How To Format Your Resume For Online Applications

Wednesday, October 18th 2023. | Resume
50 College Student Resume Templates (& Format) ᐅ TemplateLab
50 College Student Resume Templates (& Format) ᐅ TemplateLab from

As more and more companies are moving towards online application processes, it is essential to know how to format your resume correctly. With the increasing use of applicant tracking systems (ATS), your resume needs to be optimized to pass through these systems and reach the hands of hiring managers. In this article, we will provide you with tips and guidelines to ensure that your resume stands out and gets noticed in the online application process.

1. Use a Simple and Clean Format

When formatting your resume for online applications, it is important to use a simple and clean format. Avoid using fancy fonts, colors, or graphics that can make your resume difficult to read or may not be compatible with different devices or software. Stick to a basic font like Arial or Calibri and use a font size of 10-12 points for easy readability.

2. Start with a Professional Summary

Begin your resume with a professional summary or objective statement that highlights your skills, qualifications, and career goals. This section should provide a brief overview of your experience and what you bring to the table. Keep it concise and relevant to the job you are applying for.

3. Organize Your Resume into Sections

Divide your resume into clear sections such as “Education,” “Experience,” “Skills,” and “Achievements.” This makes it easier for hiring managers to quickly find the information they are looking for. Use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments and responsibilities within each section.

4. Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description

Before submitting your resume, carefully read the job description and tailor your resume to match the skills and qualifications required for the position. Incorporate keywords from the job description into your resume to increase the chances of getting through the ATS.

5. Include Relevant Keywords

Applicant tracking systems scan resumes for specific keywords and phrases that match the job requirements. To ensure that your resume gets noticed, include relevant keywords throughout your resume. These keywords can be skills, industry-specific terms, or even job titles.

6. Optimize Your Resume for ATS

To optimize your resume for ATS, avoid using headers or footers, as these can confuse the system. Instead, include your contact information, such as your name, phone number, and email address, at the top of the document. Use standard section headings and avoid using images or tables.

7. Save Your Resume in the Right Format

When saving your resume, it is best to use a PDF format. This ensures that your formatting remains intact and can be viewed on different devices and operating systems. Avoid using file formats that may not be compatible or can alter the appearance of your resume.

8. Proofread and Edit

Before submitting your resume, make sure to proofread and edit it carefully. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors, and ensure that the information is accurate and up to date. A well-written and error-free resume reflects positively on your attention to detail and professionalism.

9. Keep Your Resume Concise

While it is important to include relevant information, it is equally important to keep your resume concise. Limit your resume to one or two pages, focusing on the most important and relevant details. Hiring managers often receive numerous resumes, so it is essential to make yours easy to skim through quickly.

10. Use Action Verbs

When describing your experience and accomplishments, use action verbs to make your resume more engaging and dynamic. Instead of simply stating your responsibilities, use verbs like “managed,” “led,” “achieved,” or “implemented” to showcase your achievements and contributions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about How to Format Your Resume for Online Applications

1. Should I include all my work experience on my resume?

While it is essential to include relevant work experience on your resume, you do not need to include every job you have ever had. Focus on the most recent and relevant positions that showcase your skills and qualifications for the job you are applying for.

2. Can I use a template for my resume?

Using a template can be a helpful starting point for formatting your resume. However, make sure to customize the template to suit your needs and avoid using overly generic or widely used templates that may not stand out to hiring managers.

3. Should I include references on my resume?

It is not necessary to include references on your resume. Instead, have a separate reference list ready to provide if requested by the employer. This list should include the names, titles, and contact information of individuals who can speak to your qualifications and work ethic.

4. What if I don’t have much work experience?

If you have limited work experience, focus on highlighting your relevant skills, internships, volunteer work, or coursework that is applicable to the job you are applying for. Emphasize transferable skills that demonstrate your ability to learn quickly and adapt to new environments.

5. Can I include personal information on my resume?

Avoid including personal information such as your age, marital status, or religious affiliations on your resume. This information is not relevant to your qualifications and may lead to bias in the hiring process.


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