By Bethany Stafford Small Business Marketing Consultant | Asheville, NC

If you just looked at your resume and said “Oh, how pretty,” crumple it up and try again. I can’t emphasize enough how the visual look of your resume can add to or detract from your message. Every space, every color, every font will either increase or decrease readership among hiring managers. And let’s be honest, if employers aren’t reading your resume they aren’t offering you interviews either. To increase readership, we’ll follow a few guidelines:

Three things elements every resume should have

Template – Imagine your job is to browse through hundreds of resumes everyday. Chances are, you’ve seen every resume template in the book. Hiring managers have indeed seen them all, and can spot a template from miles away. Unfortunately for you, your use of templates insinuates laziness. And since you are a hardworking employee, I trust you’ll trash that template right away and start from scratch on something clean, professional, and unique to you.

Font – Never use more than 2 different fonts on your resume. To be safe, stick to Times New Roman, Georgia, Cambria or Calibri. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may use a different, compatible font for your headers and titles, but never use a script. Never use a hand written font. Never underline. Never italicize. These rules aren’t to ensure you look like the most boring employee in the world, but to ensure your resume gets read properly. Many companies use computers and scanners to detect key words before a hiring manager even takes a look at it and your font may make or break readership.

Bethany Stafford is a small business marketing consultant in Asheville, NC. Her background and experience in marketing and career services have helped numerous men and women create their personal brand across a variety of industries. Learn more about Bethany at www.bethanykstafford.com.

Bethany Stafford is a small business marketing consultant in Asheville, NC. Her background and experience in marketing and career services have helped numerous men and women create their personal brand across a variety of industries. Learn more about Bethany at www.bethanykstafford.com.

Color – Unless you are an artist, graphic designer, fashion designer, or another visually driven profession, I highly recommend avoiding the use of color on your resume. Color can really detract from your content by making items less visible, therefore, less readable. If you must, use a shade of gray to “spice up” the look of your resume while still maintaining a level of professionalism.

Pictures – Your picture is never appropriate on a resume. Special career fields may require a headshot to send in with your job application separately. But unless specifically asked for, avoid photos or clip art on your resume altogether.I have found that employees focused on beautification just need to reprioritize and remember always that content is king. Take this list of do not’s, apply it to your resume, and stay tuned for September’s resume blog post to learn the many do’s of content. 

Happy formatting!


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