The Most Common Resume Flaws to Avoid
Are you sabotaging your job search?
You may be — right now — if your resume contains serious flaws in design, the kind I see every day.
Here are five of the most-common Resume Flaws to Avoid that I’ve found in the nearly all resumes people have sent me to review since 1995. Avoid them and prosper!
Nothing slows a busy reader faster than sections of text that go on and on … and on. I try to limit all paragraphs in a resume to three or four lines at most.
You can improve the readability of your resume by using bullet points throughout, to break up text-heavy sections. This will make it easier to read, and thus, much more effective.
The “ransom note” effect
I’ve seen resumes with five or more different fonts and sizes, making them look as though they’d been pasted together with letters cut from a magazine. To avoid distracting readers, limit yourself to two fonts in your resume — three at most.
If you need miniscule letters to fit the text of your resume onto one or two pages, you’re hurting your chances. A font smaller than 11 points will cause most readers to do one of three things: squint, look for a magnifying glass, or pitch the offending resume. None is positive.
I normally use 12- or 11-point Times Roman or Garamond fonts for resume body copy.
All capital letters
LIKEWISE, ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ARE PROVEN BY YEARS OF RESEARCH TO BE HARDER TO READ THAN STANDARD CAPITALIZATION. WHY HANDICAP YOURSELF?
The “trash compactor” effect
Too many folks try to cram too many words into each page. The jam-packed resume that results will look unprofessional.
Try to leave a margin of at least 0.5″ along the top and bottom, and 0.9″ on the sides. A two-page resume is perfectly acceptable in many cases, so feel free to use more than one page if you just can’t cut the content.
Follow these guidelines to avoid the design flaws that prevent employers from giving your resume serious consideration. When in doubt, run your resume by at least three friends for their honest input.