Format Your Resume to Format Your Career

Updated: Apr 26

Let's Circle Back Blog: What Your Resume Format Says About You -- Formatting a resume sounds pretty straightforward. It should be pretty easy to do. Then why is there little consensus and so many different options to choose from!


Don't Fall For Their Trap!

A "catchy resume"

By now, you've started to realize that the resume game is trickier than it ought to be. ATS software, hiring mangers' attention span (spoiler alert, it's less than 10 seconds) and your own personal preferences leaves a lot of boxes that need checking. If you're like a lot of people, this will lead you to the internet for help and a website that will"design" a resume for you. DON'T FALL FOR THIS TRAP! Yes, it's much easier and your resume will look a lot cooler, but there is a huge downside and little upside with these types of resumes.


I'm not going to lie, I've fallen for this resume trap before. If the idea is to leave a lasting impression, having a computer generate a cool looking resume this is certainly one way to do it. But as I mentioned earlier, the downside drastically outweighs the upside.


Let's dissect this resume a little further. Below are just a few of the reasons why this resume won't result in an interview:

  • It has a photograph. Unless you're applying to be a game show host or model, your appearance does not matter. Don't waste the little hiring manager's time you have on a photo. Photos aren't customary in the United States anyway. Now's not a time to break a tradition.

  • It uses infographics. As you can see, this person has decided to display his own personal stat sheet. First and foremost, what are these ratings even based on? There isn't a universal resume skill stat sheet, so you've basically decided to make one up and compare and rate yourself to..what exactly? Secondly, if there was a universal resume skill stat sheet, the last person I want to review the candidate is the biased candidate themselves!

  • They've decided to forgo all past experience and achievements, you know the stuff that actually matters, and summarized their jobs as if they were given 1 minute to do so.

  • They've dedicated an ENTIRE portion of their resume to their hobbies. We get it, you're a weekend warrior, but at the end of the day, keep that section of your life to a minimum. Companies care about your value.

  • ATS alert. Yes, ATS is back again. The software programs have an extremely difficult job parsing through resumes like this. Think of them as a little kid who can't bounce around to different sections of a page, while maintaining comprehension. Your resume will be rejected by ATS before a hiring manager can say "This resume looks pretty". Resumes need to flow nicely in a sequential and left to right order. Read another blog post about ATS here.


Resume Format That Works.


I've mentioned before that resumes need to catch attention subtly. Attention should be brought to your most important value, not just to your resume in general. In doing so, the lasting impression is the skills and experience that you have, not that you found a cool website that designed your resume. Below are a few more tips to create a resume format that works in your favor:

  • When using color, bold, italics, be subtle. You want to catch their eyes, not hurt them

  • Utilize white or blank spaces accordingly

  • Keep margins to .5" or higher. Large margins don't utilize blank spaces appropriately

  • Keep your resume to one page, unless you absolutely can't.

  • Print out your resume and figure out where you or a friend's attention naturally goes to

  • Don't use multiple columns to organize statement sections

  • Explain and describe your results and skills. Don't use tables, charts, or graphics.


Looking for expertise? The Philly Resume Writer (TPRW) is happy to help you with the process! TPRW provides every client with a unique resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile that are created to pass ATS and capture the attention of a hiring manager. Our creations use the resume industry's writing and formatting standards that are ATS friendly and draws attention to value and results. Our motto is simple, yet profound.


More information can be found at www.thephillyresumewriter.com or e-mail us at thephillyresumewriter@gmail.com


Comment below with any thoughts, questions, or connections!


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