One of the most important things to consider when writing a resume is its layout.
Your resume layout is the way you organize the information in your resume, including the order of each section and the general information that you put in each of those sections — from your work history to your education.
Before we dive into how to lay out your resume, here are a couple resources to help make setting up your resume easier:
The best resume layout for most job seekers
Here’s a basic layout of a resume that’s good for job seekers with nearly any amount of experience.
This resume layout breaks down the sections of a resume and explains exactly what details to include in each one. Simply copy and paste the text into Google Docs or Microsoft Word, and fill it in with your information for a standard yet effective resume.
1. Resume Heading
FIRST AND LAST NAME
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 895 555 555 | Address: 4397 Aaron Smith Drive Harrisburg, PA 17101 | Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/yourproﬁle
2. Resume Introduction
Passionate [industry] professional with [# of years] years of experience. Seeking to leverage my expertise in [relevant skills] to fill the [position name] position at [Company’s Name]. A dedicated professional looking to further my career in [industry] and help contribute to [Company’s Name]’s goals as soon as possible.
3. Work or Relevant Experience
Most Recent Job Title
Employer Name / Location / Start Date – End Date
- Include a bulleted list of your accomplishments and responsibilities
- Unless this is the only job you’ve held, use five bullet points or fewer
- Add numbers (such as percentages or dollar amounts) to these bullet points to showcase your specific achievements
Earlier Job Title
Employer Name / Location / Start Date – End Date
- List relevant accomplishments or responsibilities from an earlier job
- If you no longer hold this job, use past tense verbs to describe your achievements
Degree Name / Major
University, Location | Start Date – End Date
5. Skills and Certifications
- List your relevant professional skills
- Include a range of hard skills and soft skills
- Be as specific as possible and mention the names of software or tools you can use
6. Additional Resume Section
- Here’s where you can add any other helpful information to your resume
- For example, this section could be for any of the following: publications, languages, volunteer experience, or even hobbies
How to choose the right layout for your resume
While the resume layout above might be great for the majority of job seekers, it’s not the only way to set up your resume. If you’ve had an unconventional career so far or a bit of an inconsistent work history, you should look further to find the best resume layout for your specific background.
With that in mind, there are three different resume layouts commonly used by job seekers: the chronological resume, functional resume, and combination resume (otherwise known as a hybrid resume). Each layout is designed to emphasize different parts of your resume with the goal of highlighting your main professional strengths.
Chronological Resume Layout
The chronological resume is the most common resume layout, and is appropriate for people at any stage in their career. The key feature of this layout style is that it lists each job you’ve held in the order in which you’ve held it, with the most recent position at the top.
In most cases, the chronological resume layout is the clearest way to organize your qualifications for employers because your work experience section is generally what they care about most when reviewing your resume. However, if you have gaps in your work history, then a chronological resume may not be the best option.
Here’s an example of a resume using a chronological layout:
Functional Resume Layout
The functional resume layout (also called a skills-based resume layout) focuses primarily on your relevant job skills rather than each job you’ve held and when you held it.
The biggest difference between a functional resume and a chronological resume is that a functional resume features a detailed skills section and groups your experience under skill categories instead of job titles. Under each category, bullet points are used to highlight examples of how you used your skills to accomplish something in the workplace.
This makes the functional resume layout ideal for candidates who have gaps in their work history or are in the process of changing careers.
Here’s an example of a resume that uses a functional layout:
Combination Resume Layout
Combination resumes blend parts of both chronological and functional resume layouts by leading with a detailed skills section, and ending with a strong work experience section.
This makes the combination resume an ideal choice for highly qualified candidates with years of experience, because it allows them to include a high volume of information about their qualifications and skills.
Here’s an example of a resume that employs a combination layout:
How to layout your resume
Now that you know the best layout to use for your own resume, here are some basic formatting rules to help you make yours professional.
Set your margins to .63″ by 1″
The ideal margins for a resume are 0.63” on the left/right and 1” on the top and bottom. This combination hits a balance between including as much information on the page as possible while still ensuring your resume is easy to read.
If you’re concerned about not being able to fit your resume onto one page (or if there’s too little information on your resume), consider adjusting your margins as necessary. However, don’t change them too much, or you risk making your resume look either empty or hard to read.
Use a professional font
The best fonts for your resume are easy to read and formal. In most cases, it’s best to stick to classics like Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia. The only time you’d maybe get more creative with your resume font is if you’re applying in an art-forward industry like graphic design.
Additionally, the paragraph font on your resume should be no smaller than 10.5 points and no larger than 12.
Left-align your content
In general, you should keep everything in your resume layout left-aligned. The only exception is your header details, which can be center-aligned if you prefer. Left-aligning the majority of your content ensures that it’s easy for hiring managers to read.
Keep your resume to one page
A one page resume is enough space to communicate all your relevant qualifications without making your resume too lengthy. Additionally, employers generally prefer single page resumes because they’re easier to scan.
However, if you have more than 10 years of relevant work experience, then a two page resume (or sometimes longer) is acceptable.
4 best resume layout examples
One last thing to consider when putting together your resume is the design of your layout.
For example, if you’re applying for an internship at a law firm, having a resume that’s buttoned-up and formal looking is essential. However, a more creative layout is ideal for people in the graphic design industry.
Here are four examples of different resume layout ideas to help get you inspired:
Simple resume layout
A basic resume layout like this is perfect for anyone who wants to put together a safe, formal application. The serif font, dark color scheme, and straightforward design make this resume a great choice for any job seeker.
Professional resume layout
With its bold navy blue header and authoritative font choice, this resume layout embodies professionalism. Additionally, a sidebar for contact details and skills makes this layout highly efficient — perfect for candidates with a lot of work experience.
This design is ideal for those looking for work in highly formal industries like law, politics, or accounting.
Creative resume layout
Colorful and unique, this resume layout is perfect for any candidate that needs to draw attention and show off their sense of style. If you work in a creative industry like graphic design this format will work well for you.
Modern resume layout
Featuring a clean sidebar and a simple header, this resume layout balances stylish modernism with traditional formality. Additionally, the inclusion of a resume objective section at the top makes this resume exceptionally easy to skim. This layout is great for anyone who wants to give their resume a sleek, contemporary look.