You have heard over and over again that an extraordinary resume is a critical element to landing a job in the current economic climate. This is easier said than done. Many resumes suffer from outdated language, “bullet-itis,” and overused clichés (“results-oriented, people person”). Now is the time to take a hard look at your resume to ensure that it is as great as it can be.
Your resume needs be easy to read and easy to scan quickly because recruiters and hiring managers review hundreds and hundreds of resumes.
It’s helpful to think of your resume in the context of a newspaper or magazine article. Editors employ techniques to ensure you notice and read their article. Techniques include:
- superscript fonts and multimedia components
- captivating headlines and sub-headings
- bullets and bolding
- white space
Let’s take a look at these techniques at play in the following resume.
Superscript fonts and multimedia components
Start your resume with a superscript font just as a magazine article might start with an enlarged first letter. Notice the large “M, F and L” in the name below? Notice the subtle shadowing in the font? They create a classy and elegant start to your resume.
Multimedia components are also important in a current resume because resumes are primarily read online. Hyperlinks and clickable icons are examples of multimedia opportunities. In the Microsoft Word version of this resume, clicking on the LinkedIn icon below takes you to the resume author’s LinkedIn profile.
Captivating headlines and subheadings
When deciding to read an article your brain instantly reacts to the headline. Compelling? Read on! Irrelevant or disinteresting? Ignore and move on. You want your resume to stand out! Here’s an example of a resume headline – also referred to as a tag line or a personal branding statement. The superscript is used here, too. If the recruiter or hiring manager thinks your tag line is on the mark they will surely read further!
The use of sub-headings helps to break up sections of your resume to make it easier to read and easier to digest. The section above is entitled “profile.” Other sections may be called “Experience,” “Education” and “Professional Organizations.” The use of a black bar with reverse white font helps to delineate and provides a welcome break from pure text – thus making for a more pleasing read!
Bullets and bolding
Bullets and bolding help to highlight key points while giving the reader a quick way to gauge whether they should read on. The paragraph format articulates the duties and scope of the position while the bullets call out the value and key competencies associated with the experience.
A generation ago resumes were limited to one page. Now that resumes are viewed online, one-page resumes are a fallacy. Writing a two or three-page resume (depending on how long the employee has been in the workforce) allows for a resume to include a generous amount of white space. Consider the analogy of decluttering your home prior to sale. This same idea works for resumes, too. Declutter. Edit. Create pleasing margins and breaks between text. The end result should be a resume that pops with all the polish and shine of a professional magazine article.
If you choose to apply these laws of resume writing, the process can and should be fun and rewarding!
If you like the format used in the sample resume highlighted in this article, you can download it here and make it your own!
What additional tips do you have to create a captivating resume? Please leave a comment below and/or send me an email.
Remember, It Only Takes ONE!
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About the Author
***Download a free copy of Matt’s 70 page eBook, The Royal Wave and Other Strategies for Career Success***
Matthew Levy is a well-rounded HR professional, career coach, keynote speaker and author with fifteen years of broad experience in both specialist (e.g., recruiting) and generalist (e.g., HR business partner) roles at blue-chip companies, including Merck, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson.
Matt is founder and President of a career coaching practice, Corner Office Career Coaching. Matt works one-on-one with professionals, executives and students providing them with customized solutions to their career challenges. As a 20-year corporate HR professional with a large network who has also successfully conducted his own effective, cutting-edge job search, he is well qualified to help others reach their career goals. His job seeker blog has received 50,000 visitors and his articles have been run by nationally recognized job search and career management websites and guides. He also regularly gives speeches on career management and job search.
Matt works full time as a Global HR Lead for Johnson & Johnson. Prior to J&J, Matt relocated his family to Southern California to take a position with Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, where he led the talent acquisition function for Amgen’s commercial operations and corporate staff groups. Before Amgen, Matt spent several years at Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. There, Matt held a variety of positions in both recruiting and generalist capacities.
Matt graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Business Management from Ithaca College. He is an actively engaged member of several professional organizations including the Philadelphia HR Planning Society where he is on the Board of Directors and the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executives Group.
Matt lives in Doylestown, PA with his wife, daughter and son. He jogs through the Bucks County countryside to stay fit.
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