Five Resume Formatting Mistakes to Avoid

Hiring managers may have to sift through hundreds of resumes before they find the person they want to call in for the interview. So many resumes I see would get passed over quickly by a hiring manager simply because they are too difficult to read. Here are five resume formatting mistakes to avoid.

Search Job Openings

In Partnership With
  1. Too chunky. Big blocks of text on a resume are hard to read. Short digestible sound bites work better. Use a brief paragraph (no more than six lines) to describe your job responsibilities, but place your main accomplishments and rich examples of how you have helped the companies you supported make money, save money, or save time in an easy-to-read bulleted list.
  2. Too tiny. If you are using a font smaller than 10 point on your resume, it is too small. No one will take the time to get out their magnifying glass. If space is an issue, try readjusting the margins or using a tighter font.
  3. Too fancy. Certain fonts are more difficult to read than others. Stay away from fonts that resemble script or are overly ornate. Avoid uncommon fonts that may display differently on the receiver's end. Arial and Times New Roman are generally safe choices.
  4. Too tight. White space is important on a resume. Be sure to leave ample space in between company names and the different sections of the resume to make it easy for your reader to spot key breaks in the document.
  5. Too long. If you have important information about your professional background that doesn't appear on the resume until page 3 or later, it's time to prune the document. Few people will read a third page. If you have an extended chronology, abbreviate earlier positions or create a category called "additional experience" that provides an overview of earlier positions in a brief paragraph.


Next: Companies Hiring This Week



Related Stories from CNN Money

Filed under: Resume Rescue
Barbara Safani

Barbara Safani

Editor

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, has over fifteen years of experience in career management, recruiting, executive coaching, and organizational development.

Barbara partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

She is the author of Happy About My Resume: 50 Tips For Building a Better Document to Secure a Brighter Future and #JOBSEARCHtweet and her award-winning resumes are featured in dozens of career-related publications.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

9 Comments

Filter by:
Lies and Pursuits EQ

You 20 Something HR Career so called Counselors Do Not Know Jack **** if it Happened to Ya! You have Destroyed More Lives and careers than You've Helped BY FAR. You destroy A human BEINGS chances at ever getting hired WITHOUT Exact Experience. P.e.r.i.o.d. You DELETED any and All chances in HELL of ANYONE ever progressing themselves through this Pathetic bullshit System Called Wall Street RipOff and PAY OFF's Life in the United States of America. With Your kind of attitudes Nobody would TRY to do ANything differently or take a chance at a new endeavor. OR make it possible for Even an EMPLOYERE to Take a chnace at another EMPLOYEE who doesn't quite have Exactly what they're looking For but Has a Whole Lot of Other pertinent Career experiences much Better than the position even tries to portray. We're all out here in the USA sick of all of ya. You g.d. PAIN in our asses HR jackfucks. YOU do nothing BUT WASTE TIME. THAT's IT!
You are Unproductive citizens, You couldn't find other work doing anything Except maybe Kissing the Directorships ASS

August 24 2011 at 12:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mmiltonmuk

hai Mrs Barbara safani, thax for your guidence especially on the tips while writing a resume actually the majority of us have been making mistakes bearing in mind that for resume, u just gamle (temporarily write) without considering some techniques .continue educating u more so with sample of well written ones .GOD BLESS YOU

April 02 2011 at 5:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mmiltonmuk's comment
mmiltonmuk

There was a typing error in the paragraph ''''''' it was supposed to be ''educating us"

April 02 2011 at 5:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gina

As a management / executive recruiter, I find the standard / average resume to be 2-3 pages. Only for new graduates (or maybe someone who has held one position for many years) does one usually see a one page resume. Sometimes for IT positions, it needs to be longer to cover the various project accomplishments, but I still suggest 2-3 pages if possible. What works best (at least on the West coast) is accomplishment-driven bullet points about your experience. Make sure every word counts, and don't state the obvious, i.e. OBJECTIVE: "to find a job"... or "to expand my knowledge"...companies aren't interested in being a training ground, they want someone who can do the job and hit the ground running. Communicate WHY they are going to hire you and pay you a wage - HOW your experience and abilities will help the company accomplish objectives.

March 29 2011 at 1:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Norah

I agree with Ray Smith's comment. I think unless you are and extreme professional with lectures and publications to highlight, you're resume should be more than 1 page (2 pages max but even that's pushing it...)

March 28 2011 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JoanneVLavender

A curriculum vitae that spans almost five decades is difficult to "prune." I'd say highlight the last five years of employment and, in the cover letter, inform the HR office pogue that, in the initial interview, you'll be happy to provide the rest.

Save paper, email attachment space, and time. If the last five years doesn't flag you as infinitely desirable, maybe you don't want to work for that firm, anyway.

Those of us who took professional interviews at the height of the women's movement knew when to cut our losses during a recruiting interview. Interview comments such as "are you engaged/married/going steady," "and, if we train you, you'll only leave to marry/have a baby," and "will you have dinner with me tonight so that we can discuss this further" were definite flags.

So is any company who thinks you have to go back to your elementary school days to provide all the little details the HR guy (who usually only wants to reassure himself that you're not as worthy to be employed by the company as he is) feels he needs.

Oh, and send your truncated resume to the department you want to work for; send only a courtesy copy to the HR.

I have been steadily employed since I was twelve years old--and that is over fifty years ago.

March 28 2011 at 9:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
champion castle

Here's my new resume tips: Sick of hearing you are "over-qualified?" Take off your degree, some of your experience, and cut your resume down to half and double space. Do you want to get back at employers who only hire young people? Walk into your favorite store or restaurant and if everyone is young working there--shop or dine somewhere ELSE. Corporations need to take notice. The EEOC is not doing their job, obviously.

March 28 2011 at 7:30 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
cncvnpttn

Wendy- I say go to nursing school. You'd be surprised how much you have learned from typing all those reports and working with all those doctors.. If you do you will always be employed.

March 28 2011 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RMS

Re: #5 Not long ago I read a similar article on AOL that said two pages was too long, now this article says it's OK to have two pages!!??. Doesn't matter anyway, especially if you are over age 50 and unemployed, you have a 39% chance of finding another job. Nothing has changed. It's not what you know, it's who you know.

March 28 2011 at 6:09 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Wendy

I have been outsourced 3 times in the last 5 years, the last time 3 weeks ago. I thought I was in a secure field (medicine), working as a medical transcriptionist. I have 30 years experience working for doctors, 10 of those years at Yale Medical School. Since even doctors now want to save money, all my expertise and skills count for nothing so they can send the work to overseas transcription pools or slave wave per line places here. At age 51, I am very afraid of not finding another job again. When there is a disaster in another country, I always give to charity. Who is going to find me a job, one that pays me what I am worth?

March 28 2011 at 5:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Wendy's comment
burlmgarvin

Sorry about your situation WENDY the problem is, we Americans have priced ourselves out of the business, I feel I am worth way more than I get but I am learning to get bye on it.... My Granddad always told me he wished he could buy me for what I was worth and sell me for what I thought I was worth... How true it has become...

March 28 2011 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MARC

The outsourcing of jobs was an inevitable consequence of our complicated tax code and system. Businesses now have "pseudo-HQ" offices abroad, most popular are Switzerland, Bermuda and Cayman Islands because of the tax these companies have to pay in their own country - at a level of 35%. Countries listed above, can offer tax rates on revenue at 20% or 15%, so these companies re-invent themsleves as having HQ offices abroad and pay the lower tax rates to a FOREING SOVERIEGN STATE. This has important consequences:

1) Lost tax revenue to the USA
2) Lost jobs in the USA because of lack of tax revenue to create jobs
3) Bolsters our foreign competition by providing them mis-represented tax revenue that is meant to go to the US treasury.

This is both unpatriotic, and corrupt but goes both unpunished and unchallenged.

Solution: Modify the tax code to bring these USA companies HQs back to the USA mainland.

Other company tricks, ducks, dives and loopholes that have been violated and abused by businesses here in the US at the expense of jobs is beyond the scope of y reply but you should be aware of it.

March 28 2011 at 3:57 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Search Jobs

In Partnership With
Keywords:
Location:

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

July 20 - July 27

Looking for work? See what companies added new openings this week.

×

Check out our new Map Search

Locate your next job using the new AOL Jobs Map Search!

Pin down your next great opportunity today.