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Let's talk about formatting.

"How do I fit all of this on one page?" Great question. For mid-to-senior level career professionals, it can be difficult to squeeze all of your amazing talents, skills, and career accomplishments onto one page.

"Can I have just a little bit of spillover onto the second page?" Depending on the industry, it may be appropriate to include a second page, but consider this: The hiring manager will see your resume as a .pdf in a zipped file next to the .pdfs of other competitive candidates. If the hiring manager clicks to scroll quickly through all the .pdfs, the second page might not even get a glance.

So let's talk about formatting. We do not need fancy fonts, graphic designs, or teeny-tiny text to pack a punch.



The header should state your name and contact information boldly and clearly. Your name is your brand. If the hiring manager likes something they see on your resume, then they will remember your name and it should be easy for them to contact you.



The margins should be aligned, right-justified, and clean. I create margins with simple cues in MSWord, such as tab, space, and the "ruler."



The placement of dates matters less than consistent of formatting for the dates.

For dates, pick one consistent way of formatting the dates:

  1. You can format the dates with just the four digit year, "XXXX--XXXX" or "XXXX-Present." --OR--

  2. You can format the dates with three characters for the abbreviation of the month, followed by the four digit year. This way, each date takes up the same amount of space on the page. "May 2021" will take up the same amount of space as "Nov. 2021." If you type out the full month, "November 2021," then the formatting may shift since "November" is longer than "Nov."



The bullet points should be simple symbols, consistent symbols, and aligned. There is no need for sub-bullet points, and there is no need for using multiple different symbols in a bulleted list. Each bullet point that is on your resume should present a skill or accomplishment that is as important as the others.



"What to write on my resume" will be an entirely separate blog post. But, bear in mind how the written text content will affect your resume formatting: When considering what to write in each bullet point, ensure that each line of text takes up the full line on the page. Too often, I see bullet points that spill over onto a second line of text, but the second line of text has only one word or several words that take up less than half of the available space.

If the line of text has white space after the phrase ends, that is a missed opportunity to clarify or add an idea on your resume. Each line of text fits about 10-20 words. A line of text that has less than 10 words should be rephrased. You can either:

  1. CLARIFY the idea by making the language more concise, so that it takes up only one line of text.


2. ADD to the idea by giving examples or elaborating on a previous idea. This way, you can incorporate more information about your skills and accomplishments.



Making small changes in your header, margins, dates, bullet points, and text content can have a big impact on the formatting of your resume.

What will YOU change to improve the formatting on your resume?


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