So, on top of everything else, your resume needs to be attractive and easy to read. An aesthetically pleasing resume may catch the eye of an overburdened hiring manager and win your resume an extra glance. When I review resumes, I don’t even bother to read the ones that look disorganized or unprofessional on a first pass. A few tips to consider for a resume that pleases the eye:
Since you are likely to e-mail your resume as an attachment at some point in your job search, choose a font that is easy to read and readily available to all computer users. If you downloaded or purchased optional fonts, it isn’t likely that your reader will be able to view your resume as you designed it. Stick to fonts such as: Arial, Book Antiqua, Georgia, Garaomond, Tahoma, Times New Roman and Verdona. Avoid Courier (looks like you used your grandmother’s typewriter) and all script or decorative fonts. Fancy fonts are difficult to read quickly.
Keppie Careers suggests 10-pont font because it is large enough to read, but small enough to fit a lot of material on your document.
Use bullet points instead of dense paragraphs of information to help the reader zero in on what you have to offer. Keep the bullet points to the point – you don’t want paragraph-style bullets!
This is a tricky one…Be sure to use white space, but don’t include so much white space that it looks like you don’t have anything to offer! When your resume is awash in white space, the reader may assume (maybe correctly!) you don’t have much experience. Don’t fill every nook and cranny with text, but fill your page. If you have more than one page (this is a topic for another article) be sure that you have enough to fill at least 3/4 of the second page. Otherwise (again), you risk looking like you don’t have much experience.
Consider your audience when you format your resume. If you are sending it to an artistic crowd, feel free to be more creative with your format. If you are hoping for a job in an investment bank, stick to conservative formatting. Your research and conversations with professionals in your field will help inform you.
Name and Contact Information
Okay – I know that you want to stand out and be different, but do everyone a favor and don’t put your name and contact information on the bottom…Everyone who reads it will automatically assume you’ve left off your name!
I’ve alluded to this in another article – don’t mis-use or overuse bold! Bold can help guide the eye from description to description, or it can confuse the eye. When you read your resume, do the bold words stand out for a good reason? If not, reformat!
Your major headings (for example: Highlights, Accomplishments, Experience, Education) should be well defined and consistently labeled. (If they are centered, all should be centered…ALL CAPS? Bolded? Choose a format that works. Focus on the reader -what will make it easiest to read?
If you keep these ideas in mind when designing your resume, you’ll be on your way to a “New Career for a New Year!”