The formatting of a document is important regardless of the type of industry you are in but many people are still unaware of the simple basics. If you have had a formal education you may be more mindful of the standards that your university or particular industry requires, however there is no denying that correct formatting will create a greater initial and lasting impression of your work.

An incorrectly formatted bio or proposal may mean that regardless of whether you have the skills for the project, you may be ignored purely on the basis of how you look – remember first impressions count. If a project has gone to tender, organisations could be looking at a large number of proposals and in order to save time, evaluators will immediately sort through applicants based on the cover letter and ease of format alone. If your proposal is not clearly or uniformly laid out, a letter of regret may soon be heading your way.

Organisation is crucial when focusing on the layout of a document or documents. Make sure that each thought is represented by individual paragraphs and that uniform margins are used throughout.

Verify that differing fonts have not been used in one document and that the size of the font is consistent throughout. The font size of course may be larger on headings or subheadings and if this is the case, make sure that this is true from one end to the other. Do not alter the colour of the font unnecessarily. This detracts from the professionalism of the document and while it may appeal to some in more creative industries, many will view “pink” text in a negative light.

Whether your pitching for a small or large project is important you take the time to check the consistency of the formatting before you submit or send the document.

Nicole Graham | Business Mentor, Strategist | Hong Kong

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Founder and Director, Nicole has been working in the remote support, virtual assistant, outsourcing space since 2007. A professional with multiple certifications, and a specialist in virtual support and ecourse implementation, Nicole is passionate about supporting women-owned businesses in growth and development.

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