Resume Writing Format

Why does resume writing format even matter?

Well, for one, employers expect a standard basic format. Secondly, most employers have limited time and when they see a resume that is in the wrong format, they toss it!

Writing a resume takes time, but it is an essential piece of writing that will help you in your future. I have put together this resume writing format guide to help make this process easier for you.

Before reading the rest of this page on resume formatting, be sure to read my tips on writing a resume. I outline some essential information that will save you a lot of time. I strongly recommend you read that page first before attempting to write a resume.

Have you already read my tips on writing a resume? Then let's get started!

The following information is a basic structure for writing a resume. If you are writing a CV more sections would be included such as service to the community, etc. For this section we are going to focus on standard resumes that will most employers will be expecting.

Resume Writing Format /Structure: (All of these sections have headers that are listed in bold, unless otherwise stated)

  • Contact information: At the top of your page (centered) should be section for your name, address, e-mail address and phone number. *Please note that this section is not titled at all.
  • Objective: The is the first section of your resume. The objective tells the employer what you want to do? This should be one or two sentences that refer to your career goal. It is best to write an objective that is tailored to the position you are applying to. For more information on this, read my tips on writing a resume page.
  • Education: List the schools you attended, the degrees you obtained and any special achievements you earned. If you have many degrees, you may omit high school.
  • Employment history: This section outlines your previous work experience. You should begin with your most recent job and work backwards. It is only necessary to include the last three employers you worked for or ten years of work history. If you have a lot more jobs that you would like to include, you should consider making an additional section of skills/abilities that you can outline (bullet style). For each job you list, be sure to include the company name, your position, dates of employment, and a brief summary of duties. If requested, you should also include your salary.
  • Career Summary/highlights (optional): This section can be created if you want to emphasis special skills and traits that are not already mentioned in your employment history. It is a good idea to emphasis specific skills that are related to the position you are applying for.
  • Additional skills: Here you can list additional skills such as computer skills, special software, machines you can operate, how fast you type, etc. It is better to list skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
  • References: It is not required to include reference on your resume. You can create a separate document that outlines your resumes. On your resume, it is acceptable to simply write "References available upon request."

Above outlines the basic resume writing format that employers are expecting. It should be pretty simple to write. The hardest part is remembering all of your jobs and education details to include.

Take time to customize your resume to the position you are applying to. You may have to have a separate resume for each job you apply.

Although this is time-consuming, employers like receiving information from applicants that is tailored to the specific position. They receive hundreds of applications, so make sure yours stands out.

A few things to remember:

  • Don't use slang or jargon
  • Use a font that is clear and legible. Times New Roman works fine
  • Do not choose a font size smaller than 11 or bigger than 12
  • Make sure your resume is in chronological order (recent to old). This is the most common and preferred resume writing formats to use.
  • You should have one inch margins all the way around your document. Word document does this for you, but do check.
  • Make sure your resume is brief. You can explain your skills and experiences when you land the interview. If you are writing a CV, you should make sure you include a brief description of each job.
  • Your resume should not be longer than two pages. Yes, two pages is OK.

For more information on resume writing format, be sure to read my tips on writing a resume.

To get an idea of what a basic resume looks like, click here to see a sample resume.

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