5 Helpful Resume Formatting Tips

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Multiple resumes on a table with different formatting.

In a previous blog we discussed how you can optimize your resume, and today we’re going back to basics and talking about formatting. How you format your resume influences your chances to move forward in the hiring process. If you make it easy for a hiring manager to understand, they are more likely to bring you in! Today we’ll be discussing a few easy and simple formatting choices you can make to help your chances.

1. Choose A Font And Stick With It

One of the first decisions made when creating a resume is font choice. You may stick with the default, or decide to pick a new font entirely. Either way, font choice is important. As a rule, you should only use one font throughout your resume, two at the most. Keeping a font consistent throughout makes your resume look uniform and aesthetically pleasing. If you switch fonts too often, it will be often putting and overwhelming to read.

Instead of using different fonts, use different formats of the same. For example, your titles could be in all caps and bold, while your working dates are in italics. This will differentiate different pieces of information while staying consistent. Bold and italics are your friend when it comes to composing your resume!

2. Use Bullet Points, Not Paragraphs

When it’s time to describe your experience and responsibilities from past positions, make sure you use bullet points instead of paragraphs. Long paragraphs for each job are very intimidating to read, and make it hard to easily pick out specific tasks and projects. Bullet points on the other hand are:

  • Easy to read.
  • Straight to the point.
  • Less intimidating.

Seeing the above bullets shows how well they stand out, and how easy they are to read versus a longer paragraph. When readers come to a blog, the expect longer more exhaustive paragraphs. However, when a hiring manager looks at a resume, they are looking to quickly understand your qualifications and work history. Clean up your experience section with bullet points, and it will be easier to notice your qualifications.

3. Make Your Resume Suit Your Profession

Your resume should also be formatted appropriately to your profession. The resume of a graphic designer and that of a Tech Support Specialist will look very different. If you are in a creative profession, it’s acceptable to have a resume that is more colorful and unique. It showcases your talent in that field. On the other hand, if you are in a more technical role such as Information Technology or Accounting, your resume should be simple and straightforward, so that it showcases your specific qualifications. Whatever your profession, make sure your resume sends the right message when you format it.

4. Choose Between Chronological or Functional

When you’re planning out your resume, you should have a specific style in mind. If your experience jumps around in years and fields, it could get confusing to the hiring manager. Choose to write your resume either chronologically, or functionally. A chronological resume will go through all of your experience from beginning to end, and is pretty straightforward. This type of resume works best for someone who has been in the same field most of their life.

On the other hand a functional resume is divided up based on different skills and focuses. For example, one section could focus on project management, while another focuses on event planning. The years of experience may be apart, but because they are in similar areas, they are grouped together. It’s up to you to decide which resume is best for you! It’s usually a good idea to stick with one or the other if you are a younger professional. As time goes on though, you may consider blending both styles.

5. Break It Off Into Sections

The last tip is obvious, but important! When you’re listing everything on your resume, make sure you clearly categorize it. You don’t want your hiring manager thinking you worked at the place you went to college (unless you did!). List each piece clearly in a separate category.

Common sections are usually: experience, education, awards & honors, skills, volunteering, and summary/objective. These are a great place to start, but you may need to add a few more depending on what you are listing. Formatting your resume into sections will make it very easy for a hiring manager to find the information they want without having to search through it.

That’s it for formatting tips! However, there is always more advice, especially when it comes to resumes! If you’d like any particular topic further discussed in a future blog, let us know in the comments. If you’d also like to suggest a new topic we are open to it! Either way we hope you found some value in the formatting tips.

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