How To Format Your Resume

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how to format your resume

It’s never been easier to create your own resume, but should you? Sure, the internet abounds with articles on resume tips, and templates are available from literally every word processing software. Yes, you can format your own resume, but if you do, heed these words of warning.

1. Choose a modern resume format and design

Nothing will make you look more dated than submitting a resume that looks as if it is straight out of the 1980s. Fonts, like wide ties, come in and out of style. Pick a current design template. Don’t change the font to something you like more. Even if you have lots of valuable work experience, you will be competing with younger, hipper people for jobs. Make sure your resume looks as if you stay current.

2. Don’t clutter the top of your resume with your address.

Hiring managers aren’t going to write you a letter a top an exquisitely designed  business letterhead. They’re not going to knock on your door with a suitcase full of cash. If they want to interact with your further, he or she will call you or send you an email. Include your address, but consider using a small font and including it at the bottom of the document.

3. Don’t forget to include the address to your LinkedIn profile.

Like your Mama always said, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” LinkedIn is a manifestation of this old saying. Spend time on your profile. Use a professional looking profile picture. Allow the hiring manager to see who you know and what they are saying about you. Make sure the information on your resume and the information on your profile match.

Your LinkedIn profile is essential, perhaps even more so than your resume. If you know you are going to be entering the job market six months from now, start working on making valuable connections via LinkedIn now. Ask previous co-workers and professors to write about your positive attributes on your profile. The time that you spend on this form of social media will not be wasted.

4. Don’t assume a human will see your resume first.

Hiring managers are unable to look at every resume that comes across their screens. In fact, some large companies scan resumes searching for predetermined keywords to see if you match the qualifications they are looking for in a new hire. This doesn’t happen often, but it is a strategy some companies use.

How do you make sure your resume includes those keywords? Spend time looking at the job posting. Try to match some of their keywords with the words on your resume. Yes, this may mean that each of your resumes will need to be customized for each job. Yes, this requires more work and energy. This is how you play the game.

5. Don’t assume that your writing is fantastic.

Unless writing is your “thing,” have others look at your resume before submitting it to any company. If you don’t have someone that you trust to do this very important job, or you feel like your resume perhaps isn’t as strong as it could be, you may wish to work with a resume writing company such as ARC Resumes to craft the perfect document that shows potential employers exactly what you could bring to their company.  This is also true of your LinkedIn profile. You may think you are an excellent writer, but were you ever surprised in college when you received a C on a paper? Maybe that’s not one of your skills after all.

Make sure the person you ask to edit your resume has those skills. Even after you have several sets of eyes look at your writing, consider running your text through Grammarly before submitting. Grammarly not only checks for spelling and grammar errors, but it also tells you if you are using a specific word too often. It also gives you tips on how to be more concise in your writing.

6. Avoid submitting your resume as a word document or in some other weird format.

To avoid any formatting changes, submit your resume as a PDF. While this isn’t your only choice of document types, it is a common one. Most websites will give you a list of what kinds of formats are acceptable.

And while we are talking about submitting a resume, don’t forget to take care of writing your cover letter. This can be presented as an email or as a separate PDF document that you attach. If you attach the cover letter to your email, make sure that the email at least has a line or two saying that you are applying for a specific position and that those documents are attached. Then make sure you attach them.

Whether you are an experienced worker or you are just getting started in your career, knowing the process of getting a job is integral. If you are not comfortable in this tech-savvy world, hire someone to help you complete the process. Free-lance writers can be utilized readily through websites such as Upwork.

Good luck!