One of the biggest mistakes which candidates make with their resume writing or CV writing is preparing the document from their point of view. I recently sat down with a young lady who had graduated university top of her class and was seeking a role with one of the large law firms. She had written her professional resume and cover letter and was now ready to begin the application process. The resume was perfectly formatted and presented. As a graduate with no prior work experience she focused her professional resume on her academic achievements and also the extra curricular activities and community work she had been apart of over the years. From a readers perspective I was able to gain a very good first impression or insight into this candidate. Everything was perfect besides one major element. At the top of her resume was her name which she had bolded to make it stand out but had also changed the font colour to pink!
I couldn’t believe my eyes that she had decided to use a pink font on her resume. When I asked her why she had done this she said that she liked the colour and it also made her name stand out.
The most important aspect of writing a professional resume is targeting it towards the person who will be reading the resume. In this situation the hiring manager may be a partner in a law firm. Imagine how seriously a partner will take a resume application which has a potential candidates name in pink.
Another mistake many candidates make is trying to make their resume stand out from their competition by using fancy fonts or borders. A well formatted and presented resume and most importantly targeted resume, will stand out because of its professionalism. A hiring manager can easily identify the difference between a “fraud” resume with “bells and whistles” and a “legitimate” resume.
Ensuring that your resume stands out from the crowd is not about making the document a piece of art. How many times have you seen a resume being framed and hung up on the wall? The aim of the resume is to portray to the reader the value you can offer the business or organisation.
Remember that your resume is the first impression a hiring manager will make. Make sure that your first impression portrays the right professional image.