Five Resume Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

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Hiring managers may have to sift through hundreds of resumes before they find the person they want to call in for the interview. So many resumes I see would get passed over quickly by a hiring manager simply because they are too difficult to read. Here are five resume formatting mistakes to avoid.

  1. Too chunky. Big blocks of text on a resume are hard to read. Short digestible sound bites work better. Use a brief paragraph (no more than six lines) to describe your job responsibilities, but place your main accomplishments and rich examples of how you have helped the companies you supported make money, save money, or save time in an easy-to-read bulleted list.
  2. Too tiny. If you are using a font smaller than 10 point on your resume, it is too small. No one will take the time to get out their magnifying glass. If space is an issue, try readjusting the margins or using a tighter font.
  3. Too fancy. Certain fonts are more difficult to read than others. Stay away from fonts that resemble script or are overly ornate. Avoid uncommon fonts that may display differently on the receiver's end. Arial and Times New Roman are generally safe choices.
  4. Too tight. White space is important on a resume. Be sure to leave ample space in between company names and the different sections of the resume to make it easy for your reader to spot key breaks in the document.
  5. Too long. If you have important information about your professional background that doesn't appear on the resume until page 3 or later, it's time to prune the document. Few people will read a third page. If you have an extended chronology, abbreviate earlier positions or create a category called "additional experience" that provides an overview of earlier positions in a brief paragraph.


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