How Fancy Does My Resume Need to Be?

If you’ve ever been roped into helping out with a child’s elementary or social group project, you probably have firsthand experience with the perils of glue, glitter, sparkles and other unnecessary fluff.  For those under the age of 12, adding a little bit of decoration can help draw attention to projects, and also distract from the inevitable lack of factual support.  This approach may work well in the class room or scouts meeting, but when it comes to a professional resume, “make it fancy” has an entirely other effect.

Minus the sparkles and special effects, resumes do have their own particular flair and formatting.  A generic resume that doesn’t convey the appropriate message is one of the quickest ways to sink your chances at an interview.  With this in mind, there are a few tips and tricks about what you should be including in that CV.  Read on to find out just how fancy your resume should be and what steps you can take to put your best, and most professional, foot forward.

Short and Sweet

Hiring managers are generally pressed for time when reviewing candidate resumes for open positions.  In addition to sifting through countless applications, professionals have the primary tasks of their own position to keep on top of.  A quality resume should be no more than one page in length and should be free of irrelevant information or unecessary fluff.  Stick to just the facts and let your experience speak for itself.

Avoid the Jargon

Slang terms or socially charming colliquiolisms certainly have their place in conversations between friends at the bar, but when it comes to your resume these phrases should be persona non grata.  Give your resume a once over and eliminate terms such as “team player”, “game changer” or “go getter”.  Instead of generic terms that convey little relevant information, insert active descriptions and explanations of your prior work to truly shine.

Fonts and Formatting Don’ts

Everyone who has ever sat in front of a word processing program has dreamt of the day when you could select one of those creative fonts from the library to spice up a missive.  The professional resume, however, is not the place to experiment with the appriate usage of wingdings.  Cursive or other creative fonts can make your resume appear childish or unprofessional.  Stick with tried and true classics such as Times New Roman in order to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons.

Maintain Professionalism

A well-written and impactful resume should always leave the reader with a positive and professional impression of the potential candidate.  Job-seekers looking to make an impact should go for standard template style resumes with formatting and inclusion that match peers in their field.  Review a few standard resumes for format and up the impression you leave with employers as being professional and in the know.

Accuracy is King

While a misstype in a date or wrongly included word may not seem like a big deal to potential applicants, these mistakes can make your resume stand out poorly against a backdrop of other solid candidates.  Accuracy in your employment and education dates is important in helping to avoid red flags when employers inevitably follow up with employment verification checks.  Misspelling the name of a school or previous employer can make the wrong impression with your hiring manager or HR representative.  

Ask a colleague, friend or other trusted source to give your resume a once over prior to submission and be sure to check and double check important dates.  Keep in mind that piece of advice your mom or grandma was overly fond of; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Final Thoughts

While being fancy may have worked for those grade school projects, when it comes to a professional resume its better to stick with the nuts and bolts.  Focus on crafting a simple and concise documents that conveys the necessary and important information in as few words as possible.  Doing this will let your talents and experience shine, giving you the best chance at landing the job or career of your dreams.

Article Updated from the Original on January 25, 2018