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Resume Layout Tips for the Job Seeker

Choosing Resume Layouts That Work for YOU...

Choosing the right resume layout is an important part of creating a resume.

Click here to browse our dozens of top-notch resume examples

You can learn about how to layout an attractive, organized resume by clicking on the link... I've covered this subject in great detail there.

But on this page, I decided to invite a guest author to give you his take on resume layouts. It's not that different from what I said at the page linked just above, but just another viewpoint worth considering. I hope you enjoy the article...

Choose a Resume Layout for the Most Impact

by Roger G. Clark (BSc)

There are many resume layout options available to today's job seeker. With a quick change of graphical elements such as fonts and style, the feel of a resume can change from traditional and conservative to creative and modern.

In addition, today's job seeker has the added benefit of being able to mail and hand deliver resumes in the old fashioned way as well as surf the web with their resume.

A job seeker who wishes to take advantage of the many different resume layouts available, should be aware of when and how to use the various options, in order to get the most impact from their resume.

Remember, you can see examples of different resume layouts
on my page here.

Printed Resumes

A print version of your resume refers to the version of your resume that is ready to print; either for mailing for job leads or for hand delivering to potential contacts.

This version may contain bold print, italicized text, bulleted lists and less well known fonts, however these should be used sparingly. Too many graphical elements can result in a jumbled mess where nothing jumps out. Design elements should be also be used consistently.

White Space

The amount of white space should also remain consistent throughout the resume. The use of whitespace in a resume can be critical. Too much white space will draw attention to a resume that may be lacking in skills and

However too little white space results in a jumbled mess. Using a 1-inch margin on all four sides of the paper will generally result in an acceptable amount of white.

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Scannable Resumes

A scannable resume contains the exact same information as print version resume layouts but is presented in a less "fancy" manner. A scannable resume is to be used for those situations when you wish to cut and paste your resume into online databases. There are a few guidelines that should be adhered to when creating a scannable resume, however to avoid disaster.

Due to the high volume of resumes they receive after posting a job, more and more employers are using computer databases to sort and categorize resumes.

Graphical elements that would perhaps be used in a print version resume should be avoided in a scannable resume. While they might encourage visual attention from humans, they can be a death trap when scanned into computer databases. Some computer systems might not understand special characters and react by tossing out your resume.

Sidenote: Are you finding this guest article to be useful? When I realized I hadn't covered all of these points Roger makes in my own articles, I decided to add this one to the Learning Library, in hopes it would help you out. Read on...


Stick to safe fonts such as Arial, Helvetica or Courier. Use a font size anywhere between 10 to 14 points and refrain from bolding, underlining or italicizing any text. Also do not use any symbols such as parenthesis, asterisks or bullets.

Editor's Note: I have a slightly different take on using the right resume fonts, see see this page to read what I have to say about using fonts in online resumes vs. printed resumes... you might be surprised.

One Column Resume Layouts

A one column resume layout is much more traditional. This type of format would be more appropriate for use when applying for a position in a conservative job market.

It might be a disadvantage when applying for work in a more upbeat or creative job market. All lines are left justified; objective, work history and education are placed in blocks on the page.

Two Column Resume Layouts

Don't Forget...

I cover all of these layouts and give you easy-to-understand examples on this page.

A two column resume layout is more creative. This type of format would be better suited when applying for a position in an industry that is known for its creativity. It would not be appropriate for more traditional type jobs. Headings are left justified while the corresponding information is placed in the right column.

Left Aligned Resume Layout

Left aligned resume layouts are particularly good for resumes that are short in nature. All headings and corresponding information are aligned to the left.

Centered Resume Layout

A centered resume layout can be hard on the eye and difficult to read, however this can be minimized with skillful use of formatting and style features to clearly delineate information.

For example, all categories would be bolded and underlined; sub-categories would be italicized and bullets would be used to draw attention to impact and action statements.

Indented Layouts

This type of resume can feel traditional, but the paragraphs can be hard on the eye; particularly for employers who simply want to "scan" a resume. An indented resume features left-aligned text, but the paragraphs are indented.

There are many ways in which you can combine the above design elements into your final layout. To get the maximum impact is partly a science and partly an art... your best option is to follow the guidelines and aim to keep the overall design as uncluttered as possible.

About the Author: Roger Clark (BSc) has over 25 years experience in career development & recruitment at a senior level through top management positions he has held with major international companies. You can visit his "Top Career Resumes" website for a wealth of top quality information relating to the employment market.

Now that you've read this article, don't stop your learning there. Check out the rest of our Learning Library. Soon you'll discover you have all the info you ever need about resume layout options and everything else the savvy job seeker needs to know at your fingertips!

Here's a resource I've found to be really helpful in crafting a powerful resume... To create & distribute professional resumes and cover letters that will help you get your next job, I highly recommend PongoResume (free trial available)

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