Yesterday I got to see a resume that quite honestly shocked me. It was all squeezed into one page … with tiny fonts and lack of breathing room. So let me say it as clearly as I can: size matters! Especially when it comes to font size on resumes.
I know many of you have heard that you need to fit it all on one page or it won’t get read. Well, if the font is so small it takes a magnifying glass for all but the sharpest eyes, it won’t get read either. And to add to the resume screening hurdle, if your resume is all glommed together it leaves an immediate impression — and not a good one.
One page resume? Not always.
If you’re pretty new to the job market and don’t have much experience, then a one-page resume makes sense — unless you have lots of publications or other unique qualifications that fit the job you’re applying for. But odds are, early in your career one page is great.
For all others, while you don’t want to overwhelm the reader, if you need to show them your job history, education, and other relevant information, two pages is fine. You want to make it easy for the resume screener (and anyone else later on) to quickly see who you are and why you match THEIR needs.
Short and to the point in each section, with descriptions of accomplishments — not just duties — is the way to go. Add to that key words and key phrases that match their job description … and you have a resume that can capture a screener’s attention. And hopefully make it past any automatic screening process too!
Your resume is not an eyesight test!
As someone who has screened many resumes, above all I appreciate resumes that make it clear the person understands the job they’re applying for. But I also want to see they have thought through the reader’s experience … and font size on resumes is part of that experience. As is spacing — room for eyes to “breathe”.
Many screeners, or others who see your resume along the way, cannot easily read a resume with tiny print. It’s not an eye exam — it’s a job application where you are being judged every step of the way.
Small print and scrunched-together lines and margins show you are not considering anything beyond your need to put words on a page. And that gives the impression that not only are you … uh … short-sighted in the resume process, but this may be a personal characteristic you bring with you to the job.
Remember your resume’s purpose
In simplest terms, your resume gives the employer a taste of who you are. And font size on resumes does leave a picture that isn’t flattering. Plus, it’s simply lacking in consideration for the resume reader.
You want to do everything you can to get the reader on your side. And help them see all the ways you are a great match for the job. As well as someone they’d hopefully enjoy working with. So be thoughtful and as helpful as possible at every step of the process!
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