Should I use Bold and Italics?

Posted in Career Blog

One of the most common questions that come up in relation to writing resume that are effective at getting interviews or callbacks-have to do with the actual stylistic elements involved in the formatting of a resume. What do we mean by this? Simply, whether or not bolding should be used? Italics? How much of each and where? And moreover, how should bullets be used-if they are even used in professional resumes? These are all very valuable questions, that can easily sway a human resources department or reviewing employer, whether or not to call a candidate for an interview-and though most of us, consider these aspects inconsequential in the job hiring process, they often can mean the difference between a call and no call ever. Here’s the lowdown on bold, italics, and bullets-three of the most commonly used ways that people delineate parts of their resume:
Bolding: To the matter of using bold for content in your resume, it is-of course-acceptable and very often used-but, you must know how to best use bolding, to make it effective. First off, only use bolding for your name in the header and main categories-such as education, skills, etc. This way, the employer sees the sections he/she needs to reference right off the bat, and can find your name easily to equate this information with. Second, if you use bolding; you do not need italics, various fonts, or anything to compete with it.
Italics: Italics should be used very minimally-if at all. Many people use italics to make certain skills and words stand out; but this sort of stylizing can be over the top, unprofessional, and distracting to an employer-and should best be avoided, unless you are not using bolding or are only using italics for a couple words.
Bullets: Bullet points are helpful tools for making short sentences stand out, such as in making a particular point or listing items. In resumes, they are almost standard in most often listing the different responsibilities that a person had at a certain position or achievements won according to their career. This said, they can be used incorrectly; and can become the opposite of what they were intended for-distracting. Bullets should be used in the most standard of bullet font. Using a bullet is enough to point something out, without dramatizing the effect. Moreover, only one font of bullet should be used throughout the entirety of the document-again, use of more than one looks stylistic, unprofessional, and uncalculated. Lastly, only use bullet points to point out pertinent responsibilities and significant achievements.


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