Is the design of your resume important? Yes. Many job-seekers fail to realize that a good resume is one that has high-quality content in a reader-friendly format. It is about what you say and how you say it. Make sure you do not commit these five crucial design mistakes on your resume; if you do, it is sure to end in the trash can.
Mistake 1: Wrong paper: You simply cannot expect an interview call from a recruiter if you sent in your resume printed on pink, textured paper. It is a good thing to be different from the thousands of documents that the recruiter checks in a day.
But pink paper is way too outrageous – it spells desperate, not different! Stylish stationery is good for love letters, not for official documents, and definitely not for resumes! The recruiter spares about 35-40 seconds for a resume. Your career summary would not even get this limited attention if it is printed on colored or textured paper.
Another problem that candidates often fail to recognize is the significance of the paper size. If it is too big for the file, it is more likely to be thrown in the trash can. If it is too small, it looks as if you were trying to save money on it.
Solution: The best thing to do is print your resume on white, or maybe cream, paper. Simplicity works best when it comes to the selection of paper to print your career summary to send to a company. Do not go overboard with colors or textures as it sends the wrong message (that you are desperate for attention) to the recruiter.
Stick to the standard paper size in your location. If you are in the US, the standard size is 8.5 x 11in. If you are in the UK, the standard size is 210 x 297mm. This will ensure that your resume is not rejected for something as insignificant as the paper size!
Mistake 2: Wrong font: Too common, too uncommon, too small, too big, too colorful, too drab – the mistakes you can make in the selection of fonts for your resume are endless. Here are a few examples that would help you get a closer look.
The problems are numerous – how do you resolve them on a one or two page resume?
Solution: A little knowledge about fonts can help solve your dilemmas. All fonts can be classified into two categories – serifs and sans-serifs (serifs are the short stems that end the strokes in a letter).
The serif fonts such as Georgia or Times New Roman have these stems; they let the eye continue reading the text. These fonts are, therefore, more suitable for the descriptive portions of your resume.
The sans serif fonts such as Verdana or Calibri come without these stems; they stop the reader from continuing reading the text. These fonts are, therefore, more appropriate for the titles and headings.
Keep it uniform – a resume with 5 kinds of fonts is more of a headache for a recruiter. It is best to choose a single, or at the most two, fonts to use in the document. Choose the appropriate font size for the font type so that it is easy to read. Too small, and it becomes difficult; too big, and it seems desperate!
A rainbow of colors on your resume is a strict no-no. Monochromatic works best for career summaries, just like it does for all official documents. If this seems too monotonous, you may add one color, just one, to the document.
Mistake 3: Wrong format: The failure to understand how a recruiter views a resume is the reason behind the mistakes a job-seeker makes in the format. Too many details cramped in too small a space can create visual clutter. Too much white space can create the impression that you do not have much to say.
Another common mistake is to use the landscape view of the details. Again, while it is good to be a little distinct, it is way too difficult for a recruiter to assess the worth of the candidate from something so out-of-the-way.
Solution: Draw lines to divide the resume page into four squares of equal dimensions. The square on the top left section is the one that the recruiter checks first. Put in the most important details in this section. The top right section is under scrutiny next. Put the second most important details in this section.
Make sure the amount of descriptions is balanced with adequate white space in each of the squares. This would prevent visual clutter. This would also help the recruiter find the right information at the right place.
Place the information in a vertical way, with the most significant details on top. This portrait style ensures that the information is processed with ease. Use columns, bullet points, borders, bold types, italics, underlines – but not all of them in one place. Overuse of these tools for emphasis on the resume can lead to a mess.
The Way To Do It Right…
There seems to be a lot of dos and don’ts when it comes to the design of your resume. How do you know that the resume you have created generates the right results? Ask a friend to check the document. Give him/her only 35-40 seconds. If he/she grabs the right details, your resume can do its job well. If not, you had better give it a facelift.