It's easy to come up with resume ideas that get noticed. What requires a little practice and finesse is coming up with resumes that get noticed for the right reasons and get taken seriously.
In the hunt for tips on writing a good resume, it can be easy to get caught up in gimmicks and tricks. Unfortunately, most of the resume gimmicks you'll come across are the equivalent of wearing a clown costume to your next job interview. Sure you'll be remembered, but not in the right way. Unless you want to join the circus, it's not going to get you hired.
Below you'll find several gimmicks that may look good on the surface, but they just don't work, followed by some resume ideas that aren't as sexy and exciting, but they truly work.
Resume Ideas That Just Don't Work
1. Fancy Designs
You may be tempted to include a logo that you've created yourself or obtained from other sources, or print your resume on paper with fancy designs to make your resume stand out from the crowd. There is never ever a good reason to print your resume on paper with fancy designs, and there's rarely a good reason to include your own design or logo on your resume. This strategy may work for a very small percentage of job seekers in highly creative fields (like graphic design) where their design skills matter. If that is not you, avoid using graphic designs on your resume.
2. Multi-Colored Text
Bold, italics, all caps and underlines are effective ways to highlight text on your resume. Multi-colored text is not. Your resume may not fax or copy well if your text color is light, and this type of resume design is seen by most hiring managers as nothing more than a gimmick.
3. White Text on Black Paper or Grey Text Boxes
White text on a black background is very difficult to read. Further, this type of resume does not copy well, will not be readable when faxed, and like the other resume strategies, just doesn't work because it comes across as being too contrived.
Most employers are put off by the use of these extreme resume strategies. Unless there's a very good reason for you to show off your graphic design skills to an employer, they should be avoided. HR professionals will look at a contrived, highly stylized resume and wonder what's missing in this person's set of skills and experience that they feel they can't speak for themselves on a more traditional resume. Ultimately, they'll feel you are hiding behind all of the graphics and fancy fonts.
Less Sexy Resume Ideas That Truly Work
1. Use a Slightly Different Font
If you want to make your resume stand out and still look professional, try a font that is slightly different from the standard fonts. For example, Times New Roman is the serif font more commonly used on resumes, instead, try using a similar, but less common font, like Georgia instead. I know, not sexy, and definitely not exciting, but it works. This strategy makes your resume stand out from the others without venturing into clown costume territory.
Don't go wild with this tip, employers do not want to see resumes written in Comic Sans font.
2. Use Good Quality White or Off-White Paper.
Sure this is old advice, but no one actually takes it, so if you do, you'll stand out from the crowd. It's amazing how well nice quality, slightly heavy weight paper stands out in a pile of resumes printed on standard paper.
Again, these resume ideas may not be as sexy or exciting as adding a flashy logo or fancy design to your resume, but unlike those flashy strategies, the more understated approach actually works. It gets you noticed in the right way, and it can help to get you to the interview.
Isn't that really your goal? A new job and a new, fat paycheck; now that is something to get excited about.
Lisa McGrimmon publishes , an in depth career management and job search guide. Visit /resume-ideas.html for more resume ideas that really work.