An effective resume is a sales tool, evoking high-impact engagement with the human reader or the ATS scanning machinery. There is little room for maneuver when preparing a resume.
I consistently see many cardinal sins when providing resume critiques. Any of these mistakes will reduce your chances of being placed in the interview pile to be called for an interview.
A resume is yours and yours only. So why are you using it to market your company or school?
That’s exactly what you’re doing when you emphasize the company or school name with bold font, large font size, or capital letters. Instead, eliminate these text treatments and just use regular paragraph text for these names.
What you should emphasize is the appointment you currently hold or held in the past. Apply bold font and capital letters to this text, thereby attracting both the human eye and the scanning machinery to your job title, not the company or school name.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you attended an Ivy League school or other prestigious university that you know would capture attention, you do need to bold this school’s name on your resume.
Dates should take a back seat
Another common resume error I see is to put too much emphasis on dates. On a first pass through your resume, a reader isn’t generally very interested in the duration of your tenure or studies. So take away any bold font, brackets, and months on your start and end dates.
Simply list the year you received the degree, diploma, certificate or any other designation. Similarly, just display the years you worked for the company. Place the dates in the right margin, since people typically read from left to right, and you want to emphasize the most important information – your academic achievements and professional appointments.
Bold text, font size, and capital letters are all text treatments that help highlight key information in your resume. The important thing is to be sure you’re not using these to distract readers away from what you’re really selling.
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