For Job Seekers:
15 Tips for Formatting Your Resume for Maximum Visibility
Sabrina Deltoro, Founder & Recruiting Director
Delson Talent Consulting
January 26, 2023
When it comes to applying for jobs, your resume is your first opportunity to make a good impression on a potential employer. In order to increase your chances of getting called for an interview, it's important to make sure that your resume is well-formatted and easy to read; a well-formatted resume can make the difference between standing out in a crowded job market and getting overlooked. In this blog post, we'll go over some best practices for formatting your resume to ensure that it stands out and gets noticed by recruiters and hiring managers alike.
1.) USE A CLEAR, EASY-TO-READ FONT
While you may be tempted to use a fancy or creative font, it's important to remember that your resume is not a design project Unless of course, you are applying for a creative role). Stick to a simple, professional font such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. These fonts are easy to read on a computer or printed out, and won't distract from the content of your resume.
2.) CONSIDER THE LAYOUT OF YOUR RESUME
A common and effective layout is to have your contact information at the top of the page. Here, you’ll want to include your name, the city and state you live in (adding your address is NOT necessary!), followed by your phone number, email address, and Linkedin URL. From here, you’ll want to include your work experience, your education, and any relevant skills or certifications. Some candidates like to add a Summary Statement or Objective Statement before their work experience, but this is not necessary. Make sure to use headings and subheadings to clearly define each section and make it easy for the reader to find the information they're looking for.
3.) USE BULLET POINTS AND HEADINGS TO ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION
A cluttered, unorganized resume is hard to read and can quickly turn off a recruiter. Use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments and responsibilities, and use headings to break up different sections of your resume (e.g. "Education," "Work Experience," "Skills").
4.) REVIEW YOUR MARGINS
Another important aspect of formatting your resume is to use appropriate margins. Make sure to leave enough white space around the edges of the page to make it look clean and uncluttered. Aim for margins that are at least one inch on all sides, but don't be afraid to go up to 1.5 inches if it makes your resume look more balanced.
5.) KEEP IT CONCISE
While you want to include all relevant information on your resume, it's important not to overdo it. While the days of the one-page resume are over, you still likely want to keep your resume to two pages or less, so you may need to be selective about what you include. Focus on your most relevant qualifications and accomplishments, and leave out anything that is not directly related to the job or industry you are applying for. If you are an entry-level candidate, you should have a section towards the top of your resume called Relevant Work Experience, and another section further down titled Other Work Experience. In the Other Work Experience section, you can simply add titles, company and dates of employment; there’s likely no need to add detailed bullets about your work. This way, you can still show you have had good job tenure in the past, like the three years you spent working at Starbucks in college, or the four years you ran a paper route in high school.
6.) USE A CONSISTENT LAYOUT
Choose a layout that is easy to follow and looks professional. Use consistent formatting throughout your resume, such as using the same font and font size for headings and bullet points. This helps create a cohesive, polished look for your resume. You should also keep your use of periods consistent. You can either add a period at the end of each bullet or omit it, but whichever you choose, keep it consistent!
7.) USE ACTION VERBS TO DESCRIBE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Instead of simply listing your responsibilities, use action verbs to describe what you did and the impact you had in your previous roles. For example, instead of saying "was responsible for managing the marketing budget," say "managed the marketing budget and increased ROI by 25%." This helps demonstrate your value and achievements.
8.) INCLUDE METRICS AND DATA TO SUPPORT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS WHEN POSSIBLE
In addition to using action verbs, including specific metrics and data can help back up your claims and make them more concrete. For example, if you increased sales at your previous company, include the percentage increase and the total amount of the increase.
9.) CUSTOMIZE YOUR RESUME FOR EACH APPLICATION
If you can, customize your resume for each job you apply for. Don't just send out the same resume for every job you apply for. Take the time to tailor your resume to each specific job, highlighting the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the role. This shows the recruiter that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in the position.
10.) USE KEYWORDS FROM THE JOB DESCRIPTION
Sometimes, recruiters aren’t extremely well-versed in a specific job, so they are looking for keywords that match what they’ve been told to look for. Having relevant keywords can only help the recruiter viewing your resume understand that your resume is relevant to the position.
11.) PROOFREAD AND EDIT
Before you send out your resume, be sure to double check for typos, grammatical errors, and any other mistakes. A resume with errors can potentially turn off a potential employer and harm your chances of getting the job, especially if you are applying for a role where you will be doing business writing or communicating in writing with external parties. Consider having a friend or professional proofreader review your final draft.
12.) USE REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
When listing your work experience, start with your most recent role and work backwards. This is the most common and effective way to present your work history, as it allows a recruiter to easily see your most recent and relevant experience first.
13.) USE CONSISTENT DATE FORMAT
Make sure the date format on your resume is consistent and easy to understand. If you include the month and year for one job as numerals, make sure you do so for all of your jobs. If you are writing out the months, be sure to keep your abbreviations consistent.
14.) DON'T INCLUDE UNNECESSARY PERSONAL INFORMATION
While it's important to include your contact information on your resume, there is no need to include personal details such as your age, marital status, or religious beliefs when applying for roles in the US. These details are not relevant to your qualifications for a job and can even be discriminatory. Stick to the facts and keep your resume focused on your professional experience.
15.) USE A PROFESSIONAL EMAIL ADDRESS
If you're still using a silly or unprofessional email address from your college days, it's time to update it. Use a professional email address that includes your name, such as "email@example.com." This helps establish your credibility and makes it easier for a recruiter to contact you.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your resume is properly formatted and easy for a recruiter to understand. By having a clean, well-organized document, you'll increase your chances of getting noticed and landing the job you want. Remember, a well-formatted resume can make all the difference in standing out in a crowded job market and landing your dream job!