Don’t Make These Resume Formatting Mistakes

Formatting resumes seems to pose a challenge for a lot of candidates. It doesn’t particularly help that most word processors make it difficult to get your documents looking the way you want them. Still, though, there are some common pitfalls that are pretty easy to avoid once you’ve identified them. Here are some mistakes you should avoid making on your next resume; just by deciding not to make them, you can set yourself that much ahead of the competition.

Don’t put your name in huge letters at the top of the page

Why this is such a common choice isn’t very clear, but many people seem hardwired to make headings large. You don’t need to choose a huge font for anything on your resume, including your name. The hiring manager will spot it if it’s a nice normal size. One or two points larger than the rest of your resume is the maximum you should make the font size. You could even keep it the same size. The reason you don’t want to make it huge is 1-it looks silly; and 2-it wastes space. The first third of the first page is the only part of your resume most hiring managers will even look at before deciding whether to throw away your resume or read the rest later. Why waste that precious space on your name?

Don’t skip bullet points.

When you describe you previous job duties and accomplishments, don’t just write them in paragraph form, all run together. Use bullet points under each listing, separate bullet points for every duty or achievement. Make your resume as readable as possible.

Put the most important information first, whatever that is.

There’s no one “right” way to order your sections. If you’re fresh out of school with almost no work experience, the education and skills should go on top, before the work experience. If you’ve been working for years, your work experience should probably go before your skills and education. The goal is to highlight whatever is most relevant and impressive in the top third of the first page.

Do not make your resume long.

More and more candidates are figuring this one out, but you still see resumes that exceed three pages sometimes. The best length is one to two pages. It can’t be said enough times that hiring managers make their initial decision without even turning to page two, so a sure deterrent is including a dozen pages. It makes you look arrogant, long-winded, and unfocused, and it makes the hiring manager think you have no respect for his or her time.

These are some of the most common formatting mistakes job candidates make when they format their resumes. If you aren’t sure how to get started on your resume, a resume builder can offer you a great start. From there you can rearrange and refine your resume until it meets your expectations and communicates your job skills and accomplishments in the most effective manner.

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  1. John K says:

    Great points. I heard many of them before except the importance of keeping attention getting information in the top third of the page and keeping the person’s name to one to two points larger.

    I’m re-entering the workforce after owning a business for 9 years, so great points and thanks!

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