Your chosen format should be one that works best with your experience and chosen field. We recommend using a combination resume which highlights your skills and lists your employment history in chronological order with the most recent first. Each employment history should provide a glimpse of your achievements, skills, and equipment used. How the resume is formatted (such as font, indentions, etc.) should be consistent throughout the resume. A sample template can be seen here.
The file format of your resume should be RTF (Rich Text Format), DOC or DOCX (Word 97-2007+), or PDF (Adobe Acrobat). PDF would be the best option because it is typically not one that can be edited easily. A DOC/DOCX or RTF file is a good choice if you need to copy and paste or import information into an application.
There should be 5 sections in your resume if you are using the combination format. First is the header which contains your name and contact information. Your name should be about 1-2 font sizes larger and in bold. Second is the professional summary section. This is a 2-3 sentence statement that give a summary of your skills, experience and what position you would like. Third is the experience, skills and abilities section. This encompasses an overview of your responsibilities, highlighting your skills and key abilities. Fourth is the work history section which lists all your work history in chronological order with your most recent job first. Highlight your duties and achievements for each position. The final section is your education and training section listing all college, training, and certificate programs you have completed.
There is no set length for your resume. You can have a "teaser" resume which is 1 page and does not provide great detail about your duties in your position. You can have a full resume which may be 2-3 pages long and describes in greater detail your responsibilities in past positions and give your skills. Or you may choose a Government and State resume which is typically 3+ pages to cover every section needed in great detail based on what is requested by the individual job posting.
You should always target your resume to the particular type of industry or position you are applying for. It is completely fine to list every position you have had within the last 10-15 years, but only go into details on the positions that apply to the industry you are focusing on. For example a person who is applying for a Retail Clothing Management position is not going to give too much detail about the welding position they held 5 years ago. A targeted resume can give you a better value to the employer than a generic resume to cover your entire work history. Create multiple resumes if needed to focus on the skills and abilities you may have over multiple industries.
Show your value at each company you worked. If you had any achievements, commendations, positive letters written about your service, promotions, employee of the month awards or nominations, anything that portrays you were a valued employee. List your productivity at your position. If you worked on 6 cars a day, if you cleaned 20 rooms a shift, if you cared for 18 patients per shift, if you assisted 6 staff members per day. Anything where there can be a level gauged can be helpful. Do not forget to include anything that you might have changed for the better at the company. If your change in process improved turnaround time for clients, or if you changed the product ordered and it saved the company X amount per month, note that. Instances when you increased efficiency, decreased costs, decreased wait times, or increased profits can greatly help your case for being a valuable employee. Don't sell yourself short of the qualifications you have.