There are countless ways to format a resume and no perfect solution. You will find claims that “this way is the right way,” but the reality is that it depends on the situation – what kind of experience you have and what position, or audience, you are targeting.

The one thing I do know: If I see a resume that doesn’t get to the point or is all over the place, chances are I will pass on it. We have so many resumes to look at, and if I can’t understand your resume I’m not going to spend an hour trying to figure it out.

Clean It Up

  • Do not provide a long description of all your experience and then also list your positions separately at the bottom. Separate your experience into the positions you have worked.
  • Do not ramble about each position — it will most likely get repetitive. There is a fine line and absolutely such a thing as too much information.
  • The one-page resume rule may go out the window once you are looking for your third or fourth position — if you cut it down to one page we will not get nearly enough information about your positions — but, that said, don’t go overboard. Five-page resumes are a bit excessive.
  • Do not list every single technology you have heard of. If you are in IT and have technical skills, list the ones you have hands-on experience with and would be comfortable utilizing daily in your next position. Also, organize them. List development languages, operation systems, CRMs, databases, etc. separately so that a non-technical person (HR) can find them easily.
  • Do not use tables, especially with the borders visible. You may think it is a great way to organize your resume, but in reality it looks too busy and not clean.
  • Make sure your document will translate well to other computers and other software. I have opened resumes that are all of a sudden written with wingdings, or the text is overlapping. Those get thrown out. If you’re not sure, send it to a friend and have them try to open it.
  • Use spaces! There is no reason to have all your positions and lines jumbled together, space them out and make it easy to navigate.
  • Use bullets. If you resume is a novel with paragraphs I will not read it.

Keeping your resume clean and easy to navigate is the key to getting noticed. I am sure that strong candidates are passed on because of the ridiculous formatting on their resume. Keep it simple while still adding the important details.

photo by: triplezero

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