Your Resume Format Can Set You Apart

When formatting your resume

In today’s job market, having a well-formatted resume is almost as important as having a well-written resume, as most employers receive a stack of resumes from qualified candidates and scan them quickly before they decide whether or not they want to read further. In addition to key words, the thing that stands out most about any resume is its format, which is essentially the first thing people will notice, whether the resume is formatted on paper or in electronic form.

With that in mind there are a number of rules you should adhere to when formatting your own resume. First among them is to avoid using templates that are already available in Microsoft Word, as these templates are outdated and therefore will make your resume appear generic and unattractive; and while the generic templates may be well formatted in Microsoft Word, they will not translate well when emailed or uploaded to job search websites.

About resumes, cover letters and interviews

Of course you can always find resume samples on the Internet by running a simple search for resumes as they relate to your industry, and these samples might also make most sense for the job you are seeking. Then all you will need to do is work on a blank page to replicate the look and feel of a particular resume style which appeals to you.

Keep it neat, clean and simple

Ideally, your well-written resume should fit on one page; but if you have extensive experience simply limit your resume length to two pages, while listing only experiences and skills that are relevant to your career objective. Even if you are applying for a job in a creative field, avoid inserting images or pictures into your resume, since showing off your creativity – if that is your intention – can be done in a separate portfolio of your work.

The page on which you’re structuring your resume should have one inch margins all around: top, bottom, right and left; and as a rule you should use left justification; so do not center the content of your resume. The font and font size should be consistent, while your name and headlines (if any) should be displayed in the same manner. Typically, the headlines will be bold and in all caps; and avoid underlining any of the information in your resume.

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In the world of Internet-driven job applications, underlining in a document implies a web link, making the use of any underlining for emphasis inappropriate. The font size for headlines should not exceed 14 points, while the remaining text in your resume should be no larger than 12 points; and when trying to align your resume, be aware of spacing and tabbing; and stay consistent in the way you are spacing out information on the page.

Review for accuracy and consistency

Use tabs rather than spaces, because you always have to anticipate that the person to whom you are sending your resume may have a different version of the software than you do, and therefore may not see exactly the same resume you are sending, since it is possible the margins will reset, paragraphs will shift, bullet points will change shape and so forth. This is why it’s important to keep the spacing consistent, while attempting to keep the font and bullet points as basic as possible.

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As a last formatting check point, ask your friends or your family for help in reviewing the resume you’ve just put so much time into structuring and formatting. Send the resume file via email to a few of your friends ask them to review the resume and make sure nothing seems out of place. Print out the resume on paper and review it to make sure that margins are accurately set, and the content doesn’t appear crowded on the page. Keep in mind when it comes to your resume, sleek simple appearance combined with great writing will give you the best chance of securing the job you’re interested in.