Ensure Reader-Friendly Resume Layout and Formatting


Top Notch Executive Resumes Hiring decision-makers surveyed for the book, Top Notch Executive Resumes identified this as one of their Top 30 Executive Resume Pet Peeves: Resume has poor or inconsistent formatting, unclear layout. “A resume should be clear, concise and provide enough relevant information to encourage the phone call it’s meant to generate,” said Human Resources Professional Veronica Richmond of Oakville, Ontario, Canada. My preference is for easy reading, because I see just too many resumes per position to fight a layout that is not clear. I want to find the relevant information easily.” An example of poor formatting that Curtis Pollen doesn’t like to see is “everything lined up on the left margin including name, address heading information.” Pollen, who is senior director of talent recruitment for the American Heart Association, Wallingford, CT, rails when the “content layout doesn’t flow smoothly, for example, [the candidate] will list all accomplishments up front then just provide jobs and dates down below. I like to see what accomplishments were achieved in a particular job to ensure there is a match for the position I am recruiting for.” Pollen also noted that candidates don’t pay enough attention to how the resume looks when loaded to a job board or his organization’s career site, sometimes resulting in “resumes where everything runs together and is hard to read.” Pollen advised job-seekers to check the format to ensure it looks appropriate before submitting it. Candidates who don’t bother to check the way their resumes print out annoy Jeff Weaver, regional manager for a global information services company, such as when a two-page resume spills over — by just a few lines — onto an unintended third page. Granted, computer incompatibilities often are the culprits for a format that is inconsistent between sender and recipient, but candidates can experiment with sending their resumes to friends’ computers to ensure they print out as intended, and as Weaver advises, tweak the margins or remove unnecessary page breaks to eliminate an unintended straggler page.
See all 30 peeves: executive resume peeves 1-10 in Part 1, executive resume peeves 11-20 in Part 2 and executive resume peeves 21-30 in Part 3.