Guide to using the best resume formats 2016

The best resume formats are the ones that are clear,  well organized and demonstrative.  By the end of this guide you will be able to sell yourself with a top class resume and be able to shine at your interview.  This guide will address some common misconceptions and help you craft the proper resume format to get your job hunt on track.

The first step in writing a resume is deciding on your goals.  You need to decide when people are looking at your resume, what information do you want them to see? What about you do you want them to know?

To create a great resume you’re going to need passion and dedication and these goals will help you stay on track.  A good starting place is using this proper resume format template that you can download here.

To create a proper resume you should include any education you have, work experiences, volunteer experiences, any hobbies and physical activities.  Be sure to keep the content of your resume relevant to the type of jobs you are applying for.

Don’t include unnecessary information but at the same time it is important to show you do have a life outside of your work accomplishments.  Employers like employees that are balanced, keep your document concise and organized.  A proper resume format will let you come across as a well balanced employee.

Take a quick 2 minutes and write down a few things that all employers should know about you


The next step is to decide on your personal goal and objective. Your goal is for you personally, it will help you through your job search process and ensure you stay on track.  An example goal for yourself could be ” I will construct and extremely professional looking resume and apply for at least 5 jobs a day”

This will help you feel like your not cheating yourself in your job search.  It will also give you a clear indication of whether you have met your goals or not.  If you did not apply for at least 5 jobs one day then it is obvious you have not met your goal for that day.

Some people say objectives are outdated and cliched– well they are if you make them that way.  Having a clear and strong objective that shows direction helps strengthen your resume.  Check out these sample resume objectives here.

Construct a goal that is relevant to your current life situation and stick with it. This goal will be as useful as you make it.  Keep it somewhere where you can see it everyday.

Employers typically only spend 10-15 seconds reviewing new resumes.  Because of this, proper resume formatting and a solid objective is important to capturing attention. 

An objective is different in the since it is a goal you put on your resume for your employers to see. Your objective should be no more than 2 sentences, explain what you want to do and hope to accomplish.

You should mention why (no not money) you are going to work hard and what you hope to accomplish.  Stay away from mentioning cliche things like family,friends or improving your lifestyle.  Employers want to know how you can help them, a proper resume format makes this clear.

Sample “ To obtain a position where there are opportunities to contribute to a company’s growth while furthering my skills.  I also aim to achieve personal and professional growth through experiences in this company”

A good objective allows your employer to know your mindset and the type of person you are coming into a job. It also helps you stay clear on what you want out of the job.

If you are having trouble coming up with an objective, don’t feel that it is necessary.  Proper resume formats are not dependent on an objective although it can help.  The overall content of the rest of your resume will be a bigger factor.

resume structuring 2015

Education is pretty self explanatory. Simply list all experience you have had in school up to the highest level you have completed. Be sure to mention any honors or awards you may have received.

If you have received any accolades elsewhere ( for example a typing course, CPR certification, Babysitters license, Piano certification) be sure to mention these under this section.

A common mistake that many people do when creating a resume is short change themselves. They don’t count their personal achievements outside of the formal workplace as something to put on their resume.

For example if you are an avid internet user and over the years you have learned how to build a website, put that on your resume! If you are an avid reader put on your resume that your hobbies include “always learning”.

If you love fixing things around the house -“self taught handyman” Sounds pretty good when you thought you were just messing around huh?  This shows your commitment and resourcefulness of being able to learn something yourself.  Of course don’t get too carried away- only include skills relevant to your job hunt.

Rack your brain for all your experiences and knowledge and write them down. Your wealth of experience as a person could offer an employee the type of skills they need.  A solid resume format will be able to highlight your skills gained both inside and outside of the work place.

Work experience:
Under this section list all your formal work experiences. List the company’s name, your position and your responsibilities. I generally like to organize this section like this:

Joes candy store
Assistant manger
•  Organized pertinent client information
• Responsible for answering the phone and delegating requests
• Performed data entry and general computer duties
• Responsible for organizing weekly meetings

The key is to be very sure about what your position entailed. Take a few minutes and reflect on it. What did you learn there? What type of things did you do? What were your responsibilities? Take the answers to these questions and use them to build your work experience section. Write down what you come up with.

Volunteer experience:

If you have volunteered before you’ll have no trouble filling out this section but if you haven’t your going to have to get creative.

Have you ever coached your kids soccer team? Helped out sandbagging?  Think about your past experiences and if anyone of them could qualify as volunteering.

If you have no volunteer experience it might be worth looking into putting in a few hours a week just to build up your resume.  Or alternatively you could take some type of course to beef up your education section instead.

Some people like to include their references with their resume, personally for this section I put “Available on request” on my resume. Not that it makes a huge difference but I personally don’t see the need in handing personal reference letters to every place you apply at.  If you get contacted by a company you can simply print off your references and bring them with you.

Keep in mind some companies have specific requirements for how they like to receive references from you.  Some companies do not like ” Available on request”  so make sure you know what they are looking for.

Who should you ask?
Family members and close friends are out of the question for obvious reasons but lets explore these relationships. I’m sure your parents know someone who is an established professional and would have no problem putting in a good word for you. Depending on your relationship with your friends parents they might be able to help you out in the same way.

Look at the people in your life and view the mutual connections you have, you may be surprised how many potential references you have.
Be sure to have around 4-6 references because you don’t want to be harassing the same people for multiple references for multiple interviews. Remember they are doing you a favor so its best not to take too much of their time.

A great tip is to be sure to take care of your references. Send them a thank you latter thanking them for their time and telling them how much you appreciate the references. If it is appropriate feel free to send them a little gift, just make sure there willing to aid you again in the future.

What should they say?

If the position is important to you and you have enough time then try and ask for a personalized letter that is specific to the position you are applying for.  For example if the job is as a computer repair technicians,  you would get your reference to point out attributes in me that are relevant to repairing computers, understanding other people’s problems with computers and solving them. Mention the position and its details and try and get them to talk about the relevant skills that you have.

One word of caution with references: be sure you know what they are saying about you.  Someone may mean well but they could let something slip that could hurt your chances at a job.  Also pick the right references for the right job.

Having a someone who knows the industry jargon your going in is a better choice for a reference than the old lady’s at church that you helped with a bake sale.   Look at the position and be selective in who you select to help you out.

Best way to organize your resume:

Your resume is a reflection of you and your accomplishments so the design should have a little bit of your heart into it. Here are some guidelines to follow while structuring your resume format.

In Microsoft word, use the header and footer options and include in your contact information. In the header I usually like to have my name, address, phone number, email, website(if applicable). In the footer I usually put my email on one corner and my phone number on the other site. This allows you to have your contact info on every page and doesn’t take up too much room.

using word to build a resume

Access the header and footer options to include your contact information on your resume.

Be sure all your titles are aligned on resume. Use the margin settings to make sure everything looks straight and professional.  Use bullet points to organize your resume, use the same type of bullet throughout the resume.  Spend the extra time to develop an appropriate layout for your resume.  Create a resume format that isn’t too hard on the easy or busy.

Before getting started write out all your ideas and organize them.  Take the time to carefully craft your resume.

Some people say to keep your resume to 1 page or 2 pages max.  That is misleading. The best resume formats openly showcase all skills and attributes to an employer as to why you are the best person for the job.

If you have 3 pages of qualifications why would you short change yourself by not including them? It is true you want to be careful in not repeating yourself or including useless information but don’t let length be an issue while creating your resume.

Once you have crafted your resume to your satisfaction, its time to get ready for the interview.  Remember to always review your resume format constantly and add new things if you can. If you’re having trouble getting a job it doesn’t make sense to keep applying with the same version of your resume. Be innovative and try new things.

If this article helped you please share with your friends!  If you have a question or comment please leave it below.


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