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Resume Format: How to Format Your Resume

When it comes to using your resume to apply for a job, it’s important to remember that form matters just as much as content. A nice looking resume can’t make up for one that is full of spelling errors, typos, and factually incorrect information. However, an unattractive resume can completely undermine even the most impressive and well-documented credentials.

In almost every situation, it is advisable to limit your resume to a single page. There are a few circumstances where longer resumes are acceptable, but not many. The layout of your resume should allow for a sufficient amount of white space around the edges of the page. One inch margins all the way around the document are ideal, although it may be acceptable to shrink margins a little bit if necessary to fit the document on a single page.

The font that you use should be clear and easy to read. Ideally, you should use 12 point type. If you need to use a smaller font to make your resume fit on one page, you can go to a 10 point font, but never smaller. You can make your name and contact information a little bit larger so that they stand out on the page.

Verdana and Arial are excellent resume fonts because they are easy to read and they transmit well via fax. You should never use ornate fonts on your resume, such as Algerian or Bradley Hand. These fonts are nice for invitations and other casual communications, but they are not appropriate for a resume.

If you are going to fax your resume to prospective employers, it is advisable to print it on plain white copy paper for ease of transmission. If you are going to hand deliver it or mail your resume, you should invest in high quality resume paper, which you can find at any department or office supply store. Stick with white, beige, or gray paper. Pink paper does not send a professional message, nor does any other pastel, bright, or patterned paper.

When mailing your resume, make sure that the printed document is free from smudges, wrinkles, and anything else that might detract from its appearance. Neatly fold the document so that it fits perfectly inside a #10 envelope that matches the paper on which it is printed. Be sure to type the recipient’s address as well as your return address on the envelope using the same typeface you used on your resume.

By Mary White