According to several studies, hiring managers and recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume before deciding that it deserves more careful reading. Those seconds are spent looking at five items: job titles company names, start/end dates, education, and then keywords (the words that appeared in the job listing as essential hard or soft skills and accomplishments).
Use Emphasis Wisely
Once you know where a recruiter or hiring manager will be looking, the importance of formatting (designing and organizing your resume) becomes clear. The easier it is for the recruiter to find your job titles, for example, the better. You can emphasize the five items of interest through the use of capital letters or small caps or bolding or italics—just be consistent and do not use too many types of emphasis at the same time.
Choose the Right Font
You also want to make sure that the font you choose is easy to read and that it prints out clearly on paper. A resume that looks best at 200% zoom on your computer is probably using too small a font.
If you make it past that first 10-second glance, you want to make sure that your accomplishments are easy to read. Bullets with short sentences are far more readable, and likely to be read than endless paragraphs of text.
Is the recruiter or hiring manager interested enough now to invite you to an interview? Make sure your contact information is formatted for easy reading and that it is placed where it is easy to find.
Format Your Resume for the ATS
Another concern related to resume format is whether the resume will pass through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Those systems choke on overly formatted resumes. In fact, tables, graphs, and other illustrations may cause the ATS to discard your resume regardless of how qualified you are. If you favor a resume format with a lot of graphic elements, save it for the interview stage, when you are face to face with the hiring manager or your future boss.
The resume format has a great effect on readability–and that improves the likelihood that a recruiters or hiring manager will keep reading. Have you used formatting strategically on your resume? If you are not sure, please contact Robin’s Resumes® so that we can help.