Design Your Resume To Impress Within Seconds

March 14th, 2016

Six seconds. Enough time to take a deep breath, enjoy a sip of water or yawn. It’s also the average time recruiters spend reviewing individual resumes on the first pass.

When you only have a moment to impress, every aspect of your resume design counts. Poor organization, rambling bullet points and confusing fonts will get even the most qualified candidate’s resume thrown in the trash.

Awesome content can only go so far if your resume design is sub-par. To give your resume a refresh, consider these design tips so you make it past those six seconds and into the yes pile.

Tip 1: Start with the essentials
Never overlook the basics. State your name and contact information at the top. Include your custom LinkedIn URL or portfolio site if you have one.

Tip 2: Lead with a descriptive title that communicates your level and functional area of expertise. Make sure your title reflects the position you want, not just the positions you have had.

Tip 3: Follow with a positioning statement that communicates what makes you unique. Consider these steps:

  • Determine what skills and qualities your prospective employer wants.
  • Search your background to see where you have demonstrated skills and qualities that would apply.
  • Write a summary at the top of your resume to position yourself.
  • Use the same summary to sell yourself in an interview.

Tip 4: A short bulleted list of your accomplishments that supports your positioning statement will further set you apart. Your accomplishments should be quantitative whenever possible, i.e. reduced customer churn by 25 percent.

Tip 5: List jobs in chronological order
List your employment history from newest to oldest. Many people add more bullet points to their most recent positions than the older ones. And remember, skip old positions that don’t add value to your resume. If you have a gap in employment, you can address this in the cover letter.

Tip 6: Add extras only when they are additive
Wrap up with important points about education, professional certifications, volunteer work and other extras. The test for adding extras is whether they will enhance your candidacy. Only list your hobby if a discussion about this in an interview is likely to advance your interests.

Tip 7: Keep it relevant
Resume length matters less these in the age of digital viewing. Still, your resume does not have to be a book. Unless you are an executive or the industry dictates it, a one- to two-page resume is ideal. The test is relevance. Include information that is relevant and would help you if discussed in an interview.

Tip 8: Skip the photos and fancy fonts
You have six seconds, don’t waste them with a distracting photo, graphic or font. You want your resume to be as readable as possible. Use no more than two fonts and resist making them too small.

Tip 9: Create visual space separation
Encourage easy skimming by creating visual separation in your resume. Bold headers and white space between sections make it easy to identify the beginning and end. Within each section, use uniform spacing and utilize bullets (minus the summary and headers, the majority of your resume should organized into bullets).

Tip 10: Get a critique
Not only is a good edit a must, but getting an honest critique of the overall design is important. Have a trusted friend or colleague review it and alert you of areas that are distracting, confusing or just don’t add any value.

Bonus tip: Get help
You don’t need to be a professional writer or graphic designer to create an impressive resume. The experts at GetFive know the best resume strategies for different industries and can provide you with the feedback you need to develop a resume that impresses in mere seconds.

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