Struggling to find the right resume style and format to express your skills, experience and qualifications?

Using a good resume template may be an excellent way for you to save some time and make a strong first impression.

But how to choose when there are thousands of resume templates out there?

a display of over 60 paint chips to choose from Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Step 1: Choose Your Resume Format

resume is lowered to reveal a woman who is sitting opposite and is smiling

Decide which resume format best meets your needs.

Chronological resumes

  • Highlight your work experience in reverse chronological order — most recent job at the top, earliest job at the bottom

  • The most standard format

  • Best if you have a consistent employment record with minimal employment gaps and several years of work history in the same field

Functional resumes

  • Group your experience under skill categories instead of job titles

  • Under each skill category, use bullet points to highlight examples of your skills

  • Consider it if you're re-entering the workforce after a lengthy pause, are a recent graduate with limited experience, or making a career change

Combination resumes

  • A hybrid of the chronological and functional formats

  • Include an experience section featuring your work history and a functional skills section to highlight your skills

Step 2: Choose Your Resume Layout

Layout is the structure and visual appeal of your resume.

Choose a traditional layout for conservative industries like banking or insurance:

  • Use fonts like Times New Roman or Courier

  • Keep it in black and white (no color)

  • Have a single column that starts with your name and contact details in the header at the top, then list your experience, education, certifications, etc. below

  • A good choice if you have a solid work history

man in a blue business suit buttoning up his blazer Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

Creative resume templates are for times when you need to think outside the box. Creative resumes are a great way to stand out from other applicants in creative fields like design or the arts.

To show off your design skills:

  • Use color

  • Include visuals like charts, borders, different fonts, and photos

Three graphic images in watercolour, purple, blue and green Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Choose a modern or contemporary layout where you combine aspects of both the traditional and creative layouts.

If you're targeting fields like tech, marketing, design and media, or even startups, modern resume layouts can promote you as youthful and on-trend.

  • Suitable for most professional jobs

  • Often feature two columns that separate written work history and visual information

  • Make use of colors and hard lines to visually separate columns or subheadings

  • Feature strong fonts


Ahmed has been working as a financial advisor for 5 years since graduation. Having recently completed a certificate in digital design, he decided to apply for a digital marketing position at the bank he works for. Which resume works best for him?

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