Job Journey:  Resume Fonts, Formats and File Types

Your resume represents you and your years of hard work.   Make sure it looks great and is easy to read.

We all have hundreds of fonts and colours at our disposal.  Pick something crisp and clean.  Only a small percentage of people will print your resume.  Most will view it on a screen.  It might be a huge desktop monitor or it might be their phone.  You want to minimize any kind of curlicues or super- decorative stuff that won’t translate well to a small screen.

Pay attention special characters as well.  Straight forward bullets are fine but arrows and other fancy indentation markers can get mangled when they are opened in different formats.

Laying your education or career highlights out in boxes can be problematic as well.  If you resume is parsed (translated) by an applicant tracking system, it will frequently make a total mess of non-text elements.

Arranging your content vertically as opposed to horizontally can change how a search engine will find you.  Once your resume has been sucked into a company applicant system, recruiters use keywords to help sift through the database.  Where those keywords are on the page will help determine where your resume falls in comparison to others.

For example, if I use “MBA” as a keyword, the first resumes that I see when I search will have MBA at the top of the page.  If an unsuspecting candidate decided to put their hard-earned MBA in a cool box down the side of the page, the search engine might put that resume way further down the list.

There are many roles and organizations where having a cool or graphic or more creative resume makes sense.  In that case, save it as a pdf.  Most MS Word versions offer this as an option when you save a file.

A pdf is great because it will always look the way it did on your screen no matter who opens it.

There are couple of other file types to keep in mind.  If you are dumping your resume into a company website, you will likely be asked for a “text” version.  This is where all your special characters (like bullets) will get ugly. It makes sense to make a special text version and save it so you have it ready.

And there is nothing wrong with having a good old MS Word version.  It is easy to change on the fly when someone asks for it and you need a quick update.

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Filed under Job Search, Resume

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