Distinguish between sections
On average, an employer will spend six seconds looking at each resume they receive. This means that if the important information and relevant skillset don’t jump out of the page, they’re unlikely to read on. Utilise word processing software tools like bold fonts, underlining, text boxes, columns and bullet points to separate key points, indicate sections (e.g. ‘Contact information’, ‘Summary’, ‘Work experience’, ‘Education’ and ‘Skills’) and break up the information. Be consistent, and also leave some white space. An overly busy layout or too much text will only be off-putting to readers.
Keep it concise
Keep your resume short and to the point. If you find that you’re exceeding two pages, consider whether everything you’ve included is relevant to the role you’re applying for. Do all of the skills you’ve listed relate to the job description? If not, then you probably don’t need to include them. Another great way of fitting more into your resume is using columns – this allows you to take advantage of the full width of the page.
Check country requirements/preferences
In this case, one size definitely does not fit all. What you’re expected to include in your resume can vary significantly from one European country to another. EURES’s Living and Working conditions page provides helpful information on finding and applying for work in different European countries, including country-specific advice on writing a suitable resume.
Tailor the design
Depending on the role you’re applying for, employers will have certain expectations when it comes to the design of your resume. A graphic design resume, for example, can almost act as a portfolio piece and give you an opportunity to demonstrate your graphic design skills. A resume for a bartending position, however, should rely more on the content (i.e. your ‘real-world’ experience). In this case, complex graphic elements could actually have a negative affect on your resume’s impact.
Consider your file format
If you’re submitting a job application digitally, then you may wish to prepare a second version of your resume. The reason for this is that software commonly used by companies to scan resumes sometimes doesn’t understand images or graphics, can’t process PDFs, or won’t read information placed in the header or footer sections of a Word document.
We hope these tips will help you to design a resume fit to land you your dream interview!
Article produced in partnership with EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal.
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- Publication date
- 13 December 2019
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Business / EntrepreneurshipHints and tipsYouth
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