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Article – How to Present Your Resume

One of the most important things you must consider when writing your resume or curriculum vitae is the design and layout.


The first thing to consider is your choice of typeface. You want your resume to stand out, not compete with wedding or funeral announcements. Our advice is that you stick to a simple, clean typeface like Arial, Times Roman, or Helvetica. They are our choice because of their simplicity of design and clarity. Another trap to avoid is combining different typeface styles (like Times Roman and Helvetica). Each of these typefaces offers a variety of light, italic, and bold that can be used to produce an attractive visual effect.


Debate among the “experts” continues as to whether resumes must be limited to a single page. Our take on this reverts to common sense:

* If your work experience is limited, i.e., you are a recent graduate or have only held one or two jobs, there is probably no reason for your resume to exceed a single page.

* If you can reasonably limit your resume to one page, do so.

* If you have held a number of positions and cannot describe your accomplishments and responsibilities on one page, then two pages are certainly acceptable. However, you do not need to provide detailed descriptions of jobs that date back more than eight or ten years, unless they add something significant to your experience and qualifications. Be sure to emphasize your most recent experience.

* Attachments, such as additional pages of publications (for writers, researchers, and academics), are appropriate.

* Exception: Consulting resumes are expected to include all relevant experience, even if they extend to multiple pages.


When you design your resume, bear in mind that open spaces make it easier to read. Avoid cramming your page(s) with heavy masses of print.


Standard office stationery is the safe choice of paper on which to print your resume and cover letter, although a quality paper stock may improve the overall effect. Slightly off-white papers is acceptable, but beware of using pastels or darker colors, which look unprofessional.

Print as many originals of your resume as you need on attractive, letter-quality paper. Never send photocopies of your resume to a potential employer. They’re okay for friends or employment agencies, but not the employer with whom you want to win an interview.

Another point is that the resume you mail may be photocopied by a personnel department, and subsequently passed along to other members of their firm. Copies made from copies can lose readability. In an emergency, some professionally maintained office photocopiers may do a good job, but we think it’s better to avoid such emergencies by always having “perfect” copies of your resume on hand.


A final word: Proofread your resume at every step in the process. Get a knowledgeable friend or colleague to help. Mistakes on resumes are embarrassing, unacceptable, and potentially disastrous. No matter how much you may pay to have your resume created, you’re the one who loses if it isn’t right. So be meticulous and don’t settle for less than the very best

About The Author

Dr. J.E. Burke is an educator, writer and entrepreneur involved in various business enterprises via Burke Publications. Please visit and

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