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I Can’t Read Your Resume! Top 5 Resume Mistakes

Posted on October 5, 2017 under Resume

If I can't easily read your resume – and I'm actually trying to! – then don't expect a busy hiring manager or recruiter to struggle through your document.

Don't make it harder for the reader to view your resume.

You'll end up in the trash in 2 seconds flat.


MISTAKE #1. Teeny tiny little text size

Use font size 11 or 12 on your resume. Size 10 and under starts to become dangerously small for many people to see characters on their phone or laptop.

Also, large type at size 14 or 16 looks like a marketing campaign gone wrong.

MISTAKE #2. Fancy shmancy font

Stick with the classics. You want a font that is frequently used in business to ensure the reader has the font in their application or they won't be able to open your resume.

The best Serif fonts are Times New Roman, Garamond, and Bookman Old Style.

The best Sans Serif fonts are Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana.

MISTAKE #3. Margins less than 1 inch

Set your left and right document margins to 1 inch each. It's ok to go to half an inch on the top and bottom. Use Headers and Footers to insert your name or page number.

Small margins make you look desperate to dump everything into your resume.

Decide to create a 2-page resume (good for professionals with 10+ years experience) to double your space or be economical with words for a 1-pager.

MISTAKE #4. Not enough white space

Beware the Great Wall of Text!

Your text should not look like a big blob of ink turning the entire page black.

The human eye needs some white space in order to take in the content. Any designer or creative will strongly encourage you to be mindful of leaving some blank space.

White space is directly related to margins, font, and size. However, the nuance is you must use your own design judgment to determine how spacing affects your document.

When in doubt use less. Drop the superlatives and stick with the hard cold facts.

MISTAKE #5. File not saved as PDF

Save your document as a PDF. Not everyone has your version of Word, Pages, or other document applications. The recipient might not be able to read it and you get trashed.

Compatibility problems with margins, font, size, etc., can completely transform your resume into a car crash of a document.

PDF documents make sure that your resume can be viewed exactly as you created it. It also prevents people from changing your resume without your knowledge.

At the same time, always have your Word or Pages version on the ready to share with Recruiters, HR, or Hiring Managers who might request a format that can be edited.

Are you frustrated with your resume?

-Kelley A. Joyce, MBA, CPC

Kelley is a career development coach who is dedicated to helping people discover their career path and land their dream jobs. Kelley and her partner Josh live in New York City from which she has served hundreds of professionals across the U.S., U.K., and Australia since 2012 to radically change their relationship with work.

Serious about hiring professional career help? Let's talk live via video; book your consult here‚Äč

Join the Conversation on Twitter @kelley_ann or leave a Facebook reply below!

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