Employers in the United States rely on resumes to determine the best candidates to interview for the job. Determining how to format a resume for a U.S. resident will depend on a combination of your previous work experiences and education. When formatting your resume, make sure that it highlights your attributes and accomplishments that are specific to the job posting.
1. Format your document with wide margins that are.75 to 1 inch wide to enhance readability. Though it may be tempting to make your resume stand out with pictures or graphics, it’s best to leave these out, as U.S. employers want resumes that look professional. Additionally, always use black ink and a simple font.
2. Write your contact information at the top of your resume. This section should include your name in bold text, your city and state, the best number to reach you at, your email address and a website, if applicable. Your email address shouldn’t be from your current employer and shouldn’t portray you in a negative or immature way.
3. Decide if a chronological resume or a hybrid of a chronological and functional resume will best highlight your qualifications. While both formats are acceptable in the U.S., a chronological resume works best if you have had several jobs in your chosen career. If you are a recent graduate, are switching careers or are applying for an entry-level position, a hybrid resume might better highlight your skills that are relevant for the job. For example, if you have been a receptionist for eight years and want to become a paralegal, the skills that apply to both fields, such as being organized and paying attention to detail, can be included in a hybrid resume.
4. Write a summary statement that explains in a brief paragraph why you are the best candidate for the job. When learning how to format a resume, create a summary statement that briefly gives an overview of your experience, two to three sets of hard skills and a personality trait or two that make you an ideal candidate.
5. List your skills in a table format in short phrases. This section should utilize keywords that employers and business databases look for when scanning resumes. For example, if you are applying as a U.S. resident for a job in advertising, keywords such as “creative,” “increasing billings” and “media planning” show employers that you understand the field and can go above and beyond expectation.
6. Write your work experiences next if you’ve been employed in your career field for several years. List your most recent position first and continue with your remaining experiences in reverse-chronological order. Begin with the name of each position first, followed by the business name, the location and the dates you worked there. When learning how to format a resume as a U.S. resident, instead of listing responsibilities and duties, show how you went above and beyond in each position. Using quantifiable data in this section will show employers exactly how valuable you would be to their team. For example, if you are applying for a customer service position, previous customer survey statistics can show employers that you would work exceptionally well with their customers.
7. Check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors. When learning how to format a resume, asking a friend or family member to help can be a great way to catch any errors you may have missed.
For additional help on formatting your resume, LiveCareer has a variety of resources that are useful. The resume templates and samples can help you when learning how to format a resume.