The Resume

Posted: August 3, 2010 in Job Search Help

Basic Rule

Never cause the reader to hesitate on any wording or distracting visual elements.


To get a job – you don’t need to state that in the resume.


Every word should contribute to selling your skills.


Your resume should not be a visual cacophony. Keep it simple.

The Whole Package

Today’s resume is presented and read electronically. As you compose your resume pay attention to the top half of the first page. It is here that you hook the reader with an opening statement of the skills that you intend to present. This is followed immediately by your most recent position that further elaborates on the skills that you presented in the initial paragraph. This most recent position can extend beyond the first half of the first page, but should leave room to introduce the previous position. Followed by all other positions, education, awards, publications, organizations, and whatever else contributes to the over all content of the resume. Occasionally education is such a key element of the job requirement that it could be presented after the initial statement and before the most recent position.

Do’s and Do Not’s

Use a single font for the entire resume (Times Roman is the easiest to read).

Use simple bullets (don’t get fancy with check marks or arrows).

Use tabs to position elements that you want to separate from other text, but set the tab for that element in the tab bar, do not tab tab… space, space, space… to visually position the element. This will cause inconsistent results on different word processing packages.

Use the built in formatting of your word processing package but don’t try to use all of them. I would suggest using Heading 1 for your name, Heading 2 for the section titles, Heading 3 for each position. Use bullets, not numbered list (the reader will hesitate wondering at the priority of the items). All paragraphs should use the Text body format of your word processor. Note: the defaults for some elements may be a different font family – you can use select all and change all fonts to Times Roman after you have completed building your resume.

Proof read your resume – no, really, don’t rely on your word processor to catch everything, after all there are too many ways to present two different things. Read it backwards, have someone else read it for content, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Edit and proof your resume with the Nonprinting Characters displayed. There should not be a single extra space, tab, new line, hidden element, or revision text in the document. Neatness counts.

Basic Rule (again because it is important)

Never cause the reader to hesitate on any wording or distracting visual elements.

  1. maureenmccalum says:

    Very well said Chet!

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