Staying Motivated
Secret 1
Secret 2
Secret 3

The Big Three
Bragging 101

The Resume Debate
Free 2 Change
Ready, Aim, Fire
5 Steps

August 29, 2009

Formatting First

#1 of The Big Three: The Top Three Elements Every Resume Must Have...and Very Few Do!

If you read the previous issue of this newsletter you'll recall my observation that writing about yourself is one of the most difficult tasks you ever face -- made even tougher when it's your resume you're writing and both the stakes and pressure are high.  

My goal is to help relieve the help you relax and feel confident in the knowledge that your resume:

  • Includes the best of your talents, strengths and accomplishments,
  • Excludes anything that distracts from these,
  • Presents you in the most positive, professional way.

As you know, Resume Room is where we transform your draft resume into a polished, strategic tool that will attract the attention of recruiters and employers to help land the interview that leads to your next job. 

So let's start with a terrific draft!

When you create and edit your draft, remember The Big Three -- the three elements integral to an effective resume: Format, Content and your Personal Profile.  

#1 -- Format for Instant Understanding
Because you can't count on a recruiter or employer reading every word, it's imperative that you format your resume for at-a-glance impact.  Be sure to: 

  • Select the resume format that best showcases your background, strengths and accomplishments: chronological, skills-based, achievement-based or combination.
  • Display your name larger than your contact information.  
  • Keep line lengths short and readable.
  • Use large margins both left and right.
  • Justify left only.
  • Use a font size large enough to be read by older readers. 
  • Repeat your name and contact information on page two.
  • Use font, bold, italics and underlining strategically to draw your reader's eye to (and away from) key data points.
  • Choose whether job titles or company names are more impressive and emphasize them consistently.
  • De-emphasize locations and years worked.
  • Use color, text boxes and other design tools subtly to enhance appearance and readability.
  • Indent bullets to create extra "white space."
  • Keep your resume to two pages.
  • Use other pages, if you require more than two, to present stand-alone categories such as achievements, clients, honors and awards, special proficiencies.  

These tips help ensure a resume that attracts attention and is easy to read.  Why is this so vital?  Your resume's appearance determines its readability.  The easier it is to read, the more information it will convey -- and the easier it is for your reader to process that information and form a positive image of you!

In the next issue, I'll focus on #2 of The Big Three: Content, providing more guidelines to help you as you undertake this most challenging of tasks.