WRITTEN BY: CYNTRA BROWN
You have six seconds.
That’s how long a prospective employer looks at your resume before deciding your fate with their company. According to the Huffington Post, in these six, critical seconds, a recruiter looks at the following things on your resume:
- Your name
- The current company you work for
- Your previous employment
- The start and end dates of that previous employment
- The start and end dates of your current job
- Your educational background.
But let me take it one step further.
A Recruiter Also Looks at Your Resume DESIGN.
That’s right, they’re looking at your resume as a direct reflection of you, your skills and your professionalism. And they can tell all of this simply by what your resume looks like. Now, no one is saying that you have to be a graphic designer to get a great job. But I am saying this: Before a recruiter even starts to read your resume, they’re looking at the aesthetic of it.
Are the colors too bright? Do they clash? Is everything aligned? Are the bullet points even? Is this Comic Sans? Oh GAWD, it’s PAPYRUS! These basic things can KILL your chance at a non-biased resume review.
Even if you’re the perfect candidate for the position, an ugly resume can take you from the top, to the bottom. Now I know you’re thinking; “The look of my resume has nothing to do with how hard I work, or the glowing review from my previous supervisor.” And that’s true…to a degree. I’ve seen many janky resumes that were attached to some of the hardest working interns I’ve hired.
But life is about impressions. And as much time as you spend looking for an interview outfit, (a blog post for another day) you need to spend twice as much time perfecting your resume, since it’s the first thing a prospective employer sees.
How Do You Design a Resume That Will Have Recruiters Blowing Up Your Phone?
Google “good resume design”. Look at the different examples for inspiration. I’ve found Pinterest has tons of great resume designs to use, buy and download.
Figure Out Your “Pop”
- What’s going to make YOUR resume stand out? A bold color is a great way to do this. Think blues, oranges, greens and purples. (Nothing too bright and neon!)
- If you choose to include a headshot, make sure it’s professional, and not one your pulled from a Facebook album
- Use Icons And Graphics.
- Instead of listing the programs you’re proficient in, how about using their logos? Or creating a scale to rate your skill level.
- Create a Logo. A logo is a unique stamp that represents you. It can also go on your business cards and cover letter, creating your own personal brand.
Break Up Your Text
- Use bullet points to break up the responsibilities you’re listing under your experiences. No one wants to read a paragraph. (Remember: You only have six seconds!)
- Stick to 3s when you’re listing job responsibilities.
- Don’t clutter your resume. If your text size is smaller than 10, you have TOO MUCH on your resume. Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for. Your resume should not be more than a page long.
Choose Complementing Fonts
This link will show you how to use contrasting fonts to help it look clean, yet creative. Think of using one for headers, and the other for the body text.
PDF Your Resume
If you insist on creating your resume in Microsoft Word, please save it as a PDF when you’re finished. PDFs ensure that what you see on your screen will be the same thing a recruiter sees on theirs when it comes to fonts and formatting.
If You Don’t Have the Skills or Programs to Create Unique Resumes, Use Templates.
There are tons of resumes that people design that you can use to help you stand out. But remember, if you found it on Google, so can everyone else. So make sure you change up the colors and other items to help it look unique.
Buzzfeed has some great examples here.
It’s time for you to make the most out of YOUR six seconds.
Give your resume the overdue makeover it needs today!