Tails are for your dog, not your resume

Seven steps to keeping your resume clean and crisp

Resume graphic
Tails are for your dog, not your resume
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About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Recruitment Solutions for Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

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A good resume has many elements. Content is important but layout and fonts are really important too.

Keep in mind that most resumes are read on a screen. It might be a superwide tiny pixel monitor but it might also be a smartphone.

This means you need to keep it crisp and clear and easy to read. Try sending your resume to yourself as an attachment. Open it on your phone and see how it looks.

  1. Use a sans serif font. Serifs are the little tails on letters in certain fonts. Try to avoid those typefaces. They add clutter and can be hard to read, especially in the smaller sizes.
  2. Be reasonable with your font size. 10 point or 11 point are good. Anything smaller and you are taxing the reader.
  3. Keep a standard margin. The temptation is always to use the narrowest margin possible to squeeze in more material. If you have that much to say, use another page. The reader will keep scrolling if the content is engaging and scrolling down is way better than scrolling across.
  4. If the printer asks if it’s okay to print even though it’s outside the margins, don’t say yes. Fix it instead.
  5. Use plain bullets or a dash. Fancy characters turn into long bits of code when they get sucked into recruiting software packages. It can be pretty distracting.
  6. Use crisp language and be concise. Your resume is the thing that teases the reader and makes them want to get to know you better. It’s not the place for your life story. Focus on highlights and successes.
  7. Once you have made modifications, send it to someone you trust. Ask them to check for grammar and spelling along with readability.

Review it often and don’t be shy about adding accomplishments. It’s the best brag sheet we have!

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