By taking the time to create a template for your resume, you’ll find it easier to adapt to the jobs that come your way. If you are writing your resume for the first time or if your existing one is ready for a revamp, formatting your resume correctly will ensure it is well-presented and easy to read. A good-looking and well laid out resume will catch the eye of potential employers, no matter your skills or experience.
There are several popular formatting styles that you can utilize when writing your resume. The reason that these styles are so popular to use is because they are tried and proven to work. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here (unless you are applying for a job as an inventor) so, if you stick to the standardized formats, it’s difficult to go wrong.
- Reverse Chronological Order: This format is the most popular and lists your work experience and accomplishments from the most recent down to the least recent. Please note that you don’t have to list ALL of your work experiences down to a high school level, keep it short and relevant to the job you are applying for. Ensure that you include in this format, once you have listed your work experiences and accomplishments in reverse chronological order, your responsibilities, additional/relevant skills and education. To see the template for reverse chronological style, click here.
- Functional Style: This format is ideal for people who are entering the workforce for the first time, short-term contract workers, or those re-entering the workforce with large gaps between employers. It lists your experience, hard and soft skills, and accomplishments first with the company names, position titles, and start and finish dates second. Lastly, you should add your educational history and references. To see a good example of what a functional style resume looks like, click here.
- Combination Style: This format is a combination of both formats above, it lists experience in reverse chronological order but also draws attention to specific achievements and relevant skills. Have a look here to see how to format your resume in combination style.
Header and Subheadings
However, first and foremost you need an eye-catching header for your resume. It is recommended to put your name as the heading of your resume, make the font bigger and bolder than the rest of your resume to make it stand out and to help your potential employers remember who you are. Below your header, add your main contact details, such as email address, phone number, mobile number and home/mailing address.
Now depending on which format you decide to utilize, add in your sub-headings accordingly. Decide if you want to list your work history and experience, responsibilities and achievements under separate headings or if you want them to go together. Then, work your way around your resume, remembering to make good use of white space, which helps to make key elements stand out.
Finally, add in your education history, any volunteering that you may have done and relevant skills for the role in separate sections, in whichever order you think will highlight you the most as a desirable candidate for employment.
There are a lot of opinions regarding how long a resume should be. Usually though, depending on your previous work experience and education history, your resume could be anywhere between 1-3 pages long. As long as your resume is well presented, relevant and to the point, its length won’t be important.
Tailoring your Resume
Although you may not need to change much from your original template, it is always a good idea to tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for. Whether it is adding it certain keywords, tweaking your skills and experiences to that specific role or listing your most relevant skills first, changing your resume to suit the role advertised shows that you have done your research for the job.
References upon Request
There is no need to write “References on request” on your resume. Employers will assume that you will provide references anyway, so there is no point in using up precious space on your resume to state the obvious. What I usually like to do is include the names and phone numbers of my references under a subheading on a separate page at the end of my resume, so that potential employers have access to them right way if they need.
Do you have any resume formatting or style tips? If so, don’t hesitate to join the conversation on the Career Spotlight with CCI Training Facebook group.