When you pick up your resume, one of the first things you should notice is how it looks. Your eyes catches the document as a whole, not necessarily the actual text (though words in larger font do stand out). If your resume doesn’t look as polished and professional as you’d like, or something just seems “off” about it, there are a few strategies you can use for cleaning things up.

  1. Use horizontal lines, bolding, and bullet points.

If the page looks cluttered and one section blends into the next, it’s time to break things up. Divide each section using a simple horizontal line – there are several basic styles in Word. This helps to draw your eye from one area to the next and clearly defines each section. Bolding of company names and job titles can help as well. But be careful not to go overboard with what you choose to put in bold or it will lose its impact.

When it comes to your actual job experience, instead of writing a paragraph about what you did and the results achieved, emphasize each accomplishment using bullet points. Hiring managers can more easily skim through your experience and pick out the important points. They don’t want to spend their time reading through a large chunk of text to get to whatever is buried in the middle.

  1. Justify the text.

Keep your margins looking clean and uniform by justifying the text. The right-hand side won’t look jagged and messy because everything will be aligned. Depending on word length and sentence length, it may alter the spacing between words a bit, but usually this isn’t too noticeable.

  1. Revise to get rid of single-word lines.

If you have a sentence that bumps a single word or two to the next line (called a “widow”), consider revising so that everything fits on one line. You’ll save space on your resume because you won’t have one word occupying an entire line, it provides a cleaner look, and it helps you to focus on being more concise.

  1. Adjust the margins.

Does the last bullet point of your job bump down to the next page? Or does the content fit perfectly onto two pages except for the very end? Consider changing the margins just a bit so that everything fits well. Usually adjusting the top and bottom margins from one inch to .8 or even .6 can help. Just be wary about making them too small because this can work against you and end up making your resume look too cluttered. Try to cut down on the text before the margins.

  1. Change the font.

It is amazing how something as simple as switching up the font can change the look and feel of your resume. Some tried-and-true options include Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, Helvetica, and Georgia. You can also go with the traditional Times New Roman as well. Play around with them and see which one you like best. You can always go with something different the next time you update your resume.

Polish up your resume and make sure the format and style appeal to what hiring managers are looking for with help from Grammar Chic. Our team will work with you to find a balance that highlights your capabilities and personal preferences. Contact us at (803) 831-7444 or resumewriting@grammarchic.net to get started.