I read a lot of resumes. It is no secret that a lot of people still get resume-writing and cover letter writing dead wrong, but it is usually because they really haven’t tried. But a new brand of terrible has emerged: those who see great resumes online and try to copy them without success. Here are my tips for avoiding problems with modern resumes.
COLOR: beware of using color. It’s great, but there are two big problems: printing color costs, and your prospective employer printing in greyscale. Your resume may look great in color, but what does it look like when printed on the b/w office printer?
1. Colorful backgrounds: pretty, but think of the person interviewing you who has to print them. Skip black backgrounds and backgrounds with a pattern.
2. Colorful boxes and accents: print them in black and white just to make sure everything is still legible. If it looks like black on black, your information will not show.
3. To much color: what job are you applying for? Make sure your use of color is appropriate. A graphic designer should have more colors, graphics, and splotches than an accountant. If the job you want requires a professional demeanor, balance your use of color with professional taste.
SPACING: Make sure your resume can be read. If your resume looks crowded,no one will want to read it. If it looks too stylized, you may be wasting valuable space.
4. Get rid of big white blocks: White space should be horizontal, not vertical. If you have a big block of white space on the right, consider using columns.
5. Packing the page: If your resume looks like an essay, it is very hard on the eyes. Readers want to see white space and are drawn to small blocks of text in shapes instead of one solid mass of information.
6. Not enough to say: Bring in the left and right margins to create a clean, organized look.
BAD IDEAS NOT TO BE DUPLICATED ON A RESUME:
7. “Word Art”
8. Diagonal text
9. Block paragraphs
10. Heavy horizontal lines running the width of the page
11. Anything other than 8.5″ x 11″
12. 3 pages
13. Using the word “assisted” anywhere on the page
14. Multiple fonts
15. Anything that will make the administrative assistant handling your resume hate you