As a recruiter, I see hundreds of resumes a week, and several stand out to me for good reasons: brief yet descriptive bullet points, good use of space on the page, etc. Others catch my attention for the wrong reasons, and I don’t even want to bother reading them at all. This happens often and has prompted the creation of the following list: no pictures, no pigments, no paragraphs.
1) No pictures: A jobseeker should never include their photo on a resume. A jobseeker should never include ANY photo on their resume. I’ve seen cats, I’ve seen campaign buttons, I’ve seen a political figure’s face with a slash through it. All are completely unacceptable on a professional resume. Recruiters just want to see text. If we want to know what you look like, we’ll stalk you on Facebook or LinkedIn.
2) No pigments: Admittedly, the use of pigments here is a stretch, but I really wanted the whole alliteration thing to work out. What I really mean is, don’t include color on your resume. Do not underline sections with a bright colorful line. Do not use a colored font for your name or address block. And, I have to add, if your name happens to also be the name of a hue of color, don’t include that color all over your resume and try to make it your cute ‘thing’. Just stick to basic black font. You want my attention (or the hiring manager’s) to be on your work experience, not the crazy colors on the page.
3) No paragraphs: This usually comes up in resumes of candidates with several years of experience, but it warrants a reminder anyway. Do not write about your past responsibilities and accomplishments in paragraphs. List them in detailed but short bullet points. Recruiters hate digging through paragraphs to get to the line or two on accomplishments and tasks that matter most.
Avoid the three p’s and don’t sabotage your resume. To some readers these suggestions may seem overly simple, but they are necessary reminders for others. Recruiters and hiring managers like resumes that are concise, neat, and easy to read. No fluff, just facts. For further guidance on resume writing, talk to Emily Miller, Director of Employment Placement Services at the Leadership Institute and Matt Adkins, Job Bank Manager at The Heritage Foundation. Both are experts on resumes, so take advantage of the free critiques they offer. Nothing opens doors as fast as a well-written resume.
Andrea McCarthy is the Recruiter at Americans for Prosperity Foundation where she finds talented individuals to join the AFPF team. You can reach Andrea at email@example.com.
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