Important Tips for Reformatting Your Resume

November 8, 2013

resumeWhen was the last time you reformatted your resume? Are you still using the old style of resume that includes a list of positions and responsibilities? If so, it might be time to reformat your resume to reflect the current interest in less clutter, and have more emphasis on job keywords and actual accomplishments.

As you prepare to change up your resume, consider that there are some things your resume doesn’t need anymore – and some formatting ideas you can follow to make your resume more readable.

What the Modern Resume Doesn’t Need

As you reformat your resume, consider whether you even need certain sections. One of the things that isn’t really needed on a resume these days is the “objective” section. This is especially true if you are sending in a cover letter. Your cover letter pretty much shares your objectives, and re-stating it on your resume is unnecessary and takes up space.

Some other things that may not be necessary in the new resume format include:

  • Pictures: Unless your job hires based on looks (acting, modeling, etc.), you don’t need to include a picture.
  • Border: There is very little reason to use a border on a resume. It tends to clutter things up a bit.
  • Salary requirements: There is no reason to include these. Instead, focus on your accomplishments and qualifications.
  • References: You don’t need to include references on your resume, unless specifically asked to. And don’t use the “references upon request” line. It’s not needed, and it takes up space.

Check your resume for these offenses and get rid of them. Then, reformat your resume so that it is readable.

How to Make Your Resume Readable

Right now, the readability of a resume revolves around using white space in the formatting. You don’t need to use lines and boxes to separate different sections of your resume. Instead, use the white space that occurs when you space down an extra line. There is a break, but it looks cleaner. Keep this in mind as you format your resume.

You can use the “header” function for your contact information. Instead of listing it all down the upper lefthand corner, put it in the header. You can list it across the top of the resume in order to preserve neatness, and keep it all in line. Then, you will have more room for the “meat” of your resume.

List most relevant information first. Is your work experience more important for this particular job or is your education more important? This will dictate which section is listed first. It’s easier to skim a list of items. Depending on space, limit bullet points under a job title or employer to between three and six items.

Use action words to describe what you accomplished. You shouldn’t just list responsibilities! You need to show that you have actually done something. If you don’t want to use a list, you don’t need to though. You can replace a bulleted list with a two to three sentence description of your responsibilities and accomplishments in a particular position.

As you list your history, don’t put the date first on the line to the left. Instead, list the name of your employer first, and the location, on the left. The date should be to the right on the line, something that can be looked at later if desired. The emphasis should be on your qualifications, and what you have done – seeing a date first distracts from that.

Look over your resume, and check online for some current examples and templates. Compare what you find to what you have. Chances are that a little reformatting can help your resume stand out in a positive way.

Neglecting to modernize your resume could be considered one of many money mistakes, as it might be the difference between landing a job and not. Whether you’re a college graduate looking for some of the best jobs available, or have been in the workforce for several decades, it’s important to keep your resume up-to-date and pleasing to the eye!

Are you planning on reformatting your resume? Have any questions? Leave a comment below!


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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4 Responses to Important Tips for Reformatting Your Resume

  • KK @ Student Debt Survivor

    Good tips. The the “references upon request” line makes me crazy. We all know that references are available, if they weren’t then you wouldn’t be a good candidate for the job to begin with.

  • Mike

    I also typically advocate not to put your mailing address on your resume anymore … your location can be implied by your latest work experience (and few, if any, companies are going to snail mail you). If a company does need your address, that information is probably included in your online application. You probably also don’t need to denote your phone number as ‘Home’ or ‘Cell’ either anymore, mobile phones are now widely used as primary lines.


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