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Getting Your Resume to Look Great in Print

Historically people in need of a professional looking resume went to a typist and professional printer. Today, most of us have computer that can do all this for us however we still need to understand how to properly format and print the resume so it looks professional. The following guide will help you do this in a professional manner by breaking down the process in to easy steps.

Resume Formatting 101.
Formatting your resume correctly can be critical in helping you advance to the next step in your job search, the interview. Many offices use electronic scanners to screen resumes. Many of these scanners can only read basic formats, e.g. basic typeface and may be unable to read bullet or italics or underline. You may be able to find out if any company you are submitting your resume to is using an electronic scanner as it is often posted on their website or on their employment hotline. The message here is to keep it simple an use one typeface if possible. Your resume is a business document and should look like one. The use of overly ornate typeface and too many underlined words or the overuse of bullets make it look more like a school report. Your resume should follow the generally accepted format and it's really not appropriate to have the format too different from the current norm. This may have the opposite effect than intended.

The Two-Column Format.
There really is not a lot of choice here as the accepted norm is the two column format. This is where the page is divided in two with the left hand column being much narrower than the right. All the main pieces of information go in to the right column with information such as dates and job titles going in to the left column. This creates a clean looking, easy to read resume.

The disadvantages in using this type of format are that the area on the right hand side where all the main content is written is smaller and you may need to use a smaller typeface or even have to add an extra page to your resume. Of course the obvious disadvantage is that trying to line up everything can be very difficult especially when you need to make even minor changes.

It is really a matter of choice which format you choose so pick the one that works best for you. It will to have any impact on whether ornot someone reads the resume or not.

Choose Your Fonts.
The font also known as the typeface comes in two categories generally and within these there are numerous options to choose from. The two categories are serif and sans serif. Sans serif fonts are plainer or more modern and the serif fonts are generally more ornate or as some may say, old fashioned or traditional.

You should limit your use of fonts to the most common, the more standard ones used in word processing.

The most common fonts used sans serif are Arial and the most common serif fonts are Times Roman. Gothic is also very common and is a little more impressive than Arial.

Font Size.
Font size is generally kept between 10- 14 –points. A point is equal to 1/72 of an inch.

As the number increases so does the font size by 1/72nd of an inch for every point.

You may decide to put any heading in a larger font size and keep the body of the resume in a smaller typeface that is common.

Leading is the amount of space between each line and you can change this if you desire to make the resume more readable and to give a better overall appearance. You may have heard reference to single space, double space and triple space. All of these terms refer to the space between each line and the higher the number the larger the space. Computers today allow us even more options to put various amounts of space between words. There is a default setting or automatic leading and unless the leading is changed you will automatically use the default settings.

If you have enough space on your resume it is a good idea to add a point or two to the leading in order to make the resume appear airier and more inviting. The larger the font size the larger you may want the leading to balance the page. For example, if the font is a 10 point type you may want the leading to be a 14.

Placing and Formatting the Heading.
Where to place the heading is one of the most common questions people asked when writing a resume. You can place the heading at the top center or flush to the left of the sheet.

You can format the heading in a number of ways including, bolding the entire heading or putting everything in capital letters.

Graphic Touches.
You can use any of the graphic touches available to you on your computer however a word of warning, do not over do it. You will want to draw attention to specific details in your resume and these are pieces where you may want to add those graphic touches such as bolding, or putting the words in Italics or even underlining sentences or words.

As a rule, try not to use more than two types of devices such as bold and italics.

Use italics sparingly.

  • Only use underlining when you are unable to use boldface
  • Remember to avoid any graphics touches for resumes that are going to be scanned
  • Never boldface a word or words in the middle of a sentence
Bullets to Make a Point.
It ahs become more and more common to use bullets in resumes. It makes a sentence much easier to read by breaking it down in to easy to read points. In this fast paced world people do not want to have to do too much work to read a resume so this makes it easier for them to read.

You can use several different symbols to represent a bullet such as a dash or an automatically formatted bullet point from word

Punctuation and Capitalization.
Resumes follow the normal rules of punctuation and the ones that are most confusing will most likely crop up when you are writing your resume.

The following is a typical punctuation question you will come across when writing your resume.

  • Do indent to use a period after bullet statements?
Finally, be consistent. If you use periods after each bullet statement then do it throughout the resume. There really is no need to use a period after short or broken up statements. If the statement is longer it makes sense to use a period.

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