A student's or young graduate's resume (US) should be one page in length (A4 size although American standard paper format is 8 1/2 by 11 inches i.e. 13.6 cm x 17.6 cm) of good quality white paper.
For the UK two pages are the convention. You can use space more generously and give more details. (See UK CV.)
(A CV should correspond to all the conventions used in the place where you are sending your CV to.)
A recruiter looks at your resume/CV very quickly - in 10-20 seconds!
Key words, skills, knowledge, experiences that match the job profile must appear extremely clearly to the reader. A CV may be scanned for key words, so make sure important information, technical knowledge and skills appear in black and white. Be clear and concise and only include relevant information (keep it short and simple). As you gain more work experience, you will need two pages. For online CVs see here.
It should always be typewritten and printed on a good quality printer (never send photocopies). By typing your resume/CV on a word processor it is easier to update or modify it. This is also very practical as companies now accept resumes/CVs sent by e-mail.
- Make your text as pleasant to read and as clear as possible.
- Be consistent in your design. E.g. all titles should use the same graphic features.
- White space helps to make your text attractive.
- Character size could be 12 for most of your details, 14 for headings and if necessary 10 for personal information.
- Use bold face, italics, underlining, or shadow to highlight headings, dates, or degrees.
- Use bullets, indentation or even color to draw attention to specific details. On the other hand do not use several different bullets, colors or effects.
- Avoid abbreviations unless they are very well known.
- Use a spell checker, proofread and have your text proofread by a teacher to make sure the language and style is correct.
A font conveys a message; it reflects personality and may even influence the reader (subconsciously).
For example if the font is special, it may reflect an individualistic personality. A common one may indicate an ordinary type of person, one that accepts the status quo, or not very creative. Fonts may also have particular connotation in a particular culture whereas some fonts are international.
Choose an attractive font and do not use more than two contrasting ones!
One expert recommends using serif fonts for the paper version: Times New Roman, Garamond or Palatino
and for e-mail: Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet.