A good-looking resume makes a positive first impression. But we understand the stress that comes with making your resume look perfect. 

What should a resume look like to get you as close to perfect as possible? Your resume should have relevant information in a readable format. 

Keep reading to learn what a resume should look like in structure and content, including:

This guide will help you create a good-looking resume to impress the hiring manager and secure your next job interview.

What does a good resume look like?

How a resume should look starts with the format and key resume sections.

Resume formats

Resumes fall into 3 formats: chronological, hybrid, and functional. 

an infographic explaining the difference between chronological resume format, functional resume format, and combination or hybrid resume format

What is a chronological resume?

A chronological resume lists your work history and accomplishments in reverse chronological order, from most recent to older jobs. It’s a popular resume format to show off your valuable achievements and experience.

What is a functional resume?

A functional resume format emphasizes your skills and certifications over your work history. Many job seekers try the functional resume to hide a lack of experience or gaps in work history. Recruiters hate this resume format, so we don’t recommend using it. 

What is a hybrid resume?

Hybrid or combination resumes take the best features of the chronological and functional resume formats. It first highlights your skills and accomplishments (like in a functional resume), followed by your work experience (in reverse chronological format.)

How to structure your resume

How should your resume look with proper sections? Here are the key headings to include on your resume.

a breakdown of the best resume structure

Write a job-specific headline

A captivating headline at the top of your resume can grab the hiring manager’s attention and leave a lasting impression. But you also have to make your resume headline compelling.

Here’s an example of a stand-out resume headline. It includes the role they’re applying for along with the experience at the top of the resume.

screenshot of a resume headline

Write a short summary

The best-looking resumes always start with a strong resume summary. Write a short paragraph with 3 or 4 sentences or bullet points to showcase your most relevant skills and accomplishments. Choose examples that demonstrate how you can benefit the company.

resume branding statement accomplishment

Not all resumes have to start with a summary, but when you’re considering how your resume should look, a summary can be a hook to attract the hiring manager. 

Add relevant work experience

Your work experience section is the meat of your resume. A simple chronological resume is easy to read and understand while showing off your career achievements.

But don’t just list previous responsibilities—telling the hiring manager what you did doesn’t show them how you did it. Hiring managers hone in on numbers and data. You can still show measurable results even if you’re not in a data-driven field. 

Examples of measurable results:

  • “Reduced overhead spending by 15%.”
  • “Supervised 25 employees.”
  • “Increased revenue by 40% in 2022.”
  • “Improved productivity by 30% by streamlining administrative processes.”

A good-looking resume has impactful action verbs and numbers to illustrate your history. Action verbs are strong and compelling words to use beyond the boring “responsible for” or “led.” The action verbs illustrate how you achieved something and how you got the job done.

This resume example integrates action verbs alongside measurable accomplishments.

Education

Your education section shouldn’t take up much space, especially if it’s unrelated to the job you’re applying for. Some jobs require a bachelor’s or higher degree; if listing your education makes you a stronger candidate, include it. But leave out the education section if:

  • You only have a high school diploma.
  • Your resume is too long.
  • It makes you appear overqualified.

Certifications

Supplemental education and online courses demonstrate specialized knowledge that supports your skills section. Investing in your continued education shows your future employer that you’re dedicated to growing your skills and that you’re competent in those skills. 

Certifications are also an excellent way to make up for limited practical experience. 

Resume skills

Your skills section is the most significant support of your work experience. You can integrate your skills into measurable achievements and have your separate skills heading. 

You have hard and soft skills—hard skills are job-specific, measurable skills essential to your work performance, while soft skills are behavior and personality traits. 

Including stand-out skills on your resume is essential, but you should constantly tailor the skills you include to the job description. A professional-looking resume includes only relevant information, not fluff. 

an infographic showing the difference between hard skills and soft skills

What should a resume look like for the ATS?

Your resume should look good to the hiring manager, but you must also consider what a good resume looks like to the applicant tracking system, or ATS. 

ATS overview

Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS, with smaller companies following suit. 

Online job hunting enables you to apply for more jobs than ever, but organizations are inundated with more resumes than they can handle. Enter ATS software. 

The ATS is a software database that stores resumes submitted by job seekers. This database becomes like a resume search engine for hiring managers. They input specific keywords from the job description, and the ATS parses the resumes to find the strongest candidates according to the search criteria.

a diagram showing how applicant tracking systems or ats are used in the hiring process

If the ATS ranks your resume at the top of the pile, the hiring manager will likely read it. 

However, the ATS has limitations on what information it can read on your resume, so it’s essential to make your resume look a specific way. 

Best-looking resume fonts

Professional-looking resume fonts make it look polished and readable by the ATS. The best fonts to use for your resume include:

  • Cambria
  • Arial
  • Times New Roman
  • Helvetica
  • Calibri
  • Tahoma
  • Georgia
  • Garamond
  • Roboto

Here’s an example of Roboto—a clear, legible font for a professional-looking resume.

The education and volunteer experience section of a resume.

Choose a straightforward font, at 11pt or 12pt size, and use it throughout the entire document to create a good-looking resume. 

One-inch resume margins

Uniform, 1-inch margins leave the right amount of white space to avoid overwhelming the reader. Jam-packed content doesn’t make a good-looking resume, so leave some breathing room.

Avoid using headers and footers to get more space—the ATS can’t read either, so your vital information, like your name and contact details, will be lost.  

Standard resume section headings

Good-looking resumes use standard resume sections. Avoid showing off your creativity here. Stay away from unusual headings like:

  • Personal Attributes
  • My Jobs
  • What Do I Have to Offer?

Standard resume headings are ATS-friendly and communicate the information clearly. You can italicize or bold your resume headings to add visual appeal and ensure they’re visually scannable to the eye. 

Here’s an example of an easy-to-read resume with standard resume headings.

Altogether, both the ATS and the hiring manager will have an easier time with classic resume headings in your resume. 

No graphics and complex design elements

Design elements are distracting and can make your resume hard to read to the ATS. Graphics and design aren’t the keys to a good-looking resume. Clear and readable resumes look best to both the ATS and the hiring manager. 

Using a resume template can help you avoid common formatting mistakes and show you what a resume should look like.


Use Jobscan’s free ATS-friendly resume templates and start building your resume that gets noticed by recruiters!


Tailor your resume to the job description

What does it mean to tailor your resume to the job description?

You should identify important, repeated keywords in the job description and ensure you include them throughout your resume. 

Don’t just regurgitate the job description. Your resume should look unique in its content. That means integrating the keywords into your work experience, certifications, and skills section. 

Make the process simple by using Jobscan’s resume scanner. Let our tool compare your resume to the job description you’re applying to. It will generate a match report and score to illustrate how strong your resume looks for the role.

With Jobscan’s Power Edit, a premium feature, you’ll get personalized phrasing suggestions for missing skills to help you integrate them into your resume.

What should a resume look like in your industry? Explore our resume templates to find out.

Resume examples

Make your resume look good with resume templates, and let your professional accomplishments personalize your resume. This will help you stand out to the hiring manager. 

What does a recent graduate resume look like?

When your professional experience is lacking, highlighting a strong summary, skills, and relevant projects from your education can be helpful.

A recent graduate resume.

This software engineer seeking an entry level position keeps relevant information at the top of the resume, which at this stage in their career, doesn’t include much practical experience.

While the functional resume format isn’t preferred by recruiters and hiring managers, you can also address your lack of work history in your cover letter. A good-looking and well-written resume and cover letter can help you overcome hesitations the hiring manager may have.

What does a mid-level resume look like?

Mid level customer service resume example.

A mid-level resume balances skills learned throughout previous jobs and measurable accomplishments to support your work history. What does this resume get right?

  • Target headline including the job description keyword.
  • Summary highlighting most critical information about their professional history.
  • List of relevant hard and soft skills.
  • Work history with measurable accomplishments and keywords pertaining to the job they’re applying for.

What does a highly technical resume look like?

accountant resume example

In a highly technical field that values quantifiable information, a detailed resume showing off hard skills with measurable results can help you secure the interview. What does this resume get right?

  • Skills integrated into work experience.
  • Powerful action verbs throughout.
  • Dollar amounts, percentages, and time scales that highlight key achievements.

Find resume templates and examples to suit your industry

Your resume is not one-size-fits-all. In each industry and job you’ll have to alter and tailor your resume to make your resume look its best. What your resume should look like varies and how it looks can make an impact on the hiring manager.

Find the right template for your search with Jobscan’s resume templates. Use these templates alongside resume examples from a range of industries to start making a good-looking resume.

When you’re ready to start applying, use our resume scanner to optimize your resume for the ATS and heighten your chances of landing the interview for your dream job.

FAQs

Do employers care what your resume looks like?

Hiring managers care that your resume has clear headings, is scannable, and isn’t filled with irrelevant information. They also prefer a chronological or hybrid resume over the functional resume format. 

How should I lay out my resume?

Your resume should look like a blueprint with specific information:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Certifications
  • Skills

Use our resume templates to create a resume with the perfect layout for the ATS and hiring managers. 

When should you put a photo on your resume?

You should leave a photo off your resume unless you’re looking for an acting or modeling job. 

A professional-looking resume doesn’t need a picture, and it can draw attention away from your impressive experience, qualifications, and skills that matter for the job role. 


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Kelsey Purcell

Kelsey is a Content Writer with a background in content creation, bouncing between industries to educate readers everywhere.

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