Should your resume format stand out visually? Should you include your hobbies? Should your employment history be listed chronologically or functionally? What contact information should you include? When preparing for a job search, these questions about how to make a resume just add more headaches to an already stressful time.

The standard resume format has changed and is still changing as technology plays a bigger part in any job search or hiring process. Having a strong resume is the foundation upon which you build your case for why an employer should hire you. Ladders has reviewed over 1.5 million resumes and not only provides a large array of career advice articles and resources about your resume format but also provides free resume templates that are optimized for both recruiters and computer-assisted screening.

Once you have a resume template, you’ll be off to a great start. As you fill in the details of your resume, keep in mind these tips for resume formatting.

1. Choose A Neat And Orderly Resume Format

It is tempting to add life to your resume so that it immediately looks different from the hundreds of others that a hiring manager reviews. However, color or unusual fonts can strain a reviewer’s eyes and make your resume appear less professional. While it may seem boring, your best bet is using fonts like Helvetica or Arial in size 10 or 12 points. These are optimized for computer screens and ensure an easy reading experience. There should be space between sections and always use bullet points instead of paragraphs.

2. Contact Information Remains King At The Top Of Your Resume

This shouldn’t be a surprise; your contact information leads your resume so it is easy to find. While it is becoming more common to include your social media accounts in this area, you may not want to include your home address. If you are applying for a job with a significant commute or are considering relocating if offered a position, it may be wise to leave it out. An employer may take your location into account if they think the commute will negatively impact your work or stress levels.

3. Where And What To Include For Your Educational History

If you are a recent graduate, place your education background at the top, right under your contact information. You want to focus on your academic achievements and honors to make up for any lack of workforce experience.  Include the institution, degree, major and GPA (but only if your GPA was 3.0 or higher).  On the other hand, if you have a substantial work history, move your education to the bottom of your resume and leave out your GPA and honors unless they are nationally recognized.

4. How To Format Your Work Experience On Your Resume

You need to include your job title, company, and dates of employment for past positions. Beneath this information, including a list of bullet points containing your responsibilities and accomplishments. You are aiming to show an employer what you can do for them; accomplishments, especially with a numeric value, tell a greater story than what you did on a day-to-day basis.

5. Should Your Work Experience Be Listed By Date Or Function?

If you have a steady employment history with few gaps, it is best to list your past positions in reverse chronological order (most recent first).  If you have long periods of unemployment, a functional resume arrangement may be best. In this resume format, you list your skills instead of dates, which places emphasis on your achievements and experience and blurs those gaps.

Don’t be shy about using a resume template – Ladders provides the structure, you provide the winning content.