Best Resume Format and Styling tips guide

The 90% of the presentation of your resume relies on the type of resume format you choose while styling your resume. It is the ultimate gateway to your resume. Therefore, It is always advised to refer some basic tips and tricks to help you design your resume according to the modern industry standards. Gone are the days when applicants presented their resume/CV in the traditional word documents with minimal design element. Today we have n number of resume formats to style our resume and make it distinctive. People across the world are using some out-of-the-box designs to enhance the presentation of their resume.

Why your Resume Format is damn important?

Imagine you are going for lunch with your family at a classy 5star restaurant. Your order a fancy dish with the fancy looking name in the menu. Here you are expecting to get an amazing lunch nicely presented so that maybe you can update its picture on your Social Media feed. But what if it turns out to be the ugly looking dish which isn’t presented well. To the worst, you realize it doesn’t even taste good. You will be angry and want to piss off over the waiter. Right?

The presentation is the core part of everything whether it is food, lifestyle or fashion. You look at its appearance before making any further decision. Then how can someone afford to compromise when is the most important presentation of your life “your resume presentation”. You have to decorate it in a formal and appealing way to make it impressive.

Along with format the content and key words in resume are important, so that resume passes ATS test and lands into hiring professional.

A Human Resource professional would have 100s of resumes to look at on a daily basis. In such a case resumes with good fonts, layout and color combinations to be at the top. According to a recruiter, the best resumes are the ones that are clear, well organized and demonstrative.

Before choosing your Resume Format you need to decide what your goals are. What message do you want to communicate via your resume format? A lot many times wrong resume formats tends to mislead the reader and convey a wrong message. For instance in a creative industry like Graphic Designing, your resume format should be high in aesthetic values. This will show your designing skills in the one go. Same applies to other professions too. However, it is best to keep resume format simple while applying online, and hence you should optimize resume for ATS as well.

Types of Resume Format

The resume is a kind of self-advertisement that every applicant has to do in front of the recruiter. But you have to decide the resume format of your ad according to the your career situation, experience and goals. There are three basic kinds of Resume Formats that are mostly used in today’s industry considering modern resume. Please note these are recommended format, however, not a rigid rules. However, this gives you idea on how to present your resume better.

1. Chronological Resume Format

What is this format– This is the most used resume format in the professional industry. The primary focus is to highlight the work history. In this format we list work history in a chronological order, starting with the most recent job experience to the earliest. This resume format becomes convenient for the recruiters to take a quick glance and make a decision.

Who should use this format– Applicants who have some brilliantly amazing work history to showcase can use this resume format. Also, make sure that your experiences are relevant and are aligned with the job that you are applying to. There should be no lapses between employment years to use this format.

2. Functional Resume format

What is this format– Unlike chronological resumes, this resume format focuses on your skills and experiences rather than your work history. This resume format does not emphasize much on the dates in which you have acquired the work experience. Work history is usually considered secondary and is listed after the skills.

Who should use this format– Applicants who have periods of unemployment or are in the middle of a career transition can use this format. This is a most preferred resume format by recent college graduate with limited work experience or comes from a  diverse background with no clear career path.

3. Combination Resume format

What is this format– this resume format is an amalgam of both Chronological and functional format which focuses equally on skill and experience and listing your work history in a chronological order. This format lets you narrate a story through your resume and helps to tailor things systematically. It is very flexible in nature having no boundaries on highlighting things.

Who should use this format– this resume format is generally preferred when you want to detail your work experience to show your characteristics and the kind of employee you are.

How to choose the best Resume Format that actually works?

Best Resume Format and Styling Tips

You have done research and selected the best resume format for you. But that is just the first step in creating a modern resume. You have miles to go again. You have to make sure that the format you have chosen actually works for you. Things get even confusing when you are stuck between choosing the best fonts, right font size and Font style (bold, italics, underline). You might want to create a creative resume, but to what extent is still a big confusion.

However, you can clarify these doubts by giving a thought to the following ideas:

Know your audience

If you are submitting your resume online you can’t neglect the Application Tracking System (ATS). It is the first audience that you are going to come across. So making a resume that is ATS friendly is very important. It is always a bad idea to go with too much fancy layout and fonts because that won’t make it up to the ATS. On the other hand, it will result in unreadable and over fancy resume for a hiring manager.

Moreover, it is always advised to understand the tradition of the organization you are applying for and the kind of job you are applying for. For instance, a law firm still follows the plain and simple resume with very less or no aesthetics. Whereas, a creative industry like advertising demands for aesthetic appeal.

Go with the as simple format as you can.

It is better to go with simple and formal layout keeping in mind the ATS robots. Also, the resume should be legible and readable to the hiring manager. So, it’s better to opt for standard fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial and keep the font size between 10-12.

Maintain the consistency in the format

While you assemble things in your resume, make sure that the consistency is maintained. If you bold one section heading, bold them all. If you underline the organization’s name, make sure that all the names of the organizations are underlined. However, do not overuse Bold, Italics, Underline or any other highlighting features.

Creativity in the resume

It is always expected to keep the resume simple and standard so that it looks professional. The recruiters accept standard fonts and layout. However, if you are applying for any creative industry like advertising agency then you can use other fonts and colors as well. Here, you are judged on your skills and creativity by the kind of resume you have.

Review some resume format examples before you begin

To make sure that you are in the right direction you should see some professional resume format samples available online. They will be of much help to make a modern resume.

Best font for Resume to use

Do you know that your handwriting reflects your personality traits? Likewise, the font you choose or the typeface you opt for conveys a lot more about your personality. So if you are aiming to create your first impression through the fonts which are aesthetically appealing, you have to choose the right fonts. A modern resume doesn’t have more than two fonts. Using more fonts in the resume breaks the consistency and doesn’t look good. Few of the fonts that you can use in your professional resume are:

Times New Roman– This is the most used font in the professional arena. The reason is this looks clean and is easy-to-read on digital as well as print.

Calibri- This is a default Microsoft Word font which is an excellent option for the safe and readable font. This is one of the most familiar fonts to most of the readers and renders on the computer screen.

Arial- in the sans-serif font family, Arial is suggested to be one of the best options for your resume. People usually like to see the Arial font because the lines are clean and easy to read. This is a tried and tested classic font which has now become a trend.

Garamond- Applicants who like a bit traditional and old-style font can consider using this font for their resume. This simple and elegant font looks stylish and polished in print and screen as well.

Georgia– if you wish to opt for a traditional yet sophisticated alternative for Times New Roman, you can switch to Georgia. It is good with its readability characteristics.

Helvetica- This font belongs to Sans-serif font family and is known to be the cleanest and modern font. It is the favorite of designers and typographers. This has also been used in various popular brands logos like Nestle, Lufthansa, American Apparel, etc. it’s a professional and appealing font to be used. However, it may not be available in some MS word versions.

Best Resume layout for styling your modern Resume

Resume Format Layout

In today’s competitive world organizations demand modern resume which is updated in terms of layout, styling, and content. When you decide to write a modern resume, you have to consider certain things like machine readability, social media accounts and other modern ways of presenting information. It is very important to pass the ATS test.

The modern resume usually uses better technologies to stand out in the competition. The strategies included optimization of keywords in the summary section or profile section instead of the short objective statement. This helps the ATS machine to check for the right keywords and optimize the best resume.

Mandatory Resume categories to include

Each and every category that you are going to mention in your resume format should be significant and convey your true story. There are some mandatory categories that every resume should have. However, you are free to update your categories or modify them according to your needs. Some of the most important categories to include in your modern resume are:

Contact details section- under this section mention your full name, contact number, email address and link to your Portfolio/LinkedIn/Web page.

Profile section – Introduce yourself to the recruiter in not more than 2-3 lines.

Career Objective section– Write your objective to apply for the particular job mentioning your important work experience and skills in not more than 2 lines.

Education section-highlight your good grades and past education in this section.

Skills and Competencies section- Mention your honest skills that are relevant to the position of job you are applying for.

Training and Experience section– highlight your proud experiences and positions in a chronological order starting from the most recent one.

Achievements and honor section– make sure that you mention only those achievements which are aligned to the job you are applying for.

Helpful Resume Formatting tips

No matter how well you know to layout and format your resume, you should always check for some important resume formatting tips. They will help you at every stage and let you make the resume faster.

The font size of the header-

Keep the font size of your full name slightly bigger than the rest of the font size in the resume. This grabs the reader’s attention and will help him to remember your name.

Verify contact details-

While mentioning your contact details always cross-check them twice and mention only that contact number which is available 24×7 and has a good network connection.

Chronological order-

While mentioning your education details or experience details, always follow the chronological order starting from the most recent one.

Flaunt good grades-

While including your GPA you can mention the particular GPA of major and minor. You can flaunt your overall GPA only if you have good grades. However, considering writing minor GPA when you have grades that you aren’t proud of.

Extracurricular activities-

While mentioning your achievements in extracurricular activities, make sure they are relevant to your job.


Your skills should be bucketed in specific sub sections and not to be jumbled together. You can subset your skills as functional skills, personal skills, technical skills, social media skills or language skills.

Now that you are aware of the best format and styling tips for a resume, you can start flaunting them on your modern resume.

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