Don’t Let These 6 Gimmicks Derail an Effective Resume

Oct 28, 2021

When a single-page document is the only way to impress someone, it’s normal to want to make it stand out. Using gimmicks on your resume may sound like a great idea at first, but it can quickly backfire. While a unique-looking resume can get someone’s attention, it most likely won’t get you the job. Including information that may not be in a standard resume can also have the same effect. Avoid these 6 resume gimmicks to maintain your credibility and professionalism during the job application process.

1. Self-Portraits (or any images)

A resume has limited space to let your experience shine, so don’t waste it with photos or graphics. Images take up valuable page space that could be used to talk about why you’re a great candidate. Unless you’re a model or actor, including a picture of yourself on your resume is unprofessional. Some hiring managers won’t give a resume with a headshot a second look, as it can contribute to accusations of hiring discrimination. Instead of a headshot, try including a personal logo, a LinkedIn handle, or a link to your portfolio.

2. Excessive Creativity

If you are working in fields like as graphic design or user experience, it may be a good idea to add some artistic flair to your resume. If not, it’s best to keep your resume on the modest side. To a hiring manger, it may seem like you put too much work into your resume’s “looks” rather than its content, especially if design isn’t a part of the job. While you could consider a small accent color, a black and white resume is a safe choice.

3. Too Much Information, Too Little Space

Hiring managers have to screen numerous applicants, and a crowded resume will not make yours stand out from the rest. Whitespace can make all the difference in the readability of your resume. Yes, your experience is important, but if it is hard to read, hiring managers won’t spend time looking for it. Formatting is crucial; use headings, font variations, and bullets to make your resume scannable.

4. Schooling Information

Including your GPA or high school curriculars is unnecessary, especially if your school days are far behind you. It’s best to keep your education information to a minimum unless you’re a recent graduate (Institution, Degree, Year). If you still want to highlight your hard work, consider putting your honors in a separate achievements section.

5. Hobbies and Interests

There aren’t many scenarios where adding “hobbies and interests” section to your resumes is beneficial. It may be okay to do so if you have limited experience, education, and skills needed for the job and your hobbies and interests align with the job description. Otherwise, adding this section could reflect personal information that you may not want to share with potential employers.

6. The Same Resume Sent to Every Hiring Manager

One of the best ways to have an effective resume is to tailor it to each job you apply for. Use keywords from each job posting in your resume; show them how your experience connects to what they want. If you’re not doing this yet, there’s no better time to start than now. Want to know how? Read our previous blog about here!

Final Note: While these gimmicks can be distracting, there can be a few exceptions based on the industry you’re in and the position you’re applying for. Use the job description as your ultimate guide to the formality of the position.

Written by: Sadie Aram

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