Best Formats For Resumes, Cover Letters And Thank You Letters, With Examples

Best Practices In Resume Writing

In your own particular and unique case, what is the best format and style for preparing your resume?

You might need some help in deciding that important choice of style and format. Above all else, take the task seriously, because your resume represents you as a working individual.

The following information describes a variety of good choices to use in creating resumes, cover letters, and thank you letters/emails.

You will also find a good number of real-life examples from clients who secured employment (names changed to protect privacy). Examples come from over 25 years of employment 7 Training experience in a range of client occupations extending from entry level work to corporate CEOs and in teaching resume and portfolio preparation courses.

In our highly visual society in which increasing numbers of people focus on visual cues in the 21st century, one may ask if graphics and photo imagery are appropriate in resume presentations. A separate work portfolio - hard copy, DVD, or YouTube link - can accommodate such visual content well.

Is Clip Art Or A Photo Appropriate On a Resume?

Performance artist with mushroom cloud; 1953 during Cold War nuclear testing..
Performance artist with mushroom cloud; 1953 during Cold War nuclear testing.. | Source
Head shot photos are appropriate in certain cases on a resume, more usually used in Europe, Africa, and India.,
Head shot photos are appropriate in certain cases on a resume, more usually used in Europe, Africa, and India., | Source

News For the 21st Century Job Seeker

Since about 2010, it has become smart, advisable, and popular to include additional information in the form of online links in the CONTACT INFORMATION section at the head of your resume.

Since the world of work is now nearly all Internet-literate, this only makes good sense.

Avoid this outcome for your contact information.
Avoid this outcome for your contact information.

Even on a paper resume, cover letter, or follow-up letter, standard best practice is to include your email addresses and any pertinent Internet websites. LinkedIn is a good link to add, as is a business webpage link if you own a business or have your resume posted online in a page of its own. Other links are not so good, especially a Facebook account. A Twitter address may be useful of you have one dedicated to your work, such as news broadcasting or movie reviewing.

Don't Forget Your Full Contact Information!

Accurate contact information is vital to a prospective employer who needs to hire someone and is interested in YOU!
Accurate contact information is vital to a prospective employer who needs to hire someone and is interested in YOU! | Source

Even on a paper resume, cover letter, or follow-up letter, standard best practice is to include your email addresses and any pertinent Internet websites.

Make Yourself And Your Talent Easy To Find

Busy potential employers will be expecting at least a good, professional sounding email address for you when you apply for jobs via a resume, online or off line.

The digital contact information on your resume should include:

  • Your LinkedIn address. This company is the fastest growing technology firm in the US since 2014 and a highly respected professional social media site. The company offers a free version and a premium version of its services. Go with the free version if you are just starting on the web site. All supply on your resume:
  • Your best email address, providing it sounds professional,
  • Your pertinent BLOG title and address, if your blog contributes to your chosen industry or employment, or contains a high quality set of writing, fine arts, graphic arts, cartooning, or other examples for your career advancement.
  • Your website resume and portfolio page. Many people create a website that contains a full resume and writing or graphics samples. Potential employers may look over your profile and portfolio online and want to hire you.


One of the great things about LinkedIn is it isn’t the same kind of networking that happens at conventions, where you’re wearing a name tag, trying to meet strangers, and awkwardly attempting to make small talk. LinkedIn is networking without the pressure.

— Melanie Pinola, LinkedIn In 30 Minutes

On Target


The resume focuses on you and the past. The cover letter focuses on the employer and the future. Tell the hiring professional what you can do to benefit the organization in the future.

— Joyce Lain Kennedy, Cover Letters for Dummies

Would You Put Photos on a Resume?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Marcel Marceau, famous mime.
Marcel Marceau, famous mime.
Marcel Marceau, famous mime. | Source

Resumes and Their Results

There are a growing number of types of resumes appearing in recent years and some are very useful.

I have included some samples of some of the most effective and eye-catching formats I have used in teaching Resume Preparation Classes.

One recent year, one of my creative GED students attending a usually boring Job Fair used a cream colored paper and a golden paper (a usual no-no), included her volunteer work (good) and special skills (great), her two previous jobs, her GED graduation projection date, her planned course of study in college...and included matching clip art along the edges of each section! This is usually a definite no-no unless you are applying for a graphic arts position and drew the clipart yourself.

She was hired on the spot by an employer that was tired of people coming in with no resumes after being asked to bring some, tired of hand written resumes on folded up paper torn from a spiral notebook, and tired of Job Fairs. It was a success for them both.


Keep a work portfolio containing work samples, certificates, etc. and a comprehensive general resume in it with several copies.

Next, have a resume, with copies, targeting each line of work you may wish to pursue. That may be two or three different resumes, such as Education and History.

Finally, you may need to target a version of your resume toward a specific job description advertises, so keep your resume on a flash drive so it is readily available for adjustment. HR Representatives want to read a resume that matches the job requirements of the posted opening.

Some basic resume tips and instructions are contained below for your use. If you are interested in seeing and correcting mistakes people often make in resume production, then see how to correct resume mistakes at : Resume Mistakes - Resume Format.

Resume with One Job

Old Standard: The Chronological Resume

The chronological resume is a good starter resume. It is a standard resume format that many employers and HR representatives want to see and one with which most job seekers are familiar..

Functional Resumes

Notice how the Functional Resume below is different from the other resumes I have shown you.

This is a good resume if you have 20 years' work history or more that you want to include, if you are changing careers, or if you have had many clients or bosses as a freelancer, actor, etc.

The OBJECTIVE is very important if you are changing careers, especially to a line of work in which you have no experience, but into which you can transfer your skills. The Objective makes clear what kind of work you want.

See how the Skills are grouped together in table boxes.

Also see how the Employers are simply listed by name.

The specifics of which skills were learned and applied where is left to the interview discussion, which is very important as well.

Functional Resume- Page One

Functional Resume - Page Two

Combination Resumes and How To Write Them

Combination Resumes are a cross between

  1. Chronological and
  2. Functional resume versions.

Look at the following examples below for some excellent formatting. It is easy to prepare a Combination Resume, one you understand its structure.

Combination Resume

Click thumbnail to view full-size

It is easy to prepare a Combination Resume, once you understand its structure.

Cover Letter & Combination/Executive Resume

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Cover and Thank You Letters

Below are some good examples of the Cover Letter (to help you receive interview offers) and the Thank You Letter (after an interview).

Cover Letter for Accounting

Thank You Letter for Accounting

Five Great Resume Tips

© 2007 Patty Inglish

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Comments 37 comments

MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

Probably not. I could imagine that the people today, sending their resumes would send them.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Good straight forward information.

great HUB Patty as always

regards Zsuzsy

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Ya'll would be surprised how many people put their picture on the right upper corner of their resume. lol lol

MM Del Rosario profile image

MM Del Rosario 9 years ago from NSW, Australia

Maybe you could put a picture, if the ads requires it - like applying as a model. How about using a perfumed colored paper for your resume? has anybody tried it? like in Legally Blonde---(lol) but she did get the job.....

Another great hub Patty !! -

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

I understand all that information too as I used to compile resumes and cv for clients.

It used to amaze me the rubbish that people put into resumes. This article has covered everything I think. Well done.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

MM D R - I think you are right! That could work.

Eilenn - thanks for hte comments. I get bogged down in the Functional Format myself.

Kathryn Vercillo profile image

Kathryn Vercillo 9 years ago from San Francisco

Terrific information for someone who is looking to put together a modern resume. I struggled for a long time with how to perfect mine so this is definitely advice that people can use. Do you have any opinion on using a virtual resume (such as a blog-as-resume) in place of or in addition to the paper resume / portfolio?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

Hi K V! - I think a virtual resume can save an HR rep a lot of time - no sifting through paper on the desk. The virtual resume usually has a separate place for work samples as well. Very handly.

M. Beck profile image

M. Beck 9 years ago from Parts Unknown

Great Hub Patty.

You talk about some of things you've seen people submit. Once I received a cover letter from a prospective interviewee seeking employment as a programmer. He started off much like this (I kid you not!):


"On the battlefield of the information age, with many a firm torn asunder, I am your knight in shining armor. I alone remain standing with my sword and shield at the ready to defend the honor of your firm and do battle on the information super highway..." and it went on for 3 pages.

He never got a call from us, but we had a good chuckle. -M.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America Author

That was certainly going overboard, wasn't it M. Beck?? Perhaps he should have been an actor or a writer. Thanks for sharing that story; it is one that has never happened to me.

greathub profile image

greathub 8 years ago from Earth

nice hub!

I would like to know when one should send the "thank you" letter.

Should it be sent just after the interview and whether one should send the letter even if he/she expects that employer won't hire him/her?

does thank you letter increase the chances of getting job?

how about sending a tank you email instead of sending the thank you letter?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I always send the Thank You letter later on, the same day as the interview. Thank You letters have helped me to secure jobs against other candidates when our qualifications were equal and they did NOT send a letter.

If you know you will not get the job, send the letter anyway in order to increase your business network contacts. They may remember that letter-writer.

Thank You email is OK, but I'd back it up with an actual snail mail. Y'know -- What if their mail server lost your email??

WordsAlive profile image

WordsAlive 8 years ago

Thanks Patty! This is really informative.

The cover letter is informative and yet not present an 'over-promise' to the potential employer.

Good Job!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I used to HATE writing cover letters, so I started reading samples far and wide. Once I saw the variety and that some of them really made sense, it was much easier for me to write them.

In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California


As always another great HUB with tons of valuable information. I have bookmarked all these informative "job" Hubs as a reference for my recent college graduate! lol

baldeagle 8 years ago

I just came across Hubpages and found your hub. This is excellent! I've recently started a similar resource at that will help those looking to prepare an accounting resume.

For an accountant, I'd strongly discourage the use of gimicks such as a picture. However, with the proliferation of blogs and whatnot on the Internet, there are ways to allow people to dig for more personal information if they want it. To that front, the resume should be a "splash page" with one objective: get the hiring manager to schedule an interview.

Again, this was a great article! Glad I found it.

automated ebook software 8 years ago

Interesting bit about resumes. i am currently trying to write mine and I write a more cusomt blurb at the top to tailor it to the job. Is that a good idea?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the comments;

automates, -- customizing a resume for a specific job often works very well. Most of the resume packages I write are requested to be customized in this way. best of success to you.

jknight profile image

jknight 7 years ago

How did you get all those resume formats ?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

I have been writing resumes and teaching resume writing classes for over 15 years. After reading and studying over 50 resume writing books and using online instruction and workforce advice and forecasting sites, I selected the most eye-catching and practical resume styles that work for the people that need my help.

I must say that I do not like today's "executive" level resume format that is taught in resume certification courses - it crams too many words onto a single sheet of paper in too small a font size.

Thanks for the question, jknight,

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town

Great informative hub for school leavers especially. In my resume, I include a small photo on the top left hand corner, but that is because most international schools require that you submit a photo and its easiest to include it on your resume.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for telling us about that and explaining about the personal photo. I have noticed that international people desire a photo on their resumes for jobs as well.

Lorraine Arams profile image

Lorraine Arams 7 years ago

Thank you so much for this information. You've helped me reorganize my resume - some great tips! I do think some good images would help - because we are such a visual society today -

Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California

I'm just about to produce a "new" resume after being out of the workforce for the last 10 years and suddenly needing to re-enter (not great timing, but what can i do) Your hub is useful as it was suggested that I produce a functional resume in lieu of a chronological one. Thanks!!

sudarshan 6 years ago

This is also very helpful to all the people why because nobody known perfect preparation of reusme but it is very helpful to know the Resume format of all people.

exinco profile image

exinco 6 years ago from Malaysia

this is good variation of resume and cover letter. really help to newcomer

RoseGardenAdvice profile image

RoseGardenAdvice 6 years ago from San Francisco

This is pretty good stuff ... I do agree though that all resumes need not follow the formal style and a little bit of innovation and creativity could go a long way in making the resume stand out. Nice hub.

Chandra Susheel profile image

Chandra Susheel 6 years ago

Valuable Hub!!!!!

The hub is very useful for various job aspirants. The hub has explicitly depicted the eye catching formats for the hub. Thanks a lot for sharing such a valuable information.

AnkushKohli profile image

AnkushKohli 5 years ago from India

straight information for new comers. I hope they learn a lot from this hub. It was well executed and worth to read, gud job!!

dusy7969 profile image

dusy7969 5 years ago from San Diego, California

Patty great this straight information for new comers. This hub is very informative and useful.You tell good tips in this hub about the letter.So thanks a lot for this interesting and wonderful information.

GamesReviewed profile image

GamesReviewed 5 years ago

Wonderful! This is exactly what I have been looking for. Awesome job, thank you.

timonweller profile image

timonweller 5 years ago

Awesome tips there, many will need to read this one.

JLBender profile image

JLBender 5 years ago from Greensburg, PA

I just stumbled across this hub and thought it was great. I love that you provided examples for each type of resume. Thanks for sharing and I hope to continue to follow your work as a learning tool.

sam-eg profile image

sam-eg 5 years ago from Happy Land

HI, you are right it is a great idea to send a thank you letter but i think it must be genuine , cause being honest and professional about thanking someone for his time would not grantee having the job but it will may lead to new business contact.

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago

A LinkedIn and a blog address is definitely something we did not see in resumes just half a decade back. A virtual platform like a blog or a resume cum work profile like LinkedIn should be on every job seekers agenda. I hope this useful hub reaches out to job seekers and fresh graduates alike.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Resumes and their elements change quickly nowadays!

mishel ronld profile image

mishel ronld 4 years ago from New York, NY

Hey it is informative hub. Well done thanks for sharing.

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    Patty Inglish (Patty Inglish, MS)6,767 Followers
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