When you're formatting your resume, your main focus is probably related to content. After all, it is important to effectively convey your past experiences and explain how these experiences have shaped you into an ideal candidate for the position. However, the first thing an employer sees when they look at your resume isn't your past experience; it's your resume format. While formatting isn't the only important thing to consider when you're assembling your resume, it pays to be thoughtful while arranging your information within the document.
Determining the Length
Unless your potential employer specifies, it's usually a good idea to create a resume that is no longer than two pages. Employers are expected to read a substantial number of resumes, and narrowing your experiences down to two pages demonstrates your respect for their time.
Ordering the Sections
The ordering of sections in a resume can vary depending on your experience related to the position for which you're applying. For instance, if you just graduated from college, this may be your most impressive qualification. However, if you're applying for a teaching job and you already have years of experience, you'll want to lead with the professional experience immediately after your contact information. Essentially, it comes down to placing the most important information first. If a potential employer finds it challenging to locate your relevant experience, he or she may pass over your application for one that is better organized. Put some thought into your organization and resume format, and you'll be on your way to employment success.
Using Bullet Points
One of the many challenges of creating a resume is conveying experience without taking up too much space. If you go on for paragraphs, your potential employer may become lost in blocks of text. However, if you don't include enough detail, an employer will feel that your resume is incomplete. Find a concise way to show what your duties and accomplishments were at each of your previous jobs.
One of the best ways to do this is by using bullet points to organize information. Keep in mind that you don't need to use complete sentences; many employers react well to action verbs like "managed large group of employees" and "evaluated employee performance." Using these phrases as opposed to full sentences will get your experience across with more impact while reserving space for other important sections.
Understanding White Space
While it's important to make sure your information is concisely formatted into two pages or less, you should also avoid creating a cluttered resume. One way to do this is by leaving room for white space. In order to make your resume aesthetically appealing, center your name and contact information at the top of the page. Then, order the following sections in a format that works for your experience.
In order to preserve some white space on the page, you may want to take advantage of horizontal space in your resume format. For example, it's usually good to include what years you were active in a given job. You can make use of the horizontal space you have by writing your employer, job title and dates worked on the same line. This way, you avoid taking up additional vertical page space and keep the page count on your resume to a minimum.
It's important to carefully consider your resume format when applying for a new position. You want to make a positive impression on potential employers, and following these tips will get you one step closer to success.
If you visit LiveCareer, you may find the additional tips and advice regarding resume format helpful.