No two resumes are the same. No two jobs or employers are the same. There is no exact science for crafting the perfect resume – sorry to break it to you. However, there are generally accepted guidelines, styles, and formats to follow for creating a more effective resume. There are certain features and information that employers look for. If your resume hits on these main points, you set yourself up for a greater chance of landing an interview. If you completely miss the mark, your resume may fall into a blackhole never to be seen again.

Each recruiter and employer has their own preferences when it comes to what they’re looking for in a resume, but they also know what they don’t like. Here are some common resume turn offs that can sink your resume from the start:

  • No White Space. Miniscule margins, tiny fonts, and packing 20 years of experience onto one page can work against you. Not only are these types of resumes difficult to read, they are overwhelming to look at. Stick to a 10-12 point traditional font, standard margins, and blank spaces, bullet points, and horizontal lines to break up text. There should be a clean flow from beginning to end.
  • Fancy Fonts. Not all fonts are created equal. Skip the fancy cursive and Comic Sans. Select something simple and classic like Cambria, Calibri, or Helvetica. Times New Roman is an option as well, but this tends to be overused. If you’re not in a highly creative field, it’s better to go with a more traditional resume format and not stretch too far out of the box.
  • Confusing Format. Your resume should be organized and clearly labeled. Recruiters don’t want to spend time searching for information. If they can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, they’ll move on.
  • Too Much Jargon. Incorporating some industry-specific lingo is fine, but don’t go overboard. The person initially reading your resume may not work in the field. Make sure your sentences are easy to understand regardless of the reader’s experience. Consider the language used in the job description and match terms.
  • No Metrics. Numbers pop on a resume among the text. The eye is naturally drawn to them, so use this to your advantage. Metrics help to demonstrate results and accomplishments, so employers can quickly see what you’ve done. Without metrics, they have to spend more time reading to determine the impact you’ve made.
  • Spelling/Grammar Errors. This goes without saying. Your resume is a professional document and it should read as such. If it is littered with mistakes, employers may be led to believe that your work will be too. It shows that you haven’t taken the time to proofread or check your work. So much for saying that you’re detail-oriented or have strong written communication skills.

You want your resume to paint a clear picture of who you are and what you bring to the table. Don’t make employers guess about how you fit into the role you’re applying for. Have a friend look over your resume and give their initial impression. (Remember to take advice with a grain of salt because as mentioned earlier, everyone has their own preferences.)

Worried that your resume isn’t up to par and you’re missing out on valuable job opportunities? Consider having your resume and cover letter professionally written by the team at Grammar Chic. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us at (803) 831-7444 or