When it comes to resume formatting, the most important sections are the ones that place an emphasis on your strengths as a potential employee. If you’re a recent college graduate, for example, your greatest strengths are likely those you’ve gained during your education. If you’ve had years of job experience, however, your work history section will be your biggest opportunity to impress the interviewer.
What Sections Are the Most Important?
While resume formatting may seem like an overwhelming process, one of the easiest ways to get started is by brainstorming your relevant skill sets. Read the job listing for the position you wish to apply to, and consider what the company is looking for in an applicant. Then, create a list of skills that relates to the position at hand. You should use a bullet or a table format to present of your skills, which may include just a handful or up to 15. If you go with a table, use 3-8 entries per column. Use short, powerful phrases when enumerating your skills, e.g. "Efficient Project Management." Additionally, keep in mind what type of keywords an electronic database or reader would be looking for while scanning resumes for your particular field. For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, use phrases like "customer service" and "strategic marketing." You may pick up on keywords from the job posting.
Don't include the name of your high school unless you are still a student. Include any degrees you have earned in addition to any relevant training or certifications you have obtained. If you are still enrolled in college, list your projected graduation date by month and year. If you graduated within the last few years, include your year of graduation as well to indicate that your education is still fresh.
This should focus on the experience you have gained from previous positions and the responsibilities you are capable of handling. Always include specific examples as they relate to your leadership and time-management skills, your ability to stay calm under pressure and how you may have helped your employers reach company goals. Use 5-8 bullet points per position to highlight a mixture of duties and achievements.
4. Summary Statement
While including an objective statement used to be common practice in the realm of resume writing, they have been replaced with summary statements. Because summary statements discuss what the prospective employee has to offer the company, this section is incredibly important and may even be a determining factor when it comes to hiring certain employees. Summary statements are valuable to employers because in four to six lines they are able to highlight a candidate’s most notable qualifications. They may allow prospective employers to gauge whether or not the employee would be a good fit for a specific position within the company.
Presenting Your Information
No matter what type of resume formatting you choose, always prioritize organization and professionalism. Choose a standard typesetting, like Times New Roman, and be sure to write in 10- to 12-point font. Avoid overcrowding your information by breaking up the content into easy-to-read sections with subheadings and bullets when appropriate. Most importantly, check the final draft of your resume for typos and misspelled words.
What Is the Most Commonly Used Format?
Most resumes feature the reverse chronological format. The majority of employers prefer this type of resume formatting because the applicant's important information is displayed in a predictable manner, and advancement within a profession can be clearly demonstrated.
When you’re working on creating the best resume formatting, the helpful advice on LiveCareer can get you started on the right track.