Effective Resume Design and Formatting Can Keep Yours from Being Eliminated


How do hiring managers whittle down a stack of resumes? One way is to eliminate candidates based on what Sharon Graham of Graham Management Group calls “elimination factors.” This is the final installment in our look at at the five elimination factors Graham cites (read a version of her article here). The information comes from a research study to evaluate 1,000 randomly selected résumés received in 2009, which Graham Management Group, a Canadian firm specializing in career transition strategy for six-figure professionals, recently performed. Today, poor design and formatting as an elimination factor: With the proliferation of résumés in the current market, it is clear that template résumés will not make a strong impression. Yet, in our survey, 96 percent were nearly identical to common templates found on the Internet, in books, and in popular word-processing applications.
It would be a shame if your résumé were not selected simply because it looks like many other résumés. Avoid using templates and veer towards enabling your clients to create a professional look that will stand apart in a stack of résumés. This powerful tactic is likely to be effective in most scanning situations. When applied properly, this strategy significantly increases the chances that the résumé will be noticed and selected for an in-depth review. Next time, make your résumé stand out from others vying for the recruiter’s attention. Try incorporating a distinctive bullet style, font, color, line, table, graph, or any formatting element that you believe will look professional and distinguish your résumé from the others.