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SHOW DATE: SEPTEMBER 4, 2013

The way you’re formatting your resume may be ruining your image.

Would you ever wear flip-flops, jeans and a t-shirt to a job interview? Unless you’re interviewing for High Times, probably not. So why dress your resume in wacky fonts and stretched margins?

Your resume represents who you are you, since it’s usually the first thing that employers see. There’s no reason your resume shouldn’t look as sharp as that suit you wear to your job interviews.

Here are three huge resume formatting mistakes that can seriously injure your image with employers:

1)   Wacky fonts: Unless you’re a designer and you understand how to manipulate fonts to your aesthetic advantage, stop thinking wacky fonts distinguish you from the crowd; they only make you look like an idiot. Stick to the sweet spot with Times New Roman 11, 10 if you have a lot of text or 12 if you can’t fill the page with 11.

2)   Stretched Margins: Another thing that grates employers is excruciatingly tiny margins on either side of your resume. Be conformist, stick to the norm: .75 inches to 1 inch on the sides and .5 to .75 inches on the top and bottom (or even Word’s default 1 inch margin on all sides). Nothing lower: anything less and it’s like pulling wool over your employer’s eyes. Show employers that you have discipline by fitting your resume into a single page without cutting corner and screwing the rules.

3)   Avoid White Space: This is the opposite end of the bad formatting spectrum. Instead of too much text crammed into a single page, you have too little. You may think your resume looks beautiful and elegant when it’s sparse, but all the employer’s thinking is “Ugh, I need someone who’s done more!”       

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