Whether you're a new graduate or a seasoned professional, a polished resume is essential for a successful job hunt. Your resume is a visual document that hiring managers will typically only glance at for a few seconds. A clean structure and well-organized content can help your resume stand out from the rest. Tailor your resume to each job, highlighting the skills, education, and experience that make you a strong candidate.
Structuring Your Resume
1Choose a template or design your own. Most word processing apps have several different resume templates you can choose from. If none of them appeal to you, however, you can always use your own design.
- There are also templates available for download online, many of them free. If you don't want to use one of the basic templates in your word processing app, you may find another online that works for you.
- Template elements can also be customized to suit your needs. Think of it as scaffolding that you can adjust or eliminate as necessary.
- Use a standard, readable font in 10- or 12-point. Your section headings may be a little larger. Times New Roman and Georgia are popular serif fonts. If you want to go with a sans-serif font, try Calibri or Helvetica.
Tip: If you're looking for a job in web layout and design or graphic design, build your own unique design and use your resume to show off your skills.
2Create a header with your name and contact information. At the top of your page, type your full name, address, phone number, and email address. Play around with the formatting to find something that you like best.
- For example, you could have all the information centered. You could also have your address on the left side and your phone number and email address on the right, with your name centered in the middle in a slightly larger size.
- If you don't already have a professional email address, get one from a free email service such as Gmail. Ideally, the email address you use on your resume will be some version of your initials and last name. Never list a silly or suggestive personal email address on your resume.
3Use a chronological resume in more conservative fields. In a chronological resume, you list your work experience and education in reverse-chronological order. This is a classic resume format that would likely be more appreciated by older hiring managers, or those in conservative fields such as accounting or law.
- You don't have a lot of flexibility with a chronological resume, but you can still arrange the sections in a way that puts your strongest information at the top. For example, if you have a lot of education but not a lot of work experience, you might want to list education first.
4Try a functional resume if you lack direct work experience. With a functional resume, you can highlight your specific skills and assets without having to list every job you've ever had. This can be a benefit if your work experience is thin.
- A functional resume is also a good choice if you have an extensive amount of experience and want to limit your resume to a page. You can focus on the skills you've developed rather than having to list each individual job with specific details.
5Combine a chronological and functional resume to highlight your skills. You can still use a functional resume even if you're looking for a job in a more conservative field. Lead off with a skills section, then include chronological sections underneath.
- Because this type of resume can get lengthy, consider only listing your last 2 or 3 jobs and your highest educational degree. If you've been at your most recent job for over 10 years, you may want to only list that. You can make clear in the functional part of your resume how long you've been working in the industry.