Blog Post - Formatting your resume for job-seeking success

As we draw to the close of December, you may be starting to think about searching for a new position in the New Year. As you begin your planning and preparation, a standard step is to update your resume with any new positions, skills or achievements since your last edit. But have you considered the importance of optimising the formatting of your resume? 

As a recruitment organisation, we see an enormous volume of resumes every day. They come in all shapes and sizes, but one of the main features of a stand-out resume is excellent formatting. 
Good formatting ensures that you as the candidate are noticed, that your skills and relevant experience are highlighted, and key information is not lost in a jumble of words and fonts. 

File type

Some organisations will request your resume in a particular format. It is a good idea to have your final resume saved in standard file types, such as Word and PDF. If you have used a program such as Canva or Illustrator to design your resume, ensure that you can save it in standard formats so that users without these programs will be able to open the file. 

This will also save you time when uploading your resume to popular job search sites, such as SEEK, Indeed and Jora, as they will only accept standard file types for resumes. 

Overall layout and structure

The overall structure of your resume is key to ensuring that the information can be seen. The elements of a well-laid-out resume include: 

  • Headings: headings clearly label what information is being presented. Use headings to delineate your sections such as contact information, work experience, qualifications and professional summary. This will assist the reader to skip to or bounce back to the key sections.
  • Bullet points: when conveying a large amount of information, bullet points break up the text into clear, bite-sized pieces, which is both easier on the eye and easier for the reader to scan. 
  • Replicate: using the same, consistent layout and formatting throughout your resume will give a polished and professional look to the whole document. 

Visual considerations

  • Colours: small pops of colour throughout a resume can be visually appealing, but should be used sparingly. Some colours come with negative connotations, such as the colour red being associated with danger in some cultures. Choosing a soft, subtle colour that is relevant to your industry is often a safe choice if you wish to use colour.
  • Images: including an image on your resume has been a debate for decades. If you wish to include an image, ensure it is a clean, professional image that is up to date and does not take up too much space. 


When choosing a font for your resume, it is important to consider the following:

  • Font style: choose a style that is well-known, professional and easy to read, such as Tahoma, Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. 
  • Font size: a standard font size is considered 11-12 points, and is the default for most programs. It is important to keep font sizes consistent across headings and paragraphs to create a balanced, clean look. 
  • Using bold, italics and underlining: these are excellent tools to emphasise information, but also need to be used sparingly so they do not clutter the text. 


Consistent spacing throughout your resume is also an essential part of ensuring a clean, professional look. Spacing considerations include:

  • Line spacing: 1.15-1.5 is considered standard. Avoid double spacing as this creates a large amount of white space between lines. 
  • White space: white space can be used strategically but should not be excessive. E.g. you may wish to use white space to break up a large paragraph at the bottom of one page so that it starts cleanly at a new line on the next page and does not split the information in a random spot. 
  • Margins: a standard margin is considered 1 inch, which is the default for most programs. We recommend staying close to this to ensure a balanced look to the document. 

Attention to detail

We know that when candidates apply for a large number of positions, attention to detail can slip throughout the process. At times, we receive resumes and cover letters addressed to the wrong organisation, or with a misspelt name of the hiring consultant. 

Accidents happen, but attention to detail is paramount when you are trying to make a good first impression, and your first impression is your resume! If you are writing individual cover letters and/or resumes, ensure you read over the content and look out for any sections you update regularly. Or, if it's been some time since you submitted your resume, double-check your contact details, spelling, dates and text to ensure a small error hasn't been hiding unnoticed for some time. It’s often useful to employ the help of a friend or family member to look over the document, as a fresh set of eyes may pick up an error you are unaware of. 

In conclusion

We hope that these tips assist you in formatting your resume for job-seeking success! If you would like more assistance, resume writing is a service that we offer. Contact us today for information on the process and cost.