What Does a Professional Resume Look Like?

Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW
By Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: May 02, 2024

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The path to your dream job is forged with an exceptional resume. While the content of your resume is crucial, the design can also play a significant role in whether or not you are invited for an interview. 

A visually pleasing and well-written resume can capture the attention of the employer and make it easier for them to read and understand your qualifications and experience. 

You don’t have to be a graphic artist to create a resume design that will get you noticed. In fact, it’s important to avoid elaborate borders, images and other distracting embellishments that take the focus away from your accomplishments.

Example of what your resume should look like

Take a look at the resume below or explore our library of 800+ resume examples for professionally designed samples for different job titles, industries and career levels.

Doctor Functional Resume Example

Instead of trying to get the attention of a recruiter through visual bells and whistles, focus on utilizing a professional resume template that focuses attention on your skills and qualifications. 

Simplicity is key when it comes to modern resume design. Use clean lines, clear fonts and plenty of white space to make your resume easy to read and visually appealing.

Select a template that catches your eye and use our Resume Builder to add ready-made content from Certified Professional Resume Writers.

Tips from Certified Professional Resume Writers

Our career advice experts outlined tips for resume design and writing that will help you effectively showcase your skills, experience and qualifications.

Presentation and formatting

#1 Make your header bold and easy to read

In our sample resume, Anna used a larger font to call attention to her name and a double-ruled line to separate her contact information from her resume material.

Old versions of your resume may contain outdated email addresses or phone numbers.

#2 Use a professional font

Choose a font for your resume that is modern and easy to read, such as Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Courier or Times New Roman.

Avoid using outdated or overly decorative fonts, such as Broadway or Magneto.

One of the primary goals when writing a resume is to make the document easy to read. You accomplish this by using a classic, clean font.

#3 Use color sparingly

While adding color to your resume can make it stand out, it’s important to use it sparingly and strategically.

#4 Don’t be afraid of whitespace

When deciding on a resume design, opt for one that utilizes a good amount of white space.

In our resume sample above, Anna uses a highly organized resume design that relies heavily on white space.

This allows the reader’s eye to rest and easily seek out the information they need.

#5 Maintain a consistent format

Your resume format is just as important as the resume design, and keeping the formatting uniform will help a recruiter easily find the information they need.

This is particularly important for the work history section of your resume, which should be uniform and easy to scan. 

Once you’ve written all of your past work experience and packed each entry full of the keywords and skills you’ve pulled from the job listing, double-check that the resume format is consistent.

Start by making sure each entry has the company name, location and dates of employment listed, all in the same order. Next, check that all of your bullet points are aligned and that all of your margins line up.

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Content and structure

#1 Simplify your contact information

Modern resume writers omit their physical street addresses on their resumes. The advent of email and telephone communication has largely eradicated the need to provide a recruiter with your physical address. 

Applicants who are looking to relocate for a job often choose to include their current mailing address, but otherwise, it’s up to you whether or not to include an address.

#2 Include a compelling professional summary

A professional summary sits at the top of your resume beneath your header. Its purpose is to offer a recruiter a quick snapshot of your experience and qualifications.

A well-written professional summary must explain what you’ll bring to the table if you are hired. For example: 

“Dynamic and results-oriented marketing professional with over seven years of experience in developing and executing strategic marketing campaigns for global brands. Proven track record of driving revenue growth and increasing brand awareness through innovative digital marketing initiatives, including SEO, SEM and social media. Skilled in market analysis, competitor research and customer segmentation to identify opportunities and drive business impact. Strong analytical abilities combined with excellent communication and project management skills.”

Summaries should be short — no longer than three to five sentences — and concise. The idea is to draw the reader in and make them feel compelled to read the rest of your resume. 

#3 Tailor your skills section to the job

Always aim to incorporate the skills that are emphasized in the job description. Skills that are typically added to resumes include hard skills (like software or technical expertise) and soft skills (like communication skills or time management skills).

Including a bulleted list of relevant skills at the top of your resume allows recruiters to quickly see that you are a qualified candidate.

Carefully read the job description and list all of the skills, experience and educational requirements it calls for.

Next, add any of the qualifications you have to your resume using the exact language used in the job description.

#4 Try not to exceed one page

Include one page on your resume for every 10 years of experience. Try not to go over two pages, even if you have a lot of experience.

That said, a resume that goes past two pages is sometimes the norm for highly experienced job-seekers applying to VP/senior-level roles.

#5 Check for spelling and grammar errors

Even a professional resume design can save your resume from a glaring typo. Read your resume twice. Then read it backward. Next, send it to a trusted friend.

Complete these steps every time you write a resume, as they will change when you customize them to the job post.

Even if you simply decide to input previously edited material into another resume design, you’ll want to proof it again to make sure that all of the information transferred properly and that all of your margins line up.

Key takeaways

  1. Keep your resume design clean and simple and focus on writing the most engaging document possible.
  2. Your resume should use a professional font, consistent formatting and plenty of whitespace for easy scanning.
  3. For quick and easy resume design and writing prompts, check out MyPerfectResume’s resume builder to create a personalized resume.

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