resume in a bottleBelieve it or not, there are people who pay hundreds of dollars to have their resumes written by a professional.  The truth is though, that if a resume is not structured and formatted correctly, all of the experience and education in the world will not land you the job.  Many a resume has met its end with the shredder because of formatting and technical errors, even though their experience and education may have met the minimum requirements.  If a potential candidate is not detail-oriented enough to ensure that their documents, which are intended to put their best face forward, are not in order, then they are not a good fit at any organization.

Here are seven top tips for new entrants to the job market that will help you format your resume correctly, and keep you ahead of the game.

Use Bold Text

You should always bold and enlarge your name at the top of your resume.  Your name always needs to stand out.

Align Sections Properly

Make sure that all of the sections contained within your resume line up.   It is always a safe bet to use the justify option as opposed to a right or left alignment.  Never use a centered alignment except for your name and contact information at the top of your resume.

Stay Consistent

If you used an abbreviation in your street address, use an abbreviation in your employment and educational addresses as well.  For example, if you used “CA” for California in your street address, use the state abbreviations elsewhere in the document as well.

Use A Readable Typeface

Do not use a fancy font when you are formatting your resume.  Always use something that is standard and readable such as Times New Roman or Arial in 12-point font.  Any other font may show up as garble on another machine, especially ones that run other operating systems.

Don’t Include Employment Street Addresses

When you are listing previous employers, don’t list their street addresses or their contact information, just the city and state will do.  If the recruiter needs more information they will either ask you or find it themselves.

Do Not Include A Picture

This is a bizarre trend and one that needs to be obliterated altogether.  Unless you are applying for a job in a field that requires you to look a certain way, such as the performing arts, do not include a picture with your resume.  This same rule applies to graphics as well; if you are not applying to a creative field, keep them off of your resume.

Edit & Proofread

Read over your resume once, twice and three times.  Then leave it for a few hours and come back to it.  Have a friend or your partner read over it.  You can even have one of your professors read over it, but you must ensure that it is error free.  The importance of this cannot be stressed enough.

Stick to these resume formatting tips and you’ll be sure to get your resume right the first time and make a lasting impression on the hiring manager who comes across it.

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