Over the next several weeks, I’ll be responding to frequently asked questions that have not been addressed here on the blog recently. Q: What’s the best format for a resume?
A: Of course, the answer varies greatly depending on a lot of factors (industry, years of experience, etc), but there are some truths that apply to most situations. First off, most people know that an important part of an effective resume is visual impact. You don’t want your resume to be devoid of formatting elements that draw the reader in. Does your resume have only blocks of paragraphs? Not good!
On the other hand, though, many people make the mistake of thinking that a resume has to be high-design. As I tell many clients… Resumes are not submitted to win design contests; they are submitted to drive interviews and job offers. If your resume contains too many design elements, computerized screeners may not be able to “read” them correctly. Similarly, if you go way off the design grid, your resume will likely be seen as gimmicky.
There are lots of effective approaches that appeal to both computerized and human screeners (recruiters, hiring managers, etc.). Font, spacing, content placement, margins, etc. are all critical resume elements.