Time for a Resume Refresh

When was the last time you dusted off your resume? I’m guessing when you last applied for a job. It’s true for me too. I coach people in developing a marketable resume and when I last looked at mine I was a bit embarrassed!

The approach I take when helping people strengthen their resume is to focus on layout and then the content. In this post I’m going to list ways to improve the readability of your resume through some formatting suggestions:

  • Check the font is modern – Calibri, Verdana, Arial and Tahoma are all good choices. Times New Roman is like stepping into a time machine to the 90s.
  • Size of font counts. Not too big and not too small. 11 is good for Calibri. 10 for Verdana, Arial and Tahoma. Print it off and gauge for yourself. You can always go 10.5 or 11.5.
  • Line spacing – often Word has in built features that mess with your formatting. For instance putting your spacing at Multiple 1.15, which make everything look too spread out. You can change the spacing back to Single 0 and then add your own line spacing if you need to.
  • Let’s talk about colour. Your resume is a business document. Unless you’re a graphic designer, then steer away from colour and fancy graphics in your resume. The hiring decision maker is working out whether you’re a good match for the role, rather than how well you know Canva.
  • Personal Details – Include your current mobile and email (landline and home address are optional). Ensure your email address is professional. Don’t use headings, eg. Name: Jo Smith | Mobile: 0400 etc. Oh, need I say it, leave off date of birth and marital status. Please do.


    Sample Resume – Contact Details & Career Profile

  • Avoid using PDF and tables.Some applicant tracking systems (ATS) can’t pick up the key words or phrasing if it’s in these formats.
  • Check the length – 8 pages is wayyyyy too long. Aim for 3 to 4 pages. If you can make it shorter that’s great, as long as you’re not missing key information. Employment History really doesn’t need to go back past 10 years (some say 5).
  • Bullet points are good for listing your key skills, responsibilities and achievements.
  • Tabs can be used for aligning your dates to the right hand margin. I’ve written about how to do it HERE.
  • Include page numbers in the footer. You can read about setting this up HERE.
  • Avoid putting your personal details in the header where it shows on every page. This can take up a bit of room. If you’re wanting to have your name and mobile on each page, I suggest you include this in the footer.
  • Remove the heading “Resume”. Use you name as the heading by making it bigger (16 or 18 font) and in Bold.

Whether you are applying for a job or not, it’s worth spending 30 minutes refreshing the look of your resume from time to time. If it’s pleasing on the eye for the reader it can enhance their experience when reading it and allow them to find information about you easily. A couple of people I’ve helped have come back to me and said their manager was impressed with their resume. A good looking resume does make a difference!

Finding Your First Job

school booksMany of my clients are people who are mid-way through their career and looking at a change in direction, but from time to time I help people just starting out in the world of work. I have provided coaching and resume support to high school students who are making decisions about their future and on the hunt for a part time job.

If you’re a teenage job seeker, here’s some things to help put your best foot forward when finding work.  Continue reading

How to Strengthen Your Networking Skills

office-336368_1280Networking is a healthy life skill that’s not just for people in management roles.  It’s for everyone. When I speak with people about networking, some shy away from the concept as it’s seemingly daunting. Comments such as, ‘Nothing could be worse than going to an event and having to make small talk with people.’ I’ll pop some resources at the end of this post with useful networking information for people who feel this way or are more introverted.   Continue reading

The Value of a Strong Work Ethic

Strong Work Ethic

My partner recently mentioned to me that I have a strong work ethic. His words got me thinking about what this really means.  I didn’t doubt his sentiment as I feel I’ve always been a dedicated and hard worker but I wondered if he meant to say I was self-motivated. So what’s the difference?   Continue reading

I’m Off to Cowork

When I started working for myself four years ago I set up our spare room for my home office.  This room has a PC, desk, chair, filing cabinet, bookshelf and a bed.  Whilst the bed may be handy for weekend guests, it’s mostly piled high with paperwork – making my office feel not very office-like.  Continue reading