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Resumes by Design: Is an Ugly Resume Keeping You From an Interview?

Resumes evolve over time and often lack cohesion and clear focus. Your cover letter and resume are the first impression a hiring manager will get of you: make it count. Here are three tips to give your resume a facelift:

  1. Is it organized? Start with the bird’s-eye view. Where do you want their eye to fall? What are the most important things for them to see? Is there flow between one section and another? Most job-seekers are so preoccupied with what their resume says, they don’t think about how it is saying it. Use headers to separate content into sections that reinforce your strengths and your suitability for each job.

  2. Is it crowded? It’s natural to want to show your competence in detail, but having too much information makes it difficult for the reader to see what is important and increases the likelihood that they won’t sift through the information at all. One study indicated that hiring managers spend 6 seconds looking at each resume. By keeping your content brief, you control what they see and help them zero in on what makes you the perfect fit.

  3. Does it stand out? Does your resume look like every other resume they see? Don’t use Times New Roman font and the first template from your word-processing program. Be aware of your profession and how much leeway it allows you to be creative. Jobs in finance call for more convention than jobs in the arts. Err on the side of caution: you do not want your resume to be noteworthy for poor taste.