Did you know that the average resume is only reviewed for approximately 5-7 seconds before a decision is made? That means you have minimal time to capture the attention of the hiring manager, recruiter, or potential interviewer. Because of this short attention span, the format and layout of your resume is just as important as the information the document contains. Read below for five tips that will ensure your layout is appropriate for today’s job market.

Tip #1 – Use an easy-to-read font in an appropriate size. This is not the place to stand out (unless you are a graphic designer that has created your own font). By utilizing a common font, such as Cambria or Calibri (in a size no less than 10.5), you are ensuring easy reading for the reviewer. In addition, you won’t have to worry that someone will have to load a font or change their eyesight to read the size 8 font you thought was a great idea.

Tip #2 – Ditch the objective and use a career summary. If you are sending a resume, your objective is to get an interview so that you are able to secure a new job – it’s a no-brainer. Use this premium space at the top of the resume to craft a professional career summary that provides a 3-5 line high-overview of your career thus far.

Tip #3 – Utilize clear section headings. The reader is going to skim your information. By using clear section headings—in a bigger and bolder font—you can easily depict where one section stops and another section starts. The common sections will include something similar to Qualifications, Professional History, Education, and Community Engagement. Again—5-7 seconds. Be clear, concise, and distinctive in your separation points.

Tip #4 – Create full pages with no leftovers. If you are going to have a 1-page resume, then make a 1-page resume. And, if you have enough information to justify 2-pages, then make it a full 2-page document. Be sure not to have a sentence or two lingering on the second page with no additional material. These ‘leftover’s make it look like you weren’t sure what should be included and didn’t know how to properly format a document that looks cohesive and complete.

Tip #5 – Don’t use paragraphs. When people see large blocks of text with little to no separation, they typically decide not to read the information. If you can use bullets and phrases instead of large paragraphs with complete sentences, it will be easier to capture the attention of the reader.

This is just the start of several ideas and tips to get your resume ready for your upcoming job search. If you are unsure where to start with your resume, cover letter, or interviewing skills, please contact us today.

P.S. If you really don’t know where to start, download our FREE Resume Starter Form – this will help you gather the information needed to craft your new resume!