There are many factors involved in designing and presenting your resume, and it is easy to get caught up in the various styles and customizations when you decide to give it a facelift. Should I use a high quality paper? Should I mail a hard copy though I have already emailed it? Should I email it as inline text or as an attachment? Below are tips and answers for some of these common resume styling quandaries.
Font: The font you select can be a telltale sign of keeping up with the times. Times New Roman is the default for many word processors and will prove that your job-searching days and abilities are somewhat dated. It was once believed that this font was the easiest on the eyes, but there are many similar options that are much better. The spacing of Times New Roman styled words and letters can be quite awkward, and when copying into an email or PDF can prove catastrophic. Try using Georgia. It should be free on your computer, and is a little more rounded than Times New Roman, for easier reading and more compatible spacing. If you have the cash to spare, consider browsing online professional fonts for one that might be more suited to you and your potential position.
Paper: Many people want to showcase their uniqueness by purchasing fancy stationary paper. This is a waste of time and money, and generally has the opposite effect. Fancy stationary is a thing of the past; you know it, I know it, and your potential employer knows it. In order to keep up with the times, you should use a good quality, smooth, plain style of paper. It should be heavier than standard copy paper, but not a lightweight cardboard. Printing shops and office supply stores generally have paper labeled as “resume paper.” There are many different weights out there, so try to avoid things too heavy such as cardstock, but the lightest copy paper options are not a good idea either.
Colors: Do not use colors. Do not use colored paper, fonts, stickers, or stamps on your resume. It is not cute and clever, it is not unique and memorable; it is somewhat childish and unprofessional. Stick with black. If you have a website, or a logo with colors that you plan to include, that is acceptable, but do not add any more colors of your own. If you absolutely must make something stand out, use varying shades of gray or navy.
Emailing: Many people are making the switch over to Mac computers, but others are still using and buying PC’s. This makes it even more difficult to email a properly formatted copy of your resume to an employer. If you do not know what kind of technology they are running with, there are still a few ways to ensure that they are able to see your resume in a format that makes sense. If you are able to save your resume in different formats, do so, and send them all. PDF’s are the most desirable, but some people are still functioning without Adobe or other readers. You should be able to save your copy as a .doc file, which is compatible with both Macs and PC’s (except for extremely old ones). However, the default for a Mac file is .docx, which is not always compatible with PC’s. Try downloading and using Open Office. Their files are compatible with both types of computers, and the programs are currently free. The third step is to include a simply-formatted version of your resume in the body of the email. Be sure to include a byline about the different versions of your resume.
Hard Copy: Many people prefer to know that their resume has made it into the safe hands of a potential hirer. For this reason, they will snail mail hard copies, or drop them off at the office even though they have already sent them in email form. The protocol for this is a bit tricky. Depending on the organization, sending or bringing a hard copy of your resume before being offered an interview can just add complications to the hiring process, and the last thing you want to do is become a nuisance before even landing an interview. Gauge your employer before doing anything over the top. If they seem to be slow on the Internet front, or a little more traditional than most, feel free to send or drop off a hard copy of your resume. If they are completely online and organized, the paper copy of your resume will probably end up in the trash. Always bring a hard copy of your resume to an interview.