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How Content and Structure Improve Resume Readability


A keyboard and a cup of coffee on a desk.


​To be found in resume databases, your resume must be data-dense—packed with content that is relevant to your target job. Further, it needs to be organized so an overworked recruiter can easily scan and read it once it is discovered by the database software. So this is where we take all the research you've done and create a resume that will support database discoverability, readability and comprehension.

Start your resume with information about your professional skills to show that you are a logical choice to fill this position. Further down in the document, you will detail your skills and professional experience to support your application for the job while increasing data density and discoverability in the resume.

Resume Structure and Flow

Your resume should follow a logical flow in much the same way a news article is written. News articles include a headline, which acts like a signpost to tell the reader, succinctly, the article's biggest takeaway. The first paragraph draws the reader in with the major facts of the story. Subheads throughout the article alert the reader to new facts. This structure makes understanding your article—or resume—much easier and demonstrates your written communication skills.

Readability

If you follow a structure that makes the document easily read by the recruiter, you greatly increase the odds of that first, quick scan becoming a careful read and then turning into a telephone and face-to-face interview.

We've provided a resume template that spells out the headlines and subheads you can use, as well the kind of information that should be included in each section. These combine to make a resume discoverable and readable.

Download the Template

Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. 

 From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.

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