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 Cover Letter + Resume Tips

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Job Pixie   >   Cover Letter + Resume Tips   >   Resume Basics   >   Formatting

Formatting is one of the first things that people will notice about your resume, whether reviewing it on paper or in electronic form. Having a well-formatted resume is almost as important as having a well-written resume: because it allows employers to easily pick-out key points and see that you are suitable for the job, even if they scan through your resume quickly.

On the whole it is generally better to start with a blank page rather than using an pre-existing template for Microsoft Word or other word processor. This is because everybody who uses the same template (and many people do!) will have identical looking resumes - and you want yours to stand-out, at least a little. Additionally, most word processor templates look absolutely terrible, or not completely unreadable, when copied into email or uploaded into a job search engine. Of course, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be prepared to get ideas from elsewhere; use the Internet to search for resumes of other people in your industry, and see if you can get any formatting ideas from them. Once you have your ideas about formatting clear in your head, then create your resume, from scratch, on a blank page.

You should aim to fit your resume into one page, or at most two. Really, you should only go on to a second page if you have extensive experience in the field and need to list experiences and sklls which are directly relevant to your career objective or the job position. If you are applying for a job in a creative field and wish to show off samples of your work (such as images or pictures if you are a graphic artist, samples of writing, etc.) you should do so in a separate portfolio, rather than including it in your resume.

General rules for formatting your resume are:-
  • Use 1 inch (2.5 centimeter) margins on the top, left, right and bottom of the page.

  • Left justify your text

  • Use a simple classic font such as Times Roman or Arial, and stick to the same font throughtout.

  • You can use bold and capitals for headlines.

  • Headline text should not be larger than 14 points. The rest of the text should not exceed 12 points.

  • Do not use underlining. If your resume is displayed online, or you apply for a job via the Internet, underlining may (incorrectly) give the impression of a hyperlink.

  • Use tabs rather than spaces, and aim for simplicity in all your formatting. This is especially important if sending your resume in electronic form, because as it is moved between different computers, and perhaps different software packages, it may display slightly different. Simple, clear formatting will ensure that your resume remains readable throughout this process.
As with writing, it's a good idea to ask your friends and family for help with formatting your resume. This includes help in reviewing it, and asking for suggestions (of course, it's up to you whether you follow their suggestions). You should also send copies of your resume to your friends via email and ask them to print them out, as well as print out copies of the resume yourself, and in each case check the formatting is as you intended.

Related Web Sites & Pages

Here are some other websites that may be of interest:
  • CareerAssist
    We offer affordable, easy-to-use cover letter and resume builder software and resume and cover letter critique services

  • Post Your Resume for FREE at

  • Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed
    "This do-it-yourself manual makes writing your own resume and cover letter a breeze... even for someone who's never written them before!"

  • Resume Rabbit
    This site INSTANTLY submits a customers resume and job requirements on up to 75 top job sites including Monster,, CareerBuilder, Net-Temps, Dice and more! Once finished our customers can be seen by over 1.5 million employers and recruiters daily. It takes customers ONLY 5 minutes & saves them over 60 hours of research and data entry. Best of all, its easy to use and produces REAL results! Since January 2001 ResumeRabbit has performed 1,000,000's of resume submissions for loads of happy customers. And the site has great testimonials to prove it!

  • Sample Resumes
    Resume and Cover Letter Samples Package.
Here are some other pages on this website that may be of interest:
Instantly post your resume on 75 career sites!

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