If you stick to the resume formatting that worked back in the 80s, 90s and heck, even through 2010 . . . you run the risk today of being overlooked or that critical key points will get missed altogether!
The culprit? Technology. For better or for worse, technology has transformed our lives in every other way – and resume reading is no exception.
Online Reading: Today you can expect close to 100% of readers will review your resume for the first time on a screen. Chances are print reading won’t occur until later in the interview process.
Small Screen Reading: Another trend growing by leaps and bounds is the percentage of people comfortable reviewing documents on alternative devices like cell phones, tablets, etc.
Depending on the industry, you can expect as many as 50% of your first-time readers and gatekeeper decision makers to view your resume on a small screen.
ONLINE READING – MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Online reading is a lot harder on the eye than print reading, and small screen reading is tougher than large screen reading. Why?
Chunked Text: In print our eyes can take in huge blocks of text without a problem. Not so easy on a screen. In fact, our eyes have a hard time digesting text that is chunked together.
Eye Movement: When it comes to reading in print, our eyes tend to move from left to right super smoothly. When the eye meets the screen, though, we tend to start left and bounce all over the place!
DO CIRCA 2010 DOCUMENTS STAND A CHANCE?
If your paragraphs are four plus lines longs, if you indent throughout, or if your bullets are mashed together – IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOU NEED TO GET ACROSS CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE READ!
It’s just too hard on the eye. And when a manager is in a rush with only seconds to spare on your resume – anything that’s hard is not likely to get read. EVER.
THE QUICK FIX:
There’s no need for dismay. With these four quick fixes, your resume can overcome skim, online reading obstacles and make a great first impression.
#1 Spacing: Make sure to have at least .6 Points between each bullet to ensure easy online, skimmability.
#2 Front-Loaded Achievements: Since you can count on the online eye starting left, make sure the most powerful part of your bullet gets included here.
#3 Left Justification: Indentions and outline formats work best for print. Justify your text to the left for easy small screen reading.
#4 1 To 2-Lined Bullets: Keep your bullets to two lines max. While longer will still be easy on a large screen, these bullets will double in size on a small screen and force the reader to see chunks of text.
Online reading is here to stay. An understanding of how hiring managers read documents today is critical to formatting geared to look just as great online as it does in print—and to help your resume’s chance of being read.