Putting together a resume is not easy at all, especially if you’re a first-time job seeker. You have to be meticulous about the information you choose to include, and how you express the best aspects of you as a potential employee. There’s always the fear of not being interesting enough on paper and the pressure to make yourself stand out can make you try to…upgrade the look of your resume.
Some of these upgrades may seem like innocent tweaks, but these tweaks may actually turn off recruiters. The content and information you include in your resume is definitely more important than how your resume looks, but the visual aspect of a resume can mean the difference between being taken seriously as a professional — or being thrown in the reject pile by a particularly irate HR manager.
1. Putting your height, weight, status, and other more “personal” information
It might seem important to put in your vital statistics in your resume, but recruiters will rarely consider this as critically important in their hiring decisions. Whether you are male or female, single or married, or like Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey will not directly affect how well you qualify for the job. This is just extra and unnecessary information for those reading your resume, and will also unnecessarily lengthen your resume when recruiters can only spare only so little time when he still has to look through tens and even hundreds of other applications.
Of course, there will be jobs that will need to know this kind of information. Certainly, companies in Cebu may prefer someone who lives around the area than from someone who grew up in Manila. Or certain vacancies will only accept male or only female applicants for the opening. But unless the job post explicitly mentions you include this information, it’s better to take it out so you can focus on presenting only the most important information (and avoid the ire of a recruiter who hates Twilight fans with a vengeance).
2. Using pretty (hard to read) font
Try to read the what’s written in the Summary section of the resume above. Take note of how long it takes for you to read the entire paragraph under Profile, and how many times you have to stop and make sure you’re reading the right thing. Now, imagine a recruiter who runs into this resume, and has to go through another ten resumes after it, if he hasn’t already gone through ten before.
The font may look pretty, and in other contexts it will look pretty, but on a resume that needs to be easily readable within a span of as little as six seconds, this is not going to work at all. Unless you know your fonts pretty well and how to use them, use the conventional Arial, Times New Roman, or Garamond for resumes. You don’t want your resume to look pretty; you want it to easily relay your skills and qualifications as conveniently as possible.
Extra Tip: Make sure the font size is of readable size. Anything lower than Size 10 may make it difficult for some recruiters to read your resume, especially if said recruiter is doesn’t have the best eyesight.
3. Creating a rainbow resume
I don’t need to explain why this won’t get you any callbacks. It takes only one second for anyone to see that resumes like this need to be burned. The sick yellow of the address and contact details are an eyesore. The clash of the red text and the green box is sickening. It would take a really patient (or desperate) recruiter to consider even looking through this painful resume.
If you are going to play with colors to spruce up your resume, you better know how to use them well or you could end up with something as terrible as this. There’s nothing wrong with a normal black-and-white resume, and it’s a color combination that’s definitely easier on the eyes. Consider as well that if recruiters decide to print out your resume, it may not come out as clear and crisp as it looks on the computer screen.
4. A high school-style email
For the record, although I enjoy listening to the occasional “Love Yourself” and “Sorry” (and, okay, “Beauty and the Beat”), I am not a Belieber. But how can a recruiter take me seriously if I can’t take the time to make a professional email, or at least an email that doesn’t scream I’m still in high school?
If you’re just about to start on your job search, make sure you create a professional email address before you start sending out those applications. Everything else in your resume might look great, but once a recruiter notices your not-so-great email address, it might lead him/her to think that you’re not yet ready to take any job seriously.
Keep it professional
There really is no “perfect” resume, the one template to rule them all. It’s even wise to tweak your resumes a little in every application to make sure the recruiters of a certain company will first see the information most relevant to them. But make sure that whatever you’re doing to your resume won’t affect how convenient it is to read or, more importantly, the impression you leave the recruiter about your own professionalism.