Resume Formats – do they really matter?

The answer to that question is yes…and no.

Allow me to explain.

At ResumeEdge we have 15 formats for private sector resumes and 3 for federal resumes. Those designs for the private sector represent different styles, fonts and data organization. All are professional in appearance. Some are conservative, others more creative for artistic types. None will make or break your job search.

Resume Content Matters More than Format


You shouldn’t be. Hiring managers and recruiters certainly expect an aesthetically pleasing resume even if you’re entry level. That fact will never change. However, they’re looking for more. And that would be substance in the content.

Even if you submit the most beautiful resume available, if it contains only vague generalizations (eg: skilled professional who excels at management); extraneous fluff (eg: love to cook and take hikes); duties without results (eg: set up a new filing system; rearranged schedules); or an objective rather than a qualifications summary (eg: I want this, I want that), it won’t be read.

Paint Yourself as the Perfect Candidate for the Position

In this tough economy, companies are looking for near-perfect fits with new hires. They don’t want to train you. They don’t want to have to micromanage you. They want you to come in, hitting the ground running, making them money or saving them money.

The format you choose doesn’t matter, except that it has to be professional.

Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in minutia, especially if you’re working with a professional resume writer. Worrying about whether the font should be Times New Roman or Arial is a waste of energy. Most hiring managers won’t notice what font is used. Again, they’re searching for content – your skills/knowledge/abilities as they relate to the opening. That’s where a professional resume writer can make you shine.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Changing formats may make you feel better, but it won’t do anything for the hiring manager who won’t stress over tiny details as you do. Choosing what you like, even when it flies in the face of common sense and your writer’s warnings (eg: choosing an artistic format for a conservative industry like banking) will do little to advance your job prospects. Many times, you’ll be hurting your chances.

Remember, content is everything. It’s what matters. Every professional resume writer will tell you the same. Focus on that, including results rather than tasks and you’ll be closer to getting that coveted invitation to interview.

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