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2021’s Best Resume Formats, According to Recruiters

If you want employers to fight over you in 2021, then keep reading.


Did you know that 95% of recruiters surveyed in 2015 and 2016 revealed that hiring would be as or more competitive following year? Though 2017 data hasn't been released yet, two years in a row suggests a trend. Furthermore, the ADP announced that US businesses added 234,000 jobs in January. Though this was slightly lower than December 2017, January's numbers still suggest that there are more jobs for more people.

This means that more jobs are available, so employers have to fight each other for top talent. What makes you top talent?

Experts agree that the resume is an effective personal branding tool

To answer that question, let's dive a little deeper. That same recruiter study found that 60% of recruiters feel that culture fit is "of high importance" when making hiring decisions. In fact, culture fit's value was only beat by job experience, which came in at 67%.

So, if you have the exact same job experience as your competition, then signs of strong culture fit could be your secret weapon.

Experts agree that the resume is an effective personal branding tool, so we chatted with Senior Recruiter Rose Dougherty of BOLD to learn which 2021 resume formats could help your case. Read on to learn her perspectives and how you can apply this knowledge to branding yourself for your job search.

Top 5 2021 Resume Formats

Blueprint Resume Format



"This is best for jobseekers with an artistic background," Dougherty explains. With its use of blue, this 2021 resume format pops like a colorful statement piece.

Employers in creative industries agree. Michael Keith, Editor and Project Coordinator at Falcon's Creative Group, explained what he looks for in a resume.

"You are an artist so your resume should look like it has some sense of design to it. I'm not talking about an infographic resume that is so busy and convoluted that I need a legend to tell me what all the colors, lines, arrows, and symbols mean. Just something that has a hint of color, has easily defined sections or columns, well-organized bullet points, and a couple of simple graphics or icons."

Try this format to wow employers in creative fields. You can add a personalized icon if it makes sense for your work, but it's not always necessary. This style alone will help your readers determine if you are the right culture fit.

Artistic Resume Format



Even though this resume format is named "artistic," many jobseekers can utilize this design in their 2021 quest for a new position. Dougherty told us that she appreciates that the sections are really clear.

This design is perfect for a jobseeker who wants to add a little flair to their resume, but wants to stick to a classic layout. Forbes argues that including some color indicates that you offer some "brand promise."

We think that the black and red combination is great for most industries, but you might want to exercise caution if you work in a formal field, such as academia or finance. Before you choose this format, determine if the look matches your personality. Your readers will assume that your personality correlates to the design.

Executive Resume Format



The first thing Dougherty noticed about this design was the look of the individual sections. "Clear distinction is good," she noted while nodding.

Most jobseekers could benefit from a separation like this, but it may especially benefit executives. According to Executive Career Brand, executives should place their most important details in the top third of their first page (it's not uncommon for executives to exceed one page). They also advise that you include "3-4 value-driven bulleted statements with metrics" in this top third section.

Because this format offers such differentiation between the sections, it will be easy for employers to catch you most valuable information in your summary and skills sections. You can include those value-driven bulleted statements in your summary or skills section (or both).

For more assistance writing those sections, check out this handy guide that teaches you how to write a resume.

Modern Resume Format



Do you want to find a job at a cutting edge company in 2021? Consider using this resume to prove that you are the ideal culture fit. Upon viewing this design, Dougherty praised its intriguing design.

"I like that the name is off to one side and the rest is off to the center. Visually it's more engaging," she observed.

This is the type of resume format that breaks the mold, but doesn't come completely out of left field. It's a great way to say, "I think outside of the box, but I still follow the rules when it's necessary."

If you choose this design, then take your branding a step further. Use your bullet points to tell a story that illuminates your professional persona, per Harvard Business Review's suggestion.

Delux Resume Format



What's the first thing you notice about this design? Many of us probably see the green color immediately. But the sharp eyes of a recruiter hone in on something different.

"Interesting! The dates in the work history section are off to the left," Dougherty piped up.

Now look again. When you realize that most of the information is aligned to the left, do you see how the content is easier to skim? If you use this resume format in your 2021 job search, then employers will be able to get to the meat of your professional story more quickly.

If you work in a field that values logic and practicality (such as engineering, accounting, or data analysis), then consider choosing this design. It's a great way to introduce yourself and tell the hiring manager that your preferences are consistent.

Moving Forward

Now that you've learned the relationship between culture fit and resume format, it's time for you to get started making your own resume.

Want a little more help? Try MyPerfectResume's resume builder. With industry-specific text examples, you'll see how this easy-to-use tool can take your resume to the next level.

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