Moving Past Black And White: 4 Ways To Add Some Flair To Your Resume

add flair to resume We've heard about it constantly for the past three years: There are more job seekers applying to fewer jobs, leaving employers with fat stacks of resumes on their desks and little time to review.

This situation leaves employers with little choice than to immediately reject a vast majority of resumes without reading them thoroughly.

Of course, there are plenty of strategies to make it to the short pile, including networking, applying early, and following directions. But what is going to pull that employer's eyes to your resume above everyone else's?

Sometimes it takes more than having an A+ resume. When your resume is already strong, check out these four ways to add (just a little) flair to your resume:

1. Color

Who said your resume has to be black and white? Just like business cards, resumes with a little bit of color stand out to employers in a subtle way. As humans, we respond better to things that are aesthetically appealing. Don't go overboard, but adding some color to a border or letterhead can go a long way.

2. Structure

When we write our resumes (especially the first time out) we stick with a fairly rigid format-and usually it ends up looking like a list. Sometimes, we branch out with templates, which may or may not work, and end up with something a little bit more interesting. What's stopping you from creating your own structure? Experiment with tables, columns and organization. Work on your resume's flow and lead with your strongest areas (some might have more experience while others might have more education).

3. Embellishment

Unless you're an artist, you're probably not going to illustrate your resume. Add an embellishment like a border or separate sections with a symbol. Pick something that keeps your resume from resembling a huge block of text.

4. Letterhead

You've seen stationary with a nice letterhead before. Your header needs to include your name, email, and phone number, but how it's formatted it completely up to you. You can then also use your letterhead for other job search documents, such as your cover letter. The letterhead is the first thing a reader will see when looking at your resume, why not start off with a bang?

How else do you add flair to your resume? Do you think resumes even need flair?

Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes -- instantly. Gerrit has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. Gerrit is a regular contributor to the startup advice site Bootstrapper, hosts the "Vital Topics" panel of the Road2Shambala podcast, and spearheaded the 2log competitive blogging platform. You can connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.

Next: Anatomy Of A Memorable Resume

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Lemme see if I get this straight (and please forgive the vernacular):

Add color - so that color might not scan. Good idea!
Add embelishment - so that graphic might interfere with the scanner. Good idea!
Add a fancy header - so that space that might be used to demonstrate actual qualifications is lost. Great idea!

Well, one out of four ain't bad. Format is quite important if your resume makes the first cut.

Cutting to the chase - unless one is applying for a position where the use of graphics and visual presentation is at issue, then behave as if a machine will scan your resume for the first time - and only those that make that cut will ever be read by a human being. So - use a scannable font on plain white paper large enough to be read by a normal person in normal light.

On the one-page/more-pages issue - keep in mind that if your resume is more than one page long (and very likely folded twice), that will be two opportunities for it to jam the scanner or get mixed with other resumes. Even a very qualified person with a fantastic resume is playing long odds in these troubled times - try not to reduce them even a little bit.

And, as always, remember that a resume is a propaganda document - as honest as the law allows - but its sole purpose is to get that interview. No room for modesty, no room for subtlety. Get attention, get that interview. Don't waste space, don't give a goal, summary, objective or other exclusionary space-wasting twaddle. Give what makes *you* better/faster/smarter than your competition. Give real examples of what you did that no one else did and the results therefrom. It works.

And good luck!

September 27 2011 at 8:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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