Improving the Layout and Appearance of Your Resume

10 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Preparing a Resume

Good resume design means your resume is both appealing and accessible for prospective employers. Use a resume layout and appearance that feels right for the job you seek and appropriate for someone in your shoes.

Although the job market is moving away from paper resumes toward digital resumes, paper resumes will be around for the foreseeable future — if for no other reason than for distribution at career fairs, for circulation throughout your network, and to bring to job interviews.

Here are suggestions on how to refine the layout and appearance of your resume.

  • Printing and paper selection: Print your resume on a laser or inkjet printer. For professional, technical, managerial, and executive jobs, use quality-stock paper with a watermark. For lower-level positions, any decent-looking paper will do. Stick to plain white or off-white, eggshell, or the palest of gray colors. Print on only one side of the sheet.

  • Consistency in style: Don't mix differently spaced tabs and indentations. You can mix bullets and checkmarks if the result is tasteful and doesn’t look cluttered.

  • Text density: Avoid using dense text, which is difficult to read. Break up the text and use consistent line spacing between blocks.

  • Open spaces: White space is an attention-getter; it makes recruiters want to read a resume. Too often, job seekers hearing that they must not exceed one page (untrue), try to cram too much information in too little space. Use a ratio of about one-quarter white space to text.

  • Typefaces and fonts: No more than two typefaces should appear on one resume, but if you don’t have an eye for good design, stick to one typeface. Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, or Helvetica used alone is a fine choice for your resume.

    If you want to mix two typefaces, try using Helvetica (or Arial) for headings and Times New Roman for the text. Using larger type (12, 14, or 16 pt.) or boldface for headings can give them necessary prominence. Use italics sparingly; you don’t want to overdo emphasis.

    Get noticed by using a good resume design and layout.
    Get noticed by using a good resume design and layout.

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The Essentials of Preparing a Resume

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