Accuracy, formatting, and looks of your resume matter no less than its content. Initially, recruiters review each resume for around 6 seconds, and if yours doesn’t make a good visual impression, it’s likely to be rejected. To get a closer consideration from the employer, your application should pass the initial screening, and this is much easier to achieve if it looks attractive.
Formatting a resume is no rocket science and is pretty easy if you know the rules. Today, a professional resume writer from our team will share the effective formatting techniques with you. So, grab your favorite drink and open an old resume in a word processor – it’s time to breathe new life into it.
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Content is definitely king, but the way this content is presented is equally important. Have you ever rolled the eyes as you received a poorly formatted email with typos and misspelled words? The same works for resumes. Here are the top three reasons why the look matters:
✓ It gives a higher chance for consideration. 59% of recruiters reject candidates due to grammar and spelling issues. The reasons are many: some of them are picky, and some want candidates with excellent written communication abilities. Don’t underestimate the importance of accurate punctuation and good grammar – they can make a difference in getting you shortlisted!
✓ It helps you win the competition. Other fellow job-seekers are likely to send professionally written and well-designed resumes that catch the eye. Think about how will your resume look comparing to such applications. Won’t it get lost among the beautifully formatted copies? On the flip side, if your resume looks better than those of others, it’ll definitely be noticed.
✓ It communicates your professional traits. Employers often make judgments based on your resume and assume what kind of employee you are. Cluttered text, uneven paragraphs, typos here and there might signal that you’re not very attentive to detail, lack important organizational skills and cannot be trusted an important correspondence with the key accounts.
There are no little things when it comes to the success of your resume. Continue reading for practical tips on organizing the document content. And if you’re considering applying with a video resume, check out these tips for video resume creation: http://resumeperk.com/blog/the-best-video-resume-examples--tips-how-to-create-one.
Recruiters spend 3.14 minutes on a candidate’s resume on average. Yet, to motivate them to devote this time to it, you need to grab their attention first with great formatting.
All the content should be presented in a chronological order. It means that you put the current job or education first, and then go backward. This type of formatting concentrates the reader’s attention on your most recent and most important contribution. If you don’t list data chronologically, the recruiter might assume you’re not aware of basic resume writing rules or try to hide something.
Set the font between 10 and 12 pts. It’s comfortable enough for reading, yet not big enough to make the resume excessively long. Use one of the popular sans-serif fonts so that the resume text opens correctly on all devices. Last but not least – use the same font throughout the resume so that the entire document looks neat.
As a rule, job-seekers are recommended to use one page if they have under 10 years of experience. Candidates with 10+ years can apply with a two-page resume. Yet, if you had a rapid career growth or changed jobs frequently, you may neglect the one-page rule. Exceeding two pages is absolutely not recommended by our resume writing service as it shows you cannot prioritize your career history.
With the length limits applicable to resumes, you want to remove the least important details to make all the important things fit in. So, delete the obvious skill names (such as MS Word and the internet proficiency), “references available upon request” statement and objective if you’re still using it. Similarly, remove the clichés such as go-getter, proactive problem solver, and a team player.
Ideally, it’s better not to rely on templates whatsoever. They are not unique, and your resume will look like someone else’s. Yet, if you want to use one, fill out the blank spaces completely. Little things are as awkward as the resume that says ‘insert the job title’ where your job information is meant to be. Double-check for accuracy and absence of such text to avoid confusion with an employer.
To organize the writing process, you might want to use apps help with writing. Yet, once your resume is ready, digital helpers can polish your content further. An app called Hemingway App can improve the readability of the resume. Grammarly.com assists with editing and proofreading, helping you get rid of mistakes and typos. They cannot eliminate 100% of the mistakes, but definitely will help fix the most obvious ones.
A resume where all text looks the same would look boring, won’t it? So, use different types of formatting to stop the reader’s eye on what’s important. For example, use ALL CAPS for section headings, bold font for position titles, and italics for company names. These simple changes in the font will make the document more readable.
Are you still using an objective that sounds like “To obtain an executive assistant position with a reputable company that offers career growth”? Give yourself a favor and remove it. Such an objective doesn’t convey any information to employers, hence it doesn’t affect your chance of getting interviewed or hired. Use a well-crafted summary instead.
White space in a document makes it more pleasant to read. Resume experts say that one resume page should contain no more than 350 words for readability. To declutter the resume, set the margins to one inch and leave blank space between the sections. This seemingly simple step will make the resume more reader-friendly.
Lists of skills are great for many reasons. They attract the reader’s attention, they help you pass the computer selection, and they communicate what you excel at even before the hiring manager reads the rest of the resume. Put the skill list in a top third of the page. You may divide them by categories (i.e. programming languages, tech skills, management skills, etc.).
I, me, my are okay to use in LinkedIn and personal website, but not on the resume. The resumes for job search are written in the third person and past tense, and you should follow this protocol. One more thing that should be left out is anything personal, be it your age, gender, and ethnicity or reasons for leaving the previous job.
An eye-catching resume cannot be imagined without using some color. Bright formatting keeps the eye of the reader and encourages them to pay attention to the content. That’s why templates are so popular. Yet, you can design a resume on your own – for example, highlight the important accomplishments or job titles, use the colored background for some sections, and more.
Nobody writes resumes in paragraphs these days. Organize your job responsibilities, achievements and other details using bulleted lists. Each bullet should start with a strong action verb, such as Initiated, Developed, Deployed, or Co-managed. Don’t write lists that are too long – exceeding 6-7 bullet points per job is not recommended.
What does that NDP on your resume stand for? Is that “Numeric data processor” or “National defense panel”? Don’t leave the employer guessing – spell all abbreviations out. Similarly, avoid jargon and slang used in your previous company or industry in general. You never know who’ll be the first to review your resume, and the person might not be familiar with it.
Using visuals on a resume is often debated. Yet, it’s a good idea to add visual elements such as graphs, charts, or tables if they communicate important information (for example, show revenue growth you generated, or market share expanded). Put them in the visible place but make sure they don’t distract the reader’s attention from the rest of the content.
After you’ve improved the formatting, design and writing style, consider having a professional resume editor to check it. An expert editor can spot the mistakes you’ve omitted, improve your writing style and offer extra suggestions for improvement.
Does your old resume need an improvement but you’re not sure where to start? Reach out to our resume professionals. We staff resume editors who are native speakers and have rich experience updating resumes. An editor will not only fix the minor shortcomings such as grammar, punctuation, and typos, but also will work on the structure, logic and visual presentation of your CV. Thus, you’ll receive a resume that gives you a head start and promotes your skills. Our prices for resume editing won’t hurt your wallet, moreover, all new clients get an extra 20% off.
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