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Resume Style Rules

Did you know that there are no official rules for a resume in the United States? Many countries have specific requirements for what information needs to be on it and where they go. There are as many resume formats as there are people who have a resume. This is a chance for you to express yourself and what you have to offer.

The thing to keep in mind is that a hiring manager may receive hundreds of resumes a week. If you want to stand a good chance of being considered, the resume needs to be easily readable, concise and visually pleasing. There are many things you can do to ensure that your information is presented well and gets right to the point.

  • Keep the number of fonts you use limited.
    You lessen the readability with multiple fonts and styles because the person focuses more on the styles and less on your information. Be consistent!
  • Keep things lined up! 
    If you have a bulleted point in one spot on the paper and the next bullet in a different spot, you are showing the reader that you are not organized. Be consistent!
  • Use the same bullets throughout.
    Bullets are attention grabbers and allow you to focus the reader. Use these for things like skills and accomplishments. Avoid having multiple kinds of bullets for every different point/set of information because it causes the person to focus more on style and less on content. Be consistent!
  • Use bolding and italics, but sparingly.
    These tricks offer you the ability to make the reader focus on some information more than others. Consider bolding job titles or subcategories to make things stand out. However, if you use too many of these the effect is lost.
  • Be mindful of white space.
    You have a lot of information to give someone about you and your experiences. White space is valuable space that you can use to put more information about yourself.
  • Be mindful of black space.
    If you have too much information on your resume you stand less chance of being considered. You do not need to fill up the entire page with information. This is not a chance for you to explain your entire life story. You need to say enough information to make the person want to talk more to you. Be concise with your information.
  • Consistency is key.
    If you want to use bullets, use bullets. If you want to use all caps, use all caps. If you want to use a different font, use a different font. This is a representation of you on paper, but be mindful of what it says. Being inconsistent can lead to the reader subtly making a judgment about your organizational skills or attention to detail.

Investing in your resume will pay off because you are really investing time in yourself. If you want someone to give their time looking at your resume, make it appealing to them.