A first impression is a big deal when it comes to a resume. It may very well be the only impression you get, so it’s critical you get it right. Whether you have just prepared a new resume using a template or you want to polish an old resume, there are three essential things you should do before submitting your resume to a company for employment. Although simple, these three tips could make the difference between a good impression or a negative one.
Make Sure the Formatting is Uniform
One of the easiest errors to spot on a resume is a formatting inconsistency. Even if you are using a template, it’s possible for formatting to get messed up. Because most templates have different fonts and tabs in different sections, making changes to one section and then moving to another can cause formatting mistakes. Copying and pasting information can also lead to unintended formatting inconsistencies. Quickly check each section of your resume to ensure your font is uniform for each section. Also, make sure the font size is consistent with each section. You’ll also want to go through and check for issues of spacing. While your resume may look okay with spacing, it may appear differently in the print preview. Check your preview to get a quick view of how your resume will look printed, and then change spacing as needed.
Make Sure the Grammar is Uniform
Due to the fact that resume templates come in so many forms, knowing how to approach grammar, particularly punctuation, can be a challenge. Similar to formatting, the most important part of grammar in a resume is consistency. For example, if you are making a list of qualities or professional accomplishments, consistently put a period ending each bullet point section or leave it off. If you have two sections that have bullet-point lists, don’t use the period in one section and leave it off in the next. As long as you use optional punctuation marks in a uniform way in each section, it won’t be something that will stand out as a negative to a potential employer.
Make Sure Dates and Information is Uniform and Accurate
The biggest offense on a resume is inaccurate information, even if it’s just a matter of laziness on your part. People often don’t fully update their information when using an old resume, and some people guess on things like dates of employment when building a new resume. In some cases, inaccurate information may not be obvious, but quite often an inaccuracy can be a huge red flag for an employer. For most employers, because they don’t know you, inaccuracies on a resume can be an issue of trustworthiness. For this reason alone, it’s imperative to check every date and fact on your resume to ensure it’s current and right.
While it may require a bit of work, most of the time these three tips can be done in an hour or less. Taking enough time to polish your resume will allow an employer to focus on your qualifications instead of questioning them because of a negative impression in the document.
3 Quick Ways to Polish Your Resume Before Submitting It