Resume Writing Styles



The job application process has grown immensely competitive over the years. An eye-catching resume is your ticket to a potential interview, and the difference often lies in its style. As renowned career coach Hannah Smith opines, “A resume is more than just a list. It’s an art, a reflection of the person behind the paper.”

Decoding Resume Styles

Broadly, resume styles can be classified into three categories:

  1. Informal: These tend to be more relaxed and can be effective for specific industries such as startups or creative fields.
  2. Creative: A dash of design, creative fonts, and maybe even a splash of color. Perfect for roles in design, media, and other arts.
  3. Conventional: Timeless, clean, and effective, this style appeals to a wide range of industries.

Choosing the Right Elements

  1. Paper and Text: It might seem basic, but the choice of paper and ink color makes a difference. Stick to white paper with black text. Career expert James Lin says, “The color of professionalism isn’t grey, blue, or pink. It’s white and black.”
  2. Columns: Structuring your resume is pivotal.
    • One column resumes are the traditional choice, flowing from top to bottom.
    • Two column resumes, gaining popularity, are intuitive to read. A 2020 HR survey suggested that around 65% of employers preferred a two-column format.
    • Three column resumes should be used sparingly, ensuring they don’t appear cluttered.
  3. Fonts:
    • Serif fonts, like Times Roman, are often easier to read in print.
    • Sans serif fonts, such as Arial, are screen-friendly.
    Ellen McGregor, a typography expert, suggests, “When crafting a resume, the font is your silent ambassador. Choose wisely.” Ideally, maintain body text between 10-12 points and headings between 12-14 points.
  4. Text Alignment: Stick to left-aligned text for a neat, professional look. Justified text can sometimes lead to awkward spacing.
  5. Bulleted Lists: Bullet points bring clarity, emphasizing skills and achievements. A study by ResumeLab in 2021 found that resumes with bullet points had a 50% higher chance of being read than those without.
  6. Graphical Elements: A touch of shading or a strategically placed line can enhance your resume’s appeal. But, always remember the golden rule: simplicity is key. “Resumes are not a space for abstract art, but for concrete achievements,” states graphic designer Mia Roberts.

Final Tip: It’s always a good idea to print and review a physical copy of your resume. Sometimes, what looks good on screen might not translate well to paper.