Ten Point Checklist to Review Your Resume
- Formatting: Review whether the document is properly formatted into headings, subheadings, and paragraphs. Don't forget to put headings and subheadings in bold lettering. Underlining headings is definitely out of style nowadays, so you might want to avoid that.
- Spacing: Spacing between letters, lines, and paragraphs is important, and you should watch out for and remove anomalies. While spacing between letters is usually maintained consistently, mistakes can happen in two places, especially while copy- pasting parts of one resume into another. First, problems can happen where parts of a resume show single space between lines and others show 1.5 or double spacing. Secondly, either due to pasting or due to errors, the customary double spacing between paragraphs can be forgotten. The best way to rectify these errors is to select the entire document and then format to uniform space between lines. Once that is done, then check the separation of paragraphs from one another, and then check and rectify headings and subheadings.
- Fonts: Using too small fonts can result in dense text, which can reduce readability and acceptance. Also using unconventional fonts may not be welcome in most cases. Fonts like Garamond, Arial, or Times New Roman are safe for resumes and usually one shouldn't go below 10 points though 12 is preferable.
- Spelling: Typos and genuine spelling mistakes create a horrible impression and one must go through each word in a resume thoroughly to rectify spelling errors. If you are not sure of a spelling, do consult a dictionary. Computer spellcheckers are notorious for being unreliable.
- Style: Style of coining each sentence and phrase needs to be rechecked to remove colloquialism and clumsy constructions. Both of these are common enough in everyday writing and are things to remain careful of. While it is true that a metaphor can substitute a hundred words, still it is wise to remove metaphors and metaphorical expressions from a resume, for reasons of greater clarity, as well as style.
- Structure: While the structure of a resume is simple enough and may seem almost routine to you, it is the familiarity with the structure that leads to neglect silly mistakes. Check whether everything is in its proper place. Date, job title, objective statement, your personal particulars including address, phone number etc. must be correct and properly placed. Check whether the resume is neatly divided into areas following the style of either a functional or chronological resume, or any other style of your choice. Check whether, work experience, accomplishments, qualifications, etc. are clearly divided into separate paragraphs and stressed by separate headings.
- Paper quality and cleanliness: While this is not relevant in case of digital resumes, in case of physical resumes, paper quality and cleanliness is extremely important. You don't want a resume with a coffee stain on it to reach the recruiter's table. So, in case of physical resumes check every page separately for uniform paper quality and cleanliness.
- Pictures in resumes: Unless the employer specifically requires it, it is unseemly to include your photograph within a resume, though it is definitely approved if you send them in separate attached files or copies. However, pictures can increase the loading time of digital resumes, so take care.
- Neglecting keywords: Job specific keywords, especially those used by the recruiter for the job posting is extremely relevant since the first screening of resumes is usually done by software. Neglecting to include relevant keywords is seen as an error in the digital age, since including correct keywords has become standard practice in professionally created resumes.
- Missing a cover letter or attaching the cover letter as a separate file to an email: This is a common mistake in case of electronic resumes. A resume should always be accompanied by a cover letter, and the cover letter should be the email itself to which the resume is attached as a file.
Following this simple checklist to review your resume will result in better documents and increase your chances for the job you want.