Your resume isn’t unique. It isn’t cool. It isn’t going to make your future employer throw all of the other resumes out his office window, stand up on his desk, and scream to his secretary, “PEGGY, WE ARE NO LONGER HIRING! WE HAVE FOUND… THE ONE.”
To them, you are just a name on a piece of paper with a few skills and little past experience masked by some fluff. But it’s okay. Everyone is.
Today, I’m not going to share with you the golden secret to resumes that will guarantee you the job. That would be stupid. However, I can guarantee that your resume will be ahead of a few others. For the most part, I’m going to tell you the basics of what to do and what not to do.
Restyling your resume isn’t necessarily about design – it’s actually about how you present your resume visually. With that said, we’ll cover a few topics that key in on current resume trends, old ones, and traits that will (most likely) never die out.
For those of you who are looking for jobs and have a digital copy of your resume, I encourage you to improve it based on these tips and then post a link in the comments. There’s a possibility that employers could be reading this very article, and this may provide a way for you to connect. Oh, and you can consider that a tip: post your information wherever it’s relevant.
Let’s get going.
Don’t Be Cute
There are a few people out there who have been successful with their resumes by doing something different. That is, they saw an opportunity to be unique – key word “unique” – and jumped on it. For instance, maybe they put their resume in video form, or maybe they even sent it with candy. As for you? Don’t do that.
Too often, it seems as though potential job candidates try to be clever with their job applications and resumes, and all it does is make them appear immature. If you’re reading this, I’m just going to strongly advise that you not do this. Try to be as professional as possible, but for whatever reason, if your gut tells you otherwise, then who am I to tell you different?
My reasoning is this: employers want to see that you are professional enough to handle the job, and this professionalism is reflected in your resume. On the other hand, for whatever reason, some of you may have that spark that keeps things unique.
Do Use Modern Design
Times New Roman… 12 point… Bullets… You’ve seen it before. It’s not that it’s bad, but the thing is that this standard type is a little bit old school. Modern eyes are typically interested in sans-serif fonts and minimalist designs due to screen-based influences, so I recommend making a very non-flashy resume that still has a clean layout. Basically, if your presentation looks good in a web browser, then you’re fine.
A few fonts that I would recommend are – and there will be many of you who dislike this – Helvetica, Arial, and Century Gothic. As far as body font sizes go, I would stay somewhere between the range of 10 and 12 point. Furthermore, don’t use artsy borders, and even more importantly, don’t use resume paper if you happen to print it. This brings me to my next point…
Don’t Use Resume Paper
Your resume must be adapted to be read on the screen, and screens aren’t made of resume paper. Nowadays, a piece of white paper is quite efficient. Why? Again, it’s because of modern adapted design. We’re in a minimalist phase for graphics, and this may be because people need less distractions than what we currently have these days.
So with that said, if you have to print off your resume, printer paper is fine. Else, I’d say that sending things in digitally will be just fine as well.
Do Use PDFs
One thing that really bugs me is when people send in Word files as their resume. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth throwing the resume out, but it does make things appear less professional. In my opinion, if you are digitally sending things to your potential employer, then I say PDF is the way to go.
To put it simply, a PDF shows that you have a finished product, and it also offers less of a chance for your potential employer to accidentally make a typo if they brush against the keyboard. Is that a little paranoid? Yes. But I’m sure it could happen.
Do Be Social
Transparency is a good trait to show your employer, and attaching relevant social media links to your resume is a decent way to give them a taste of you beyond the piece of paper. Ideal links include your website (if you don’t have one, get one) and LinkedIn profile, but if you feel as though your Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts are polished enough to showcase, then have at it.
Personality is one thing that employers don’t get a chance at seeing between receiving your resume and your first interview. By allowing them to take a gander at yourself on the web, you become more of a person to them. However, make sure that your online profiles are relevant to the actual resume – else, it would be rather silly to do.
Do Keep A Running Theme
Don’t let your resume fly all over the place. For instance, if you use bullet points for one section, then make sure that they appear in another one. Bold headers? Make sure all of your headers are bold. You get the picture.
For those of you who are into CSS, I would say adapt the design of your resume to how you would code things. You know that one type of section should look one way while others would look another way. While you’re doing it manually, it’s essentially the same thing.
Furthermore, you really should brand yourself. Try to make the design of your resume match your business card and website. With that said, don’t pick a corny design set – it should define you.
You might get a job. You might not get a job. Let’s be real – these days, it’s tough. However, these tips can definitely improve your chances, and I wish you luck on your search. Oh, and don’t forget to post links to your resumes in the comments!
In what other ways can you restyle your resume? Has revamping your resume helped you get a job?
Image Credits: markgranitz, Mackenzie Kosut, Martin Cathrae