Formatting Choices That Can Hurt Your Resume

By Amanda Clark

Tumisu / Pixabay

If you’ve ever skimmed the Internet for resume examples, you’ll find dozens of samples ranging from very simple to very complex. With so many different options and choices, it can be overwhelming trying to decide exactly how to set up your own resume. Do you stick with black and white or add a splash of color? Should you use columns to get everything to fit on one page? Are graphs a better visual representation of your skills or accomplishments?

While job seekers have had success using a wide range of resumes, there is also significant variation in their individual situations. What works for one person may not work for another. When it comes to formatting your resume, here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  • Images

Leave images off of your resume. Whether this means your headshot has to go, or the screen grab you did of the company logo or an example of a project you completed, you’re better off sticking with text only. Many ATS strip away images all together or cannot read the text contained within the image. That means an employer may miss out on important information.

  • Text Boxes

Speaking of text, avoid text boxes as well. Instead, use indents, tabs, and other formatting tools to organize text how you want it to look. Just like images, text boxes are not always read well by ATS either and can become sloppy on your resume if they get altered without you realizing it.

  • Headers/Footers

It can be tempting to save space by putting all of your contact information in the header or footer of your resume. After all, it shows up on every page, right? Sort of. Yes, it does repeat on each page and save space, but ATS often do not read headers and footers. They focus on the content within the main section of the page. This means that an employer may receive your resume with little to no information about who you are or how to contact you.

  • Graphs/Charts

It may look awesome to have charts displaying your proficiency with different technology or how much you increased revenue growth, but, once again, these components are not always ATS-friendly. Much like images, text boxes, and headers/footers, they may be stripped away. Incorporate this information throughout the text of your resume instead. You can make specific bullet points highlighting your achievements.

  • Fancy Fonts

Stick with the basics. The more abstract you go with the font, the more difficult it can be for ATS to clearly read it. It can be hard for human eyes to decipher as well. Choose something simple and straight-forward like Calibri, Cambria, or Helvetica.

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Source:: Business 2 Community

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