Resumes should be concise and easy to read with verbs that capture a potential employer’s or recruiter’s interest long enough for them not to put your resume in the “next” pile.
Recruiters spend maybe 10 seconds glancing at a resume before moving on to the next one. You want your resume to stand out so that you can move on to the next step of the hiring process.
Here are some tips to make your resume “skimmable”.
Proper Alignment, Formatting and White Space
Clean, consistent formatting throughout can show attention to detail and will be less distracting when a potential employer or recruiter is reviewing your resume. You want to align your resume to the left, because our eyes are trained to read left to right so that it will feel natural. Please do not center items on your resume. You can either align everything to the left or choose to align just your dates to the right to break things up a little. White space is key, and it gives the reader a visual “break”. Leave enough white space so that your resume doesn’t read like a research paper. K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple “Sweetie”) by having bullets that don’t go over two lines, that way you capture the highlights of what you did during previous roles without becoming too inundated with information.
Bold and Italics
Highlighting key words and phrases in bold captures attention and draws readers to items on your resume. By utilizing bold text, you are showcasing skillsets and abilities that may translate to the position you are applying for. “Efficient and creative writer that works well under-pressure and provides high-quality content that captivates the reader.” Stands out more than “Efficient and creative writer that works well under-pressure and provides high-quality content that captivates the reader”. Italicizing can differentiate your role from the employer and make your resume easier to understand. Use discretion and don’t over-do it because having too many items bold or italicized can be distraction. I recommend bold text for a few key words and phrases in your professional summary, each heading (Work Experience, Education, Skills,) the employer name, and only italicizing the role and date.
No Distracting Fonts
Using distracting font can make your resume look childish and unprofessional. Cute and whimsical fonts are fun on event invites and flyers but not for resumes. Unless you’re applying for a creative position, it is best to stick to a traditional font like Times New Roman. Your name should be slightly bigger than the rest of your resume so that it stands out, but a font size between 10-12 is standard. In this case, less is more, and you want your resume to stand out based on your skills and potential, not because it’s distracting.
Attention Grabbing Action Verbs
Recruiters are not going to read every word on your resume. Remember, you have 10 seconds at most to capture their attention. Use action verbs that show you in your best light because that is what you want to bring to your next role. The first bullet point should be an action verb describing a task or better yet an accomplishment. Use the thesaurus to switch it up if you find yourself using common verbs like “managed, supervised, created” over and over. Tailor your bullet points to use verbs that you see in the job description for the role you are applying for to show that you have skills that are transferable.
With these tips you should be able to curate a resume that will make you stand out against other applicants. Consistency is key when it comes to having a skimmable resume. Happy hunting!