Dos and Don’ts of Formatting Your Resume

Marv Russell - WayUp Guest Contributor
Dos and Don’ts of Formatting Your Resume


  • Each section of your resume should start with the most recent education, experience or activity to the oldest
  • If you are printing your resume, use white or off-white paper
  • Use a standard font (example Arial) for your resume – avoid fancy serf fonts
  • Text size or your font should be 10–12-points, your name and headings can be larger, 12 points, and the body 10 points
  • Be cautious about overuse of italics and boldface, and be consistent—if you use boldface type for one job title, do so for all job titles
  • Explain any acronyms you use in your resume the first time you mention them, unless the term is a generally known standard or a standard within a given industry that you are applying
  • Use indented statements with bullets, as a general guideline each bullet point should be at least five words and no more than three lines long
  • Use quantities, numbers and dollar values when possible to demonstrate successes or scope of responsibilities
  • Use action words such as contributed, managed, developed, led, operated to describe your responsibilities
  • Put the strongest statements or qualifications at the top
  • Have someone with strong English spelling and grammar skills check your spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Always…be creative and original without being gimmicky or offensive. For example, if you’re applying for an internship in social sales and marketing, a QR code with your contact info is not gimmicky. It demonstrates your understanding of current social sales strategies.


  • Don’t try to impress with big, fancy words or jargon
  • Don’t use gimmicks. But stay aware of evolving resume trends such as the Twesume* or @TweetMyResume that you might be required to use as part of your internship application
  • Don’t use photos of yourself on your resume unless requested by the employer
  • Don’t include salary history unless requested
  • Don’t include personal information such as: religion, national origin, or political affiliations
  • Don’t use pronoun “I” repeatedly to describe your responsibilities

*A Twesume is your resume in 140 characters – or less – and is becoming popular with companies who use social recruiting.

marvfinalMarv Russell was a renowned student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame. A middle linebacker, Marv was a member of the university’s 1973 National Championship Team. He has a master’s degree from Indiana University and is currently completing PhD studies in International Human Resources and Development. He is a senior human resources professional who has proven global success in the deployment of modern leadership and human capital development. Marv is the author of LINEBACKER IN THE BOARDROOM and FINDING YOUR INTERNSHIP.For more information visit