Resume Tips & Tricks, Part 1

By: Paying

As a Peer Educator, I see many different types of resume styles written by all kinds of students with various majors. In my short time in the office so far, I’ve learned some tips and tricks while training and also working with others that apply to many students. Today, I’m starting with a few simple formatting changes that will help give your resume a clean and professional look!

COMBINE DESCRIPTIONS
There are many job description lines I’ve seen that could be combined. Here is an example:

Original Example:
Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019
• Picked up phone calls
• Helped ring up customers
• Walked on the floor to answer questions if asked

Updated Example:
Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019
• Assisted many customers through phone calls, checkout, and on floor assistance

As you can see, you saved up 2 lines already without having to delete anything! If you went through and combined more descriptions, you could have more space for other information that you feel is more relevant to the positions you’re applying to.

CONSISTENT AND SMALLER SPACING
For this section, there are three things that should be at the top of your list to consider tweaking in order to save space: margins/bullet points, font size, and unrelated information. There isn’t much to explain for this besides actually showing you all how it’s done.

Margins/Bullet Points
The top and bottom margins can be between 0.5” to 1.0” while the left and right should remain at 1.0” due to printing reasonings. That can be done through using the margins on Microsoft Word or the page setup on Google Doc.

Examples from Google Doc and Microsoft Word to find margins

Another thing related to the margins is the spacing between paragraphs. When using the spacing settings, always make sure to “Remove Spacing After Paragraphs.” If you don’t see that option, make sure the “Spacing After & Before Paragraphs” is set to “ZERO (0).”

How to do custom line spacing in Google Doc.
How to do custom line spacing in Microsoft Word

Similar to the margins, the bullet point spacing allows you to save a bit of space without removing information. After you create your whole resume, you can use the “Ruler” to move it around. If you don’t have a ruler, here is how you could find it in Word:

Where to find the ruler in Microsoft Word
Click “View” and click on “Ruler”
Screenshot of resume in Microsoft Word
Screenshot of resume in Microsoft Word

In the above images, the little arrow marks can be moved around to what you want and change how the bullets will look. The top arrow moves just the bullet point, the bottom arrow moves just the text, and the rectangle under the bottom arrow moves the text and bullet point together. You won’t see a dramatic change but it could help you save a few lines if a word rolls over and takes up its own line.

Font Size
This is something very simple! Your name can be from 12-14 pt font and you can have the rest of your resume be anywhere from 10-12 pt font so always double check it!

Unrelated Information
Unrelated information can be anywhere from old high school information to skills. You might think, “Aren’t those all relevant?” In a sense, yes, but only to a certain extent.

If you are a junior or higher, remove high school information and add in more recent and relevant activities.

Soft skills (ex: Positivity, leadership, adaptability, etc) could be shown through your job description lines and doesn’t need its own section.

Using the Whole Page
“Using the whole page” is another way of balancing your content throughout the whole space: top to bottom, left to the center to the right. It’s not necessarily a bad way of formatting, but if you want to save space, example two would be your go-to. Here are examples of the same content that uses the space differently:

Resume Example with most content centered
Resume example with most content starting on left side of page

These two examples have the same content, nothing is changed at all besides the way it is formatted. Look at how much space you could save!

Stay tuned for more resume tips and tricks related to content!

Of Possible Interest:
Resume & Cover Letter, Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topics
Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Paying’s other posts

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