10 Tips For a Reader-Friendly Resume

Posted on November 14, 2009

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Your resume must capture the reader’s attention within the first 15 seconds or risk being lost in the reject pile. One key success factor for your resume is its readability, that is, how easily and quickly the reader can absorb your information without loosing interest. To help you gain maximum attention, here are ten tips to keep eyes focused on your resume.

1. Avoid small font. Nothing in your resume should be smaller than 11 point. If your reader has to squint, he’ll end up skimming over the important parts of your resume.

2. Keep your font simple. They may not be the snazziest, but the two easiest-to-read fonts are Arial and Times New Roman. Anything in your resume that causes eye strain de-motivates the reader to keep reading.

3. Don’t write large blocks of text. A resume reader’s attention span just isn’t up to more than three consecutive lines of text. Beyond four lines and your block of text gets ignored completely.

4. Use white space to separate bullet points. The purpose of bullet points is to visually separate text so that your information stands out in easy-to-digest bits. Without white space your list of bullet points takes on the look of an extended block of text.

5. Don’t try to squeeze too much onto the page. A densely packed resume carries a 0% motivating factor-nobody wants to read it! Never sacrifice readability in order to keep your resume to a certain page length.

6. Write concisely. The best way to insure your resume isn’t too dense is to keep your words to a minimum. Keep the fluff out so that your important key words stand out loud and clear.

7. Keep your bullet points to two lines each. Bullet points are a shortcut method of giving your reader a lot of information quickly. If your bullets are longer than two lines you’re probably trying to give more information than necessary.

8. Use bolding to visually direct the reader’s eye. Not only does bolding break up the gray space, it helps draw attention to specific critical skills and quantified information. It also helps slow the speed of reading to avoid fast skimming of your information.

9. Use lines to separate resume sections. Simple lines work as a visual break between the different types of information within your resume. They help the reader make the transition between sections without taking up too much valuable white space.

10. Don’t get fancy with design elements. Multiple styles of bullet points, line thicknesses and font styles can detract the reader’s attention away from what you want to say. Additionally, with electronic document transmission, you can never tell if your design elements will be read correctly or if they translate into non-readable coding.

Once you’ve implemented these ten strategies your resume will gain stronger interest from potential employers and recruiters as they actually spend more time reading your resume. The result is more interview requests. Improve your resume’s readability and improve your odds of getting hired quicker.

Deborah Walker, CCMC is a career coach helping job seekers nationwide. Her clients gain skills in resume writing, interviewing and salary negotiation. See her sampleresumes and read more job search tips at: http://www.AlphaAdvantage.com.

Fluid Power Jobs and Bosco-Hubert & Associates, LLC are continually working to find the best talent in our industries, including; fluid power, motion control, power transmission, and automation.  If you have experience working for a fluid power manufacturer or distributor, we can give you an objective view of the conditions in the industry that can directly affect your income and lifestyle!


Our candidates and employers work in these areas: mobile hydraulics, industrial hydraulics and pneumatics, robotics, motion control, power transmission, bearings, and fluid sealing. Typically, they are selling, designing or manufacturing components and systems comprised of pumps, motors, valves, cylinders, manifolds, seals, hose and fittings, or filtration.

A unique benefit of pursuing a career in fluid power is that our industry encompasses many fields. These include construction, agriculture, entertainment/simulation, automotive, material handling, biomedical, automation, machine tools, utilities, wood processing, packaging machinery, plastics machinery, military, marine and offshore, and aerospace.

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