If you are a regular reader of our blog, you are aware that we often mention the importance of proofreading. It is important to submit error-free documents. Hiring managers are looking for jobseekers that can pay attention to the details and communicate clearly. If they see obvious mistakes in a cover letter or resume, they may think the person does not have the soft skills required to be successful in the new role.
While we often talk about proofreading for spelling and grammatical mistakes, in this blog we are going to change focus and suggest you also take a close look at your formatting.
Issues with formatting can be easy to overlook, especially if you aren't actually paying attention to them because you are instead looking at the spelling and grammar. So, after you have given your resume a close look for those two big issues, go back through it again and just focus on the formatting. Here are a few areas to look at.
Consistency with Dates
First, you should make sure you have taken the same approach with all of the dates you have listed in your resume. Do you list them as months and years or just years? Be sure that for whichever method you have chosen, you do it is the same way throughout your resume. Don't have some jobs that list just the years and others that list the months and the years.
In addition, the alignment should be consistent throughout the resume. So, make sure that all the dates line up at the same place on the page, even for different jobs.
Finally, did you bold or italicize dates? Again, if you do it for one job or educational degree, do it for them all. This will help give a uniform appearance and will make it easy for the hiring manager to scan your resume.
Font Style and Size
If possible, pick one style of font and stick with it. Don't change fonts multiple times throughout your resume.
To highlight a certain part of your resume (for example a section header) consider increasing the font size slightly and/or bolding the text. This tends to be better than changing the style of font and does help the text stand out from the rest of the document.
Consistency is key. If you decide to bold and increase font size for one section header, be consistent and do the same thing for all of the section headers.
Bullets and Indentations
It is best to have your bullets and indentations line up throughout your resume. Again, this is easier on the eye and makes it easy for the hiring manager to scan through your resume, which they will appreciate if they have 200 resumes submitted for an opening.
Take the time to align the bullets so they are all indented the same amount. Try to use the same size and style bullets throughout your resume (we recommend using a plain bullet).
If you are submitting both a cover letter and a resume, we recommend you use the same format for the contact information on both. Use the same font, layout, bolding, etc. so they can see that the two documents are created by the same person and go together.
Need a second set of eyes to check your resume? Revision Resume offers resume critiques to help ensure that you submit an error-free document that is properly formatted. Learn more about how to get your resume critiqued here.