Resumes – Looks Matter

looking over a stack of paperThe old saying is you can’t judge a book by its cover. I agree in theory, too bad in practice it is exactly what happens with your resume.

One of our most valuable commodities is time. We want more, we need more and therefore we create ways to streamline any activity to give us that precious gift of time. A downside of this is that often we make snap decisions or judgments based on looks.

When a hiring manager or HR professional has 300+ resumes to review, they have to come up with some system to review them quickly. Even the first step of sorting out the no resumes – it contains an element of quick decision based on first glance.

It has been noted that someone scans the top quarter of your resume from 5-15 seconds to make a determination of what pile to place you in; often they will do an overview scan within 1-2 to determine how much they are really going to look within that first 5-15 seconds.

Looks matter.

When I was a kid my mom would take us to the library every week. We would then peruse through rows and rows of books to pick out which ones we wanted to take home for the week.

We were drawn by looks: the cover and the contents. The cover had to get our attention. Then when we opened the book if it was small print, wall to wall words and no pictures, it went right back up to the shelf without reading the jacket.  If there were only a few words on each page without offering anything to get our attention – back it went.

The bottom line was if it looked easy to read, we would read it. The same principle applies here; however, it is now beyond easy to read and should be pleasing to read.

Here are two examples to illustrate my point:

What is your conclusion just based on a cursory glance? Perhaps one looks more professional, one took more time and care in creating their presentation, one has more to offer, one cares more about their position, one sees more value in what they do… A lot can be gleaned on that first glance.

Which would you read first?

In writing a resume, creating a look is the less daunting task (the writing is the hardest part).

There are many templates available to use for a resume, the one caveat is they are a template and may be difficult to manipulate for your own purpose.

What I suggest is to type in “Resume Sample” into Google and click on images.

Do not read them! You are just looking for something that pleases and catches your eye. You will see something like this:

Now let your eye wander and come to something that you like. The more you like your resume, the more you will send it out and sell it.

Pick one and recreate it in Word. Your most favorite friends in word are going to be Page Layout, Font, Bullets and possibly borders and shading. Now – go play with it. Have fun, try new things and it is ok if you get something totally out of whack. Your best friend will be the undo button! Save different versions as you go along.

If you are still struggling, check out your local library to see if they have a Word class or provide assistance. I am still a big fan of the library!

It is your resume, let it reflect you in a professional, eye catching way. Have fun with it and put in that extra time to make it your own, it will pay off for you!

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