how to stop agonizing over your resume layout

And now a word from a sponsor…

I get a lot of questions from people who are agonizing over the right format for their resume. Where and often should you indent? What kind of bullet points should you use? For the love of all that’s holy, what about the font?

While I firmly believe that you should put a great deal of thought into figuring out how to best present the content of your resume, I don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your format or layout – particularly when there are so many good resume templates out there that you can use to lay out your own.

Hloom is a good source for this. They’ve got 413 Microsoft Word templates that you can download for free. And unlike many resume templates out there, you’ll find lots there that are actually job-search-appropriate – clean and modern and with a sense of design without being so fussy that they’ll draw attention away from your content. (In particular, check out their Basic category.)

The idea isn’t necessarily that you should these as-is, but rather you can use them as a starting point and adapt them to make them work for you. One thing to keep in mind is that Hloom provides templates for people all over the world, so pick one that’s appropriate for U.S. resume conventions or adapt one accordingly. (For example, if you’re in the U.S., you should remove any photo placeholder and jettison the objective or change it to a summary or profile.)

Here are a few examples to check out:


Seriously, go check out Hloom’s resume templates right now. There’s no reason to keep agonizing about your format when they’ve taken care of it for you.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hloom. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{ 25 comments… read them below }

  1. Al who is that Al*

    Excellent idea, as far too many people spend too much time on the design of a resume or CV format, If the relevant information about qualifications & experience are there in a simple and easy to read format, that’s all you need. Did you ever hear about anyone getting hired because although they lacked the experience and qualifications their CV looked fantastic ? “No SQL experience, but wow does that 11 point verdana font look cute!”

  2. Fabulous*

    I used to have a format similar to #1, but changed it around to be a table when I needed to condense things. This past job search I found that a table isn’t the greatest since everything gets super jumbled if it transfers to plain text…

  3. Mockingjay*

    I use a Microsoft Word template I pulled direct from MS. I tweaked it a little. Has served me well during frequent job changes (the life of a government contractor!).

  4. Berry*

    Oh hey I actually used one of these when I rewrote my resume a few months ago! It’s one of the ones from the “Clean and Simple” category – a bit different than standard but still very much straightforward and I get lots of complements on how cool it is. Definitely a +1 recommend on this.

    1. Helen Parker*

      Thank you, Berry – really happy to hear when our visitors get compliments on their resumes.

  5. Who me?*

    Just had a resume come across my desk. They used a different typeface for their first name than their last name at the top of the resume. Please don’t do that.

  6. Elizabeth*

    Seriously, unless you’re a professional designer, use a template like this. Don’t reinvent the wheel to “stand out” because you almost always do something that wrecks the legibility of your document (ask me how I feel about headlines in yellow font).

  7. Geographer (GIS)*

    Please can I write my resume in emojii’s!! Ok just kidding.

    I work in federal service so must deal with the evilness that is usajobs. I know it is not Alison’s area of expertise, but I would love a HR person who understands usajobs to write some guest articles. I am pretty sure winning a job at usajobs is like winning the lottery, completely random.

    I did just accept a new job to go oversees so I must be doing something right. However, now I must deal with an oversees HR Assistant (7 hour difference) that forwards my questions to HR headquarters that is about 40 miles from where I am currently working. Then HQ answers the oversees HR Assistant who then forwards me that response. however, I am not allowed to talk to the person who is 40 miles away and in my time zone!!

    1. Emi.*

      Oh man, USAJobs, ugh. I spent a long time formatting a lovely resume to upload and then discovered that the job I wanted didn’t accept uploaded resumes. But the print-out of USAJobs resume is so terrible, I had to figure out how to get roughly the same content onto a non-eyesore version in OpenOffice to take to my interview.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I hate the USAJobs interface so much. (I know that’s not helpful, but it triggered an intense feeling of anger.)

      1. K*

        Ok, I’m glad I’m not the only one. Newly applying recent graduate here!

        I’ve been trying to figure out the USA jobs format and whether or not to use it. Part of me thinks “I should, since it’s on the website, why wouldn’t I?”

        But, like you said, the format is awful and I don’t trust it.

  8. Ex Professional*

    Templates for resumes should differ, depending on job type. For example, I wouldn’t use the same format for an analyst as I would for an executive.

  9. Emilia Bedelia*

    I like these a lot- I’m not looking for a new job, but a resume update might be a nice idea.

    A silly question, though: how is one intended to pronounce Hloom? Is it 1 word (huhLOOM) or is it H – Loom? Is the H silent?

  10. Tau*

    Thank you for the reminder that format is not that important! I started reworking my CV and immediately got sidetracked into the fiddly design bits, which is not really how I planned that to go.

    Now, question for the commentariat: anyone have any nice CV templates for LaTeX? Most of the ones I’ve found online seem to be a little too fancy.

    1. CC*

      I’ve been using the positively ancient (1989) res.cls by Michael DeCorte. It prints a warning about being old and made for a previous version of LaTeX, but TeX being what it is, it’s fully compatible and has never given me any actual problems.

      I find the result simple and readable.

  11. Clever Name*

    This is super helpful. I’ve totally been inspired by the format of resumes I happened across and adjusted the format of my own resume to improve how it looks. I also appreciate that these are not infographics. :)

  12. Valerie*

    This kept taking me to a for-pay site that required me to sign up for $1.95 for the first fourteen days, then $19.95 every four weeks until I cancel.

  13. Keith Raymond*

    I have been thinking about this very subject this week. I was not sure if there was an official “2016” or “2017” format. There’s also conflicting reports on whether 2 pages is ok. I host websites for businesses and I am looking to submit to gain more clients.

Comments are closed.