Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Your Sales Kit: The Resume (Part 5 – Design and Layout)

2009-04-13 17:50:02
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The style of your resume is as important as the content. Margins, font, how the information is presented are all important. One of the easiest lessons to keep in mind when creating or overhauling your resume is K.I.S.S.

One of the biggest mistakes I see as a recruiter is a resume that is too fancy. Tables, logos, font, designs. Not only does this sort of content detract from the meat of the resume, it can be difficult to read especially if the document containing them is uploaded to a database (job board, Applicant Tracking System.) I mentioned that when I open either of these that I get a text version of the document. Databases are built with software programming languages which use only the letters, numbers and symbols that you find on a basic typewriter keyboard as the base for their programming. Everything is assigned a value based on those symbols. Maybe you have gotten email that looked like a bunch of gibberish? That is your email provider trying to translate the mail it cannot read.

So ideally, you should use only the keys on your basic keyboard and spacing you can accomplish with the tab key and basic word processing commands. When choosing a font, a study found that the best font to use for a resume was corbel. It is also a good rule of thumb to never use a font smaller than *10 point* for ease of reading.

I’ve mentioned that most recruiters and hiring managers prefer bullet points to read; keep in mind that you can choose the symbol you want to use for bullet points. Stick to simple choices like a dash, asterisk, carat, or the basic circle. Otherwise, that “bullet point” translates to something like #(** in front of the line you are trying to highlight.

When choosing the layout of your resume, the very first suggestion I have is *don’t* use the templates such as you find in Microsoft Word. It wastes space, and honestly labels you as someone unprofessional. Use bold, italics, and different sizes of font combined with indented space to vary your content and call attention to different areas.

Your margins in large part will determine the length of your resume, as will the spacing you use for indentation. The narrower the margins, the most space you will actually have for content. The more spaces you use for indentation, the less space you will have for the lines of text.

One way to make sure your resume is ideally adapted to online databases is to make sure you have a text version of it. All computers have notepad, the program that strips all the fancy formatting away. On the Windows Operating System, this is how you access Notepad:

Type the word ” notepad ” into the dialogue box.

Once you have the program on, align everything to the left and on the command bar, go to the “format” key and make sure to check “Word Wrap”.

Save the document as a .txt file.

It’s that simple. You can copy/paste the entire contents of this document into databases that don’t have an “upload” feature where they offer you to “copy/paste”. When I am preparing a resume for a client, I always include a .txt version for them.

As a recruiter, one of the things that is very annoying is when a candidate sends me a resume and embeds his/her contact information in a header/footer. This makes me work harder to see *who* I am reading about. Do us all a favor and just don’t do it. I may just pass over your resume if it is too much effort to glean all the information.

One question I get a lot on panels and from job seekers is whether or not to use a photo? The answer is in North America: absolutely not, unless you are in the entertainment business (actor, model, etc.) We have strict laws in the US and Canada about privacy and discrimination, and as a resume is supposed to be a sales tool for your *experience and background*, a photo has no place on it.

Again the style of your resume comes back to the same message as the content: targeted, concise, with every piece of the document geared towards pointing out your work history, not your graphic design prowess.

Your Sales Kit: The Resume (Part 6 – The Graduating Student)
Your Sales Kit: The Resume (Part 4 – The Functional Resume)

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