November 12, 2008

Bored with your resume? Then it's time to change it up! (Part 2 - Style)

In my last post, I talked about ways you can improve your resume if you find that it needs a little freshening up in terms of content.

In this post, I'll talk about how you can easily change the style.

Often, when I take a look at my resume, I like to update not only the content, but also the style. After all, a resume is much like fashion - it can go out of style quickly!

Long gone are the days of three-page resumes written in Courier font on a typewriter. If your resume looks like that, you are instantly "dating" yourself and employers will likely see you as someone who lives in the past.

And with that in mind, know that your resume style definitely says something about you. For example, a well-organized resume signals to potential employers that you are organized and efficient.

Basically, the look of your resume, just like the content can speak volumes about your personality.

Take a look at your resume.

Are you bored with how it looks?

Does it look like a resume that was made 5 years ago, even if it is filled with recent information?

If either of these questions apply to you, then it's time for a change.

Here are some tips I recommend to those looking to change the style of their resume.

1) Change the font

You'd be surprised how different your resume can look and feel with a changed font.

I recommend sticking with any of the following fonts:

- Arial
- Century Gothic
- Garamond
- Tahoma
- Times New Roman
- Trebuchet
- Verdana

Whatever you do, avoid Comic Sans MS - it's boring, overused, and juvenile!

2) Use different types of print

Again, this is quite simple. All you have to do is use the
bold, italics, and underline functions.

But keep two things in mind. First off, do not bold or italicize every piece of text - you need to find the right balance.
Secondly, make sure you keep it consistent. If you bold your job title, make sure all of your other job titles are in bold.

And try to avoid applying the bold, italics, or underline functions to the same block of text - it can be a little tough on the eyes of employers

3) Separate your headings

Most resumes have a number of different headings - Highlights, Skills, Objective, Education, Work Experience, Interests, and so on.

Make sure you separate your headings and bold and/or underline the title. That way, you create distinct sections in your resume.

4) Create your own letter head

This is really simple, but it can dramatically change the look of your resume.

Try and create your own letter head that includes all of your pertinent information - name, address, phone number and e-mail address.

And play around with the the placement of the information. For example, you might have your name in big, bold, block letters on the left-hand side, and your personal information on the right-hand side.

The great thing about your own letterhead is that you can use it on both your cover letter and resume. It makes both documents look uniform and it adds a touch of professionalism.

Click below for a sample of some letterheads.

5) Don't overuse lines or other special characters

I've seen resumes where a thick black line the width of the page separates each section. This is too much.

While you want there to be separate headings and sections in your resume, you still want it to flow together - otherwise, it'll look and read like a miss-mash
of random information.

I recommend only using a single black line to separate your "letterhead" from the content of your resume. See the picture above for some examples.

And so there you have it - 5 simple ways to change the look of your resume and freshen it up.

Just don't fall into the trap of always changing the style of your resume - there's nothing worse than applying for a job with your resume looking one way and then going for an interview with a newly designed resume.

In the end, I'd say that you should update your resume every 6 months, as that's the best time to take a look at the style of your resume and decide if you need something new, both in terms of content and look.

After all, they do that in the fashion world - and with resumes, it's no exception!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used this as my guide in finishing my resume. Hope my resume looks so much better for the employers now. Thanks for the guidelines here! Helped a lot!