Writing a resume can be difficult especially when you’re looking to sum up your career in just a few bullet points and sentences? Add that a recruiter or hiring manger spends an average of six seconds reading a resume, then you realize how important it is to create a resume that stands out in the stack.
Depending on your industry and/or career choice, writing a resume is more of an art-form than a science. Some applicants get exceptionally creative in an effort to stand out often times to their detriment. We’ve compiled a list of the top five things NOT to do on your resume so you don’t stand out for the wrong reason!
- A picture. Unless you are applying to be in a runway show your picture isn’t going to help a hiring manager or recruiter determine if you are qualified for the role. In fact, often times including your picture can make the goal of having an bias-free recruitment process more challenging. A better option: Include a link to your LinkedIn Profile which should incorporate a professional photo of yourself.
- Multiple fonts/colors. You might think using multiple colors and fonts will help you highlight areas of resume, in reality it makes it very difficult to read. Also, in the world where almost all companies using an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) sometimes special fonts do not upload correctly causing your resume to be unreadable. Stick to one standard font (i.e. Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana and Calibri) and use italics and bold to help highlight things in your resume as needed, but sparingly and with purpose.
- Multiple Columns/Difficult Formatting. Putting your resume into various sections seems logical; however when you start adding several columns and sections a recruiter or hiring manager isn’t sure where to look. In addition to font, formatting is another area that can load into an ATS in a format different than you intended which can cause more problems than its worth. Instead, use large font and italics/bold to note sections in your resume and make it easy to read as demonstrated in the second example.
- Cover Letter. Cover letters can be difficult to write. It’s taking your entire resume and putting it into a narrative and selling yourself at the same time after you just spent time customizing your resume to the dream job you’re applying. Instead of taking the time to write a cover letter write a strong objective/summary at the top of your resume, typically about three to five sentences. It can include a summary of your skills and/or what type of role/career you want.
- Personal Information. Avid mountain biker? Bookworm? Semi-professional at-home chef? Having hobbies and interests outside of work is great, and highly encouraged! However, avoiding including that information on your resume. Recruiters and hiring managers will get to know you as a person during the interview process but let your resume focus on your skills/abilities for the job. Also, please do not use personal identifying information like your Social Security number or birth date. Do, however, provide the best number to reach you and your email.by Ashley Curless, Associate Manager of Talent Acquisition