5 Design Tips for Your Resume

So, you’re not a graphic designer. That doesn’t mean you should send in a resume that looks boring and unpolished. In fact, the look of your resume is just as important as the content for a few reasons.

If your resume is hard to read, for instance, due to narrow margins, tiny fonts, and too much text, then it’s going to wind up in the “no” pile. That’s if it even makes it into the hands of a hiring manager.

Most of today’s employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) in order to screen resumes and filter out the weaker candidates. These systems have a hard time reading certain graphics, images, and fonts, which is another reason why proper design and formatting is so important for your resume.

So how do you make your resume stand out, yet still make it through the ATS? Here are five easy tips to put to use:

1. Use a lot of white space.

When it comes to your resume, white space is your friend. You don’t want cramped quarters anywhere near your resume. Imagine if you received a resume with corner-to-corner text that was tiny, formatted in five different ways, and hard-to-read. Would you want to wade through it all, or just move onto the next resume?

If you’re like most hiring managers, it’s probably the latter, which is why white space is so important. This helps you put the spotlight on important sections, like your Work History, so hiring managers can find them quickly. Your resume is more likely to be read and to persuade the hiring manager to call you for an interview.

2. Avoid too many fonts.

There are so many fonts on hand, which makes it tempting to use too many, or a creative one. You might thing this makes you stand out. However, it can be difficult for ATS software to parse a lot of fonts and ones that look like script in particular. So don’t use several fonts and instead stick to one or two, at most. For instance, you can use one font for section headings and another for body copy.

When you’re deciding, consider fonts, like Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, or Verdana. These are effective when it comes to the ATS and also attractive and easy-to-read for the hiring manager. When you’re formatting your resume, make sure your point size is also at least 10 or more. If it’s any smaller than that, it will be difficult for the hiring manager to read when it lands in their hands.

3. Include bullet points.

Bullet points are key when it comes to your resume. These are what makes all your accomplishments and background so easy to read for the hiring manager. Since they spend such a limited time on each resume – a few seconds only – it’s important to grab their attention quickly and communicate effectively. Bullet points help you do that. Just make sure when you’re using them, you stick to around 3-6 for each job. Any more than that will make your resume appear overcrowded.

4. Bold & italicize certain areas; but don’t underline.

You should bold and italicize certain areas on your resume to make them easier to read. For instance, the Work History and Education section headers should be bolded, as should your job titles. You can then italicize the names of your past employers, or your dates of employment.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s consistent across your whole resume. For instance, if you italicize your most recent job title, then check that all your job titles are italicized. If you decide to use all-caps for the names of your employers, then do so for all of them. The same goes for the dates of employment. If you abbreviate the months for one, then follow suit for all of employment history.

However, don’t get too heavy-handed with your use of boldface or italicizing. Also, don’t underline anything, ever. This looks unprofessional and is also difficult to read.

When you’re consistent with your approach to formatting, it makes your resume easy to read and more polished looking. It also establishes a pattern that the hiring manager can easily follow, so they can scan your resume quickly yet thoroughly. This can help set you apart from other candidates who don’t have consistently formatted resumes.

5. Use the right file type.

If you’re in a creative field, like a graphic design, then it makes sense to use software, like InDesign to create your resume. For any other field, creating your resume in MS Word is the best way to go. When you’re emailing your resume directly to a hiring manager, you can save it as a PDF and attach it that way.

If, however, you’re not sure if it will go through an ATS, then a Word Doc file is the safest way to go. Some software has a hard time parsing a PDF, which can impact your chance of getting a call for an interview. Whatever you do, don’t ever send your resume as an image file, like a .jpg.

Get help writing and designing your resume with ResumeSpice.

A strong resume is key when it comes to getting your next job. If you need help writing and formatting yours, turn to the professional resume writers at ResumeSpice. We know how to create a first-rate resume that makes the best impression possible. Simply reach out at 832.930.7378 or contact us online to get started.

Resume Trends for 2022

There’s been a lot of changes in the job market during the pandemic. However, one thing that’s remained the same is the need for a solid resume. It’s your ticket into the interview process to land the job you want.

To help you create a polished and professional resume, here are some trends for 2022 to keep in mind:

Optimize your resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

Good, bad, or indifferent, ATS software is here to stay. So, make sure you’re optimizing your resume to get through them. In fact, according to reports, around 75% of employers now use them during the hiring process. This helps them screen out candidates who aren’t the right fit. However, if your resume isn’t optimized for ATS software, then it won’t make it into the hands of a human – even if you’re the strongest candidate.

What do to: To optimize your resume, review the job description first. Look for relevant keywords and phrases. You can also check the company website for other verbiage that’s important to include, related to your particular industry or the job.

Once you have a list of keywords, incorporate them into your resume where it makes sense. Keep in mind, you also want it to be reader-friendly for a hiring manager, so don’t use stuff your resume full of them.

Another important area to focus on when considering ATS software is your social media profiles. The latest technology is able to pull in online information from your social profiles. To avoid any red flags, take a look at your profile on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others to make sure there’s no content that will make a negative impression.

Keep it simple with resume formatting.

When it comes to formatting your resume, you want to make it as easy-to-read as possible for the hiring manager. Remember, they only spend a few seconds on each resume. If yours is packed with tiny text and tight margins, then they’re going to have a hard time understanding why you’re a fit for the job.

Another reason to keep formatting simple? If you try to get fancy with graphics or the font, the ATS software won’t be able to read your resume. You can sabotage your job search efforts in the process.

What to do: Keep your resume clean and simple with plenty of white space around the margins. Don’t include any borders, images, artwork, or script-like fonts. This will ensure your resume is further optimized for any ATS that scans it.

Also, skip the functional resume fad, which is typically used to hide employment gaps. Instead, for 2022, the tried-and-tested reverse chronological resume is the way to go when you’re organizing and formatting your resume. This simply means you should list your most recent job first and go back from there.

In addition, make sure each section, such as Work History and Education, is easy to spot and scan. Your Work History is the most important section and should therefore be at the top, followed by your Education, Certifications, Specialized Skills, and Industry Associations.

Leave out unnecessary information, like an objective statement or a saying that “references are available upon request.” This simply wastes valuable space and makes your resume look dated. Other areas to skip are personal details, like your age, gender, birth date, street address, and headshot.

Don’t just talk about tasks, demonstrate results.

Today’s employers want to know about your track record in past positions. It’s why using facts, figures and any metrics is key to showing your value. A list of skills and tasks you’ve handled is boring and won’t stand out. However, when you quantify your accomplishments, it makes a more memorable impression. It also brings your background to life, so you’re not just another candidate, but a unique and compelling performer.

What to do: As you’re writing your Work History section, you should gear the content toward results, not just listing the skills you have or tasks you were responsible for. This can include anything from the size of the team you managed, how much you increased sales or improved customer retention, and the percentage by which you boosted web traffic.

This gives the hiring manager a clear picture of what you bring to the table if they hire you. It also helps to make the case as to why they should consider you over another candidate.

However, don’t include everything you’ve achieved. Instead, focus on 3-6 examples that are the most relevant for a particular position. You might need to customize and edit your resume for each position, as a result. Doing so, though, will help you to easily spotlight why you’re a strong contender for the job.

Avoid buzzwords and just be straightforward.

Since hiring managers don’t spend long on a resume, it’s important that you use language that is clear and concise. This means avoiding buzzwords, cliches, and hyperbole.

What to do: Avoid vague words like “hard worker,” “strong work ethic” and “motivated team player.” These should be sidestepped because they don’t really mean anything to the hiring manager. Instead, use simple, straightforward language. Also, emphasize your strengths and accomplishments. Anyone can claim to be a “team player,” which is why it’s important to give examples of why and how you’re a strong team player, instead of simply stating it.

Ready for professional help with your resume?

At ResumeSpice, we’re the #1 resume writing service for a reason. Our approach has been designed by recruiters who know what hiring managers want to know about you. We can help you put your best foot forward, as a result. Simply call 832.930.7378 or contact us online to get started.

Top 11 Free Resume and CV Builders

Job hunting? If you’re on a tight budget or short on time, a free resume or CV builder can be an attractive option (check out the key differences between a resume and CV here). 

A resume or CV builder is an interactive, online tool that lets you insert your skills and experiences into a template to generate a cohesive resume or CV. Below is a list of the top 11 free resume and CV builders to help you design your own!

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Small Resume Mistakes that Will Keep You from Getting the Job

Your resume plays a big part in your job search success. Without a strong one, you won’t get calls for an interview. Yet, if you’re not a resume expert, it’s easy to make a mistake that can cost you an interview. Just one simple misstep can send the wrong message to a hiring manager.

How do you avoid them, so you get noticed and get calls for an interview? Here are some common mistakes job seekers make:

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Are Social Media Posts the “New” Written Resume?

Looking for a new job? If it’s been a while since your last search, there are some trends to know about first, especially when it comes to your resume.

While a traditional resume is still important to have, you also need to take a more dynamic approach online. When you use social media to showcase your background and skills, you can essentially bring your experience to life through videos, blog posts, infographics, portfolio samples, and other content. The traditional resume and the dynamic social media posts complement and support one another, so you stand out as a candidate. (more…)