Just like newspapers offering bite-size pieces of information that are easy to read and digest, resumes also need to be formatted in a way that makes it easy on the reader. If they’re not, no matter how good a candidate is, the resumes will just fall to the wayside.
Keep in mind that once a resume reaches the hands of an individual (or more like the computer screen these days), it’s only scanned for mere seconds. Any sight of heavy blocks of text or unorganized information can take away from those important seconds that decide whether or not your resume is a keeper.
5 Tips For Formatting Your Resume For Easy Reading
So, what can you do to make those seconds count? Keep these tips in mind while formatting your resume:
1. Use the Harvard format.
People are going to scan your resume, so you want the accomplishments to stand out. Use the Harvard format, which is paragraph form for your roles and responsibilities and bullet points for your achievement statements. Your bullets should indicate the challenge, what action you took, and the results you produced.
2. Differentiate the sections.
Don’t forget to use bold and italic typeface to help guide the reader to different sections of your resume. The different typeface helps the reader figure out the start and end of the different parts of your resume.
For instance, if your Work Experience lists five different employers, it’s much easier to determine where information on each employment experience begins and ends with the use of a bold typeface for the name of the employer. Also make it easy to read by managing your white space. Remember, unless you are entry-level, a resume is not usually one page. Three-page resumes for executives are fine.
3. Use numbers and symbols.
Forget the rule of spelling out numbers if it’s before 10. When you provide numbers on your resume, it not only helps quantify your results, but it immediately grabs the attention of the reader.
4. Avoid fancy graphics, logos, and uncommon font type.
More and more resumes today are going through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) before it reaches the human eye. If the ATS is unable to read and scan your resume, it’s not going to get in the hands of anybody. So, avoid going overboard with graphics, tables, and other things to simply make your resume look good because it cannot be read by the ATS. Content is king! Stick to the basics and use common font types like Arial, Calibri, Cambria, or Times New Roman.
5. Keep it appropriate to your industry.
The style of your resume should be appropriate to your industry. For instance, if you are applying for a job in accounting or financial services, your resume should come off with a more conservative face than if you were applying for a job in web design or sales.
These small details to formatting your resume can make a difference between a document that’s welcoming and easy on the eye, to one that’s bypassed for being too text heavy and disorganized.
About the author
Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013 & 2014. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Get Your Resume Critiqued For Free Today!. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.
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