A good résumé takes effort and time to create. A well-written, professional-looking résumé can take you far in the job search, while a poorly constructed one may do very little to get your career moving. Depending on the career field you are in or trying to enter, résumé content will vary from person to person. But, once you have decided what information you want and need to include on your résumé, it’s time to consider how to format that content. Check out these across-the-board formatting rules that you can use, regardless of the job you’re applying for.
Include your name and contact information. Always be sure to include your first and last name, as well as your phone number and an e-mail address. It’s important to have all of your contact information in one area, preferably at the top of the page to help ensure that it’s seen first.
Divide your résumé into sections. Dividing your résumé into sections helps make it easier for a potential employer to quickly scan for key facts. Designate the different sections by including a short, descriptive title. For example, if you list any information about any degrees or training you have received, include a title such as “Education and Training” above that section. This helps keep your information organized and concise, and allows you to highlight the reasons why you would be a great fit for the job.
Use one font style. It’s better to limit your document to only one font, and try not to use anything difficult to read. Use a more professional, simple font style like Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or Tahoma. Also, be sure to use 10- to 12-point font to ensure that the person reading your work history doesn’t have to squint to decipher what it says.
Keep it short. The purpose of a résumé is to give a potential employer a summary of your skills and abilities. You want to give them enough information to know what you’ve accomplished in your career and why they should bring you in for an interview. The longer you work and the more work experience you gain, the more difficult to keep this content to just one page. But, the consensus among employers is to keep it as short, sweet, and to the point as possible.
Invest in good paper stock. If you’re delivering a printed copy of your résumé to a potential employer, invest in good paper stock. A heavier paper made out of a cotton or linen blend may help you get noticed. This also communicates to an employer that you put time and thought into creating it. The next time you’re ready to print off a résumé, stop by your local office supply store and purchase a heavy weight (90 lb. – 110 lb.) cardstock.
Create an electronic version. Many job openings today require applying online, so it’s a good idea to have a version of your résumé that will upload correctly when submitted. To format your résumé for online use, follow these tips:
• Use Times New Roman or Arial font
• Keep all of your content left aligned
• Remove any bullet points and replace with an asterisk or a dash
• Use spaces between all titles and headlines
• Copy and paste your Word document into a text editor, such as Notepad, prior to uploading it into the online job application text box. This will help remove any formatting from your résumé that could display incorrectly online.
Not only do you want your résumé to have good information, but it’s also important for it to look good too. Use this advice to help you stand out from the competition when you apply for your next job.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the Résumé Boot Camp series and that you will use these tips of the trade to whip your résumé into shape! Here’s wishing you best of luck in all your job search endeavors.