Saturday, June 11, 2011

4 steps to the right resume format
A well-formatted resume makes you stand out from the rest and also makes it easy for the recruiter to find what he wants. Here are 4 steps to insure you don’t go wrong in your resume format.                    
 A well-formatted resume makes you stand out from the rest in two ways. Firstly it makes the resume pleasing to the eye and secondly a well organized resume makes it easy for the recruiter to find the information he wants. Here are 4 steps to make sure you don’t go wrong in your resume formatting.

The first step is to insure you have the right fonts and spacing so your formatting is not lost while emailing/uploading and is compatible across all platforms.

Keep your font plain and easy to read.
Use a sans serif font like Arial or Verdana, especially for faxes, as these come out clearer. For an online resume you can be more experimental and use fonts like Tahoma, Helvetica, Times New Roman or Courier. However make sure you use only these common fonts that are available across different versions of MS Office, Vistas etc; as you do not know what operating system the recruiter may be using.

Once you have selected one font type, use this font type across the resume – including the cover letter. Do not vary your fonts.

You may vary the font size, especially for headings and to highlight you name at the top –you would necessarily need to do so. For the main body of the resume you should select a font size between 9 and 11 points.

Always use a black font and again avoid using varied colours or any kind of graphic embellishments. As far as possible avoid italics, shadow or shading effects. Also do not use condensed or expanded spacing between the letters

An attractively formatted resume catches the eye. Some simple rules to follow:
 • Use left margin justification i.e. keep all text in the main body left-aligned.
• Use single line spacing between the lines.
• Use straight lines to break sections and also to give an outline to the resume, if you wish to.
• Simple bullet points under each category head give a neat format.
• For a hard copy print on plain white or cream paper.
 • A resume should ideally be two pages in length, and a cover letter strictly one page.

Senior or IT resumes could run into three pages. (Also read: Resume tips for experienced people) For IT candidates, if you have a lot of projects to detail, only add the most recent and important ones in the main body of your resume. The others can be added on as an annexure to the resume.

Further each industry has its own resume norms. For example if you are applying for an advertising or design profile then you have the license to be more innovative and creative in the presentation of your resume. Let it look different in terms of layout, fonts, paper and style of writing.

However if you are applying for a finance, sales, manufacturing, operations or HR job, stick to a strict conservative style and fonts. Focus on a crisp, to the point resume. In a resume for a finance position, make sure your educational qualifications are brought up front.

If you are applying for a marketing or editorial position some innovation is acceptable, but overall the tilt should be towards the conservative.
If you are an IT professional, insure your resume clearly reflects technical skills upfront and as a separate section. A tabular format is also good to use for IT resumes.

Organize all information under the regular headings as 'Synopsis/Profile', 'Work Experience', 'Skills', 'Achievements', 'Awards', 'Extra-curricular' and 'Personal Details'. Ensure your headings stand out clearly and the recruiter does not have to hunt for these. (Also read: Listing employment history in your CV)
It is important to follow the standard patterns as recruiters have little time and working their way through an unfamiliar format or a disorganized resume is time-consuming and may just cause them to reject a resume without even reading it.
Also remember that work experience, achievements and other content with datelines must be organized in reverse chronological order. (Also read: Does you resume project you as an achiever?)

How you organize the top bar of the resume is important as it is the first impression.

Ensure your name comes right at the top of the resume in bold and is at least 2 font sizes bigger than the rest of the resume. The email ID, phone number and address should come below the name in a smaller font. Do not add any other details like date of birth, father’s name or have two addresses here. The top should include only the above four factors to give it a clean and clutter-free look. All remaining details can come right at the end of the resume under the heading ‘Personal Details’.

Make sure the email ID you provide is a professional sounding one and not something like Also never provide your official email id. Ensure that the phone number you provide is one on which you are easily available and always prefix the ISD and STD codes. The address you give here should be your address for correspondence.

These simple steps will help you create a well-formatted resume – that gets you noticed.

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