Resume Layouts That Work

When it comes to creating or designing your resume, there are no exact standards regarding resume layouts (margins, spacing, font selections, etc.). That is why there are so many resumes out there that have such varied designs.

Unfortunately, many resume layouts focus more on the design than the quality of the content.

We’ll be happy to share our thoughts and insight from the past 20 years of writing resumes as to what we think works best.

Please remember that these suggestions represent our opinions here at You may have other resume writers who can offer their advice as well.

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple = Success!

Your resume has one sole purpose and one purpose only, to see if your skills and experience match that of the company seeking to hire you.

We have seen hundreds of different resume layouts and the one thing that all of the human resource folks tell us is that they want to be able to find your skills and experience in an “easy to read” fashion.

So listed below are some basic resume layout guidelines that we have found successful when we write resumes.

The format we use the most is the Combination Format that we discuss in our Resume Format section. You can also view a resume template of this layout on our site as well as actual resume samples.

  1. Header – Keep it simple. Name, address, phone and email.
  2. Margins – White space (the space that is empty) is important in a resume. You don’t want your information running all the way out to the sides of your resume. Make sure your resume has plenty of spacing so that is appealing to the eye.
  3. Bullets – Absolutely! Use small bullets or notations to define each of your resume power sentences so that they are easily identified.
  4. Left Justify – Keep all of your sentences aligned together on the left side so that they look natural to the person reading them. Your titles for each section can be centered but keep your sentences all nice and neat on the left side, it makes a huge difference!
  5. Spacing – Make sure that all of your information is evenly spaced. You don’t want to have noticeable differences in the amount of space between your lines. Uneven spacing draws the eye very quickly so make sure that you take the time to check that your spacing is the same for all of your headings as well as in between your sentences.
  6. Borders – We don’t recommend putting a border around your entire resume as it can draw attention away from your skills and more to the design of your resume. We use a simple line to separate the header from the rest of the resume and that has worked very well for our clients. Keep it simple and it will be effective!
  7. Fonts – visit our Resume Fonts page for a complete review of which fonts usually work well for your resume.
  8. Paper – Resume paper is available at several of the home office supply stores. We recommend that you choose a resume paper that has a very soft, neutral color such as beige, white, or light gray.

Loud and bold colors will make your resume stand out, but possibly for the wrong reasons. We’ve had several human resource employees tell us that it is very distracting to see a resume on brightly colored paper as it creates the perception that the information on the resume may not be sufficient so the person is using the color of the paper to gain attention.

Again, you don’t get a second chance to make that first impression so don’t risk using an unusual color resume paper to get noticed, let your skills do the talking!

For an example of the first page of a resume that got our client several interviews. visit our Resume Example page.