How to format a resume

School graduation now happens all year long, and I get more questions than ever about resumes. I also get more complaints that it costs too much to get one done for new graduates.

Graduation puts new emphasis on the quality of students’ resumes. On the other hand, it also means more competition for the jobs that are available. A whole herd of people with similar skills hit the market all at the same time. That creates intense competition for some jobs.

Adults can’t afford to have a substandard resume either. Remember, your resume is the first impression a potential employer sees. If you wouldn’t go to an interview wearing your oldest sneakers, don’t go with a worn-out resume.

There are many ways to format resumes. However, most recruiters and employers prefer a basic, well-organized, simple document that is easy to read. Older adaptations, designed to minimize time out of the workforce or job gaps and frequent changes, don’t work well in the new electronic systems. Your goal is to get selected by that system and get to talk to someone who can hire you.  Don’t get overly creative.

Many people use templates on MSWord. That doesn’t mean you don’t need my services or that I can’t find ways to make it better. Do you know a simple thing like putting your name and address in the header can confuse the machines and get your resume discarded? It does mean you can get a presentable looking resume without help. I respect the fact some people don’t have any other option.