Although the content of your resume is what really interests recruiters, the layout is also important. The right layout makes it easy for recruiters to identify your skills and determine whether you meet the minimum requirements for the job, and the wrong layout could leave you looking unprofessional. Keep these tips in mind as you format your resume.
Your resume should have sections for education, work experience and professional certifications. If you don't have a lot of experience in your field, you may also want to include a list of volunteer activities, especially if those activities are relevant to your desired job. One thing you should remove from your resume entirely is the career objective. Instead of helping you, objectives can seem outdated and can actually hurt your chances of landing the job, according to U.S. News & World Report.
When formatting the text of your resume, use a font that is easy to read. Calibri, Garamond and Arial are good choices. Don't overwhelm recruiters with crowded text and lengthy paragraphs. Instead, use bullet points to express yourself in as few words as possible. Make text easier to read by leaving some white space around each section.
The right format for your resume depends on your work history, skills and career trajectory. If you can show progressive responsibility in one industry, list your jobs in reverse chronological order. The functional format, which emphasizes skills instead of job titles, is ideal if you want to break into a new industry or overcome long gaps in your job history. If you decide to go with a functional resume, create a new section for each of your skills.
In most cases, you should not include any graphical elements in your resume. Graphics make it difficult for recruiters to focus on your achievements, which can hurt you in the long run. If you really want to add some color, create a simple logo, and place it at the top of the page. Avoid inserting photos, infographics, tables and charts.
Your resume should take up approximately one full page. It may seem difficult to condense your work history into just a few paragraphs, but it's doable if you focus on your achievements and eliminate any unnecessary sections. Use two-column lists to showcase your skills without taking up too much room.
If a potential employer does not specify a preferred file format, send an ASCII or PDF version of your resume. ASCII is a standardized format that appears the same in every email program. PDF files work on both Windows and Macintosh computers, reducing the risk of missing out on a great opportunity because the recruiter couldn't open your resume.
When revamping your resume, don't focus all of your efforts on the content. Take time to work on the layout, and make sure it is as appealing as possible to hiring managers and HR professionals.
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