Keep your presentation crisp and clean when preparing a resume

In reflecting on the resumes that I see from prospective clients and job seekers, I will sometimes come across resumes that use sub-bullets (bullet points inserted below an initial bullet point) to help provide additional detail. While this practice might appear sound, I do not recommend it. If you think of this approach from the readers’ perspective, you are asking busy hiring managers or recruiters to stop and absorb the potentially complex relationship between the overarching bullet point and the bullet points beneath it. This becomes especially problematic when taking into account both research studies and accumulated anecdotal evidence over the years claiming that a significant number of hiring managers and recruiters spend as little as 10 seconds, or less, in initially reviewing a resume. Simply stated, these individuals do not have time to process complex or intricately presented information. The content must be presented in a way that is crisp and clean and that allows for quick, at a glance access.

I also see resumes crammed full of information to the point that the spacing between the content areas and the subheadings is inconsistent as well as resumes where a paragraph or set of bullets is set in a smaller font size compared to the surrounding paragraphs or bullet points to allow for fitting everything on a given page or to keep the resume from running any longer.

The bottom line here is that perception counts. With that said, it is crucial to create a professional-looking document that appears inviting and easy to read before a single word is actually read. Toward this end and at a minimum, I recommend avoiding sub-bullets and making sure that all spacing is consistent and that there is an obvious and consistent strategy used for font sizes. By implementing these practices alone, you will have taken a solid first step toward creating a resume that potential employers will very likely find appealing.