Not only do you need to have the right skills and job experience to land the career of your dreams, but you need a top-notch resume in order to entice employers into interviewing you. There are a few common formatting mistakes that can get you overlooked for jobs. Tune up your resume with these resume formatting tips that will make potential employers more likely to take serious notice of you.
1. Make Sure Your Resume Is the Right Length
Too many people make the mistake of assuming more is better. A good rule of thumb for resumes is no more than one page of resume for every 10 years of experience. One page would usually be appropriate for an entry-level position; however, cramming 25 years of experience onto one page could possibly force you to leave out valuable information. If your resume is lengthy, consider writing a separate addendum for the less-important qualifications that you may present to the hirer if asked.
2. Use a Summary Statement Rather Than an Objective Statement
It is quite likely than if you’ve asked someone who learned to write a resume decades ago, they recommended an objective statement. However, the resume summary statement has replaced the outdated objective component. As potential employers know the reason for the resume, namely that you want a job, an objective is not usually anywhere near as helpful to them as a summary statement. The ideal summary statement will quickly pitch your main qualifications and attributes, conveying in a four- to six-line paragraph why you are the best candidate for this particular job.
The exception to this recommendation is when you are changing careers, are applying for an entry-level position and have little experience in the field or are looking to get a promotion in your current job. An objective statement could be useful under these circumstances so long as you still sell yourself in your objective as opposed to merely stating that you’re interested in a job.
3. Make Your Resume More Readable with Bullet Points
Long, drawn-out paragraphs can lead to potential employers scanning over your experiences without taking the time to read them. Make yourself stand out by using bullet points. For sentence fragments such as “Increased profitability by 150%,” use periods, while short phrases such as skills do not require punctuation.
For proper resume formatting, make sure the experience portion of your resume includes quantifiable metrics when possible and that a handful of bullets are used for each employer. The bullets should specify the duties and responsibilities that you were responsible for and the achievements you accomplished during your time there. If your accomplishments were substantial and warrant an explanation, consider making a separate accomplishments section in your resume for these.
4. Check Multiple Times for Grammatical Errors
An essential part of proper resume formatting is checking repeatedly for grammatical errors. Few things turn away potential employers faster than seeing a resume rife with punctuation, spelling and other grammar problems. Never rely solely on a spell checker as it may miss grammar errors. Proper resume grammar also includes spelling out numbers that are less than 10 and never making the font of your resume in less than a 10 point. Double- and triple-check the spelling of names to eliminate the possibility of errors.
With these quick resume formatting fixes, you resume will look more professional and help you get noticed. Resume formatting doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can help you get the job you want.
For additional help with your resume, you may find the samples and tips for formatting your resume on LiveCareer useful.