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How to Structure Your Resume to Use in 2021 (Organize it Right)

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This post is part of a series called How to Create a Great Resume (Ultimate Guide).
The Secret to Writing a Simple Resume That Works (+Best Tips for 2022)
How to Make Your First Job Resume Stand Out

In today's crowded job market, your resume still needs to stand out. In most cases, your resume will be the first information that a potential employer sees. Having the right resume formatting and resume structure can get your job search off to the right start.

resume sample with attractive resume structureresume sample with attractive resume structureresume sample with attractive resume structure
You can find hundreds of resume templates on Envato Elements.

Your resume is still important. With the growing popularity of online networking, you may be tempted to ignore your resume. Don't do it! Ignoring your resume is a huge mistake.

How long has it been since you've updated your professional resume? Even in today's competitive job market where most job hunting is done online, your resume makes a difference.

Your resume structure is also important. Your resume needs the right headings and sections. Your resume formatting makes affects the impression you make on potential employers.

Learn how to structure a resume with proper resume sections and resume headings. Discover why your resume structure is important and a few go-to template resources.

Why Your Resume Structure Is So Important

The information is all there, you might think. So, why should I bother with getting my resume structure just right?  

The answer is simple. Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes. Often, they only have a few minutes to glance at each resume and decide whether they want to consider a candidate.

A good resume structure helps HR professionals find relevant information quickly. Resume headings should be well-defined and easy for a rushed recruiter to scan. Plus, an attractive and informative resume shows that you're well-organized.

How can you make sure your resume structure will catch a recruiter’s eye? You could spend hours and hours trying to create an attractive resume and still not get it right.

How to Organize Your Resume Better: Resume Must-Haves

A good way of learning how to organize a resume is to view the information through an employer's eyes. Ask yourself:

  1. What information about me does a potential employer or client need to know?
  2. What information about me would they like to know?

Let's take a closer look at the basic resume sections and resume headers that every resume needs. Here are the sections of a resume and a brief look at why each section is important:

  • Contact information. You won't get hired if you don't include a way for hiring managers to get in touch. Yet too many job hunters wrongly submit their resumes with incomplete or outdated contact information.
  • Strong summary statement. The summary statement is a short phrase that describes your skills and experience. It should appear towards the top of your resume since many employers look at it first.
  • Keywords. What terms will your employer look for in their candidates? Read the job ad carefully and sprinkle the employer's terms throughout your resume. Keywords can help you get around filters and gatekeepers.
  • Job history. When you list past jobs on your resume, describe what you accomplished at each job. Don't merely repeat your job description. They key to standing out from other candidates is to show how you excelled in your prior positions.
  • Education. Under the Education resume heading include your formal education beyond high school. Don't forget to list certificates and continuing education as well. Include any coursework that specifically relates to the position you're applying for in this resume section.

Organize your resume into sections with related information grouped under separate resume headings. Well-defined resume headers make it easier for potential employers to quickly find what they need to know about you.    

That’s why I include a good resume template on the list of resume must-haves. A good template makes it easier for recruiters to read your resume. The basic resume structure, resume headings, and resume order are already in place, so you don't need to waste time figuring out how to organize your resume. A template also ensures that your finished resume will have a polished, professional look. 

Envato ElementsEnvato ElementsEnvato Elements
You don't need to spend hours on Photoshop to create a beautifully-designed resume from a template.

Now that we’ve discussed the resume sections your resume needs, let’s take a look at some things it doesn’t need.

How to Customize Your Structured Resume Template

If you’ve downloaded a premium template, you should customize it so that it's unique. Keep reading for five tips on how to customize your template.

We'll be using this CV template for this tutorial:

CV TemplateCV TemplateCV Template
We'll be using this structured resume template in this tutorial.

Here's the first page of the template with no edits:

resume with no editsresume with no editsresume with no edits
Here's what the first page of the structured resume template looks like without edits.
Let's get started:

1. Add an Image

How to add an imageHow to add an imageHow to add an image
How to add an image to your structured resume template.

To add a headshot image to your structured resume, you easily can. To begin, choose the Insert tab. Next, on the Insert tab, select the Pictures button underneath the tabs.

This causes a menu to drop down. Locate your image from the menu. Once you locate your image, double click your image to add it to your resume. Next, resize and adjust the image as needed.

2. Align Your Text

How to align textHow to align textHow to align text
How to align the text in your structured resume template.
As you add information to your resume structure, you can easily misalign your text. Aligning your text makes your structured resume look more professional.
Start by highlighting the text tto be aligned. Then, click the Layout tab in the toolbar. Next, click the arrow next to the Align Objects button. A menu drops down. Choose how you want your text to be aligned. 

3. Change an Object’s Color

How to change an objects colorHow to change an objects colorHow to change an objects color
How to change the color of an object in your structured resume template.

Click the object that you want to change the color of. Click the Shape Format tab. Under the Shape Format tab, select the Shape Fill button. A color menu drops down. Choose a new color for the object.

4. Change the Font Color

How to change the font colorHow to change the font colorHow to change the font color
How to change the font color in your structured resume template.

Changing the font color on your structured resume can make your resume look more uniform and professional. Highlight and select the text to be changed. On the Home tab, go to the Font Color button. This causes a menu to drop down. Choose the color for the font.

5. Save Your Resume as a PDF

How to save your resume as PDFHow to save your resume as PDFHow to save your resume as PDF
How to save your structured resume as a PDF.

Some jobs that you’re applying to may want you to turn your resume in as a PDF. To save your structured resume template as a PDF click File.  Then click Save As. Then click the File Format menu. This causes a menu to drop down. From the drop-down menu, click PDF.

The Best Source for Structured Resume Templates (With Unlimited Use) in 2021

Envato Elements is the perfect place to find structured resume templates. For a low monthly fee, you get unlimited downloads of simple resume structures, photos, fonts, and other resources to use in your next project. 

Envato ElementsEnvato ElementsEnvato Elements
Find the right resume structure on Envato Elements - with unlimited access.

Elements is truly one of the best values out there today. And with the unlimited downloads, you've got the freedom to try out a variety of options as you determine your resume order. 

Envato ElementsEnvato ElementsEnvato Elements
Download the best structured resume from Envato Elements

With Envato Elements resume templates you’ll find key items such as:

  • bold font to capture audience attention
  • rich image placeholders to show off photos
  • simple charts to show skills and experience
  • customizable layouts to make every resume template your own

As you can see from the example image below, Elements templates like this one deliver a modern and simple style that’s ready for your job search. Sign up for Envato Elements now.

But If you just need a resume template once and don’t need any digital assets try GraphicRiver.

5 Top Structured Resume Templates with Organized Designs for 2021

Below are examples of five attractive resume templates that'll also give you a good idea of how to organize a resume:

1. Colorful and Creative Structured Resume & CV Template

Creative ResumeCreative ResumeCreative Resume

This brightly colored structured resume template and cover letter gives you a good idea of how to organize a resume so that each section has enough space for text. The "white space" prevents the resume from getting too crowded.

The design highlights your skills, accomplishments, and professional history. Yet it doesn't make your application look too old fashioned or stuffy. It also includes an editable cover letter.

2. Minimalist CV Resume Vol. 07

Minimalist CV ResumeMinimalist CV ResumeMinimalist CV Resume

Do you think a colorful resume might not be well-received in your industry? Use this minimalist resume template instead. It includes a cover letter template, too. 

It's easy to edit and has all the basic sections you'd expect with an organized resume structure. The designer also included a PDF guide to help you make this resume your own, in case you don't know how to organize your resume using this template.

3. Creative Resume, vCard, CV & Portfolio Template

Creative ResumeCreative ResumeCreative Resume

Want to know how to organize your resume in a seamless yet creative way? Look no further than this template.

This template includes a cover letter, and a modern but colorful design. It highlights previous skills and accomplishments. 

4. Resume Design Templates.03

Resume Design Templates.03Resume Design Templates.03Resume Design Templates.03

This creative resume template should give you an idea how to organize your resume if you want to include an image. Note that this image doesn't have to feature your portrait. It could be a picture of a design or product you created. 

5. Modern Resume

Modern ResumeModern ResumeModern Resume

Modern Resume has a nice resume structure where you can put your experience and achievements in the template. This template comes in five color scheme options making it flexible for different jobs. You can use this resume in Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop.

4 Structured Resume Templates with Organized Designs

Here are more great premium structured resume templates from GraphicRiver:

1. Simple Resume Template with Creative Format/Sections

Simple Resume TemplateSimple Resume TemplateSimple Resume Template

Resume formatting matters. You need to make best use of the sections of your resume, your resume headings, and the structure of your resume. This simple, clean resume template is laid out to present your work experience professionally. 

Also, you can show your skills and creativity with simple infographics. Besides the main resume page this template includes a cover letter and portfolio. It's easy to edit this organized resume template and prep it for your job application!

2. Resume & Cover Letter

Resume TemplateResume TemplateResume Template

This easy-to-use one-page resume template features a strong resume structure. It's well-organized, making it user-friendly. It's fully editable in Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Adobe Illustrator and pages. There's also a matching cover letter.

3. Simple Clean Resume

Simple Clean ResumeSimple Clean ResumeSimple Clean Resume

If you're looking for a resume that's very structured, yet still easy-to-customize, this might be the choice for you. Choose between many color options including: blue, orange, and violet. You'll love the clean and professional look of this one.

4. Clean Resume/CV

Clean ResumeCVClean ResumeCVClean ResumeCV

This structured resume/CV template boasts a modern and clean appearance. Tailor the document to any job requirements and any applicant background. This is the perfect resume if you're looking for a simple, but well-organized document.

Learn even more about  how to organize a resume and discover other ready-to-use resume templates here:

More Resume Templates

If you didn't like any of the structured resumes in this article. That's okay here are articles that feature more resume templates:

5+ Resume Mistakes to Avoid (Quick Tips)

Resume structure has changed over the years. So what you know about how to organize a resume may be outdated or irrelevant, especially if it's been some years since your last job search. Even worse, following outdated resume advice can cost you a job.

Here's a short list of common resume mistakes and outdated advice:

  1. Objective. The old advice was to include a resume heading called Objective at the top of your resume. The section described your career goals. Many human resource professionals agree that this section should be replaced by the more employer-oriented resume heading of Summary Statement.
  2. References. Another piece of old resume writing advice was to include your references in a section at the end of your resume. If an employer or potential client is interested, they'll ask for references. Keep a separate reference sheet handy. Bring it on your interviews, but don't submit it with your initial resume unless it's asked for.
  3. Lots and lots of pages. A longer resume isn't always better, it just shows that you don't know how to organize a resume so that only the important details are there. Your resume should be long enough to cover your information, but not so long that it overwhelms a recruiter. Learn how to organize your resume properly to avoid repetition.
  4. Spelling and grammar mistakes. If you make mistakes on your resume, potential clients and employers may assume that you'll also be careless on the job. Consider having a friend review your resume to make sure there are no mistakes.
  5. Fancy paper. Years ago, nearly all resumes were received through the mail. It became common practice to pre-print resumes on expensive stationery. Today, most resumes are initially received online. You'll need a few printed copies of your resume to take to interviews, but don't invest in reams of pricey paper. A good quality basic paper (make sure it's not too thin) is fine for most interviews.
  6. Fabrication. Lies have no place on your resume. Remember, most companies will verify your education and work experience, so don't make it up. Take a look at what HR professional Liz Ryan has to say about resume lies in her article on Forbes, The Truth About Lying On Your Resume

Read this post to check if your resume is guilty of other blunders:

Learn More About Crafting a Professional Resume

If you're currently updating your resume, use this tutorial to learn the basics of how to structure a resume. It also describes the basic resume sections that all resumes should include. 

While you're at it, you should also check out our ultimate guide on creating resumes. It contains everything you'll need to know about writing a resume that lands you a job interview. It includes how to organize a resume, write bullet point achievements, and more.

Depending on your profession, you may want to include other resume headings and sections. To learn more about how to create a resume for a specific situation, review the following tutorials on our network:

Make a Great Organized Resume in 2021

It's 2021, the majority of recruiters read resumes on screens. But whether they look at it on a laptop, desktop, or even on a mobile, a resume's readability is still important. You don't want them to give up reading your application because it's too text-heavy, right? That's why it pays to learn how to organize a resume the right way

You've just learned the importance of the structure of your resume and how to organize a resume. The good news is you don't need to spend hours doing this, as there are lots of ready to use templates available for you to choose from. Why not download the perfect resume template for your job hunt today?

Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2016. It's been comprehensively revised to make it up to date by our staff—with special help from Charley Mendoza and Sarah Joy.

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