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Style Matters: Dos and Don’ts for Sprucing Up Your Resume

By Amanda Clark | Small Business

Style Matters: Dos and Don’ts for Sprucing Up Your Resume image resumeStyle Matters: Dos and Don’ts for Sprucing Up Your Resume

If your resume is looking a little bland and unappealing, it may be time to spruce it up and bring fresh life to your work history. Before even reading your content, the hiring manager or recruiter will first notice the format of your resume. This first glance can be enough to invite them to want to keep reading or decide that your blocky text or assortment of colors and fonts are a turnoff. So what are some of the key points you should keep in mind when revamping your resume?

Do: Use horizontal lines and headers to differentiate between sections.

Horizontal lines and headers can make your resume easier to scan visually because it provides a clear distinction between sections. If a recruiter is looking for your education or core competencies, they do not have to spend a lot of time searching. Also, it keeps sections from blending together. You don’t want your entire resume to run together as one confusing mass of text.

Do: Use bullet points to break up text and highlight achievements.

Blocky paragraphs have no place on your resume. They do not help the reader to pick out your skills or accomplishments. If the fact that you reduced overhead expenses by 30 percent is buried in the middle of a block of text, chances are that it will be missed. It is okay to include a sentence or two at the start of the position as an overview of your responsibilities, but then use bullet points for emphasis. Bullet points should demonstrate specific results- or action-oriented activities that highlight your abilities and accomplishments.

Don’t: Use fancy fonts and multiple text sizes throughout your resume.

Although you want your resume to stand out from that of other applicants, you still want it to look professional. Stick with more traditional fonts such as Times New Roman, Calibri, and Cambria in an 11- or 12-point text size. Headers can be slightly larger, but the rest should remain consistent. Fancy fonts can make it more difficult to read and detract from your content. They can also pose a risk of important information being overlooked if automatic scanners to do not recognize the font.

Don’t: Use bright colors.

Let the content of your resume speak for itself through the words and phrases that you choose. Colors can be distracting and pull attention away from other key elements. Also, with current resume scanning technology, colors will be lost anyway because applicant tracking systems (ATS) are looking for keywords and phrases.

Don’t: Include graphics.

Once again, let the content of your resume market you. Graphics can appear unprofessional and distracting. Including a headshot is also discouraged because, unless you are a model or actor, what you look like has no impact on your ability to do the job. This can also lead to unintentional discrimination, so it is better to simply leave graphics off all together.

Your resume is your way of marketing yourself to potential employers. Create a way to brand yourself that is professional yet highlights your strengths and abilities. Stick with simple features such as horizontal lines, bold headers, and bullet points. You want your resume to give off a positive representation of who you are and what you can do. Straying too far from the basics can do more harm than good.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Style Matters: Dos and Don’ts for Sprucing Up Your Resume

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