How to Have the Perfect Resume Layout

Premierehire Executive search and leadership strategies

Now that you know what to include in your resume the next important thing you want to learn is how you should have your resume look. Keep in mind that your resume is frequently the first a potential employer will see of you and you want what they see to be good! The first impression your resume makes can often be the difference between an interview and the trash can. 

The Layout of Your Resume

Chronological or Functional Format

Some believe a functional resume is best for new graduates and those with little experience. This is not true. Most hiring managers see the use of this format as an attempt to hide something, usually the lack of experience or employment gap the resume writer is in fact trying to conceal. It is far better to be upfront using a chronological resume. Bolster experience with volunteering roles and throw a positive light on employment gaps in your cover letter by explaining how you used them to your benefit to learn useful new things.

Divide and Conquer

Always divide your resume into skills, work experience and education in this specific order. Your skills, be they languages, computer skills or certifications, should always come first and can help with keyword searches done by recruiters. These are the bait which attract the hiring manager to keep reading. Your work experience then shows the knowledge needed from the perfect candidate, while your education solidifies you as a candidate they want to interview.

Write it in Word

Microsoft Word has long been the go to resume writing tool. You may want to stand out, and for creative industries this will undoubtedly be important, but most hiring managers will not appreciate the effort. They want to see a professional, standard resume style that they can quickly and easily look over. So save yourself time and write your resume in Word.

Send it as a PDF

While recruiters like to see your resume as a Word document, prospective employers expect your resume to be sent in PDF format. So, unless stated otherwise in the job description, make sure you do just that.

Easy on the Eye

Make sure your resume is neatly and professionally laid out. Hiring managers will at best skim each resume before moving on to the next. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to recognize you as a potential candidate. Take care to have headings for each section and differentiate employers and job titles from the rest of the content by italicizing, bolding and using the white space between lines to emphasize important information.

Use Bullet Points

Block text is daunting. No one wants to spend fifteen minutes sifting through a wordy document to get to its core message and hiring managers certainly won’t. Bullet points break up text. Use a maximum of two to three to highlight your accomplishments for each role.

Skip the Photo

Federal regulations state that resume photos are discriminatory. So no matter how pretty or handsome you are, leave the photos for your social media. Using one will either cause your resume to be rejected or leave your prospective employer with the impression that you don’t know how to construct a resume.

The Author

Leanne Abraham helps leaders and teams reach higher levels of performance. She supports leadership teams as an executive team coach, facilitator, trainer, and advisor.

She and her team also help organizations find and retain the right people through her 4 Phase Executive Search and New Leader Integration Solutions.

Leanne is a certified executive coach and team coach (EMCC); is a certified coach for Birkman Leadership and Career Assessments, has completed training with the Adizes Institute, Tony Robbins coaching, the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC), and the Global Team Coaching Institute (GTCI).

Leanne serves clients throughout the US and Canada, ranging in size and industry.

On a personal note, Leanne is an avid reader, aspiring author, student of servant leadership, mother of 2, and loves hockey and skiing. She is expanding her career coaching program to provide support to executives wanting to move up or transition and she recently completed her team coaching practicum under David Clutterbuck and GTCI.

If you are looking to elevate your team, your leadership, or your career, please contact Leanne at or book a no charge consult.

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