According to resume guru Barbara Safani, a poorly formatted resume can be a “deal breaker.” When you are asked to submit your resume to potential employers, be sure you avoid the following five pitfalls:
- Stay Away From Bulk–everyone agrees that large chunks of text are boring and a turnoff. Pick your words carefully so that your descriptions are clear, precise, and concise. Safani recommends no more than six lines to describe your responsibilities for a given position. Use graphic highlighting to illustrate your accomplishments, and make use of bullets.
- Tiny Type Is Not Good For The Eyes Or You–trust me, if an HR manager feels the need to pull out a magnifying glass in order to read your resume, your resume won’t get read! The recommended font size ranges from 10 to 12 points. This range has long been the accepted norm for reading material. If you go below this font size, you go at your own risk.
- Save the Fancy Fonts for Friends and Frivolity–the accepted business font types are Times New Roman and Arial or ones that closely resemble these two. The fancy script, or calligraphy fonts, or ones that look as though they should be on a theater program are difficult to read and considered inappropriate for business settings. One other word of caution is not to indulge yourself by bringing on the “bold and italics.” If you must use boldface, use it strategically and sparingly.
- Use White Space to Frame Your Message–if your resume is spread from edge to edge on the paper, the first impression is, “this is too much information, and it’s going to take too much time to read.” So guess where the final resting spot is for these resumes?—that’s right, File 13! Use white space to frame your information attractively and to make it easy for HR managers to quickly spot your key selling points.
- Too Long, So Long–a potential employer isn’t going to “wade through” pages of information to find out about your important experience and skills. If you have lots of experience from a number of positions, Safani recommends that you abbreviate older experience and perhaps put it in a category labeled “additional experience.”
Use these tips to help you fine tune your resume and to compete successfully for that coveted job!
For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for a successful career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 972-238-6215.