Countless resumes go across employers’ desks every day without a second glance. Stand out from the crowd and get hired sooner with these 7 resume format tips.
The resume matters at every rung in the career ladder
Are you a fresh graduate looking for employment? Or wanting a new career? Maybe you’re looking to apply for a different position within the organization instead.
No matter what point you’re at career-wise, your resume must be top quality. Otherwise you risk barely getting a look from a prospecitve boss who assumes that:
- You don’t have the credentials for the job opening because they’re not immediately noticable on the resume, OR
- You don’t take the job application seriously because of errors on your CV.
Getting a job isn’t easy when there are so many other people competing with you. Half of US employees actively search for a new job, as per Forbes.
And while your past experiences and achievements are what sets you apart in the end and qualifies you for the job, the chances that you’ll get hired are low if you’re not showcasing that well in your resume.
That’s exactly why you’ll want to follow these suggestions for organizing such an important document before sending it to a prospective employer. You literally can’t afford to ignore these details.
Resume format tips:
1. Put your contact info first
While there is no “best” resume layout, the universal rule is to place your full name, address, and contact information at the top of the page. It’s also important to center-align these details.
Bold and capitalize your name too so that it catches the eye immediately. Make sure the address you place is one you’re living in at present. If you have an email address for work, don’t forget to add that as well.
2. Several achievements? Then use chronological format
The chronological format sounds complicated but it’s not. It simply means that you list your most recent work experience first.
This type of outline makes the most sense to use when you already have a good list of experiences and promotions. It’s also useful when you want to apply to a job in a similar field. Furthermore, it shows a vertical career progression.
But there are times when it’s best NOT to use the chronological layout.
For example, if you change jobs often or if you want to work in a new industry then stay away from it. You’ll risk being seen as unstable and passed over for the job opening.
Also avoid the chronological option when you have gaps in your employment history. Instead, you might want to follow the functional resume format tips in the next section.
3. Functional format highlights skills and abilities
Using the functional setup for your CV will help you to highlight all of the following:
It’s the best kind of organizational style to use if you want to make a career change in a new industry. By pointing out how your aptitudes and abilities are transferrable to a new field of work, you create a strong resume to increase the chances that you get hired.
Or use the functional resume when you have large gaps between when you employed in the past; it won’t make unemployment immediately apparent, unlike the chronological.
But avoid the functional formula if you want to highlight upward career mobility. Entry-level candidates, students, and people lacking relevant skills also should avoid this formatting.
4. Pros use combination resume formatting
The combination style is a mix of the functional and chronological formats described above. This combo best showcases relevant skillsets and work experience over the years.
Including it on this resume format tips list is a “must” because it’s ideal for someone who wants to transfer to a different industry than they’ve ever worked in before. While you won’t have a job history in the field of interest yet, you can emphasize the skills you bring with you without bringing attention to the transition.
Essentially, you highlight what you are capable of rather than what you’ve done in the past when you choose the combination resume.
More resume format tips to get hired:
5. The one-page rule to get hired (with exceptions)
It’s good to keep your CV concise but meaningful. Follow the one-page rule to do exactly that.
This advice makes sense given the number of resumes that recruiters usually receive when they advertise a job vacancy. They can’t possibly read every document line for line and, thus, skim it to save time and gather the most important info about you.
In other words, brief is best. Support for this conclusion comes from a Saddleback College Resume Survey. When asked what companies prefer for resume length, close to half (47.7%) said one page, with only 11.4% wanting two pages.
But that’s not all. A fairly big chunk of the respondents, 34.1% to be exact, said the length depends on the job. That tells me that there’s no hard and fast rule for length.
If it’s a top-level position that requires vast experience, such as a COO, for example, then go beyond one page if it is necessary to position you as the front runner for the position. That way you can include all related experience and schooling.
6. Font size and margins
If you haven’t thought about the font and size of lettering, then it’s time to do so. Without even realizing it, the font can give a reader the impression that you’re professional or that you’re not serious about the job hunt.
For example, Comic Sans is a lighthearted font that likely won’t impress employers. Instead, choose one that is suitable for business and easy to read in an appropriate size.
A common font for resumes is Times New Roman. I’m an Arial fan too.
As for the font size, all text in your resume should be at 10, 11, or 12 points. That size enables you to fit all or most of your work history and training into a single page while still being large enough to see without squinting so you get hired.
Also, remember to use margins not less than 0.5 inches all around. If you want to learn how to format a resume, use resume format templates from Adobe Sparks to create a professional document in less time.
7. Pronouns and ease of reading
Did you know not to use first-person pronouns in your resume? By leaving out “I” and “me” you will get rid of unnecessary words; the recruiter already knows that you’re describing yourself.
And the last of the resume format tips is to keep the whole thing easy to read. Break up text with bold, italics, and underlined formatting to make the sections and subsections clear to the reader.
Resume format tips: Get organized to get hired
On the resume front, it’s formatting that can get you that dream job! You could have all the skills in the world and still not land it if your resume is sloppy.
Remember, if you don’t know how to create a resume, you can use resume templates online instead in a snap. For more informative guides like this one, check out this ultimate resume writing guide.