In a competitive job market, standing out from the crowd is essential. One way to do this is by using a well-written resume.
Rather than simply listing your work experience, sharing specific details of how you added value in past roles is recommended. When possible, quantify your accomplishments to add more weight to your claims.
1. Use a Bold Font
A recruiter may spend seconds glancing at your resume before moving it to the “yes” or “no” pile, so you must ensure that critical information stands out. A bold font, italics, or underlining can help you grab a hiring manager’s attention and show that your resume is worth reading.
A serif font with a classic look is usually best, such as Times New Roman or Helvetica. But if you want something less traditional, sans-serif fonts (like Verdana or Helvetica) can also work well.
It’s also a good idea to use consistent formatting throughout your resume to make the information easy to read. For example, you should bold the title of each section and italicize critical stats. This will create a pattern for the reader and help them find information quickly.
2. Use a Left-align Format
Employers spend just six seconds on a resume before deciding whether or not to give it more attention. To help them pick out the most important information quickly, it’s essential that your formatting is consistent and coherent.
Avoid using all-caps text, making your resume look sloppy and hard to read. Instead, save your all-caps for section headings and your name.
Additionally, left-align your text throughout the entire document. This is the standard resume format for most professional documents and makes it easy for reviewers to read. Proper margins and spacing are also crucial for giving your content “breathing room.” Additionally, avoid orphan words (single words by themselves on a line of text) and hanging phrases (phrases that include two or more words but don’t end with a punctuation mark). These can take up valuable space and make the page difficult to read.
3. Include a Headline
If you’re applying for a job with particular qualifications, it’s important to highlight those skills and experience in your resume. This can help you stand out and get your resume noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.
A strong headline helps to sell your value, grabbing attention and providing an overview of your skills and experience. It’s important to avoid using ambiguous adjectives and instead focus on quantifiable information such as “accelerated,” “expanded,” or “increased.”
A good headline can also include your certification or license, especially if the job description mentions this requirement. It can also be an impressive work achievement that drops jaws, like a project that doubled sales. This can also be included in your resume’s “Skills” section.
4. Use Bullet Points
Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to quickly scan your resume for information relevant to the open role. This is why it’s essential to use bullet points when listing your work experience and skills.
Using strong action verbs (e.g., Created, Managed, Spearheaded) to convey your accomplishments instead of just listing your responsibilities is also important. Accomplishments tell a story about what you are capable of and what sets you apart from other candidates.
For example, “Led a team to increase user engagement on an API portal by 25%” is more compelling than stating, “Responsible for growing users on an API portal.” Try adding numbers and metrics as well to your bullet points. This makes them more effective and increases the impact of your resume.
5. Keep It Simple
When formatting a resume, it’s essential to keep things simple. This includes using a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Calibri, and ensuring that your font size isn’t too small, which can be challenging to read. It’s also important to have consistent spacing throughout the document, as this can help recruiters find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
For job seekers who want to highlight their work history and specific skills, a hybrid resume format is the best option. This format lists your work experience in reverse chronological order while highlighting your skills and abilities in separate sections.