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Resume Hack: Keep it Simple

Recruiters take an average of 10 seconds to read your resume during the initial screening process. With such a short amount of time to review, the format and length of your resume could make you or break you.

Unless you’re a graphic/web designer, keep the format simple. You might be thinking that your resume looks bland, boring, and just doesn’t stand out. It seems like creative resumes are the cool thing to do these days, from designing formats in InDesign to making an online, interactive resume experience.

Before you fire up Illustrator, keep in mind that this sort of creative format usually only works for graphic designers and artists. Why? A resume created using InDesign or other graphic design software, provides an excellent visual of the candidate’s experience with the software.

However, if you’re looking for a job in big data and analytics, highlighting this experience is distracting from the skills that actually pertain to the job you’re applying for. If you’re not a visual designer, stick with the classic resume format and let your experience grab the reader’s attention.

Remember, if the job isn’t in creating exciting visuals, then your resume should not be an exciting visual. It’s as simple as that.

Cut off the experience at 10 years. The general rule of thumb is to only include work history from the past 10 years. Unless you have experience prior to 2005 that perfectly matches what the company is looking for, then you need to leave the past in the past. And in the ever-changing world of IT, that experience you gained 10 years ago is probably obsolete today anyway. But don’t worry, removing anything that happened before 2005 will not devalue your experiences or skills.

Keep in mind that your resume is not an autobiography of your career; it’s a tool that is meant to highlight your best skills and qualities. It’s meant to show the company you want to work for why you would be perfect for the position.

So the 10 years rule actually does two things: highlights your relevant skills and keeps your resume short, sweet and easy to read. For more useful resume tips, check out our blog, and check in later for our next resume hack!

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