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Writing Your Resume: What Formatting Errors Should You Avoid?

By Amanda Clark | Small Business

Writing Your Resume: What Formatting Errors Should You Avoid? image iStock 000016623115XSmall 300x201Writing Your Resume: What Formatting Errors Should You Avoid?

Writing your resume is half of the battle; choosing a great format for your content is just as important as the quality of the content itself. Today’s recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with resumes that are difficult to read, that are over the top in terms of graphics and colors, and that simply don’t catch their eye aesthetically. Below are five common errors to avoid when formatting your resume.

  1. Adding graphics. Images are only acceptable if they are specific to your industry or to the job for which you are applying (although even graphic designers should keep their portfolios separate from their resumes). Some certification programs provide you with ribbons to put on your resume, but this is just detracting from the important content on the page. Additionally, headshots are only reserved for models, actors, and the like!
  2. Ignoring the need for balance between text and white space. Resumes only give you so much space to explain your experience, skills, and achievements, and as such there is often a lot of detail that you are looking to get onto a relatively small page. But cramming information onto the document isn’t the right way to go about this, as it will only make the content difficult to read.
  3. Choosing a resume format that reads well online but not in print, and vice versa. Today’s hiring managers and recruiters are often tech-savvy, and as such they tend to read resumes both in print and on the computer screen. Some formats don’t translate well to one or the other, so make sure that your resume looks great both on paper and online before hitting “send.”
  4. Using bright, bold colors. You may be tempted to inject a bit of personality onto the resume by using fun colors, but this is just distracting. Instead, rely upon the content of your resume and the organization and style of the format to get your message across. For instance, use words like “proactive,” “high energy,” etc. instead of painting the page with neon hues.
  5. Picking a font that is difficult to read. Times New Roman, Arial, Cambria, and Calibri are standard fonts that everyone uses—and for good reason. These are easy to read, clear fonts that can effectively get your point across. You may be tempted to reflect your personality by typing in a more unorthodox font, but be aware that this will both make it more difficult for readers and may incur judgment. A quick Google search of the once popular Comic Sans reveals that people are very opinionated about fonts, so it’s best to keep it simple.

Writing your resume is a complex process, and getting the formatting just right is one of many challenges you may encounter. Instead of doing it alone and betting the success of your job search on your resume formatting prowess, call us to find out how we can help you create a strong resume that you will be proud to send to hiring managers!

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