Setting proper margins for your document ensures the information fits within the readable space on the page. Standard margins for resumes and other professional documents like cover letters or resignation letters are one inch on all sides. If you have a fairly short resume with a lot of blank space, one-inch margins will likely be the best option to create a well-spaced document with text that fills up the page. If you require more space to describe your relevant skills and experience, then you might reduce your margins to .75 inches. If you decide to adjust your margins, you should keep them at or above .5 inches. Text that spans outside .5 inch margins is often left out when the file is converted to a PDF or processed by an ATS. Pro tip: Left-align all the text on your resume since it’s the easiest format for reviewers to read. If you prefer, you can center-align your name, contact information and headline. If you do choose to center-align any text, this is the only section that should be considered.
When deciding what font to use for your resume, keep in mind that it should be clear and easy to read. Making sure employers don’t have to work to understand words on your resume is the most important factor when choosing a font. It is also helpful if your resume is sent through an applicant tracking system. Many employers use an ATS, which doesn’t always read and interpret intricate fonts well. You should also avoid “light” or “thin” fonts which can sometimes be difficult for people to read on a screen or paper. Related: How To Write an ATS-Friendly Resume There are two main categories of fonts — serif and sans serif. Serif fonts have tails while sans serif fonts do not. Sans serif fonts (or fonts without tails) are generally good fonts for resumes because they have clean lines that are easy to read. There are fonts like Georgia, however, that are still widely accepted among employers as simple and professional. Here are several examples of the best resume fonts: Related: Best Font for a Resume: How To Choose Type and Size
Another factor in making your words clear and readable is setting an appropriate font size. Generally, you should stay between 10 and 12 points. If you have a shorter resume and are trying to fill space, select a 12-point font. Anything larger might appear unprofessional. If you have a lot of information on your resume, start with a 10-point font and increase it if you have space. If your resume is still more than one page with a 10-point font, avoid reducing your font further. Instead, see if there is an opportunity to make your ideas more concise. You can do this by removing any irrelevant or extraneous information, combining ideas or making your ideas briefer with shorter sentences and fewer filler words. For example, here’s a sentence in a resume that can be shortened: “Performed inventory audits every month and discovered issues with over-ordering — executed an organization solution across all teams which resulted in a 10% increase in revenue over the next two quarters.” Make your ideas concise and remove filler words to include only the core value of your statement: “Performed regular inventory audits, identifying and solving over-ordering issues to achieve 10% revenue increase.” Here are a few other ways you can use to make a shorter resume: Related: Q&A: How Long Should a Resume Be?
Bolding, underlining or increasing the font size by one or two points for section headers can help employers quickly find the information they are looking for. Be careful when formatting section headers—they should be differentiated from the section body in a clean, professional way. You can stylize your headers in a few different ways: You can also apply these styles to your name and contact information at the top of your resume. This information should be the first thing employers see, and it should be easy to read and reference. Pro tip: When differentiating section headers, avoid inserting lines that span across the page. Often, when an ATS reads a formatting element like this, errors will occur like scrambled text which can make your resume difficult to decipher. Related: Resume Headings for Listing Your Experience
Using bullet points in your experience, skills or education sections allows employers to easily read the most relevant information from your background. Bullet points should be used to list your achievements. Avoid using only one or two bullet points in a single section — if you have less than three pieces of information, simply list them without bullets in sentence form or use other punctuation to separate different ideas. For example, when describing a role you’ve held in the experience section of your resume, you would use bullets to communicate how you were successful in that role: In the education section, you might not have three or more ideas to share, so it might look something like this without bullet points: CORAL SPRINGS UNIVERSITY, May 2020Juris DoctorFlorida Bar Board Certified Related: Using Bullet Points To Make Your Resume More Readable (With Examples)
Importance: ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ You cannot afford to have typos or grammar errors in your resume. The majority (61%) of recruiters will throw out a resume immediately if they see typos. Microsoft Word or Google Docs will do a good job of detecting spelling errors, but the Grammarly app or Language Tool will catch grammar mistakes and typos. You need to proofread your resume before sending your resume, and an app will help you catch things you can’t see.
Importance: ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ Apps are great for catching mistakes, but another human being is priceless. Grab whoever you can find with the patience to read through your resume. They can also give you feedback about your tone and how you’re selling yourself.
Importance: ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ Knowing how to write a thank you email after an interview is priceless. It’s not always enough to write a great resume and ace an interview. The show isn’t over until you’ve also written a thoughtful thank-you email.
After you’ve finished writing and formatting your resume, ask trusted friends or colleagues to review it. It can be helpful to have an outside perspective and feedback. While they should look for grammar and spelling mistakes you might have missed, they should also pay attention to your formatting. Ask them to look for readability, consistency and a professional look and feel. Related: 27 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Resume
Importance: ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ ✸ When you’re just learning how to create a resume, you may forget that hiring managers also search for you online. Be sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile so that it resonates with your resume. Make sure that you’ve cleaned up “public” information on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Change your Facebook privacy settings to “Friends” to keep future posts from becoming public. And do a quick sweep to make sure nothing else unsavory is lurking out there on the Internet. Enter your name into Google and see what turns up in the results. You can ask Google to remove sensitive or sexual content from the web.