Do you want to quickly find a worthwhile new job in your field? If you answered yes (and of course!) You must apply with a well-written resume (résumé) showing that you are a quality candidate.
Formatting a professional resume is hard work, but you’ll be glad you put in the effort when the interview invitations come in. Review the following sections to ensure that your resume format is optimized for an efficient and successful job search:
The first step in formatting a resume is to check if you need an academic resume, job seeker resume, or résumé. How to decide which application document you need:
Academic CV: When applying for an academic or research position, use academic resume formatting. Resumes have no page limit so you can incorporate all of your research experiences, publications, and other academic or scientific qualifications.
CV for job seekers: When applying for a non-academic position in most locations outside the US, use a job search resume that spans 2 to 4 pages of your qualifications.
Continue: If you’re applying for a non-academic position in the United States, don’t do a resume (unless the company specifically requests one). Instead, use the resume formatting to show your relevant achievements on 1-2 pages.
If you need a resume, take a look at several professional resume examples for inspiration. However, if you need to use a resume template, here are some well-formatted examples to get you started:
Below are three templates that use professional resume formatting. The first two samples are academic resumes and the third is a job seeker resume that works as a US resume or an international or European resume:
Example of an academic curriculum vitae (focus on teaching at the university)
The organization of this sample emphasizes the experience of university teaching. Use a similar format to apply for a position as a lecturer or professor.
The sample comes from the 24-page original résumé of Dr. G. Richard Scott, Professor of Physical Anthropology at the University of Nevada with nearly five decades of experience. (The contact details are compiled for data protection reasons.)
Example of an academic resume highlighting research experience
This example assigns Dr. Scott’s information new to highlight his research experience. Follow this example to apply for an academic or research position:
Download this example
Example of a job search resume
Use this sample resume to apply for non-academic jobs like electrical engineering or sales positions:
Download this example
Not sure whether to use a chronological résumé (or reverse chronological résumé), functional résumé, or a combined résumé to order your résumé sections? Just follow these steps to organize your resume:
- Read the job posting to determine which aspects of your experience best match the job requirements.
- Put the most relevant sections at the top of your resume to get the hiring manager’s attention.
- For each section, use reverse chronological order to show your career progression.
After you have completed your outline, write each of the following sections:
Here are formatting tips for each resume section:
The header of your resume should be in the following format:
- Your name will appear at the top, formatted in bold, and set in a larger font size than you will use for the rest of the text on your resume. With your name highlighted, the hiring manager can recognize your application and easily find it.
- Your mailing address can be under your name but is not required these days.
- Next, add your phone number.
- Finally, enter your professional email address.
- Optionally, add links to relevant online profiles.
Here is an example of a resume header designed to impress an academic or academic employer:
Format your resume education section by listing all of your graduation titles in one of the following formats:
Format option 1:
Graduation date, graduation title, name of the institution, location of the institution
GPA, honors (optional)
Format option 2:
Institution name, institution location, graduation date
Title of degree
GPA, honors (optional)
If you recently applied for your first professorship or research position as a graduate, it’s a good idea to add your GPA (if it’s 3.5 or higher) and any honors you’ve received. If you have previous university teaching experience, there is no need to provide your GPA and honors.
Here is an example of a properly formatted resume education section:
Start each heading in your work experience section with the name of the institution or company followed by your job title and employment details.
Under each heading, list your most important achievements – if possible with hard numbers – in a few bullet points. Here’s what a work experience section looks like when using professional resume formatting:
If you are writing a resume that covers a long career, you can also list your work experience without bullet points to highlight the advancement of your career:
Adding research experience to a resume isn’t an exact science. If you have limited experience, you can include research in your Work Experience section using the same formatting that you used for your employment history.
However, if you’ve worked on many projects and want to highlight relevant qualifications for a research position, create a unique section for your research experience.
Here are two examples of how research should be formatted on your resume:
When listing publications on your resume, just apply the formatting that your discipline uses (e.g., MLA formatting for humanities or APA formatting for science).
Here is an example format for a resume publications section that uses APA formatting:
Here is an example of a CV publications section that uses MLA formatting:
If you have any honors or awards (including scholarships) on your resume, follow this format:
The title of the honor, the name of the awarding organization, and the date you received it
Here is an example of a professionally formatted resume honors and awards section:
Depending on your area of work and the position you are applying for, you may also need to include the following optional sections on your resume. Click each section for a properly formatted example:
A job-seeking résumé is intended for non-academic or academic applications and contains the following sections:
Your job seeker resume header must include your name and contact information. To format your header, set out your name in bold text in a larger font size than the rest of your resume. This will ensure that the hiring manager doesn’t confuse your qualifications with any other applicant’s information.
After your name, add your postal address, email address, telephone number and links to relevant online profiles.
Here is an example of a job search header:
Format your job-seeking introduction to your CV either as a short paragraph with 2 to 4 sentences or as a list with 2 to 4 bullet points. Here’s an example:
Format your work experience as follows:
Company name, location
- 2–4 bullet points
- Each ball shows your achievements and uses hard numbers whenever possible
You can change the company name / location with the position title to make your experience stand out. However, remember to use the same format for each item you list.
Here is an example of a Job Search with Job Search section:
Under Your Education Heading, write your school name and graduation date. Add a new line for your graduation title, GPA (if 3.5 or higher), and any honors you’ve received (ex. summa cum laude).
Next, add relevant coursework, dissertation titles, and other relevant information.
This is what a job seeker resume section looks like:
List your relevant skills in a bulleted list as shown in the following example:
To set margins and font sizes on your academic or job seeker resume:
Set your margins between ½ “and 1” on all sides. Margins that are too large compress your information and make it difficult to read. Margins that are too small result in fewer spaces, which makes your resume look cluttered.
The best font size for an easy-to-read resume is between 10.5 and 12. When you need to reduce the pages of your resume for job seekers, using a font size of 10.5 or 11 is often the solution. Use a font size 12 for an academic or scientific resume as there is no page limit.
If possible, send the hiring manager a PDF resume. Here’s why:
- PDFs retain their formatting: If the hiring manager opens your resume in an old version of Word, there may be formatting issues that make it difficult to read.
- PDFs do not contain red underlines: Word’s spell checker rewrites words and phrases that it doesn’t know (such as names of people and places). When you save your resume as a PDF, the red lines will disappear and make it easier to read.
While submitting a PDF resume is usually best, there are times when you should send a Word file instead:
- If the job posting specifically states that a Word resume should be sent, do not send a PDF. Always follow the employer’s instructions.
- If the employer uses Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to review applications, send a Word file. The ATS software can scan Word documents better than PDFs.