Simple and Clean Resume Templates

Classic resume templates with great typography and a touch of color

Hiring managers look at very many of resumes. Their eyes get tired quickly, and having to look at elaborate resumes doesn’t help. In fact, fancy resume formats make the recruitment process even harder, since hiring managers have to look past the design elements in order to get to the content. Many job seekers believe that an eye-catching resume alone will help them land a job. However, that is not usually the case.

A clean, simple resume can help you stand out from the pool of applicants by being easy to read and pleasant to look at. Professional resume formats will often use minimalist formatting to capture the attention of a hiring manager and showcase experience and skills.

In this guide, we’ll talk about which types of employers prefer a simple resume format over a modern or creative one. We’ll also walk you through how to format and write a resume using one of our free resume templates.

Let’s get you on the path to creating your resume today.

Simple Resume Format

A simple resume does not need to be a boring one. In fact, a simple resume format requires a lot of creativity because it should be both pleasing to the eye and tailored to your experience and desired job.

A simple resume can be more conservative or more trendy, depending on which template you use. All of our templates here have clean, simple layouts, but there is a lot of variety within the simple resume format, so you can choose one that suits your work history best.

What Jobs Require a Simple Resume?

If you’re applying to a conservative or old-fashioned place of employment, a simple resume is the way to go.

The legal field is an example of a conservative workplace. So are most professions in finance and many large corporate offices. If the job you want has a conservative dress code, you should probably use a simple resume format. This is like a dress code for your resume.

Although a simple resume format is essential in those types workplaces, a well-crafted simple resume can also impress a potential employer in a creative, modern field.

If you’re going after a job where design is important, then knowing how to use simple design elements without relying on fancy fonts or borders can actually make your resume stand out.

Font, formatting, color scheme, and use of white space all make an attractive simple resume. This requires solid design knowledge. Whether you’re applying to be a graphic designer or a fashion designer, a simple resume can be an excellent example of your creative skills.

If you’re applying to a newer company, the employer can also be impressed by a clean, traditional simple resume, even if the corporate culture is more laid-back. Many startups and tech companies use a minimalist aesthetic for their offices, websites, and products. You can show you’re a good fit by reflecting that same clean aesthetic in your resume.

Simple Resume Content

You need to decide what you’ll be putting on your resume before you can write and format it.

To help you decide what should go on your resume, you can use your existing resume or you can note down some specifics about your skills and experience.

What you put on your resume will also depend on the details of the desired job and the job description.

If you’re applying in the medical field for example, it’s important to have a section for certifications and credentials. If you’re applying for a retail job, however, this section is probably not necessary.

Here are the sections that should always go on your resume:

  • Contact Information
  • Education
  • Experience/Work History

Here are some ideas for optional sections:

  • Career Objective, Objective Statement, or Professional Summary
  • Interests and Activities
  • Relevant Skills
  • Achievements and Awards
  • References

Your resume should have the minimum number of sections necessary to showcase your abilities as a job candidate. Ruthlessly delete unnecessary information.

Simple Resume Layout and Design

Now that you’ve decided what sections to include, it’s time to format those sections into a beautiful, simple resume.

You don’t need to do this work on your own. We’ve compiled a list of simple resume templates you can use. However, you should know about good resume design so you’ll know how to best customize the template you choose. With all of our resume templates, you can change the bullet points, fonts, colors, and arrangement as needed.

Avoid large blocks of text in your resume. Having white space between sections adds balance. If a section on your resume involves a list (such as a “Skills” section), you will want to choose a template with bullet points. These make your resume look organized and easy to read.

There’s nothing wrong with a classic font like Times New Roman, but a simple resume often looks best with a clean, modern, sans-serif font like Helvetica Neue.

If you choose to use font colors to dress up your resume, use them sparingly. Pick just one or two colors to highlight aspects of your resume. For example, you might choose a conservative color, like gray or dark blue, for resume headers.

Make sure any font color you choose is easy to read. Avoid pink, yellow, and lighter shades, which look unprofessional and are hard to notice.

Always be consistent. Have your “Objective” header in the same color as your “Education” header. Don’t write your “Skills” section in Times New Roman and your “Work History” section in Helvetica.

The following common resume mistakes make your resume look too complicated and poorly designed:

  • Too many colors and fonts
  • Hard-to-detect colors and fonts
  • Unconventional fonts like Comic Sans
  • Elaborate borders
  • Colored or needlessly fancy paper
  • Too many sections
  • Unnecessary images
  • Inconsistent formatting

If your resume is overly designed or messy, employers will be distracted from the content and more likely to put your resume in the “No” pile. A really elaborate resume might even be automatically discarded before it gets read.

How to Write a Simple Resume

Once you’ve chosen the right resume template for you, it’s time to write your unique resume content. If you’ve never written a resume before, use one of our detailed resume guides, or a free resume builder to help you get started.

A simple resume is about more than just layout. There should be simplicity in your phrasing too.

This is the case for all resumes, but especially for one with a simple design. Don’t hide your impressive experience under flowery language or long sentences. State things simply so employers can easily learn about you.

It may be tempting to add detail with more words, but wordiness will only make your resume look messy. Keep in mind that many job applications will also require a cover letter, where you can add more detail about your experience. It doesn’t all need to go on your resume.

Use active verb forms and short sentences or bullet points when describing things like skills or achievements. Find places to cut or reword. It’s okay to use sentence fragments in your bullet points.

Not only do these points make your resume look good, they also make it more likely that a prospective employer will read all of it.

Simple Resume Examples

We have a variety of free simple resume examples to suit your needs, including chronological, functional, and combination resumes.


Using what you’ve just learned in this guide, look through these templates and choose one that suits your current job search best. Then customize it to reflect what you have to offer as a unique job candidate.

Chronological

Functional

Combination