top of page

Your Career Billboard – The Resume

We know that the resume is your gateway from one role to the next. But it’s more than that. Your resume is essentially your living billboard, marketing kit and elevator speech rolled into a well-crafted one-page balanced document. That’s if you can successfully condense your experience on one page, without losing sight of the story you wish to tell. The question is, in a sea…no, ocean of resumes, vying for the attention of a limited number of jobs, how will yours stand out? It is definitely no small task. The truth is, posting a resume online is a luck of the draw. Unfortunately, most resumes are not reviewed by people. Machine learning and algorithms usually do the dirty work of scanning, matching key words and tossing out what doesn’t seem to fit what they were coded to discover. So, while having a top-notch resume, with great skills is essential…it’s not effective on it’s own.

Let’s use this weeks post to cover my top 5 resume must haves and the supporting cast your resume needs to make it shine.

1. Keep it clean – There is nothing worse than a resume that from a distance looks like black ink spilled all over it because it’s full of words, narrow margins and little to no white space. I highly recommend, and STRONGLY suggest you keep your margins no less than 1 inches on all sides. White space keeps the page from looking crowded, so avoid the urge to use smaller fonts, trying to squeeze in more information. 2. Be smart with Fonts – So, I was mistaken. There is something worse than a crowded resume. It’s a resume that you can’t read because the fonts you chose don’t read well on every device type, or worse still, your fonts look atrocious when you print them. Don’t go for the fancy script fonts or excessively bold fonts. You want your message to be well received so don’t get too creative when making your font selection. Additionally, limit the variation. No more than 2 fonts should go on your resume (and that could be excessive). You can opt to use one for your name and contact information, and the other font for your resume story. Picking one of the clean, modern fonts will make sure that your resume is readable on any device. You can change the style (Bold/Italic/Underline) and size as needed. If you are not sure and creating your resume in Word, the Heading style toolbar is useful. If you are feeling free and want to add some color to your resume, I will caution you to quiet your inner artist just a bit. If you must use a color (I can’t stop you), but I do recommend you focus on the bottom of the color list. Those are usually the darker choices and will look more professional. Black, Navy Blues, Maroons, Pines, Deep Grays are more professional and not jump off the page in a negative way. 3. Only highlight what is relevant – Traditionally, only the last 10yrs of work experience is included on your resume. While that used to be the standard, todays resume standard tends to focus only on the roles and experience relevant the job you are applying to. I’m not saying you should delete those roles off your resume, but consider displaying them as bullets, limited only to company name, title and dates. If these roles don’t highlight your responsibilities or showcase skills specific to the new role you are applying for, they shouldn’t occupy white space dedicated to the main attraction. 4. Formatting – There are so many resume styles and formats that exist today. While I don’t recommend one over another (I tend to consider that case by case), I do recommend that you select a resume format that is appropriate for your industry and demographic. These days I’m using a more modern template with my clients because I believe they are more transferable. Elegant styles are pretty, but they have a very specific demographic. So, make sure that when selecting your format, you are keeping in mind your target audience. 5. 2 of everything – Because today’s job seekers are posting their resumes online in some unsecure format, I strongly recommend 2 versions of the same resume. An online version and a personal version. The online version will have links to your social media spaces that show-case your skills, certifications etc. This online version will have your email address, links to any certifications or accreditations and your social media pages. Your personal resume should have your home address, email, phone number, and social media links. The reason for this is because your online resume is available for download and accessible to anyone. Job boards are not secure. So, posting your personal information is a risk. And yes, I understand that anyone can do a search of your name and pull up your personal information, there is no sense in packaging it up for them to find. Having an online – limited contact resume is not a deterrent for recruiters. They will not mind emailing you for interview request if they are interested. You can give them your contact information during that exchange to setup your interview. 6. BONUS TIP – Your resume should not live in a world of search engines and job boards alone. Your resume deserves to have a place to showcase it’s value that isn’t in competition with others. I’m calling your resume part of your overall marketing and branding, because it is. Your resume should carry the story you want to tell, on it’s own. However, it should also link potential clients and employers back to your “online presence” where they can view samples of your work, see your skills related content and learn more about you. Potential employers will definitely seek you out on your social media pages to see what type of content you are posting online. So it’s a beneficial step for you to make sure that your social media is totally reflective of the personal brand that you represent. You can and should consider setting up a free website that is devoted to your brand, your career highlights, education, or content that you have created and have liberty to display. I understand crafting the perfect resume can feel daunting, challenging and never really “perfect” at all. Your resume style and sometimes the content will change, but your messaging should be strong and consistent. You want employers to know that you are the ONLY choice, not just the right choice. I encourage you to consider how you market yourself and take it seriously. It will be the difference between a machine algorithm tossing your resume to the side, and an HR manager scheduling an interview.

These are absolutely my thoughts…. ratedpg.


*Disclaimer - The thoughts contained in these posts are my own. The advice and tips shared are based on my experience as a working professional. As a certified career and organizational coach, I do share this knowledge with my clients. I do not guarantee any particular results, as results and experiences will vary. Some of my blog content is for entertainment purposes only. Nothing in my blog is intended to be used to diagnose or treat any emotional, mental, or medical condition. For that, please see the appropriate professional. For additional information, please refer to the Terms of this site.

bottom of page