When writing your resume, it’s natural to feel as though your resume format doesn’t pack the punch you want it to. A concise, well-formatted resume is your key to impressing a hiring manager, so take care to avoid these common resume formatting pitfalls.
Don’t Start With a Resume Objective
Don’t begin with a resume objective that describes your aspirations or career goals. Though you may think this paints you as motivated or ambitious, the focus of your resume format should be on meeting your recruiter’s needs, not your own. Consider the following two examples:
A self-motivated individual seeking to apply my skills in research, data entry and project management to a reputable law firm.
Seeking an entry-level position at a sales company that will allow me to utilize my diverse skill sets and expertise in customer relations.
In addition to sounding vague and uninformative, these sections fail to address how you would be of value to the company to which you are applying. Don’t take up space on your resume with wordy or uninformative introductions. Replace this section instead with a succinct resume summary statement. Include a bulleted list of five to seven concrete skills that reflect your past achievements. Consider the following example:
Writing the perfect resume format involves putting your strongest skills front and center. Your ability to make a good first impression depends on whether the recruiter can find what he or she is looking for in less than six seconds.
Descriptions That Don’t Quantify Your Achievements
Some applicants may feel their resume is lacking if they do not include descriptive terms such as, “detail-oriented” or “team player.” In reality, these run-of-the-mill adjectives contribute nothing to your resume format, which should instead focus on specific examples. Consider the following example: “Constructed and edited a 25-page research grant that was distributed among and evaluated by three government review boards.” Instead of merely stating your qualities, think of concrete examples that demonstrate how you’ve applied them in the past.
A Section Dedicated to Hobbies, Interests or Affiliations
While you can and should make a list of professional organizations to which you belong, particularly if they are prestigious or volunteer-oriented, never mention your political affiliations. You interests and hobbies, similarly, only function to take up space. Instead, dedicate as many words as possible to past endeavors that have generated quantifiable results. Likewise, personal information, such as your social security number, religious affiliations and marital status, has no place on your resume.
When creating an ideal resume format, avoid fancy fonts, pictures and colors other than blue or black. The margins should be uniform on all sides to create a centered appearance. Jobs that require creativity are no exception. Save your images and design capabilities for your portfolio.
A Long Work History Section
Employers want to know what you’ve done recently. In general, avoid including information from more than 15-20 years ago. If you’re in your twenties, then chances are your resume should only be one page long. Do not include paragraphs as job descriptions. Instead, you should include 5 to 8 bullet points that highlight major duties or accomplishments at any job. In general, prioritize any past work experiences that reflect advancement.
If you’re still wondering which resume format is right for you, the tips and tricks at LiveCareer may be just what you need to get started.