for Maximum Impact
The moment your resume is opened by a hiring
manager or admissions director, it must appeal to him or her on an aesthetic level,
while accurately reflecting your industry or career goal.
To do anything else is to relegate your resume -- no matter how
brilliantly it is written -- to the rejection stack.
In order to ensure that your resume receives
the initial attention it deserves, itís important to adhere to certain formatting
guidelines, which include:
- Template and Font Choice
- Effective Use of White Space
- Prioritization of Data
Template and Font Choice
all cases, templates and font choice should:
- Be easy to follow.
There is no greater irritation to a busy hiring manager or
admissions director than to receive a resume where data is presented in a
haphazard or inconsistent manner. Thatís
why templates are used. An
effective template will present company names, dates, job titles, academic
information, and all other pertinent data in a clear manner, so that a
quick glance will tell the contact person what they need to know.
But consistency in format isnít the only point to consider.
Templates should be chosen because they
reflect a candidateís career or goal. In other words, a
banker, accountant, or administrative
choose a more conservative format than a graphic artist or interior
designer. Nothing is more
jarring -- or disastrous -- than to receive a financial professionalís
resume written in italics or script with accompanying graphics.
Be easy to read.
Resumes written in bold text or italics are extremely difficult to
read and project a lack of professionalism.
The same goes for artistic fonts that resemble handwriting.
Itís a common misconception that jazzing up a resume with
these stylistic tricks will get the document read.
On the contrary, the resume will get noticed -- and discarded -- within
seconds. Itís not the
font you use that attracts attention, but rather the resumeís initial
appearance and the words crafted within it.
When in doubt about font choice, always err on the conservative
side. Two good choices are
Times New Roman or Arial in 11 points -- no smaller, or the text will be
difficult to read.
Use of White Space
is no quicker way to get your resume ignored than to create a document with (narrow
or nonexistent) margins, and block after block of uninterrupted
text. No one wants to read a
text-heavy document with sentences that run on for four or five lines.
In todayís fast-paced world, you must get your point across quickly, with a minimum of words presented as bulleted sentences
within special sections (i.e. Professional Experience, Education,
Qualifications Summary), separated by well-placed white space.
of white spaces as necessary pauses -- a chance for the hiring manager or
admissions director to catch her breath, collect her thoughts, and digest
(and appreciate) the data youíve presented.
youíre a hiring manager. Itís 7:30
on a Monday morning, and an important position needs to be filled in your
companyís legal department. Over the weekend, 200 resumes came in from eager
applicants all wanting to fill this one job.
Most of the resumes are attractively formatted and use the appropriate
font type. So far so good.
But on closer inspection, most of the candidates have relegated their
willingness to relocate for the position -- a core qualification -- to the
very end of their two-page resumes. More
than a few have buried accomplishments within the text, figuring this will
force the hiring manager to search for that data, which means the entire
resume will have to be read. Some
have placed bar admission, another important qualification, dead last on
the resume, believing that where they can practice law certainly isnít as
important as the fact that they are attorneys.
And a few misguided souls simply list company names and dates of
employment, assuming that the hiring manager should know without asking what
legal duties they performed at these firms.
enough to drive a hiring manager to distraction -- or another career.
then, at last, there are those few resumes that list the important
data at the top of the first page. In less than five seconds the
hiring manager knows that the first candidate is willing to relocate and
assume the cost of those expenses, if required.
This candidate also provides a special section beneath the
Qualifications Summary that indicates where she is licensed to practice law.
The second candidate does the same, while also pulling out Career
Accomplishments and placing them at the top of the first page.
After all, why keep a 100% win rate at trial a secret, or the fact that
one can practice before the stateís Supreme Court?
the above scenario, itís clear which applicants will be called in for an
interview. No hiring manager will
read every single resume that comes across his desk.
Nor will a hiring manager search for data.
In todayís tight job market itís up to the candidate to prioritize
data so that a hiring manager knows at a glance what the job
seeker has to offer the company in terms of achievement, work experience,
education, licensing, certifications, and special concessions, such as