Formatting resumes. We all have our own ways to send resumes to clients. Some Recruiters just slap a logo and their own contact information on it, while others take the time to make sure the spelling and grammar are correct before sending the resume to the client with logo and their personal contact information. I see resumes from Recruiters that have different fonts, colors and misspelled words throughout the resume. To get attention from your clients with a candidate’s resume, you should follow these steps:


  1. Highlight the whole resume with your mouse, and clear the font to take out all the bolded words and different fonts.
  2. Choose a clear font (ex. Times New Roman, Arial) and make the whole resume the same font, same font point, and the same color.
  3. Take out the tables. If a candidate has made their whole resume one big table or a small section, make sure you “merge cells” and then “delete row”.
  4. Make sure each section is clearly defined. There is no need for inserting lines or designs. You can simply make sectioned words in CAPS/BOLDED-PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: or underlined/Bolded-Professional Experience:
  5. No use for Tabs. You should keep company, dates of position, and title in one clear area. There is no need to tab over to break it up.
  6. Make sure there is a company name. Some candidates like to keep this “Confidential” but if you have a relationship, it should be clear that you will be confidential in helping them with their job search.
  7. Always make sure sentences make sense and are used in proper past and present tense.
  8. If the candidate does not have a degree, do not make your client question if they do. Make it clear the candidate is currently taking classes or finished without graduating.
  9. Create “talking points”, at the beginning, that will grab the client’s attention without reading through the whole resume. This is your first chance to sell the candidate to the client. Let’s face it, some candidates have resumes that are anywhere from 1-18 pages. Those 18 pages can quickly get cut down. No one wants to go through 18 pages of the same information over and over again.
  10. Lastly, do a thorough Spelling and Grammar check. Afterwards, read each sentence to make sure words are spelled correctly and make sense. I have made the mistake of a sentence stating “suing PeopleSoft applications” rather than “using”. I was completely embarrassed.


If you have any suggestions, please feel to add further. This was a short list of creating an eye pleasing resume. If a resume makes you cringe, you know your professional expertise is in dire need.

Views: 1227

Comment by Noel Cocca on April 23, 2012 at 6:48pm

Thanks for the post Ashley....good tips.

Comment by Abdulaziz Alkhamees on April 24, 2012 at 8:00am

Nice post, I was acutely arguing with a colleagues of mine on the importance of CV formatting.  Thanks 

Comment by Darryl Dioso on April 24, 2012 at 10:09am

Great tips. I'd only counter that "Times Roman" is a difficult font to read - not one of my faves.

Comment by Kyle Schafroth on April 24, 2012 at 11:00am

Great post - lead by example! It's hard for us to be the 'experts' in the field giving advice to candidates when the stuff coming from our desk isn't much better.

Well done Ashley

Comment by Marcia Bateman on April 24, 2012 at 3:50pm

Ashley nicely done… you are correct with your points here are a few things to add..

Make it left justified as most recruiters and HR import them into their ATS (Applicant tracking system). Most ATS products parse the resume so it fills in the name, address, job title and so on… if the resume is tabbed, badly formatted, etc it not import well some even to the point where you can’t read them..  

Comment by Marley on April 25, 2012 at 9:11am

Nice post, Ashley.  Clear and direct.  I think some of my colleagues see my resume formatting as over the top, glad to see there are others who see the value in it!

Comment by Evelyn Amaro on April 25, 2012 at 4:08pm

Wonderful tips. Another tip is to keep the same formatting throughout the resume, this includes dates of employment. I get a number of resumes with dates of employment formatted differently and it drives me crazy. If you start with Jan. 2010 - Feb. 2010, don't change the format for the next company to: 03/10 - 03/11. Sorry for the rant, that is one of my pet peeves :-) Also, for font I personally prefer Verdana, but Times Roman works as well.

Comment by Scott Thompson on April 26, 2012 at 9:07pm

I disagree with some of this. Bolded phrases have a use. Every resume doesn't have to be templated. It is certainly possible to go overboard with formatting, but I don't feel it's my job to make sure every resume looks and feels like every other.


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