- Powerful resumes and cover letters contain NO typos or misspellings.
This characteristic should go without saying, yet we still see resume/cover-letter typos and misspellings with alarming frequency.
Remember that it’s not enough to spell-check your documents because you may have used a perfectly spelled word — but it wasn’t the word you wanted. For example, a word frequently seen on resumes and cover letter is “possess,” but some job-seekers accidentally spell it “posses,” which is the plural of “posse.”
Proofread your resume and cover letter. Put them down for a few hours, come back, and proofread again. Then get a friend or family member with a good eye to proof them for you.
9. Powerful resumes and cover letters are reader-friendly.
The Career Management Alliance study ranks easy readability highest of all resume characteristics in terms of first impressions. The employers surveyed ranked use of bullets second highest.
Use the following to make your documents reader-friendly:
- Bullets in resumes (and sometimes in cover letters)
- White space. Make sure your documents have reasonable margins. In my opinion, the default margins in Microsoft Word are wider than they need to be (1.25″ on the left and right and 1″ at the top and bottom). Margins can be as narrow as .75″ if needed. Also make sure you have a line of space between all the jobs listed on your resume and between all resume sections. For cover letters, equalize the white space at the top and bottom of the letter so that it is centered vertically on the page.
- Type large enough to read (no smaller than 10.5 point).
Now, about the one-page “rule.” Job-seekers, especially new grads, are often cautioned to keep resumes to one page. And it’s good advice. You should keep it to one page if at all possible. But if your experience is exceptional, don’t sacrifice readability just for the sake of keeping the resume to one page. We’ve seen job-seekers use nonexistent margins and tiny type just to squash their resumes onto a single page. At the same time, if your resume spills over to fill just a small part of a second page (less than half the page), it’s probably best to condense to one page by cutting content. Read our article, The Scoop on Resume Length: How Many Pages Should Your Resume Be?