Conduct some research before you sit down to write your resume. You’ve probably seen examples and read advice regarding the importance of using action verbs and the significance of quantifying accomplishments when it comes to creating a successful resume; however, determining how to format your resume is an equally relevant and often overlooked component of the application process. If you have resume format questions related to assembling your information in a clear, logical and reader-friendly format, these tips will help.
The following are frequently asked resume format questions complete with answers that will steer you in the right direction and help you avoid common mistakes.
Q: Is it okay to increase the page margins and decrease the font size in order to fit my resume onto two pages?
A: Those formatting tricks don’t fool anyone, and while some feel that a 10-point font is okay, consider a hiring manager’s perspective. These individuals have many resumes to get through, and given a choice between a two-page resume in 12-point font or a four-page resume in 10-point font, which option do you think a recruiter will prefer?
Rather than resorting to “making it fit,” use some crafty editing to reign in the size of a long resume without sacrificing critical content. If anything, your concisely written resume will show off your writing skills, focus and ability to prioritize.
Q: I’m talented in the realm of graphic design. Should I showcase my creativity with a unique resume?
A: Many employers rely on online job postings and career sites that allow applicants to post and submit their resumes electronically. Because of this, recruiters and hiring managers are often inundated with resumes from many applicants, some of whom don’t come close to meeting the job requirements. Many companies are now using applicant-tracking systems to cull the large volume of resumes that are received online. These electronic gatekeepers often choose only 25 percent of the resumes to be read by an actual hiring manager. The systems look for industry-specific keywords, and if they don’t see them, the resume does not pass through. However, these systems are not designed to process complex documents. If you decide to include fancy formatting and elaborate graphics within a resume that is going to be electronically submitted to a company, you run the risk of failing the system’s checker. However, if you’re familiar with a specific company’s hiring process and can confirm that your resume will be read by a manager, using tables to organize information and simple designs to draw attention may work in your favor.
Q: Where should I list my interests and hobbies?
A: This is one of the easiest resume format questions to answer; however, it may disappoint job seekers who wants to emphasize their personality. Generally, unless your interests are related to the job opening, they don’t belong on your resume. They take up valuable space that could be used to reflect important qualifications. If you land an interview with the company and are specifically asked to share your outside interests, feel free to discuss your passions. Otherwise, exclude this information from your resume.
Q: What’s the best way to format my resume?
A: When it comes to resume format questions, some advice is common regardless of the resume style you choose:
- Hiring managers don’t want to read tightly packed paragraphs, and they like moderate use of bullet points.
- White spaces make the document easy on the eyes.
- Fancy but difficult-to-read fonts make the reader less likely to finish reading your resume.
If you’re interested in reading more answers to commonly asked resume format questions, LiveCareer has plenty of resources.