How Does a Professional Resume Look?

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A professional resume has a lot of white space.
A professional resume has a lot of white space. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A professional resume is a document that is easy to read and that contains all of the information an employer needs to piece together your professional background. A professional resume is neatly arranged and clean around the edges.

White Space

The element of white space in a resume cannot be underestimated. Having half-inch margins makes a resume difficult to read. Use the widest margins you can and still fit your resume on one page (two pages if absolutely necessary). Double space between major sections to create more white space. For example, leave two lines between your contact information at the top of the resume and your career objective beneath it. If you have to cut information, delete jobs not relevant to the position or jobs you held more than 15 years ago. Jobs you had that far in the past are not generally relevant to any position.

Paper

Use white, beige or gray paper for your resume. The paper should be heavyweight to give it a professional look and feel. Avoid pastel or bright colors. A green resume will stand out, certainly, and probably end up in the wastebasket.

Text

Use an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman or Arial. Keep the size between 10 point and 12 point to facilitate easier reading. The font color should be black so that it is easy to read as well. Use italics and bold font sparingly. If you do use them, use them throughout the resume in the same manner. For example, do not use one type of font and style for a section heading and then use a different one in a different section later in the resume.

Sections

Title the sections of your resume so the employer knows what he is looking at. For example, one of your first sections might be “Skills Summary.” Others might include “Work Experience,” “Education” and “Additional Skills and Experiences.” Use bullet points to offset your accomplishments under individual jobs. For example, you might write “Increased sales of the department by 13 percent in one quarter” under your job as a salesman with a bullet point before the “I” in “Increased.”

Proofread

A professional resume should be consistent. Double spaces should be used consistently, as well as bullet points, capital letters, bold font and other formatting and style elements. A professional resume is also error-free and typo-free. All words are spelled correctly. Punctuation is consistent and correct.

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