Is Your Resume Easy on the Eyes?
I used to work for a guy who got $114,000 for one day’s work. He was one of the top direct mail copywriters in the county and his copy sold millions more than anyone else’s copy. And his direct mail letters were six pages long!
When I asked him why he had such long letters he said, “Your copy has to be compelling and easy to read” and the same is true for resumes.
It doesn’t matter if you have exactly what the employer is looking for in terms of skills and work experience, the fact is if your resume is not easy on the eyes, it’s likely not going to be read. So a 1 to 2 page resume that is hard to read is bad as is a 3-page resume that doesn’t tell a cohesive and compelling story.
Statistically, employers spend about 8 seconds to scan a resume to determine if they want to know more. So if your resume comes off as unorganized or heavy in blocks and blocks of text, it may not even get read. Who wants to read it if it’s not easy on the eyes?
With that in mind, here are tips to help your resume:
- Have clear sections.
A resume has different parts of information. Make it easy for the reader to distinguish where those parts are and when it ends and a new section begins. For instance, you may use bold and italic typeface to help guide the reader to the different sections of the resume for Work Experience, Education, Technical Skills, etc.
- Take a break from text, use numbers and symbols.
In a sea of text, that # and % sign are attention grabbers. They work perfectly when you are demonstrating results. So, rather than state you increased product sales by thirty-five percent within six months of launching a new marketing campaign, show it – “product sales increased 35% within 6 months of the new marketing campaign.”
- Stick to standards.
Yes, you want to come off as special, but that doesn’t mean going all out with unique font type and embedded graphics and tables. More likely than not, your resume is going through an applicant tracking system first and all that fancy stuff isn’t going to be readable to the ATS. If the ATS can’t read it, it’s not going to get into anyone’s hands.
- Make your accomplishments pop out.
For your accomplishments to stand out, use the Harvard format. Begin in paragraph form with our roles and responsibilities and bullet points for your achievement statements. Your bullet points will help present the challenge, what action was taken, and the results of your action.
In general, resumes should be one page (for entry level and junior people) to three pages (for managers, executives and those with over 15 years of experience). Create a resume appropriate to your industry, whether that means sticking to a more conservative face or something more creative. Either way, make sure it’s laid out in a way that makes the reader want to read it.