Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Treat Your Resume Like a Fine Work of Art

egyptian-art.JPGI’m on vacation in Egypt this week and I spent the day in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The art here is nothing short of amazing and the condition of the art is such that it is hard to believe that some of these pieces are over 4,000 years old. But the way the art is displayed is sad. Very few of the pieces are properly lit, several of the cases that house the art are dirty and dilapidated, the descriptions of the art are on old yellowing paper, probably typed out on a manual typewriter over 40 years ago, and many important pieces are crammed into a small space like an overcrowded china cabinet. Sometimes resumes suffer from a similar problem. The job seeker’s accomplishments are awe inspiring, but the presentation of the resume is often drab, boring, or cluttered. Here are some tips for creating a resume that is a fine work of art.

  1. Do not use a font smaller than 10-point. Anything smaller is difficult to read. Pick a font that is not extremely ornate; stick with widely-used fonts such as Arial, Arial Narrow and Times New Roman. 
  2. Use white space effectively. Don’t cram all of your content into big bulky paragraphs that overwhelm the reader. Instead use bullet points to demonstrate your successes and add a .6 space in between each bullet to let the document “breathe” 
  3. Break up long strings of bullet points. Create themed categories to highlight your competencies and list relevant accomplishments under each category. This strategy breaks up the text and delivers your content in more digestible sound bites.
  4. Use a quality resume paper. Print your resume on paper specifically designed for resumes (I like Southworth) and pick neutral or muted colors such as white, linen, beige, grey, or light blue. 

Great resumes have great content. But it’s best to present that content as tastefully and professionally as possible.