Looks do count for a resume. Your resume has to have a compelling message and be easy to read. If it doesn’t come off as visually appealing, it’s unlikely anyone will want to read it.
At the same time, be careful about using fancy charts, graphics, or logos on the resume as it could cause the Applicant Tracking Systems (the software that reads and ranks resumes) to not be able to read it.
So, you’re probably wondering what exactly can be done to freshen up the look of your resume so that it’s more visually appealing. Here are five things you can do:
- Utilize color and shading.
Resumes today are submitted electronically, which means it’ll likely be read from the computer screen or a device. Using color and shading for key parts of the resume can help highlight areas of importance. Consistency in color and shading will help the reader follow the information presented.
- Add testimonials.
Testimonials may come from your boss, co-workers, or clients and can help bring home key messages concerning your talent and capabilities. Just as recommendations support your theme in LinkedIn, testimonials on the resume serve as a third-party voucher to your abilities. They also give a nice break in the resume from the typical short paragraphs and bullets points.
- Consistently use bold type face for companies and accomplishments.
Using bold type face helps break up information on your resume to make it easily digestible, but it has to be used in a consistent fashion. When listing your Work Experience, use bold type face for each employer and apply it to key points of accomplishments.
XYZ Company, January 2012 to Present
- Delivered 157% of quota ranking in top 5% out of 86 peers
- Use digits for number, including when under 10.
A resume is made up heavily of text, so when there are #s included, it jumps out at the reader. Consider having to read one, two, three vs. 1, 2, 3. See how your eyes automatically zone in towards the digits and take in the information quicker than having to read the text.
- Include a section on Career Highlights.
Every resume should have “Wow” statements. It’s nothing to go overboard with – just four short sentences or less to bring home points of success and accomplishment in your career that will directly relate to the prospective employer and job.
An effective resume not only brings home the right message, but makes it easy for the reader to see those points!