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Cover Letter and Resume Format Matters

One Page Cover Letter and One Page Resume?

If you still believe your resume should never be longer than one page, it might be time to update your beliefs. One page resumes are simply not "the norm".

That being said, there is nothing wrong with one page resumes when your work history is very short but it is often difficult to market yourself effectively with only one page.

These days, two pages are considered "the norm" and give you plenty of room to sell yourself and capture all your marketable qualities.

I have never found a longer resume that couldn't have been effectively condensed to two pages. Remember the resume is used to get you an interview not tell your entire life story.

What Font Where?

Fonts are something most people never give much thought to except, "Oh, that looks nice." However, a font can increase your reader's comprehension 10% to 65%.

You only have about ten seconds to pass the quick scan test by a resume screener. That's it. All things being equal with a competing resume, who has the advantage? YOU!

Take advantage of every possible opportunity to make your resume better than your competition's. Change the font you might normally use to one that has been scientifically proven to dramatically improve readability and comprehension.

The font you use only adds to an already outstanding resume and cover letter. I call this technique, "stealth clarity" because you can go beyond your words to help your reader better understand the detail you are presenting.

On printed material, a Serif font will give your reader the most comprehensible presentation. It can be more than a 55% increase over a Sans Serif font.

Serif fonts are the ones that have ornamental strokes at the base and tip of each letter. You are currently reading a Serif font.

Examples of Serif fonts are:

Times New Roman, Georgia and Garamond.

Bolded titles don't have the same challenge as a body of text, so clean Sans Serif fonts usually work best for these.

Examples of Sans Serif fonts are:

Arial, Verdana and Tahoma

Combine these font selections with a white paper that has a weight of 24 lbs. And is no brighter than 87 and you will improve the reader's comfort and help reinforce a positive perception.

These details are subtle, effective and worth the effort.

Font Size

For the Resume

As you can see in the following examples, the name, address and phone numbers are centered. These all use the Arial font.

Your name should use Arial, size 16 in bold. Address and phone numbers use Arial 12.

All subject headings use Arial 12 in bold, except the Selected Accomplishments which use Times New Roman, 12, Bold, Italics.

All other text uses Times New Roman, size 12.

Descriptions, Accomplishments and Skills Highlights should be margin justified. This provides a neat, clean and professional appearance.

For the Cover Letter

As you look to the section on cover letters, your heading will be an exact copy of the "letterhead" from your resume.

The date and employer's name and address will be Arial 12 once again.

For the body of the letter you can use Times New Roman in either size 12 or 14. If there is plenty of space I like to use the bigger size.


The page setup uses a 1.25" margin for both left and right. The Top and Bottom margins are set to 1". Header and Footers are set to .67".

You may have to vary your page layout for balance and spacing between section headings and space from left to right. The more white space you have, the better.

This is not to say you need to leave important things out so you can have more white space. It just means to be conscious of your margins. You don't want to fill up the page so full it looks like a big sea of black and you don't want your resume to become lengthy.

Cover Letter and Resume Templates

Use the cover letter and resume templates in the following sections as a guide to your own final layout. As you examine these templates keep a few things in mind.

Nothing takes the place of one-on-one rapport building activities. Without talking to the hiring manager face-to-face, it can be difficult to convey specific skills and makes it easier for you to be passed over because of a perceived skill set.

What I mean is, sometimes you will be skipped because your resume appears to be over qualified compared to other candidates. Without a chance to personally explain your intentions you get disqualified because the resume screener thinks you won't be satisfied with their position.

On the other hand, there may be times when you really are qualified but you are competing against somebody that has a degree, certification or education that aces you out. Not because you aren't qualified but because the screener has been told to only accept resumes that have certain educational qualifications. Unless you are able to prove your qualifications during a one-on-one meeting, you may lose out.

The following templates are designed to help you present your value and skills to a potential employer in a way that highlights your qualifications and in a way that makes it easy for the potential employer to find this information very easily. You can mix and match the different sections to meet your needs.

Template Set #1

The cover letter first highlights valuable, marketable skills in the first paragraph. If that wasn't enough to get the resume screener to look at the resume more closely then the third paragraph addresses more pertinent skills that support the needs of the position. If your research on the position is good enough then you have matched both required and preferred skills in your cover letter. The screener doesn't have a choice, they must look further into your resume.

Of course, your resume establishes rapport in the second paragraph by reminding the screener that you were asked to send your resume during a previous meeting.

The cover letter also uses power words that were picked up from the meeting. The words in the last paragraph like aggressively, strongly, excited and committed were all used during the previous meeting. It's not likely the screener was there but this will help when the hiring manager looks at the final group of candidates.

The resume itself is a one page version. There aren't many exceptional contributions to highlight but there are a few from the last place of employment. The important thing is that each employer's job description matches the skills required for the job that you are applying for.

A two-page resume in this format isn't a problem if you have enough exceptional contributions for each employer like that of Template #2. It is better to have a slightly crowded one-page resume than to have a sparsely populated two-page version.

This example can be used for a variety of job categories but is usually reserved for positions that don't traditionally provide a lot opportunities for accomplishments that help you stand out.

Template Set #2

The cover letter adds an e-mail address and a cell phone number. It is fairly short but starts out with the rapport line and quickly moves into why the screener should look beyond the cover letter to your resume.

This is a better choice if you have plenty of relevant skills and accomplishments you want to showcase. Use the Skills Summary Highlights section to identify these.

You can also change the margins a bit if you need more or less space. Keep your resume as balanced as possible. Again, more white space makes it easy to read and pleasant to the eye.

Template Set #3

This template varies a little bit from the other two at the top. Instead of making an objective statement, you will replace it with the name of the position you want. In our example you will see Joe E. Jobseeker presenting himself as a Technical Support Manager.

It is also pushing the boundaries a little bit, as far as the amount of white space. The layout is rich in content and interest, however. This makes up for any sense of crowding on these pages.

Under that title is a detailed description of the qualities and talents that make him a valuable asset to his future boss. This is followed by a bulleted list of skills and strengths he possesses.

By giving this bulleted list with your description, it does two incredible things:

The rest of the resume is much like Template Set #2.

If you've read this far, you've already taken the first important step toward getting your next job offer.

Act now and get the templates below in editable format along with the latest tips you can use today!

Sample Cover Letter and Resume Layout - Template Set #1

Sample Cover Letter 1 Sample Resume 1

Sample Cover Letter Layout - Template Set #2

Sample Cover Letter 2

Sample Resume Layout - Template Set #2

Sample Resume 2 - Page 1 Sample Resume 2 - Page 2

Sample Cover Letter Layout - Template Set #3

Sample Cover Letter 3

Sample Resume Layout - Template Set #3

Sample Resume 3 - Page 1 Sample Resume 3 - Page 2


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