It happens all the time. You craft a magnificent representation of your skill, education and background that should pull the hiring managers in. Like Santa, you checked the resume twice. Even had friends give it the once over. You start farming the resume. You open up your calendar to deal with the barrage of interviews. And you wait. And wait. And you wait. But you’re getting nothing. What happened?
It’s Not Always the Content
Hiring managers will look at a resume for a few seconds. That’s right, a few seconds. In that brief time, what makes you perfect for the position could be easily overlooked. On top of that, hiring managers are extremely busy. They could be culling through a huge pile of resumes while doing other tasks, again easily overlooking yours. A good idea might be to consider your resume design. A visually appealing resume can do wonders, especially when a hiring manager is pulling one resume off the top of the pile and moving quickly to the next. A uniquely formatted resume could be the edge that gives the hiring manager reason to pause and take a closer look.
What’s Resume Design?
Resume design consists of everything from the color of your paper to the fonts and formatting. While many would debate how much is too much, the rule is to create impressive designs that show hiring managers you’re the creative and innovative person flush with outstanding ideas the resume says you are. With today’s technology, resume design has included graphics and video. But one should be prudent with these tactics. Asking a hiring manager to review your Internet resume shouldn’t take up too much of their time. Even as you try to impress, keep it simple and brief.
Your resume design can either encourage or distract. Avoid widening margins too much. Don’t crowd text to get more information onto the page and absolutely do not use fonts smaller than 10. Use uniform spacing between sections, headings, text and bullets. Keep as much white space on the page as possible because it promotes a clean look and encourages a visual hierarchy.
Use Text Wisely
It’s been proven time and again that people love bullet lists. They will cull large chunks of text but will carefully review bullets. Unfortunately, the advent of online resumes has given candidates reason to avoid bullets as sometimes they don’t translate to some mediums. Only the advantages of bullets should not be underestimated. Keep three resumes types: .doc, .pdf and .txt. (For .txt, use dashes instead of bullets.) The majority of online submission forms take one of these.
Avoid using a variety of fonts. It can be distracting. Stick to one or two readable fonts and be consistent throughout the resume design. i.e., use one for Headers and one for text. Shrink fonts only one point in the hierarchy. Studies have shown hiring managers will go straight to company titles and employment dates so make them stand out with a bold or italic font. Depending on the open position, you might be able to include graphics. But this should only be used if the position is graphic oriented. If you’re applying for paralegal, keep the design simple while still structuring a visually captivating resume.