As a resume writer, the majority of resumes that come my way are out of date from a formatting perspective and are tough to read online.
Given that today’s hiring manager usually have no more than six to 10 seconds to spare per resume (15 to 20 seconds if they know you or received your resume from someone they know), and that 99% will read your resume on some sort of a screen, it is critical to address these resume shortcomings.
Below is a quick fix list with five easy tips to turn Resume Don’ts around:
#1 TOO LONG
There’s a lot out there about the ideal resume length. Anecdotal experience tells me that in most cases three pages is just too long and will be perceived as such.
One page is great – but unless you’re a recent grad new to the workforce, or have been in the same sales role your whole career, it’s not often realistic to fit in 5+ years of experience onto one page.
THE QUICK FIX: Widen your margins to no more than .5 inches all around, choose a small sans serif font (love Calibri!) and set your point size to 10 or 11. You will be amazed at how much less room this new version takes up on the page.
#2 TOO MUCH TEXT
Chunked blocks of text, or text that is greater than three lines in length, is easy to read in print but tough to read online. A skim reader who comes across a heavy block of text is apt to skip it altogether.
THE QUICK FIX: Whittle down your sentences to the ideal one- to two-line length and use a bullet to distinguish it from the next thought. Make sure to have at least .5 point between your bullets to facilitate skim, online reading.
#3 TOO OLD
Those that have read resumes for ages can easily tell if you are out of the loop where resume trends are concerned – thanks to telltale signs.
THE QUICK FIX: Show you are up to speed on current resume writing trends by 1) removing an objective 2) removing “references available upon request 3) including just your cell and not both home and cell and 4) including your LinkedIn URL in the contact info along with your email.
#4 TOO HARD TO FIND THE GOOD STUFF
Skim readers usually only have time to read the first bullet below a job title. It therefore crucial that the first thing the reader sees is something impactful.
In other words, don’t bury your achievements below your list of responsibilities –the skim reader may never get to it!
THE QUICK FIX: Refer to your performance reports or reflect on your role and ask yourself what you are proudest of as you prepared to walk out the door. Use the response together with some context so the reader can understand your challenges, actions and results.
#5 TOO MANY WOWS AT THE END
Unlike print reading where the eye tracks from left to right smoothly, when reading online our eyes tend to start left and then jump all over the screen. From an online resume reading perspective, this means that bullets must be front-loaded so that the “wow” part of the achievement appears first.
THE QUICK FIX: Place the achievement at the front of the sentence v. the end.
Example: “Reduced turnaround time 30% by introducing automation that replaced manual processes.”
“Replaced manual processes with automation that reduced turnaround time 30%.”