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There’s no one right way to put a resume together. Deciding which layout is best for you is easy if you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of resume layout. There are four primary resume layouts to choose from:
The chronological resume is designed to highlight progressive career growth and advancement. It’s easy to read and can be quickly scanned for employment history. This layout is the most popular and highly accepted among hiring managers.
The functional resume highlights key skills, accomplishments, and qualifications at the top of the page, regardless of when they occurred in your career. Your employment history is de-emphasized, providing a simple list rather than details of each position.
Many hiring managers don’t prefer this layout as it’s sometimes used to hide deficiencies in career history.
The combination resume combines the benefits of both chronological and functional layouts. It begins with a summary of your most impressive accomplishments, skills, and abilities which is followed by an employment history section providing supporting details of the statements in your summary.
The targeted resume focuses toward a specific career objective, performance in a specific industry, and for a specific company. The resume is written to highlight the skills, qualifications and experiences matching the requirements of your specific job target.
Of the many reasons a resume gets condemned to the NO pile, grammar, word choice, and spelling are all at the top of the list. Simple mistakes such as these will jump right off a page and ensure your resume isn’t given a second glance. They not only show a lack of attention to detail, but also that you don't take enough pride in your work to proofread. Don't miss out on a chance at landing your next job position due to an easily avoidable mistake.
The name of your resume file matters – it’s the first thing seen when you send it out, so be sure it includes your name and the word “resume.” Double check if there is a specified file format such as .pdf of .doc and save your file accordingly. Missing these steps shows you can’t read instructions or follow directions.
Standard page margins are between 0.5 and 1.0 inches wide, and you should keep equal proportions on each side of the page. Any margins smaller than 0.5 inches runs the risk of having a portion of your resume get cut off when it’s printed.
You don’t want your resume to look squished, so if you’re running short on room, try to make your wording more concise. One way to do this is to eliminate any unnecessary words or details. Standard spacing is at the 1.0 mark, and you should only run onto a second page if you have enough relevant experience to make it necessary.
Choose a font that looks professional and is easy for the eye to scan. You can never go wrong with a traditional font sized between 10pt and 12pt. Time New Roman is timeless, while a modern choice might be Cambria or Garamond.
Studies show that sans serif fonts are easier to read on screens. If you’re uploading your resume online (as is now standard) a good font choice might be Arial or Verdana. Always use standard fonts that are likely to come with any computer so your resume appears exactly as you anticipate.
In general, it’s a good idea to forego color altogether and stick to the standard black type on white paper. If you do choose to incorporate color, stick to simple choices like accenting your headers. Never print on colored paper – stick to white, cream/ivory, or light grey.
When referring to your current job position, use present tense – you are still working in that position. When referring to a previous position, use past tense. Be sure to stick with the correct tense throughout your entire resume; switching tenses randomly looks unprofessional and signals you didn’t proofread very carefully.
A common mistake is confusing works of possession with contractions. For example: “your” is possessive, signifying ownership; “you’re” is a contraction of the words “you” and “are” and implied action.
Homophones are two words that have different spellings and meanings, but sound the same. These works will be overlooked by spellcheck, because spelling isn’t the problem – the problem is misusing the work, something only caught by an informed proofreader. Misusing words such as “two,” “too,” and “to” shows you lack an attention to detail.
Save space and skip using first-person pronouns such as “I” - your name should already be at the top of your resume. Also avoid third-person pronouns such as “he/she” when referring to yourself. Instead, start sentences or bullet points with an action verb.
Abbreviations are not universal, even when they’re career specific. They’re also information, which is not something you want to portray in a formal resume. The exception is the use of industry jargon, which appropriately adds to your credibility and demonstrates your industry-specific knowledge.
No one wants to take the time to decipher a long, complicated sentence. Instead, divide the points into separate sentences of their own and eliminate extra unnecessary details.
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Now that it’s written, it’s time for your final resume review.
What to do with your resume now that it’s perfect.
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