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A clean resume design 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 minimalist resume today.
A simple resume doesn’t need to be a boring one. In fact, a simple resume format requires a lot of attention to detail because it should be both eye-pleasing and tailored to your experience and desired job.
It can be more traditional or more trendy, depending on which template you use. All of our templates here have clean, minimal layouts, but there’s a lot of design variation within the simple resume format. Choose the template that suits your work history best.
If you’re applying to a conservative 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 professional dress code, you should probably use a clean resume format. Look at it as a dress code for your resume.
Although a simple resume format is essential in those types of workplaces, a well-crafted one 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 clean design elements without fancy fonts or borders can actually make your resume stand out.
Font, formatting, color scheme and use of white space contribute to make an attractive simple resume. This minimal-style requires solid design knowledge. Whether you’re applying to be a graphic designer or a fashion designer, a simple resume can be an excellent way to showcase your creative skills.
If you’re applying to a newer company, the employer may also be impressed by a clean and modern 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 aesthetic in your resume.
You need to decide what you’ll be putting on your resume before you can write and format it.
What you put on your resume should reflect the details of the desired position and the job description.
You can use your existing resume as a start. Or, you can start fresh with specifics about your skills and experience.
If you’re applying for a position in the medical field, for example, it’s important to have a section for certifications and credentials. If you’re looking for a retail job, however, this section is probably unnecessary.
Here are the sections that you should always include on your resume:
Here are some optional sections you could include:
Your resume should have the minimum number of sections necessary to showcase your abilities as a job candidate. Keep it brief. Omit unnecessary information.
Now that you’ve decided what sections to include, it’s time to format them into a beautiful, simple resume using these 4 key tips:
Paragraphs: Avoid large blocks of text in your resume. Having white space between sections adds balance and aids readability. If a section on your resume involves a list (such as a “Skills” section), you;ll want to choose a template with bullet points. These make your resume organized and easy to read.
Fonts: There’s nothing wrong with a classic font like Times New Roman, but a simple resume often looks better with a clean, modern, sans-serif font like Helvetica Neue.
Colors: 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. They look unprofessional and are hard to see.
Be consistent: Have your Objective header in the same color and size as your Education Header. Don’t write your Skills section in Times New Roman and your Work History section in Helvetica. Keep the style cohesive.
The following are common resume mistakes to avoid:
If your resume is over-designed or messy, employers will be distracted from the content and more likely to take a pass on your document. A really over-the-top resume might even be automatically discarded by an ATS program before it gets read.
Want more help or ideas? Check out our list of free resume templates.
Keep in mind that many job applications will also require a cover letter that works in tandem with your resume. There you can add more detail about your experience and flesh out your bullet points. You can find help on writing your cover letter here. It doesn’t all need to go on your resume.
We have a variety of free simple resume templates from which to choose.
Using what you’ve just learned, look through these free templates and pick the one that suits your current job search best. Then customize the template to reflect what you have to offer as a unique job candidate.
Very compact professional layout. Notice how the use of red text draws the eye in. Just the right amount of color in the right places can be really helpful to the reader.
Good use of white space gives this professional resume template an open feel while subtle colors add pizazz. Two main sections let you detail your experience and education in reverse-chronological order.
Traditional format with light orange headers and subtle gray titles. Great resume template for graphic designers, corporate writers or administrative professionals.
Margin columns for titles and headings provides lots of space for detailed statements. Perfect resume template for business, industrial or vocational professionals.
Labor, manufacturing, educational, and service industry template. Good use of white space to catch the eye with blue section divider lines and large, bold section titles.
Just a bit of color and creative use of indent add a twist to this very traditional straight-forward design. Indented text helps the headings stand out.
Conventional two-page layout with profile photo and red and blue fonts for added design touch. Plus signs used for bullet points. Great resume template for technology, engineering or financial career seekers.
Excellent resume template for those with lots of skills and training and maybe not a lot of experience. Bold headings with vertical divider lines and blue titles create focus for the reader.
Subtle red titles and block, sans serif fonts give this resume template a stately feel. Great use of white space complements descriptions of your experiences, strengths and objectives.
Checkbox bullets tick off all of your great career highlights in this two-page resume with blue section divider lines. Excellent resume template for experienced and accomplished professionals.
Two-page template with a two-column layout offers much space for multiple sections. Light blue titles and dashed section lines add design flair.
Red shadings and gray background really draw in the reader's focus. Plus signs used for bulleted lists with room for multiple sections.
Small profile picture and thin, blue-shaded headers add design savvy to this classic format with lots of space for summary texts and bullet-lists. Business, health and IT professionals standout here.
Thin and thick blue lines define each squared section, and headings in bold, white fonts make this template pop.
Light brown headings and vertical bright green dashed lines catch the eye and break content into easy-to-read sections. Bold titles bring focus to key experiences and skills. Great free resume template for marketing, public relations or communications professionals.
Bold, open squares and thin black lines divide the two-column page layout. Dates and keywords offset in the margins act as section intros. Excellent resume template for university and IT job seekers.
Offset one-column layout with red and orange colors and bold, large headers with paragraph descriptions. Creative resume template with a business feel.
Two-page, one-column layout with red and orange for headings and titles. Lots of space for detailed, paragraph descriptions. Corporate and academic feel with this resume template.
Section titles offset in the margin with blue and light gray fonts. Small vertical lines used to separate columns. Excellent resume template for those who have been in one industry for several years.
Dark black section dividers compliment light green and blue text and bullets. Large, three-columned Core Skills section for many key attributes. Serif font completes mature, professional feel.
A traditional format that portrays clean elegance. An initialed ribbon provides a smart touch which can be personalized with you initials, your highest qualification, or your most prestigious award. Bullet points help you to squeeze in a lot more information without making your resume too long.
This simple block color really makes a statement and is the perfect backdrop for the black open serif text.
Traditional layout with bold and italic fonts. Large red square with white font provides ample space for objective. Great resume template for corporate, IT and nonprofit job seekers.
One look and everyone will know who you are. The placement size and bold text really make your name on this resume template pop.
The use of bold text, simple colors, underlines and spacing makes this a very easy read.
Bold section titles with arrow points and light maroon titles lend this resume template a vivid touch. Full-page layout for multiple sections to let you list plenty of information.
Large and small margins add white space while offering plenty of room for multiple sections. Bold orange and blue titles focus the reader. Great resume template for entry-level positions or new graduates.
This block-and-bulleted resume offers a professional-looking style. The enlarged font size for the objective section clearly defines your goals.
Color contrast and different font types dictate the style and impact of this resume. The use of red pulls the reader back to your name.
Easy to scan, one-column template with section and title headings in color as well as all caps make your information quick to read. Large Skills & Abilities section make this template great for a career changer.
Plus signs and lines outline each area with arrows providing the bulleted direction to your skills and experience. Scientific, data and IT feel with this one.
Open and airy one-column format centered on the page. Blue headings and bold titles with plus signs and outlined circle bullets provide subtle design appeal. Service and labour workers, take a look here.
Oversized captions for keywords or job titles. Small profile photo with blue-shaded section headers. Excellent use of space for intern experience, new graduates and creative professionals.
Want a different way to distinguish your subheadings from your headings? This layout shows how different shades of the same color can do that.
Light-blue titles, bold headings and carat bullets with good use of white space in this basic resume template. Perfect example for service industry job seekers and labor staff as well as new graduates.
Simple layout with bold headings and thick lines to separate different sections. Not the best format if you have a lot of information to include.
Offset sections balance out this resume template. Good use of white space helps focus the reader's eye. Orange titles provide design element. Great format to take your experience to the next level.
Thin margins with stacked sections provide lots of room for all of your achievements. Unique Projects area lets you describe your accomplishments. Great for IT, project management and senior-level professionals.
Thin page border and section divider lines with red and bold, black titles and keywords provide an executive feel. Project managers, directors and senior VPs can do well with this template.
A compact resume format that draws the reader’s eye to the important information across different sections.
Two well-defined columns give this resume template structure. Thick, orange-colored bar graphs make your capabilities pop on the page, and the italicized, muted-gray job titles adds to the professionalism.
Entry-level workers ready for the next step here. Conventional sections with blue headers and light gray arrows and open circular bullets point all of your strengths and skills. Plenty of room for goals, key word lists, and more.
A very smart style that gets straight down to business. Summarize your abilities into a couple of sentences. Most prospective employers don't have a lot of time to read through lengthy resumes. This is the resume template for you.
Great use of contrasting text color and line thickness to differentiate between sets of information.
Small margins and thin gray-shaded headings with white fonts offer lots of room in this example. Multiple sections for your training, certifications, skills and other information.
Just a bit of color goes a long way in breaking up information.
Bold, black headings and section dividers with light-gray lines for bullets and blue font for your name give this traditional template personality.
Bold headings and shading flush out this template with plus signs and open circles for bullet points. Good skills resume template for those with lots of experience and training outside the workplace.
Complementary colors for your personal information, and the section headings catch the eye. Simple bullet list in each section offers a straightforward, no-nonsense approach.
Gray shading and colorful section headers give this modern resume a bold and confident air. Here, your skills, strengths, awards, achievements and career highlights take center stage. This resume template lends a decisive and authoritative tone, while not being overbearing or fussy. This is a perfect template for individuals seeking to change careers or industries, ex-military looking to enter the civilian workforce.
Free modern resume template that will get you noticed. Simple, elegant and discreetly modern, with a touch of color and creativity.
Standard Europass CV Template. In Europe, and for some academic posts worldwide, a CV is preferred over a resume and generally contains more information. This is a classic, clean CV template that will give you the edge when applying to work with a European company or university. Plenty of space to make a good impression.
Very classy and professional full-page two-column resume template. Lots of sections included for key skills, awards and attributes. Red and blue titles add a touch of colour. Great example for those with substantial work experience.
Two-column layout with profile photo. Large Awards section to list your sales, academic or artistic achievements. Great resume template for advertising, creative, sales or communication professionals.
Two-column layout with sections styled into various columns. Light-gray divider lines and red and blue titles. Stylish with a corporate feel for marketing directors, senior VPs and principal managers.
Classic layout with a high-end executive feel. Great use of bordered headings, indented bullets and tabbed text to create an elegant professional look.
A round portrait option makes this resume template a bit different. A strong opening statement in bold lettering is great for impact, and makes the reader want to find out more about you. At the end of the resume a simple scale allows you to give a snapshot of your levels of competence.
Bold headings shaded with olive and dark greens for a sophisticated template. Managers, administrators, directors and accountants take advantage of the three-columned skills area and oversized sections for experience, certificates and licenses.
Two-column format used for the page offers lots of section areas. Light grays for headers and dashed section dividers as well as shaded background to highlight key work experience.
Functional two-page resume template with three-column core skills lists and areas for professional experience, work history and more. Great template for those looking to switch industries.
Checkmarks for bullets with blue, green and gray fonts catch the eye. Underscores connect job titles to dates. Analysts, developers, academics or health care professional’s template.
Deep and light-blue headers with bold font titles add pop to this traditional resume template. Three-column keyword section and two-column bulleted experience lists offer space for everything.
Want the focus to be on your opening statement? This resume template does just that. Make your pitch for this job a real eye-opener.
Two-column design with block-paragraph descriptions. Light blues and grays for headers, dates and titles. Excellent template for business, IT, administrative or counselling.