Based off of what we commonly see during resume rewriting consultations, here are five things you can do to increase your resume’s overall appeal:
1. Avoid paragraphs.
Keep the formatting of your resume basic and streamlined by using the simplest of bullet points – either a small, filled in circle/dot or small square – to break down skills, accomplishments and other important details in a concise summary. With an influx of resumes arriving in HR departments daily, recruiters tend to simplyskim the document for key words and phrases. Avoid formatting any part of your resume in paragraph form, and use valuable key words that specifically pertain to the job description and your skill set, as opposed to fluffy and overused descriptive words.
2. Complete your own spell check in addition to running Microsoft Word’s spell check tool.
The automatic scan that the typist can run at the end of a draft does not always pick up every misspelled or misused word. It’s important to conduct your own proofreading, and it’s never a bad idea to let someone else look over it, too. Just because there are no squiggly red lines does not mean you haven’t accidentally typed “patience” instead of “patient”.
3. Leave out the graphic effects.
Use of colored or heavily stylized font, Adobe Illustrator graphics, and other bold effects within the body of the resume may get you noticed. Depending on the industry and position, though, resumes with heavy use of graphic effects can be obnoxious. Leave these types of resumes to the graphic designers!
4. Be original – skip the template.
From a recruiter standpoint, resumes formatted in a template aren’t that attractive, both content and appearance-wise. Many of the default resume templates made available to Microsoft Word users are formatted by tables, which can really throw off the overall look and feel of a resume. Spacing is often uneven, and when altered, font size can destroy the template. If a user only lists what the template requests, a lot of important information may be left out of the finished document. Use templates for inspiration, but consider developing your own streamlined, simple to read resume that includes experience, relevant skills and accomplishments, and education.
5. Ensure your contact information is accurate and easy to find.
Unfortunately, many high quality applicants neglect to include an email address and/or phone number on their resumes! This happens quite often, and is slows down the application process. To ensure that you’re contacted as quickly as possible, include a current phone number as well as an email address that you will have access to frequently – and more importantly – make sure the information you provide does not include a typo.