Most people know that a resume is one of the most important tools you have in your job-hunting arsenal. It is your introduction to a prospective employer (i.e., your first impression), and as such the slightest “miscalculation” could prompt the hiring authority to quickly toss your resume onto the rapidly growing pile of other crumpled-up, rejected resumes now overflowing the office trash receptacle. How do you avoid having your resume end up in the local landfill? Let’s take it from the top, shall we?
In part one of this series we will cover the most important thing to remember while building your resume– its initial appearance. This refers to that instant that the reader picks up your resume. Will they want to even read it? This moment is often overlooked, yet it is a crucial factor as to whether or not your resume is actually read. The psychology at work here is actually relatively simple:
Imagine that your resume is neatly stacked between 100 other resumes that the hiring authority will be reading that day. You will want your resume to stand out from the competition through its readability. Readability does not mean having fancy font with graphic artistry throughout your resume. This will get their attention, but the wrong kind of attention. Even if you are applying for a graphic artist or Web design position where a dignified display of your artistic capabilities might seem warranted, you should instead attach a separate file with your samples and leave your resume to do what it’s supposed to do – tell your story.
Readability simply means “easy on the eyes.” Someone who has read through 50 resumes before they get to yours will want to see something that doesn’t make their eyes bleed, and something that they feel they can get through fairly quickly. You want them to be willing to get through just one more resume before they call it a day. To achieve this you should stick to the following guidelines:
- Use Times New Roman or Arial font. Hiring authorities who are tasked with reviewing a multitude of resumes tend to be more “meat and potatoes” types of people, and are utterly unimpressed with fancy, font-related approaches.
- Never use “all caps” throughout your resume. It looks very unprofessional and it’s extremely hard for the reader to focus on the story you’re trying to tell rather than the massive headache that your resume just induced.
- Always incorporate breaks (spacing) between your list of previous employers. A resume should be broken up into paragraphs, bullet points or a combination of the two. This provides the reader with a mental “breath,” making it not only easier for the reader to continue reading, but more likely as well!
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