When Is a Resume Like Junk Mail?

I hate junk mail! I’m talking about the endless amounts of paper delivered by my friendly postman.

I try to clear this useless stuff out of my life as soon as I retrieve if from my mailbox. First I throw away the obvious junk without opening it… the real estate cards (I’m not looking for a another fixer-upper), the singles invitations (I’m taken, thank you), and the sweepstakes offers (oh please, I’ve never even won a Thanksgiving turkey at the local grocery lottery).

The tricky pieces don’t give any clues on the envelopes as to what’s inside. I open them just in case they’re bills I’ve forgotten to pay. As soon as the envelope’s contents are in hand, I give it a lightning-quick scan, determined to toss it in the recycling bin asap.

That’s where the junk-mail people have their ONE chance to snag me. If they have a really good caption (like Never Get Writer’s Block Again… yeah that would grab me) and the text is easy to manage (lots of white space and really short paragraphs or bullet point statements). Basically, I’ll give the letter a chance if I feel the sender is respecting my time by making it quick and easy for me to figure out if I’m interested.

Resumes are a lot like junk mail. Employers are busy, and most of them don’t want to spend time on a dense-looking resume that makes them feel like they’re wading through a sea of black ink. They’d rather throw that resume in the trash and move on to someone else’s that’s easy to get through.

Five Resume Formatting Tips

A good resume needs to LOOK quick and easy to read. Of course, the content is important, but even that doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get read!

Here are five tips for making sure your resume gets the attention it deserves:

  1. Create one-inch margins on the right and left sides of the page.
  2. Use bullet point statements instead of paragraphs.
  3. Choose a font that’s easy to read (no fancy script fonts that try to look like calligraphy), and make that font no smaller than 11 pt.
  4. Be generous with white spaces between lines, using those spaces to create visual categories of your resume sections.
  5. Relax. If your information fits on one page, great. If not, it’s no biggie. Relax the formatting by adding white space so your resume is a two-pager that’s easy to read!

For more on resume formatting tips, check out: