We’re often asked about resume formats -- if there’s a cool, fancy one that everyone’s using these days, if graphics are necessary, and if there’s a standard format we use across all our clients. The short answer is: No. The longer answer is that while a good resume format is essential, it's only the first step in creating a resume that will get you the job.
Just like people, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Are you articulating the proper skills? Calling attention to the biggest highlights in your career? Telling your story as clearly as possible? You should pick a resume format that will convey your skills the right way for the job you want and the story you’re trying to tell. That might mean putting education first, using a sidebar to include extracurricular achievements, or skewing more traditionally so you can fit more on the page. But no matter what, you should let the content guide the format -- not the other way around.
Anyone can pull a cool format off the internet and fit their work history into it. Word even comes preloaded with a few formats that you can plug your info into. As long as your format meets the following criteria -- easy-to-read, fits on one page (unless you're an executive who needs a CV), doesn't include excess colors/graphics, highlights your contact information, past companies, positions, and dates -- it'll be pretty and function just fine. But if you want it to be great, think about the story you're trying to tell, and choose a format that will help you get there.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan