Distinguishing yourself from the crowd is smart. Sometimes an unconventional tactic will make a splash. It is worth noting that unconventional resume tactics can make a negative impression rather than the desired positive impact. When writing your resume, do you know the standards? There are several tried and true resume standards that are worth following. Here are a few examples of standards from which you should not stray.
Start with a Strong Profile
Objective statements are long gone and not likely to return. If you want to market yourself, think about the needs of the hiring employer. Open your resume with a profile that includes your unique, relevant value and how you fill needs of the employer.
Staccato Style Content
This style facilitates a quick read. In resume writing, a staccato style is when you omit the pronouns (I), articles (a, an, the), and use numerals (3) rather than spelling the word (three). Besides a quicker pace, the document is not littered with dozens and dozens of “I” this and “I” that.
Skip the Quirky Personal Notes
Starting your resume with the story of your personal life and something like “why a dream about unicorns led you to a career in programming” is not a safe choice. It may be interesting to a small percentage of readers. Others will not understand why you are off message and this will likely cost you the opportunity. We see many candidates trying to stand out with a creative message, and they do stand out, but not in a good way.
Include Titles, the Employer Name, and Years for Each Job
List your recent career history, going back ten to fifteen years in most cases. For each job, include the employer name, your job title, and your starting and ending dates. The reader wants these facts. Omitting the facts will frustrate the reader. It is alright to show years only. If you are concerned about gaps in your history, write me and I can share some pointers.
Easy to Read Fonts
Pink papyrus font may look terrific on a party invitation. However, it is challenging to read on a resume. Stick to a black font that is universal and easy to read. Font such as Calibri, Verdana, Garamond, Arial, and Book Antiqua are excellent choices.
Avoid Using Headers & Footers
Another style decision that can reduce your success is the choice to place the name and contact information within the header rather than within the body of the page. The problem is that not all ATS read the content in the header. Also, some ATS will take the header and footer information and dump it at the bottom of the page. Play it safe and place all content in the body of the document.
Your resume is often the first impression you make. Play it safe and stick to the above standards. You can distinguish yourself through your examples of accomplishments.