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Presentation is everything. The way you present yourself to a hiring manager is how they will perceive you. Your resume is your chance at a good first impression and compel the hiring manager to bring you in for an interview.

However, if your resume is difficult to read or looks unprofessional, you might not even get the time of day from the hiring manager.

The Types of Resume Formats

Career coaches and writing experts have determined 3 ways to format a resume to make it easier for hiring managers to read and determine your value. All formats include your name bolded at the very top of the document. Consider a 14 or 16-point font to make your name stand out. Contact info (email address and phone number) should be on the second line. Mailing address is optional.

Chronological Resume

This is the most common format. It lists your entire employment history up to the point of applying to the job with the most recent job listed first. At one time, this type was the global standard. When using this format, organize the headers as:

  • Objective/Summary Statement (optional)
  • Experience/Qualifications
  • Education

Chronological resumes are perfect for those who have had a stable career path and are seeking new positions within a similar field. This type of resume will show your progression in your field and makes it easier for a hiring manager to understand your career goals.

Functional Resume

Instead of listing everything you’ve done, this type lists only the relevant info for the position you’re applying to. It highlights your skills and abilities that pertain to the position rather than focusing on your overall work history. When using this format, organize the headers as:

  • Objective/Summary Statement (optional)
  • Achievements/Accomplishments
  • Skills/Qualifications
  • Education

Functional resumes are great for people who have employment gaps or are changing their career. They’re also great for those who have taken breaks in their career to work in other fields. College students entering the job market can also benefit from a functional resume.

Combination Resume

Taking all the good parts from a Chronological Resume and a Functional Resume, you get a Combination Resume. It lists work history, skills, and qualifications that are relevant and target the job you’re applying for. When using this format, organize the headers as:

  • Objective/Summary Statement (optional)
  • Achievements/Accomplishments
  • Relevant Experience
  • Skills/Qualifications
  • Education

Combination resumes are beneficial to people who move from one industry to the next frequently or those making a career change. It’s the best format for people who are considered experts in their field.

Choosing a Font

Now that you’ve figured the format, don’t start typing up your resume until you’ve determined the right font. You want the resume to be readable regardless of whether it’s printed out or it’s on their computer screen. Please note that not all fonts are universal and are able to appear on other computers. This is why it’s best to stick with a universal font. It’s more scanner friendly if you use a sans serif font, which are fonts that don’t have the added tail. Good examples include Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet MS, and Tahoma. You should also stick with one font. Whatever font you choose, DO NOT use a silly looking font, such as Comic Sans or Papyrus. As for size, stay between 10.5 and 12-point font.

Formatting Margins and Spacing

You want to make sure that the hiring manager will have no problem printing the resume if they receive it by email or online application. If you adjust the margins too much, you risk losing critical info being cut off in the print. Maintain at least one inch on all sides. If you feel you need more room, adjust the top and bottom margin. Keep your resume single-spaced and leave a blank line between each section.


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