7 Resume Formatting Tips to Double Your Chances of Being Noticed


7 Resume Formatting Tips to Double Your Chances of Being Noticed

Harris Melvin
| January 17, 2020 Last Updated 2020-10-08T19:34:44Z

Hate your boss? Looking to make a career change? Moving to a new city?

Whatever your reason, if you’re looking for a new job, there’s one thing you’ll need:

A strong resume.

Whether you have an old resume that needs polishing or wants to create a brand-new one, keep reading. Here are seven resume formatting tips to double your chances of being noticed!

1. Keep It Clean

While resume formats vary slightly from industry to industry, there’s one rule that holds true for all:

It must be easy to read.

Don’t get fancy with your fonts or styling. Stick to one or two professional, easy-to-read fonts like Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Book Antiqua.

Keep your headers simple as well: Education, Experience, Summary, and Skills. You want the person reading it to be able to identify each section with ease.

If you’re starting from scratch or if your resume is a bit outdated, choose a modern template. Just make sure that it’s appropriate for your field or profession.

2. Focus on the Top Third of Page One

The top third of the first page is going to get the most attention. So, make sure it is clear, concise, and inclusive of all of your most important information.

This part of your resume should include your contact info, career summary, and the details of your most recent job. Be sure to include some bold, attention-grabbing phrases!

If you have a resume from ten years ago that you’re looking to polish, there’s a good chance it includes an “objective” portion at the top. It goes without saying that your objective is to get the job, so ditch that in favor of a career summary.

3. Add a Skills Section

The more resumes an employer receives, the more likely it is that they will scan them looking for relevant information.

Highlighting your skills allows them to do exactly that.

Without having to read through all of your previous job experiences, a skills section lets the employer know exactly what you bring to the table.

You can detail your skills in a bulleted list or create subsections with specific skills listed in different categories.

For example, if you’re a marketing manager, you may want a subsection that looks like this:

Digital Marketing (SEO, affiliate marketing, PPC advertising)

An IT professional might have one that looks like this:

Software Development (CSS, HTML, Javascript)

The trick to creating a powerful skills section is to make it specific. List both hard and soft skills, and mention any software programs or systems that you know. (Just don’t include the obvious, such as Microsoft Word.)

4. Show Your Accomplishments

If you’ve received awards or special recognition at previous jobs, mention them. Including specific accomplishments is a great way to show that you have been a valued employee in the past (and that you’re likely to be one in the future).

Whenever possible, back up your claims and accolades with numbers and metrics.

For example, don’t just say you were recognized as the top salesperson in your territory. Instead, say that you were recognized as the top salesperson in your territory for doing $10 million in sales last quarter.

5. Use Page Two

There’s nothing wrong with including a second page, as long as your experience warrants it.

A second page is perfectly acceptable if you have an extensive work history. And if you are applying for a managerial or executive-level position, it’s actually expected.

Just as you shouldn’t pad your resume with useless info, you also shouldn’t omit relevant information because it doesn’t fit on the first page.

And don’t use a super small font in the hopes of saving space, either.

To make your resume easy to read, use a font that's no smaller than 10 points and leave some white space between sections. These elements are much more important than cramming all of your information onto one hard-to-read page.

6. Include Links

Adding links to your resume offers your potential employer a chance to learn more about you. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile and a link to your personal website if you have one.

If you’re applying for a creative position, include a link to your online portfolio as well.

You can make your resume stands out even more by including a video link. Just make sure that the video is brief (one to two minutes long), professional, and focuses on why you are the best candidate for the job.

Any links that you include should be in the header section of your resume.

7. Add Some Color

While it’s best to print your resume in black ink on white paper, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little color. In fact, a small touch of color is a great way to make your resume stand out and get noticed.

We’re not talking about adding bold, bright colors or multicolored text. We’re talking about the addition of subtle colors such as light blue, light green, or pale yellow. You can use these colors to highlight certain sections of your resume or create header boxes for each subsection.

Don’t feel comfortable adding color to your resume? Something as simple as a light grey header box can help your resume stand out in a large pile.

In Summary

Regardless of the job you’re applying for, you can be sure that you’ll have plenty of competition. So make sure your resume is formatted to attract attention (in the right way, of course).

  • Keep the fonts simple and easy to read
  • Make sure the top third of the first page includes all of your most important information
  • Add a skills section to highlight your experience
  • Mention any special accomplishments or awards you’ve received from previous employers
  • Include a second page if you can’t fit your relevant experience on page one
  • Include links to your personal website, online portfolio, and LinkedIn account
  • Add some color by highlighting header boxes or specific sections

Apply these formatting tips to your resume and you’ll have a much better chance of securing an interview. And that’s where you’ll really be able to impress!  

Author bio:

Working with Broadstone Market Station, Angus Flynn has more than five years of experience in the multifamily housing industry. In his free time, you will find him enjoying life on the Lake and spending time with friends.
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