4 Tips For Formatting Your Resume For Easy Reading
With less than 10 seconds to spare and competition rates exceeding 250 applications received on average per job, your resume must allure, capture, and brand yourself the right way. As a 4X Certified Executive Resume Writer and Career Coach, I see at least a dozen resumes come across my desk on a daily basis, and many lack the important eye-grabbing elements. Here are 4 expert tips to format your resume for easy reading:
1. Center Your Headings
A reader’s eyes naturally gaze at the center of the page. Center your headlines. Put them in bold and underline them. Allow the reader to see your headlines (professional experience, education, leadership, presentations, key projects, etc.) easily and quickly! Don’t forget to keep your headings at 11 or 12 point sized font.
2. Use an Easy-to-Read Font
In April 2015, The Huffington Post released an article entitled, “Times New Roman, Dubbed The ‘Sweatpants’ Of Fonts, Is A Bad Choice For Resumes Typography Experts,” which advised readers that Times New Roman is “boring” and unimaginative. As I explained in that article, “Since a prospective employer is looking at the resume for only [a few] seconds, you want [a font] that is aesthetically pleasing and grabs the employer’s attention at a quick glance. The resume should be sophisticated in design with clear headings that stand out.”
The reason for this is quite simple. The curvature in the letters for fonts such as Times New Roman and Garamond preclude the reader from seeing words on a page more clearly. My expert tip: swap out Times New Roman and any serif font for a sans-serif font such as Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, or my personal favorite, Century Gothic. You will notice a modernized look immediately. Readability is enhanced and a breeze.
3. Include a Branding Statement and Professional Summary
Today, resumes have moved away from being summaries of your work history and have instead transformed into strategic marketing documents. When an employer is spending less than 10 seconds on your resume, you need to capture the reader’s eyes quickly and succinctly. Title your resume. Just as a book’s title captures a reader’s attention, a catchy branding statement such as “Award-Winning Sales Executive” is more likely to garner a call for an interview than reading “Sales Professional.” Additionally, consider having a unique value proposition for your professional summary as opposed to an objective statement.
4. Bullet Point Your Accomplishments
Most job seekers think that a resume should contain bullet points of information. This is definitely true, but reserve the bullet points for accomplishments. Emphasize accomplishments and achievements (think: measureable results, awards, major contributions, and key projects) with bullet points and de-emphasize job responsibilities by importing them into paragraph format. This will allow the reader’s eyes to again be drawn to the bullet points which contain the most important information – results!
Utilizing these 4 tips for your resume can make a dramatic difference. At the end of the day, your resume must sell and communicate your value. Stand out and rise to the top of the interview pile.
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