With all the well-intended advice on résumé formatting, typeface / font and wording, it’s difficult to discern what truly stands out as a great resume in today’s world.
A word of caution: unless your industry is artistic or graphic design by nature, do not fall prey to the misconception that a fancy, “eye-catching” résumé will make the cut. More often than not, it won’t.
What type of résumés make the cut? Résumés that are professionally done and easy to read.
The carefully crafted résumé immediately relaxes and guides the reader’s eye to receive an overall impression of who the candidate is and what they can bring to the table…all within a seven second scan.
That being said, do things like typeface / font, whitespace, paper choice, and word choice really matter? You betcha! Why? Because science is at the heart of a well-received résumé! All of these things work together (from a scientific and psychological standpoint) to easily guide the reader’s eyes and assist in retention of pertinent information to make an impression. Sans serif fonts such as Arial and Helvetica, strategically placed action words, industry specific terminology and white space make the information easy to scan and retain.
Accomplishments: Show Your Successes
Make an extraordinary impression by showcasing what you’ve previously accomplished and how those accomplishments benefited other organizations. List specific accomplishments and quantify them if you can: approximately how much money you brought in to the company or how much money you saved the company. If you implemented change improvement processes which improved operations or significantly impacted the bottom line, be sure to list those as well.
Responsibilities: Show How You Achieved Those Accomplishments
Responsibilities are also a necessity. All too often, critical words are left off the résumé which pertain to essential job functions that the scanning eye or ATS (applicant tracking software) will be looking for when reading. Carefully selected word choices of those responsibilities will help to ensure optimal inclusion of key industry terminology and keep your resume in the running.
Peter Piper Picked a Paper...
White résumé paper (linen or 25% cotton with a watermark) is the optimal choice. Always show up to the interview with 3 to 5 copies of your résumé and references in hand.
Side note: If you’re interviewing with a “green” company (a company who prides themselves in recycling, using less paper, etc.), recycled résumé paper is an option. Also offer to send a digital copy of yourrésumé via email or shared cloud, from your smart device at the beginning of the interview. Do your homework on the company beforehand. If they are mindful of their paper consumption, they will want you to be as well, and offering an electronic resume in lieu of paper will help to show them that you’d be a good fit for their business modality.
An Extraordinary Impression…
Your résumé is your marketing piece! It should:
Increase your chances for an interview.
Serve as a reference for discussion points during the interview.
Improve the reader’s ability to remember who you are when the interview is over.
It is the first impression that employers will see…make sure it’s extraordinary!