Top Resume Sample Formats (With Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 May 2022 | Published 1 November 2021

Updated 27 May 2022

Published 1 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A great CV or resume can help you stand out from other candidates. There are several ways you can format your CV, but the three most common CV formats include functional, chronological and combination. Understanding each of these common CV formats can help you create a CV that captures the attention of hiring managers. In this article, we provide some resume sample formats and discuss how to properly format a CV.

3 common resume sample formats

Reviewing CV or resume sample formats can help you select the right one for your career. The three most common CV formats are functional, chronological and combination. When deciding which CV format to use, consider your work experience and the position you're applying for. For instance, if you have little to no work experience, you can instead focus on apprenticeships, volunteer positions or academic work with a functional CV instead of a chronological CV, which prioritises your work experience. Here's a closer look at each CV format type in detail, including which is best based on common search situations:

1. Chronological CV format

A chronological CV format lists your work history in reverse-chronological order, beginning with your most recent role at the top. This is perhaps the most traditional and most common CV format. If your employment history shows a consistent and advancing career path, a chronological CV is a good choice. A chronological CV format typically includes the following information in this order:

  • Contact information

  • Summary statement or objective

  • Work experience

  • Relevant skills

  • Education

  • Additional information, such as special interests or volunteer work

Related: Everything You Need To Know About an Effective CV Format

2. Functional CV format

A functional CV format focuses more on your relevant skills than your work experience. If you have multiple employment gaps or one long gap in your CV in the past five years, are changing career paths or are a first-time worker, you can consider using a functional CV. By highlighting your most relevant accomplishments and the skills that transfer across industries, you can emphasise the right qualifications for the job you're applying for. This also prioritises the information that is most important to a hiring manager instead of focusing on a work experience that doesn't align with the job. A functional CV format usually includes the following information in this order:

  • Contact information

  • Objective or summary statement

  • Summary of relevant skills

  • Education

  • Work experience

  • Additional information, such as volunteer work and special interests

Related: How to Write Work Experience on a CV (With Examples)

3. Combination CV format

A combination CV is a blend of the functional and chronological types. This CV format allows you to emphasise both your relevant skills and work experience. Because your employment history and skills may consume most of your CV space, you may consider removing optional sections such as volunteer work, summary statement or special interests. A combination CV format may be best for you if you're making a slight career transition or if you have diverse work experience where your relevance to the position you're applying for may not be immediately clear.

A combination CV format typically includes the following information in this order:

  • Contact information

  • Objective or summary statement

  • Summary of most relevant skills

  • Work experience

  • Education

Tips for formatting a CV

The goal of formatting your CV is to create an easy-to-read, professional-looking document. Here are a few tips to help you format a CV:

Apply proper margins

Setting appropriate margins for your CV ensures the text fits within the readable area on the page. Standard margins for CVs and other professional documents, such as resignation letters or cover letters, are one inch on all sides. If your CV is fairly short with lots of blank space, consider using one-inch margins to make a well-spaced document with information that fills up the page.

If you need more space to describe your relevant experience and skills, you can reduce your margins to about 0.75 inches. If you decide to adjust the margins of your CV, make sure to keep them at or above 0.5 inches. Text that spans outside 0.5-inch margins is usually left out when you convert the file to a PDF or processed by an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Related: How To Write A CV (With Template and Example)

Choose a professional, readable format

When choosing a font style for your CV, make sure it's clear and easy to read. Making sure hiring managers don't spend too much time understanding words on your CV is perhaps the most important factor when selecting a font. It's also helpful if you send your CV through an ATS. Many companies use an ATS, which doesn't always read and interpret fonts well.

There are two primary categories of fonts: serif and sans serif. A serif font has tails, while a sans serif font doesn't. Sans serif fonts are usually good fonts for CVs, as they have clean lines that are very easy to read. There are some fonts like Georgia that are still widely accepted among companies as professional and simple.

Make the size of your font 10 to 12 points

Setting an appropriate font size is another way to make your words clear and readable. Consider keeping your font size from 10 to 12 points. If your CV is short and you're trying to fill space, choose a 12-point font. Using a larger font can make your CV look unprofessional. If your CV contains a lot of information, begin with a 10-point font size and increase it if you have more space.

If your CV is still more than one page with a 10-point font size, consider making your ideas more concise. To do this, remove any extraneous or irrelevant information. You can also combine ideas or make your ideas briefer with fewer filler words and shorter sentences. For example, instead of saying, “Conducted inventory audits every month and identified issues with over-ordering— implemented an organisation solution across all teams which caused a 15% increase in profits over the next three quarters", you can say, “Conducted regular inventory audits, determining and solving over-ordering problems to achieve 15% profit increase.”

Related: How to Write Education on a CV (With Tips and Examples)

Feature section headers

Underlining, bolding or increasing the font size by about one or two points for section headers can help hiring managers quickly find the information they're looking for. When formatting your section headers, make sure to differentiate them from the section body in a professional way. You can stylise your headers in a few different ways, including:

  • using "bold" font on your section headers

  • increasing the size of your section header fonts to about 12 or 14 points

  • underlining your section headers

Use bullet points where appropriate

Using bullet points in your education, skills or experience sections can help hiring managers easily find the most relevant information from your professional background. Consider using bullet points to list your accomplishments. If possible, use at least three bullet points in a single section. For instance, when describing a position you've held in the experience section of your CV, you can use bullets to show how you were successful in that position:

  • Consistently operated power tools, overhead cranes, hoists and other project equipment safely

  • Completed weekly timecards, service reports and other related project equipment paperwork

  • Anticipated needs of 15 on-site workers and delivered parts to 25 field technicians

Related: How to Write a Qualifications Summary in a CV (With Examples)

Ask for feedback

After you've finished writing and formatting a CV, you can ask trusted colleagues or friends to review it. It can be helpful to have outside feedback and perspective. Although they can look for spelling and grammar mistakes you might have missed, it's also important to focus on your formatting. Consider asking them to look at consistency, readability and whether it feels and looks professional.

CV format example

Here is an example of what a CV might look like following the chronological format:

Dhakz Kho
1234 Main Street I Central, Hong Kong 77002 I dhakzkho@email.com

Summary
Dedicated and passionate communications professional with 7+ years of work experience seeking a role with a nonprofit organisation where I can apply my passion for philanthropy and public relations skills.

Professional Skills
Process streamlining I Interpersonal communications I Team leadership I Corporate communications I Public relations management

Experience

Public Relations Manager
The Peace Foundation, 2017–Present

  • Plan and direct public relations programmes to establish a positive public image for The Peach Foundation.

  • Manage public relations staff and act as a mentor to junior PR personnel.

  • Public Relations Specialist

The Volunteer Foundation, 2015–2017

  • Supported the PR team to ensure all local events, fundraising efforts and other special projects met the company's brand guidelines and upheld a positive public image.

  • Managed a team of 15 volunteers.

Communications Coordinator
Arch Company 2013–2015

  • Increased company visibility through a variety of marketing efforts, including digital advertising efforts and social media campaigns

  • Helped distribute and conceptualise printed marketing materials.

Education
Central University, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism

Volunteer Work
Weston Animal Shelter, Volunteer, Public Affairs, 2016–Present

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