(Updated July 2019)
“Hey, Sherri! I need a favor…can you just quickly review my résumé?”
“Sure! When it’s in final form, send it to me and I’ll spend about 15 minutes reviewing; no charge.”
“Fifteen minutes? Is that enough to review the detail?”
“No. However, I’ll give you an idea of what technical details might need attention.”
You probably agree with my friend that 15 minutes isn’t enough time to review the résumé. But it’s a lot longer than what happens in real life! In real life, your résumé may only get a six- or seven-second review! (See Ladders Study, 2012, updated in 2018.) Sometimes, a hiring manager does a 30-second review. And based on that review, you’re either in the running…or not.
Résumé as Self-Portrait
View the résumé in full page mode. What do your eyes see first? What do you want your audience to focus on? From my point of view, I want my audience to see my name clearly, in the center. And I want white space—space between headings and text, in the margins—that makes the résumé easy to read.
- Type Face; examples: Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma
- Point Size: While 10-point size squeezes a lot of information on the page, the crowded page is hard to read
- Font Characteristic: bold, italic, or underline
- A spell-check feature will not pick up all spelling errors. For a humorous review, see my Adventures with Automated Spell Checker.
- Manually proofread your résumé. Pay attention to application/software program names, cities, company names…everything.
- Use present tense for current positions; past tense for prior jobs.
- Use consistent punctuation.
- Contractions: Most of the résumés I see don’t—I mean do not—use contractions.
Miscellaneous Technical Tips
- Make sure your name appears on each page.
- Include page numbers.
- Filename Option: Use your full name and the company you submit to.