I recently saw a movie where the job seeker printed her résumé out on pink paper and sprayed perfume on it. (OK, it was Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde – I admit it.) While this technique will certainly get you noticed by hiring managers, I don’t recommend it for the senior level corporate professional. So what steps can you take to make sure that your résumé gets the attention it deserves?
Candidates sometimes forget that a résumé is a marketing piece. It must look aesthetically pleasing and quickly provide the reader with enough information to entice them to read on! When I choose a layout for a résumé, I give thought to the field in which the candidate works. In the case of a legal or finance professional, for example, I typically choose a more traditional look. With a marketing or creative candidate, I may opt for a splash of color. I make each résumé individualized so that it will successfully capture the attention of hiring managers and recruiters.
How can you make your résumé stand out more? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Say it with style. Even if you are using black and white, there are a variety of stylistic changes that can make your résumé look sharp. By modifying font size, using special bullets, and creating interesting lines, you can generate a pleasing look that will get you noticed. The sample below makes use of unique bullets and sleek lines, along with eye catching text positioning, to generate a look that says “I am special.”
2. Make use of your headline and core competency section to draw the reader’s attention. Below is a résumé sample that defines the candidate immediately. This allows a hiring manager or recruiter to understand what you are all about. It entices them to read on. If your résumé simply begins with your experience section, you are missing an opportunity to proactively market yourself.
3. Leave enough white space. It is important not to clutter the page. If you have words everywhere, your résumé will become too difficult to read. White space allows the eyes to focus on critical information without getting overwhelmed. Proper spacing is an important part of aesthetics when it comes to your résumé. If you crowd it, you will not generate the interest you desire.
I have focused mainly on the visual appeal of your résumé here, but it is also critical that you get your résumé into the right hands. This involves doing your homework and identifying the name of the hiring manager. It is also a good idea to send your résumé via multiple channels. If you email it, it may get lost in the shuffle; but if you email and fax, or email and send via priority mail, you are more likely to get the attention you desire.
In this competitive job market, you need to do all you can to optimize your career documents and make sure they get results. Your résumé is your personal brand; it is a reflection of you. The more you ‘dress to impress’, the better your chances of getting interviews and landing the job you always dreamed of.