Your resume needs to attract the eye. Most
don’t. In fact, most are hard to read.
Your resume needs to lead the reader’s eye
right to your best selling features.
resume needs to provide a summary of your work history and your
achievements, and is also an advertisement of you. Good print
advertising is designed so that the readers’ eyes go right to what the
advertiser wants you to read, and are also put together in a way that
the whole advertisement creates a pleasant, vivid and memorable image
for the reader.
This may sound contradictory, but while you need
to design your resume so it is visually appealing, you need to design
it in a way that it doesn’t appear to be an actual advertisement,
because deep down, people don’t feel that advertising is believable.
how do you make a resume be visually appealing?
of the elements you need are in your word processing software. You need
to use bold type,
type, different type sizes, indented
paragraphs and sentences, occasional bullets and arrows, and lots of
prefer a resume that has indented paragraphs listed underneath each job
that highlight specific skills or achievements, with each led by a bold
or italicized caption, such as National Account Development or
Acquisition Integration. Skip bland captions such as Leadership or
Innovator, which are self-praise words (see Words
Not to Use on Your
Resume for more about these), and don’t give the reader a
want to read the paragraph.
Below is an edited section of the
sample resume we provide on this site (see Writing
a Resume That Really
Shows Who You Are for a complete look at this).
Notice how the
indented paragraphs, led by bold, italicized captions, direct your eye
to the content:
MARKETING, PorkBarrels, Inc.
Reported to the president of this $77-million, NASDAQ
Barrel/Planter/Housewares manufacturer and importer. 1999 to
Oversee all sales and
functions. Manage a direct staff that included a National Sales
Marketing Director, International Sales Director, and Customer Service
plus an indirect staff of 27, comprised of 5 regional sales managers, 2
national account managers, an art director, five product managers, 14
service representatives and 175 independent manufacturer’s reps.
Identified and retained distributors in Japan,
gave PorkBarrels their first significant
international presence, and
recruited and trained an International Sales Manager to service these
accounts. International sales increased from $350,000 to
Set up a series of monthly programs that featured a barrelmaker from
our factory on QVC, a national home-shopping network.
I also appear on these programs, which are now in their third year and
generate an average of $900,000 in wholesale sales per one-hour
Bullets draw the eye to the bullet. Used sparingly, they can
However, they don’t direct the eye to the copy like other symbols will,
such as this arrow: >,
or better, as bold or italicized copy will
(or even copy that is creatively spaced). A resume with a lot of
bullets will make the eye connect the dots, leading the eye right to
the bottom of the page. Use other visual copy techniques to direct the
readers’ eyes in the direction you want them to go.
Space is also important:.
Some resumes look crammed, making them as difficult to read as an
unabridged dictionary or the legalese at the bottom of a credit card
agreement. This is often because the International Resume Standards
Organization has deemed that a resume should be no more
than two pages
long (you’re right, there is no such organization, but many people
believe or have been told that no more than two pages is an
rule; in actuality, a resume for a senior executive that is two pages
long is probably too brief, and is only too long if the first page
doesn’t get the reader to the second page, and the second page
is so boring
that it doesn’t make someone want to read the third page).
There are lots of templates that will allow you to do a quickie resume.
They’re also boring, and anyone who has seen more than about ten
resumes has seen these same templates repeatedly. Use them only if you
need to put a resume together quickly for an interview that is already
an outside observer.
After you’ve spent hours writing your resume, you’ll be too close to it
to be able to judge whether it works visually. You’ll need to have
someone who has a good eye review it, first giving it a cursory look to
observe its visual flow, and then to review its content in depth.