Many people take a “big picture” approach to their resumes. They make sure that all of the foundational information that a hiring manager would be looking for is there. This is great because you definitely want to include your contact information, skills, accomplishments, education, and other essentials. However, failing to address smaller details can work against you. Recruiters may not spend much time initially scanning your resume, but these details can catch their eye if you’re not careful.
This can cover a lot of issues. Inconsistencies can make something look “off” about your resume. It may be hard to pinpoint exactly what is off at first, but you notice that something isn’t right. Maybe it’s that the spacing isn’t equal throughout, or one section or line is in 11-point font when all of the rest are in 12-point font. Maybe every bullet point ends in a period except for one or two. Perhaps not all of the bullet points are evenly aligned.
Take the time to look over your resume and catch any of these details. Having someone else look at it can be even more effective because they’re seeing it for the first time. You may not think that it sounds like a big deal, but having a clean, consistent resume enhances professionalism and aesthetic. People are quick to notice errors.
Too much (or too little) bolding
Bolding can be an effective way of breaking up information and drawing attention to certain points. Section headers, company names, position titles, dates, and educational degree can all benefit from being put in bold. Otherwise, use it very strategically. When almost everything is bolded, it loses its effect. And if you call out certain words or metrics in the middle of a sentence, this can be distracting and look out of place. For the most part, you can let your experience speak for itself.
Too many fonts or colors
Similar to bolding, fonts and colors can be distracting as well. Stick with one font throughout – maybe two if they’re complementary and blend nicely. Be consistent with what components are in what font. If the first company name is in Times New Roman, then every company name should be in Times New Roman. Be careful about changing font size too often as well. You don’t want your resume to look like Microsoft Word malfunctioned. Keep it clean and simple.
When it comes to colors, less is more. There is nothing wrong with a standard black-and-white resume. If you do use color, pick something subtle and use it very strategically. No need to make your resume look like a rainbow. Oftentimes colors are stripped by scanners anyway.
Not only do you want your resume to read well, you want it to look good too. Tiny details do matter, and they can catch a hiring manager’s eye for the wrong reasons. Don’t forget to carefully spell check, look for errant commas and grammatical mistakes, compare spacing and tabs throughout, and use styles such as bolding or italics strategically.