Formatting Your Resume: Layout & Distribution Types

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  • 0:01 Resume Formatting
  • 0:36 Layout
  • 2:49 Distribution Type
  • 5:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Everyone appreciates the importance of a first impression. There are specific layout and distribution types of a resume that can create a professional, visually impressive image in the mind of the reader.

Resume Formatting

What tools do you have available to sell yourself to a potential employer? Did you know that resumes are an advertisement for you? A resume is a brief summary of professional, education and personal accomplishments that is used to acquire a job.

This lesson will discuss how to format your resume by choosing layout and distribution types appropriate for the job opening. We are lucky enough to have Dr. Resume stop by and educate all of us about the ins and outs of formatting a resume. Dr. Resume is going to first cover some basic tips about layouts.


A first glance of a resume can say a lot about your professionalism. A busy resume with lots of bolding, italics, tabs and underlines can give a first impression of clutter and busyness.

If an applicant instead creates a resume that is simple with only the key points highlighted, then the reader can easily skim the resume to acquire needed information. It is important to choose a simple, well-designed layout in order to organize your professional, education and personal accomplishments. A resume layout is the way the text and information is arranged and organized on the page.

Dr. Resume suggests these basic tips so your resume makes a standout first impression:

  • Opt for bullet points - The doctor suggests using bullets points to emphasize key selling points, achievements and accomplishments. For example, this would be an excellent bullet point: 'Created award-winning advertising campaign that resulted in 25% increase in overall sales.' This is an excellent point because it not only highlights an achievement but it also tells the reader what positive action resulted from the accomplishment.
  • Limit font styles - While it is important to bring the reader's attention to certain parts of your resume, italics and bolding should be used in small doses. Underlining should be avoided, as many individuals complain about difficulty in reading that style. Dr. Resume suggests bolding job titles and italicizing your education. Whatever font styles you choose, be consistent.
  • Embrace white space - Dr. Resume recommends that you use white space liberally within your resume layout. Use 1-inch margins and plenty of spacing to draw the reader's eye to segments of information. Here is an example.
  • Two-fonts limit - You have been warned by the doctor to stay within the range of a 2-font limit for your resume layout. Dr. Resume suggests choosing one font for your heading and another for the rest of your resume. Any more fonts will cause your resume to look unprofessional and too busy, such as this example.

Distribution Type

In the old days (and Dr. Resume's early years), most job applicants would find a job listing in the newspaper and mail their resume to the company. Today, many job listings are only available online.

It is important to be aware of the requested distribution type in order to ensure that your resume will be read by the human resource manager. It is the format and method of delivery for an applicant's resume.

For example, if a job advertisement calls for applications to be submitted in Microsoft Word, then it is important that the individuals save and submit their resume with a .doc extension. Or if a request is made by an employer for PDF, it should have a .pdf extension. Did you know that over 10% of resumes received are not able to even be opened and viewed? That is a very poor start to a job search process.

Here are the different distribution types Dr. Resume wants you to be educated about:

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