Resume Help – Format and Layout

By Debra Wheatman

On January 24, 2011

In Resume Help

About resume


Today’s résumé critique is an interesting one because the candidate worked at the same firm for many years, but in very diverse roles. This résumé belongs to a woman we will call Joan. Joan began working for a firm that we will fictitiously call Munchinson Inc. in 1998 and left in 2010.

She provides almost no detail about what she did at the company other than the title and a brief laundry list of tasks performed.  Unfortunately this is not bringing out the true value that Joan has to offer. The résumé has sketchy information about what she did; she offers little to no content surrounding how well she performed in her role and what strengths she has.

Click on the link below to see additional comments about Joan’s résumé.

I recommend that we go back to the drawing board and take a look from the top at what her résumé really needs to become a compelling and powerful document. The first thing that must be done with Joan’s résumé is to change the look.  She is using an 8 pt Arial font which is barely visible to the naked eye. Typically résumé writers use a 10 pt font when working with Arial.

After we improve the look, the next thing on the list is to create a dynamic headline. Depending on what Joan wants to do in her next role, we can create a headline that will immediately let the reader know what her strong suits are.  After this, a summary statement that provides the reader with an overview of both hard and soft skills is a must.  Joan can then add a list of core competencies or key areas of expertise. 

Once this is done, the real work starts. It is not enough for Joan to simply spew out a listing of what her general role was at each position.  She should first describe to the hiring manager or recruiter a bit more about the company she has spent the last 12 years working for. 

Then, she needs to think about all of the value that she brought to her former employer and be very specific, creating bullet points that detail the situations, actions, and results (SAR) she achieved.  By doing this, she will create interest in the mind of the reader and highlight her strengths above other potential competitors in the job market.

If you would have interest in a résumé critique either privately or as part of our weekly Résumé Critique blog which appears every Monday, email for more information.

One thought on “Resume Help – Format and Layout”

  • Richard Eaton  says:
    January 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Agree whole heartedly with your critique Debra. Far too often, people load their resume with content directly from their job description, not realizing that the employer has no way to ascertain whether they performed their roles poorly, adequately or superior. ONLY specific measurable accomplishments with outcomes—their personal contribution, will allow the employer to determine whether this person actually meets their needs.

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