Don’t make resumes out of sand paper

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Don’t make resumes out of sand paper

Resumes are sand paper to the hiring industry. They are so abrasive that hiring managers hate reading PDF after PDF, trying to decipher talent and skills and fit. Believe it or not, hiring managers are people, just like you and me, who manage a team, and have goals to achieve in their role. Then, when they need to fill a seat on their team, HR forwards them resumes, or maybe they get resumes directly from a job ad. The next thing they realize, they’re knee deep in resumes, some from instagram influencers, some from rocket scientists, all applying to a data entry job.

The last thing you want to do to a poor hiring manager who is already buried under work, team responsibilities, and a billion resumes is to give them more spam to read. I mean, it’s not shitty enough that 100s of other resumes before yours gave this hiring manager eye callouses; now you have to get there attention and show that you’re the best (or at least good enough to qualify for an interview). How do you do that?

SANS-SERIF Fonts for the Resume Body

Make your resume legible with fonts that are as basic as they get. Sans-serif fonts like Arial, Tahoma, or Helvetica improve legibility by at least 72% (I made that stat up – but it’s sorta true). Serif fonts, like times new roman, however, slow down eye movement and make a block of text harder to scan with more visual information. Don’t make resumes out of Sand Paper. I personally love reading resumes sent to me in CALIBRI which is the more professional version of comic sans. In fact, everything in Pounse is Calibri.

SERIF Fonts for Resume Headers

While Sans-serif is used for large blocks of text in your resume. Feel free to use something more visually eye catching for your headers (EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION, SKILLS). It doesn’t hurt to slow down eye movement in the headers to create breaks when the reader, the hiring manager, moves from section to section.

Prioritize your Resume Content

The hiring manager wants to get to the point FAST, so don’t dump EVERY DETAIL on them in a massive data dump. Instead, focus on what makes you the best fit for the job and put that up top. Is it your education, then talk about that course up top. Is it your experience in the industry? Be sure to prioritize that. Or is it your skillsets?

To figure out what might be the most important thing for a hiring manager to see, read the JOB AD carefully. See how they have prioritized their list of duties, requirements and assume that what’s at the top is the most important to them. Focus on addressing those first.

Wording will kill you if you don’t KISS

KISS stands for Keep it Simple Silly. When you describe yourself, your skills, your experiences write out key points. Remember how sans serif minimizes eye strain? That applies to the words you use. If 1 word can describe a sentence – USE THAT ONE WORD. Don’t embellish language, don’t overuse lingo, don’t use run on sentences, don’t rely heavily on adjectives. LESS IS MORE.

1 page or 3?

Brevity is king in resumes, it’s a sales pitch, and people have argued that a resume should fit on 1 page. While others have been disappointed with less than 5 pages. Write your resume in a way that focuses all the relevant, recent good stuff up top, and the less relevant stuff towards the end. If content bleeds over to a second or third page, then take a few moments to ask yourself if the content on those other pages very necessary.

For example, I picked blueberries as a summer job when I was 15. I had that on my resume early in my career as a graphic designer and interviewers would giggle: “Ooookay, you won’t be picking any blueberries here, is that okay?”. Eventually I listed the earliest jobs without any descriptions. And then as my career advanced further I removed that content altogether.

Don’t make resumes out of Sand Paper

To make your resume less friction for hiring managers, make your resume is easy to read, easy to follow and rich with relevant content up front. And whatever you do, don’t fucking swear in your resume, even if you’re fucking fed up with sending out 1000000 resumes a week and hear nothing back from anyone because they’re being jerks and you just want a goddammned job. (Actually sending out resumes to every single job posting isn’t good, either, but that’s another post).

Good luck with your job hunt. And don’t forget to sign up with Pounse if you want to stand out from the crowd.