Many job searchers aren’t aware that the formatting on a resume is nearly as important as the resume’s content. In other words, if you don’t have a decent setup, many hiring managers won’t give your resume a second look.
So what can you do about it? Actually, there’s plenty you can do. It’s just a matter of making some necessary tweaks to your resume to move it above your competition.
Make Sure Your Contact Information is at the Top
This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but it is important that you place your contact information at the top of your resume. But not just on the first page – on every page. The main reason is because your resume will most likely be mixed in with other resumes, so by having your contact information as a header, there will be no doubt that the hiring manager is looking at yours.
Keep Your Paragraphs Brief
One major turnoff for hiring managers is to see extremely dense paragraphs on a resume. If you have paragraphs that are longer than four to five lines, there’s a good chance that you won’t hear anything back from the company. Looking through resumes is already a tedious job for hiring managers. It certainly doesn’t need to be complicated with long explanations.
Don’t Use Too Many Bullets
While using bullets is popular on resumes because it helps to highlight certain aspects of your career, there is a such thing as using too many. Keeping your bullet use to about 4-6 points per section keeps them fresh and effective. The purpose of bullets is to highlight specific info, so don’t use too many, and don’t use too few or the hiring manager will be confused as to why the bullets were included in the first place.
Watch Your Font Size
Sometimes it may seem fun to try different font styles and sizes to make your resume standout, but there can easily be a fine line between it being unique and cartoonish. It’s important to keep your font size in check; use 10 point font for most styles (Arial and Tahoma look great at 10) and an 11-point size when using Times New Roman.
Keep the Appropriate Margins
Margins are important when formatting your resume because they ensure that it doesn’t look too crowded or look as though the words will spill off the page. The recommended margin width is usually between one-half and one inch. This is because it’s great to maintain plenty of white space, something adding margin space can do.
Use Bold, Underlining and Italics Consistently
Using word-formatting options such as bold, underling and italics can be a great way to make certain details of your resume “pop” or stand out. However, there is a such thing as using these formatting tools to often or not enough. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use them only under certain conditions (i.e. bolding a job title or italicizing companies you’ve worked for). The hiring manager will have a much easier time finding the information that he or she needs on a resume with these sorts of patterns.
Do you feel that you now have more working knowledge of resume formatting? Well, then, get to work; by taking the time to format your resume properly, you’ll greatly improve your chances of getting the job of your dreams.