Let’s face it: everyone’s resume can use some brushing up. Oftentimes, it feels like such a huge task to undertake, it gets ignored and festers into a weepy, gaping wound resulting in an amputation. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!
When clients initially send me their resumes, I take a cursory glance at it, less than 45 seconds. This allows me to see: what a potential employer sees, an overall impression of you and what kinds of visual/formatting things I can update right away.
So, what are these easy fixes?
- Alignment – You would be surprised (or not) at how many resumes have sections that are not aligned. If you can mow your lawn like a f*cking checkerboard, you can align your resume. Do a “print preview” or zoom out within your word processing program to easily see if something’s amiss. In MS Word, you can click and hold on your indent markers on the ruler to temporarily “draw” a line down the page.
- Bullets – Do your bullets need to be in 12 point font? No. Say it with me…nooooo. Select your bullets and scale them down a bit like you would any other font. They already make whatever follows them stand out. No need to make them look like Pacman food. Just be sure you’re consistent.
- Underlining – A formatting tool that was created when typewriters were all the rage, but does nothing for your resume now except brands it as geriatric and dated. With the availability of spacing, fonts, bullets and such, underlining really just needs to die. Bolding or italicizing gives the appearance that you actually care.
- Email – If you’re seeking a job, have a halfway decent professional-appearing email address to slap at the top of your resume. They’re free, for f*ck’s sake. tlc_luvr94@hotmail isn’t doing you any favors, people. First name dot last name works well. If your name isn’t as cool and unique as mine, you can use an initial, underscores, hyphens, etc.
- Spelling – Please. Your spelling errors take years off my life. I literally Googled “grammar/spelling error anxiety” today but all I found were remedies for you spelling-error making bastards; NOTHING FOR THE SUFFERERS! #hopeforacure
These may seem like no-brainers but don’t discredit my list until you take a look at your resume. Or, better yet, have someone else look it over! Someone not unlike me, perhaps.
Bonus tip: convert your word processing document (after saving it as “first name.last name resume” or something similar) to a PDF using a free conversion tool.
Sending word documents can be a gamble since they are easily opened and viewed in a different version or program than intended. A PDF ensures that your formatting remains the same and someone can’t inadvertently edit the thing. I’m thinking potential employer drops his or her pen onto their keyboard, inserting an innocent enough “c” in front of your current employer, UNT, the University of North Texas. Then you look like the asshole, right?
PDF converters are free and easy-to-use. Some of them will only let you convert so many files in a set amount of time unless you pay for a subscription. I’ve never had an issue. Here’s my favorite: https://www.freepdfconvert.com/
So, step up your game. Take a few minutes and make sure you’re not guilty of a resume travesty. When in doubt, message your trusty buddy at Thera Writes and I’ll dig you out of your quandary, albeit shovel or backhoe.