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Resume Myths: Formatting

The TBA team debunks the myths, beginning with the resume's format. Over the years, our professionals have reviewed tens of thousands of resumes and we've seen just about every creative formatting technique candidates have dreamed up. Here are some of the most common formatting elements we see and our advice regarding them.

 

I must limit my resume to one page.

Your resume can be as long as it takes to tell the story of your success, within reason. Most experienced candidates can tell their story within three pages, and that is acceptable to the majority of recruiters and hiring managers.

 

I will limit the amount of contact information I provide, or place it out of the way in the document footer. 

Your contact information is one of the most important elements of your resume. If a recruiter or hiring manager likes what they see, they need to contact you - why make it difficult for them?

 

The first thing a reader should see is your name, address, phone number,

(a business line, not the one with your children singing in harmony on the message) and an email address-preferably a personal email address. Include all these items, not just some of them, and place this information directly below your name. This information block should be at the top of the document-not in the header or footer- centered on the page and in slightly larger font than the rest of the resume content.

 

Placing my photo, company logos and other graphics on my resume will attract more attention to it. 

A resume is not a yearbook entry. Keep the pictures on your desk and in your wallet. Logos and graphics on a resume distract from the content, which is what hiring managers are seeking. Don't distract them from the important elements.

 

In addition, nearly 100% of resumes submitted to recruiting firms or employers today are electronically uploaded into a database or applicant tracking system. Graphics can impede this process and possibly prevent you from getting added to the talent pool. More on this in our blog article Candidates: Help us Find You.
 

A functional format is best. 
Preparing an effective resume is not a creative writing exercise.Recruiters and hiring managers read or scan hundreds of resumes per week. A chronological resume format allows the reader to easily and quickly learn your employment history, skills and achievements. Make it easy for them to determine you are a viable candidate.

 

Using several colors and fonts will really emphasize my qualifications.
The only thing this will accomplish is making the reader dizzy, and the only strength emphasized is that you know how to use all the fun stuff in MS Word.The only acceptable font color on a resume is black. No exceptions. While the occasional bolded, underlined, or all capitalized items are fine, use them sparingly for the best effect. Keeping your format clean and simple with plenty of white space will ensure that the reader will be able to see the most important elements of the document-your skills, abilities, talent, and accomplishments.