Resume Formatting

How should my resume look and read?

A well-written resume is like a well-dressed interviewer: words carefully chosen, clean, error-free copy, a strong, simple, up-to-date look.

When you write your skills and work experience section, resist the temptation to simply include a laundry list of duties and qualifications. Summarize your work responsibilities, and tie them, as much as possible, to specific accomplishments and measurable results.

This is not the time to be modest! Take all legitimate credit for what you’ve achieved, though never exaggerate or misrepresent your background.

Select strong action verbs and concrete nouns: managed sales tracking, developed a team, created applications, increased revenues.

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes will cost you interviews and leave your resume in the discard pile. Don’t depend solely on spell check. Proofread every word yourself, looking for errors spell check misses, such as "from" for "form" or "sea" for "see." Then ask a friend or family member to proofread. After that, set your resume aside for a few hours or a day, then pick it up and proofread once more.

Keep punctuation consistent, with periods after all full sentences and commas and periods inside quotation marks. Don’t use exclamation points or any fancy or "cute" symbols or graphic elements.

Capitalize proper nouns, write out numbers between one and nine, and keep date formats consistent.

Don’t change verb tenses within a description, but use present tense for your current position and past for all others.

Abbreviate state names correctly, and insert the same number of returns between each section of your resume.

When it comes to the sound and style of your resume, taking charge means being error-free and looking sharp. View our resume samples for an idea of how good yours can look.

Take charge with flexible formats

Today’s multi-faceted job market means you have to be ready for every situation. If you have at hand traditional, scannable, and email ready resumes, all keyword rich and proofread to perfection, you’ll be set to respond to literally any employer in the marketplace.

How to make your scannable resume work anywhere

A scannable resume is a paper version that can be fed into an applicant tracking system and easily scanned and stored for reference. For maximum compatibility with nearly all employers’ tracking software, try these tips:

  • Use a laser printer on plain white, 8½ X 11 paper, and mail flat without folds or staples.
  • The best type fonts for scanning are Helvetica, Arial, Times New Roman, or Courier, 10 — 14 points in size.
  • Avoid condensed spacing, shading, italics, underlines, horizontal and vertical lines, boxes, graphics, or multiple columns.
  • Keep bullets to a minimum.
  • Put your name, by itself, on the first line, Type your address in standard format, and give each phone number a separate line.
  • Send an original, not a copy, and try to avoid faxing.
Sample Resumes

Resume sample 1

Resume sample 2

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Life Coaching by Laurie Swanson