It is highly recommended that you use a template format for your resume. Busy managers do not have time to try and figure out resumes that present information haphazardly. There are many templates readily available either in Microsoft Office or on the Internet, so there’s really no reason that a resume should not be in a template format.
Templates were created for two reasons. One was to make the creation of your resume easier for you but the real reason was to provide the required data in a format that most effectively displays your qualifications and is preferred by most employers. An effective template will present company names, dates, job titles, academic information, and other important data clearly and consistently. Often, all a resume gets is a quick glance, it’s important to make your information easy to read.
When choosing your template, it needs to be one that accurately reflects your career and the industry you are targeting. Potential candidates in the financial industry, for example, should keep their resume style conservative while an artist or a graphic designer may be a little more flamboyant and creative. Your resume should be easy to read. That usually means avoid bold text and italics as well as artistic font characters. While most people believe that being different will make their resumes stand out; the reality of the situation is that being different will probably get your resume discarded. Quickly. Good font choices are 11 point New Times Roman or Arial.
Effectively using the white space in your resume is almost as important as the template and font choices. Avoid eliminating margins and using blocks of text. Keep your sentences short. Bullet points are ideal and should be placed under special topic headings. Hiring managers usually glance at a resume to decide if they’re interested in taking more time with it. Text heavy resumes that require concentrated reading will not impress them.
Finally, prioritize the data in your resume according to the qualifications required by the position. Nothing irritates a potential employer more than having to search through your information to figure out whether or not you meet the qualifications they require. Important items like a willingness to relocate, certifications, education levels and past experience should be included at the top of the resume. A potential employer usually narrows down a pile of resumes quickly on the first go-round. If they have to search to figure out whether or not you meet their qualifications, odds are someone that put the information where they could find it is going to land on the top while you’re relegated to the bottom.