5 Things Your Resume Says About You

5 Things Your Resume Says About You

Jun 5, 2020
5 min read

by Riia O’Donnell


What message does your resume impart? This is an important question every job seeker, active or passive, should ask.

Recruiters wisely advise everyone should ask a trusted advisor or friend to review their resume before they send it off for review.

Another set of eyes and an outside opinion is often revealing. If nothing else, they hopefully can spot a typo that needs correction.

You want your resume to tell more than your job experience and qualifications.

You want it to be a representation of who you are, what you have to offer, and how you can provide a potential employer your successful contribution.

From an overall picture to the details you include, every part of your resume makes a statement: you’ll want to assure it’s the statement you want to impart.

I’m worth your time

A resume is the first impression you provide a potential employer.

Make it worth their time to review by including only information relevant to their needs.

You may have a rich, exciting personal life with hobbies that enthrall, but unless you’re applying for a job as a professional bungee jumper, why include that information?

Recruiters have very little time to review each resume, so make sure the only information you provide is pertinent to their needs.

Experience, background, and qualifications should be prominent and concise.

Include information that translates into your ability to do the work they perform as an organization as well as the specific job being posted.

Personal information may be relevant, but review when it is appropriate.

Are you passionate about ecology?

If the potential employer shares your values, include your commitment to a greener world. Make sure you include any volunteer or paid work you do to further the cause, as well.

Are you passionate about puppies? That may not be as important to include.

I’m stylish  – when it’s appropriate

For creatives

If you’re looking for a job in the creative market you’ll want a resume that stands out among the crowd.

Those applying for a job as a graphic artist will not be well served by Times New Roman and endless text.

These jobs require an expression of your creativity that’s illustrated in the visuals of your resume as much as the content.

Don’t overdo it – you don’t want to visually fatigue a recruiter with dozens of colors, fonts, and character placement. Let your resume reflect your aesthetic.

Are you an artist looking to join a gaming company? Include your avatar.

If you’re a graphic artist looking to find a home preparing impressive annual reports, you’ll want a more sober approach. If possible, include a link to your online portfolio.

For everyone else

Remember you’re representing yourself but at the same time you hope to entice your audience. 

A job in finance requires a resume that presents a traditional visual appeal.

The more serious the field, the more professional your resume should appear: clarity and precision are key to presenting your worth and value to hiring authorities.

I understand the rules

Many ATS systems have guidelines on fonts that are readable for the recruiter who will ultimately see your resume.

Failing to follow these may result in a resume that looks a mess when it lands on their desk.

The wrong font or formatting can change the entire appearance of your resume, and can even leave out necessary characters.

This can be off-putting to recruiters who may quickly move on to another resume that’s easier to read and digest. Make sure to express yourself in a way the bots can handle in order to put your best foot forward.

If you have creative content to include that won’t make it through the ATS, include a note on your resume or cover letter that provides a link to the materials.

I know the devil’s in the details

Nothing turns off a recruiter more than a resume riddled with typos.

If you can’t submit neat and professional work when you have all the time you need to prepare your resume, they can only assume you won’t be able to do so on the job.

This is yet another reason to ask someone to review your resume.

If you don’t know anyone with superior spelling and grammar skills, run your resume through an automated system to check for mistakes.

You don’t have to accept some of the more arcane changes offered, but do accept common spelling and grammatical corrections.

This is authentically me

Some job seekers don’t feel their resume is complete until they’ve substituted every word possible with one more erudite (cultured) they’ve found in a Thesaurus.

Yes, change some of the wording to sound more professional; but don’t lose your authentic voice. If your resume makes you sound like a Rhodes Scholar but your personality and conversational tone don’t match, you’ll be setting off red flags with the interviewer.

Your resume should say as much about your qualifications and experience as your personality and commitment.

Make sure it represents you well and says what you want it to say.

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