How to Best Format Resume Content

Formatting Resume Content The way your resume is formatted is as important as the words you choose. If the format you decide on makes the resume difficult to read, it will end up in the ...

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Formatting Resume Content

The way your resume is formatted is as important as the words you choose. If the format you decide on makes the resume difficult to read, it will end up in the trash bin very quickly.

When writing your resume, you have three formatting styles to choose from - paragraph, bulleted style, and a combination of the two.

Paragraph Form

From the sample below, you will note that if you decide to write your entire resume in paragraph form, your accomplishments will be buried in a sea of words - making your resume difficult to read.

Since statistics indicate that interviewers spend less than twenty seconds reviewing each resume, it's safe to assume that resumes written in paragraph form hit the do not call pile more often than not. Here's the example of the paragraph format.

Led team of 5-7 in daily activities for largest retail store in NY, holding full responsibility for both business and operational development functions. Managed revenue/expense budgets, trained and evaluated staff, prepared time schedules, and analyzed bottom-line to address areas for improvement.

Consistently met and surpassed sales objectives in highly competitive NY metropolitan market. Developed in-store and National Sales Executive training programs that paved the way for improvements in sales and customer service. Attended management conferences to strengthen skills in managing staff, resources, and situations.

Bulleted Style

Since the use of bullets makes the resume easier to read, it is preferred over the paragraph form. Keep in mind, however, that the overuse of bullets can kill your chances of standing out amongst your competition. This is because the purpose of bullets is to draw attention to accomplishments. If your entire resume is bulleted, it is hard for the reader to discern between job responsibilities and accomplishments. Here's a sample of bulleted style resume content.

Brought on board to establish and sustain accounts relationships with long-term care facilities in NY metropolitan territory, emphasizing both relationship management and ongoing professional development to improve sales performance.
Oversaw training and in-service seminars on current/future laboratory standards. Combined relationship selling with telemarketing/cold calling to build sales momentum and meet/exceed goals.
Built customer loyalty and achieved 100% customer base retention through continual contact and focus on unique requirements of each account.
Attended seminars to improve abilities in speaking with doctors and nurses regarding new laboratory procedures and diagnostic coding.

Combination of Paragraph and Bulleted Form

For the overwhelming majority of job seekers, the use of both paragraph and bullets is the best choice. This combination formation gives hiring managers exactly what they want: a quick synopsis of responsibilities in paragraph form and a rundown of accomplishments that are easy to find in bulleted form. Here's an example of resume text using both the paragraph and bulleted style.

In charge of sales and account management activities for voice/data communication cabling services across NY, NJ, and CT region. Attracted and established new accounts while maintaining existing relationships with general contracts and consultants. Teamed with Information Technology department managers at all levels to develop new sales; worked with Estimating and Purchasing departments throughout client bid process.
Key Contributions:
Sales Performance - Achieved 100-200% of sales quota over 5-year period, with emphasis on accurate assessment and fulfillment of accounts' needs. Won project bids with competitive pricing and strong relationship building efforts with general contractors/consultants.
Customer Retention & Expansion - Retained 100% of customer base by engaging in weekly meetings and follow-up activities to address and resolve issues quickly; increased customer base through combination of cold-calling and follow-up.