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Resume Writing: Proper Resume Layout & Formatting

Updated on June 26, 2021
I Am Rosa profile image

Author of The Job Hunter's Guide, Rosa's work in labour market and employment helped improve local workforce conditions.

Your résumé has less than 10 seconds to hit its mark and impress a potential employer.

As a career snapshot, it needs to concisely portray your professional personality and emphasize your accomplishments.

While the actual content varies depending on the job you're applying for, the layout and format of a proper résumé is less flexible.


1. Prominently display your name, address, phone and email address at the top of your résumé.

2. (Optional) Under that, concisely state your employment objective.

3. Next, list a skills summary.

4. List your professional experience in reverse chronological order.

  • Place the company name, job position and the dates of employment. Location is optional.
  • Under that, list your duties, occupational skills and accomplishments from that job. Use action words.
  • Do not include the name of your manager or their contact details.


5. List your education and academic institution, as well as any academic honors or awards.

6. (Optional) There are various sections that can be included: Continuous Education, Awards, Membership, Affiliations and Community Involvement.

7. (Optional) List at least three references.

  • Include the reference’s name, company, job position and contact number.


What to Avoid

There are several things that should never be included on a résumé:

  • Personal information, such as; age, sex, marital status, political and religious affiliations.
  • Hobbies (unless relevant to your career).
  • Salary and bonus expectations.

Proper Formatting

The visual appeal of your résumé can make or break your chances of getting an interview, so it must look professional!

The basic rules for a professional look are:

  • Leave plenty of space so the page looks inviting to read.
  • Make sure the margins are the same on all sides, preferably one inch on all sides
  • Use friendly, yet professional font. Cutsie fonts are inappropriate.
  • Use bullets, bolding and underlines to emphasize.
  • Label each section clearly.
  • Use black ink on quality paper.

This is just one example of how you can indicate multiple pages.
This is just one example of how you can indicate multiple pages. | Source

If you have more than two pages:

  • Ensure the page breaks at an appropriate location.
  • Be sure to clearly indicate the number of pages (e.g. 1 of 2)
  • Make sure the second page is given a proper heading in case the pages become separated.

Be sure to use consistent formatting throughout the document.

Useful Tips

  • Write the résumé in the third person.
  • Proof-read! Spelling errors, misused words and grammatical mistakes will get you eliminated.
  • Use positive action words to describe your job duties.
  • Keep it under 2 pages.
  • Use consistent formatting.
  • Be honest!

© 2011 Rosa Marchisella


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