Format Format and Format. Man it makes me crazy. I just spent 3 hours today re-formating my resume. Recently one of my ex-employees sent me his resume. I didn’t really read it I just glanced over it and the only thing I thought was, “wow my resume makes me look old.” His was just so smartly formatted that I couldn’t help but be impressed. I’m one of those people who think resume format is BS. I never cared about it when I was a hiring manager. As long as it wasn’t horrific I was good with anything. I did not hire you (or not) based on what font you use or if you found a way to paraphrase your life goal and objective in one to three sentences at the top. I’m doing recruiting for a company right now and the people I am looking at come to me via one or more of the popular job sites. I rarely look at the resume and if I do it is only because the applicant has annoyed me and hasn’t filled out their phone number on the job site itself. I’m usually just looking at the words on the resume that have been all pushed up into a paragraph of zero formatting when the site spits out what it sees. Font size, formatting, etc play zero roll in my calling, talking to, interviewing and/or hiring you. It’s the content on your resume that is important to me.
I’ve been hesitant to reformat my resume …. again … it’s a constant and ongoing process for one reason … you can never make all the people happy all the time. It’s just not possible. For every person you show me that doesn’t like something on how my resume is styled I’ll show you a person who loves it. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting an HR person who didn’t have a strongly held opinion one way or another and unless you have some superhuman mind reading skill you aren’t going to know what each person wants. You have no choice but to put together something that makes you happy and hope that whoever sees it is logical enough to realize using Arial vs. Tahoma doesn’t mean you are incapable of doing whatever job they are hiring for. For the record my new format uses Trebuchet MS. I read somewhere that Trebuchet MS is a clean font that allows you to stand out since it isn’t used as often as other fonts. Of course in the same article I read that one HR woman prefers Arial over all other, while another is fond of Calibri because, apparently, studies have shown it shows confidence. Are you kidding me????? Am I truly being hired or not based on the font I choose for my resume? Do people really have strong opinions on this. As long as you don’t use Comic Sans I think you are a-ok.
Another thing that I would never read and was a giant waste of time for anyone that applied for a job through me was a cover letter. I get it. You want the job. I don’t need to read a paragraph of how great you are followed by a paragraph of generic ass kissing. I’ve got your resume in front of me. I’ll figure it out … thanks. AND YET MANY companies require a cover letter while many articles suggest without it you will be passed over completely by most.
Well …. I have my new formatted resume ready. It actually is very reminiscent of a resume a used 2 years ago. It’s like I’ve come full circle while following different people’s advice. I’ll take a look at my cover letters and see what I can do to punch them up then I’ll send some off and let you know if it has made any difference at all.
The other day I received an email from a company I had applied to letting me know that I had attached an excel sheet vs. my resume when I applied for an open job there. That means a random old call sheet on my computer has gotten more response than my actual resume has in the past 12 months. Perhaps I should just start using it.
(Pictures of cute dogs from our hikes over the past few days because pictures of resumes are even more boring than discussion of preferred fonts.)