It’s natural to want to impress an employer with an extensive resume that highlights your skills and experience. In theory, these factors should garner more attention from a business. But what if that’s only part of what really matters?
It’s true that in most cases your resume is the first judge of your abilities that employers will see, however, the way your resume is formatted can play just as an important role in their decision to bring you in for an interview. Not only is a well-formatted resume easier to read, but is also an excellent forum to showcase professionalism and attention to detail – 2 intangible qualities in high demand across industries. By ensuring your resume is easy on the eyes and organized, your company of choice will be far more likely to consider your application.
Here are 5 resume formatting skills to help get yours noticed:
Keep it an appropriate length
Because the hiring manager will likely be looking at a high volume of incoming resumes, keeping yours as concise as possible will make it easier for the person reviewing to understand what you can professionally bring to the table. As a general guideline, professionals with ten or more years of experience can expand their resume to two pages, while those who are earlier in their career should stick to one page. If you’re finding it hard to keep it to one-two pages, consider using strong verbs such as “created” or “enacted” that can both shorten and strengthen your job descriptions. Trimming irrelevant info from your resume can also help to consolidate your strengths, but before you do, carefully review the job you are applying for; you want to ensure you are including information that shows you are the fit for the role. The ability to concisely summarize your prior work experience will also demonstrate that you took the time to tailor your resume—an effort that employers greatly appreciate.
No distracting fonts
There is no hard and fast rule that all resumes need to be written in Times New Roman. In fact, a slightly different font for your name can appear professionally creative. However, certain fonts can make certain letters bleed into each, and are hard to read. Some other font choices such as Comic Sans or Laconic can look unprofessional because they’re not commonly used in professional literature or websites. As a result, it’s always better to err on the side of caution by using a conservative font such as Baskerville, Cambria, and yes, Times New Roman. Your experience, even if limited, will undoubtedly speak louder than any quirky font ever could.
Consider a side bar margin
For most professions outside of the creative and digital industries there isn’t too much room for creativity within a resume. For example, including graphics or a picture may be distracting and appear unprofessional. However, if you feel that your resume looks a little plain and needs something to make it stand out, adding a simple side margin and using basic black bullet points can help effectively create a cohesive platform for your abilities and work experience.
Print and proofread for typos
There is something about reading a word document on the computer that can cause even the most meticulous of proofreaders to miss a typo. Holding a printed physical copy of your resume with a pen in hand can help to catch any possible errors. Additionally, spellcheck may not catch words it believes to be correct, so relying on that tool to catch grammar mistakes is a surefire way to accidentally overlook a simple error. Also, a second pair of eyes to help review never hurts if you’re hunting for typos!
The goal of a resume is to be concise, yet also highly informative about your background. Since space is limited, selling yourself as a strong candidate can be difficult to do and many job seekers make the mistake of putting too much information in a small space– making your resume difficult to read. Employers want to be able to skim your resume and quickly come away with a decent understanding of your abilities. If what you’re using to sell yourself is too thick with content, an employer may not have the time to read it all the way though, so adding a full or half page underline between your basic sections will break it up. Putting a thin barrier after your personal information heading and after your previous career experience may also help to shape your resume into a more palatable document.