How to Write a Resume, Part II: Looks CountIn an earlier article, we examined the role of the resume as well as the general things you need to include on it. However, once you’ve perfected your job descriptions and settled on organization, you need to move to the next level, namely making your resume’s appearance as professional and polished as its content. Before dropping off your resume (or sending it out via email), here are some tips to help you and it make a good first impression. Is This Scannable? Conventional wisdom says that employers only take a minute or two to scan a resume before deciding whether it is worth looking at in greater detail. This makes it imperative that your resume look as organized and easy to scan as possible. This includes:
- Using a font that is professional (no Comic Sans or overly ornate script please) and easy to read (Ariel, Times New Roman, and Calibri are all good choices). We also don’t recommend using less than an 11-point font size.
- Utilizing bold and italics to help certain parts of your resume stand out. For instance, some people choose to use bold font to offset past job titles.
- Spacing your resume information with care. Even though the resume should be no longer than two pages, this doesn’t mean you should cram all of your information into every available space possible. Using white space judiciously makes it easier to locate pertinent information.
- Using bullets instead of paragraphs in the descriptions of your past work and your accomplishments. Paragraphs take longer to read, and they make it harder for pertinent information to stand out to the reader.
- Many applicants use social networks, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and electronic portfolios to help employers find them and to cultivate a professional presence online. These tools can also allow you to emphasize your recent accomplishments and to interact with groups associated with your desired profession.
- It is very important that prospective employers are seeing your best self if they are searching for you online. In this vein, search your name online and check your privacy settings on any personal accounts (such as Facebook or a personal blog). If there are photos or posts that document negative behavior, make sure they are hidden from the general public or (better yet) delete them.
- Although there are legality questions regarding this practice, research suggests that Facebook might let hirers know what sort of employee a person will be. Furthermore, 20% of companies admitted to checking applicants’ Facebook pages. In other words, it is better to be safe than sorry.