How your resume looks is just as important as what it says. After all, if your resume is a jumbled mess and looks unprofessional, is a hiring manager going to take the time to stop and read it? Probably not. You want your resume to be clean, crisp, and visually appealing – not to mention easily scannable.

Regardless of which format you choose, style standards are the same. There are some opportunities for flexibility, so you can customize your resume to fit your preferences and how you want it to look. Here are a few features to keep in mind:


Select a font that is easy to read and looks professional. While Times New Roman and Arial may be considered overused, they are effective. Other options include Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, or Garamond. Avoid fonts that are too fancy or give off an unprofessional vibe – save Comic Sans for non-work documents. Stick with a font size between 10 and 12 for easier reading. Using a tiny font may allow you to cram more on the page, but it doesn’t win points with recruiters.


Use bolding sparingly to bring emphasis to section headers, companies or job titles, degrees, or awards. Avoid scattering it throughout your work history or writing everything in bold. A little goes a long way and can create better balance.

Bullet Points and Horizontal Lines

These are great options for breaking up text and making your resume easier to read. Hiring managers don’t want to spend time reading through a paragraph of text trying to decide what is important. Use bullet points to quickly convey your experience and accomplishments. Horizontal lines are all effective for breaking things up and drawing attention to the different sections of your resume.


While you can get away with adjusting the margins a bit here and there to make things fit better on the page, avoid making miniscule margins. Not only does this make your resume appear odd because it’s outside of the norm, it may also cause portions to be cut off during scanning.

Graphics, Images, and Tables

Skip these all together. They’re likely to be stripped by ATS and take up valuable space on your resume that could be better used. Also, unless you’re handing a hard copy to an employer, you run the risk of these elements not showing up when they open the document or becoming altered in transit.

Take a second glance at your resume – and pass it to others – to see if it’s visually appealing and easy to read. There shouldn’t be any question about where to find information or problems understanding what is included.