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Resume formats can be very tricky and a beautiful resume requires a lot of fine-tuning. Start with one of these 3 resume templates, and improve on their look and feel by avoiding these 10 resume format mistakes!

1. Using Times New Roman

Times New Roman is the most common typeface used on resumes and that is precisely why you should not use it. To stand out, use a less common typeface with an equally professional look and feel.

As alternatives, try Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Cambria, or Calibri. Garamond is a beautiful, timeless font that works particularly well if you are distributing your resume in print. 

Georgia is another professional font that is especially eye-catching on computer screens, making it perfect if you are submitting your resume online. Helvetica, Cambria, and Calibri are great all-around fonts that work well on resumes.


2. Using ink that is not black

Always stick to black ink when drafting a resume. Adding in additional colors, even in an effort to better organize your resume, makes the document cluttered and distracting. 

Rather than using multiple colors, experiment with a typeface that is bold, italicized, capitalized, and/or in varying sizes to keep your resume organized, with clear visual hierarchy. If you are applying to design jobs, then maybe you can get away with a little bit of color—but use it sparingly.

3. Have an objective or summary statement

Objective statements and summary statements are considered outdated and redundant. Instead of including these sections, get right to the point and start your resume off with either your education section or your work experience section.

4. Writing in paragraph form

Resumes should not resemble essays in any way. Separate your descriptions into bullet points to make your resume easier to read. Make your bullet points short, direct, and to-the-point by using action words as openers.

5. Ending your phrases with periods

While it may look grammatically incorrect, leaving the ends of your phrases free of periods actually enhances your resume’s readability. Periods on your resume disrupt the document’s overall flow so avoid including them at all costs.

6. Using orphaned lines

An orphan is a single word that takes up its own line. Including orphans shows poor planning so it’s best to edit your sentences to avoid going onto an additional line, where possible. A good rule of thumb is to only extend a phrase to an additional line if that line will be composed of at least 4 words.

7. Have too many or too few bullet points

Describe each of the positions you’ve held using between 2 and 4 bullet points so that your resume has a balanced, edited look.

8. Don't show visual hierarchy

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to convey visual hierarchy on your resume. Use bold, italics, all caps, and/or different sized fonts to differentiate titles and headers from standard text. Play around with different combinations of these techniques until you find a system that works for you!

9. Don't have any horizontal lines

Horizontal lines work well to divide the different sections of your resume so be sure to use a couple! Ideally, use a minimum of 2 horizontal lines and a maximum of 4 horizontal lines throughout the entire document.

10. Have strange margins

Resume margins should be between 0.5” and 1” on all four sides. A safe way to set your margins is to use the same width on all four sides.

Another good way to set your resume margins is to set your left and right margins to one width and your top and bottom margins to another width.


For general information on resume writing, check out Localwise's 50 Resume Writing Tips. To learn the basics of an appropriate resume format, check out Localwise's 21 Resume Formatting Tips.

Beautiful resumes take patience and a lot of hard work! Be persistent and your resume will be stunning in no time!

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