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Headings are one of the major design elements
of a resume. How you choose to divide sections determines the readability
of your resume. Graphic lines and/or white space help define groups
of similar information and draw the reader's eyes down the page.
One of the keys to a readable resume is the judicious
use of white space, and consistent spacing in critical. You will
notice throughout the samples in this book that more white space
is used between major sections than within sections. This breaks
the resume into easily digested chunks of information. The white
space between these sections should be identical throughout the
resume. Likewise, the smaller white space within sections should
be the same throughout.
There are two basic positions for your headings.
One is centered with or without lines, and the other is left justified .
Which style you choose depends on what you find pleasing to your
eye. There is no right or wrong way. If you like the design, then
it is a good fit with your personality. Some of your options include:
- All caps
- First letter larger
- Upper/lower case
- All lower case
- Very large fonts
Since people read from the top to the bottom
and from left to right, begin your resume with the most important
information. Then work your way down to less important information.
The top half of your resume's first page should be packed with your
So, which section goes first? Should it be education
or experience? Start with the section that contains your strongest
qualifications for your target job. If you have had little experience
in your prospective field but have a degree that qualifies you for
a starting position in the industry, then by all means list your
education first. Most people eventually move their education below
their experience as they get further from their school days. If
you change your career and go back to school, then the education
will move to the top again and begin to gravitate to the bottom
as you gain relevant experience.
The same idea goes for information within each
section. For instance, if you went to an Ivy League school, you
can list the school before the degree. Look at the difference in
emphasis between these two methods:
Master of Business Administration
OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Little Known College, Backwoods, Idaho
The same principle
applies to your experience. If your job title is more impressive
than where you worked, then list it first.
Little Known Company, Boulder, Colorado
Assistant Export Coordinator
Avoid the use
of underlining since it cuts into the descenders in lower case letters.
For example, notice the "p" in:
It is acceptable
to use underlining when the letters are all capitalized since there
are no descenders:
or any combination of the four are all good ways to make certain
information stand out within the text. However, these styles can
be overdone very easily. To make them more effective, use these
type treatments sparingly.
From Designing the Perfect Resume, by Pat Criscito.
Copyright 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's
Educational Series, Inc.