevant, your level of expertise. Avoid including soft skills here, like time management or public speakingsave those for your bullet points instead.
Be strategic when filling in your skills. Dont list things you actually couldnt do at a high competence level , and maybe nix skills that are completely irrelevant to the job you want. For example, you may not even need to include Excel if youre applying for say, a design position, unless its listed as a job requirement.
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Polish Up Your Grammar And Formatting
Resume writing is a unique style. It can be tricky to remember which tense to use or when to omit pronouns. How can you use language to tell a more compelling story? Which fonts and formats are ATS-friendly? Lets take a look.
Its important to use a font that is easy to read on screen, ATS-compatible, and commonly available. A few traditional resume fonts to consider include Helvetica, Garamond, or Georgia. Avoid using script fonts or custom fonts unless you are a designer. Dont use a font size below 10.
Tense and Pronouns
Use past tense when talking about jobs in the past, and present tense when describing the work you are currently doing. Traditional resume writing leaves out personal pronouns and gets right to the action. Ex. Spearheaded a new email marketing initiative that increased revenue by 10 percent.
Resume Action Words
Action verbs help liven up your writing, making your resume more readable for recruiters and hiring managers. Consider beginning each bullet point on your resume with an action verb and replacing generic verbs like managed or led with more engaging words like mentored or accelerated.
Example Skills To Put On A Resume
While you can often easily determine hard skills to list based on details in the job description, selecting relevant soft skills is not always as clear. To help narrow down which soft skills to put on a resume, review the various duties of the position and determine which of your personal strengths will help you successfully complete those tasks.
Here are several examples of popular soft and hard skills employers may be seeking:
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How To Write An Accountant Assistant Resume
An accountant assistant is an integral member of the finance team, and their role is to provide support and clerical aid to the finance manager or senior accountant and other departments where necessary. They’re typically responsible for writing financial reports, processing invoices, handling payments and preparing tax returns in addition to completing basic bookkeeping duties on behalf of a company. Learning how to write an effective resume for this career could help increase your chances of earning an interview.
In this article, we show you how to create an accountant assistant resume and provide a template and example to help you write your own.
How To Format A Resume
The goal of formatting your resume is to create a professional-looking, easy-to-read document. Employers have only a short time to look through your resume, so your formatting decisions should make information clear and easy to find. If you are formatting an existing resume, you might need to adjust certain words or phrases to ensure it is still easy to read after youve applied formatting changes. If you are formatting a resume before you write it, be sure to pay attention to how the information looks on the page and adjust as needed.
5. Skills6. Optional
Here are the key steps for formatting a resume. Lets look at each of these components in detail. Consider how you might apply each of these when drafting or updating your resume.
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Use An Appropriate Font
Fonts matter, so use one thats professional and easy to read. See our blog on best fonts to use in a resume. Well show you the good, the bad and the ugly, and you can make an informed decision from there.
There are several factors to consider in choosing the best font for your resume, but you want hiring managers to focus on the content of your resume, not the unusual font youve chosen.