4 Quick Steps To Ensure Resume Readability
There are few things more frustrating than putting hours and hours of work into drafting and crafting your resume if your efforts are not met with the desired results. While there may be various reasons for such a scenario, a simple and frequent reason for the lack of results is that a resume might give the reader a "too hard to digest" impression. But let me elaborate.
1. Homo economicus behavior in the application process
The homo economicus, a term used in economic theories, has been frequently described as a being that operates rational and as one that tries to avoid unnecessary work (think: efficiency!). This principle certainly also applies to the application process. Just like candidates don’t like to sift through lengthy Applicant Tracking System processes when uploading their application materials; recruiters and HR professionals equally do not like to go through documents that simply look like "too much work" to go through. Your resume should, thus, appeal to a homo economicus reader.
No one likes to do more work than they have to. Recruiters are no exception. But how do you appeal to these rational instincts?
2. Take a Recruiter’s Perspective
As a first step, take a look at your resume with fresh eyes. Do not focus on the content or content details for a second. Simply step back and ask yourself this: Does the document give you an "easy to digest" impression?
Tip: Zoom the document in the zoom dialogue box to a text size of 60% or 70%. That way you won’t be tempted to get stuck on content details, but your eyes will rather focus on the overall first impression.
Ask yourself this: If you were a recruiter looking to go through 30 more resumes for the position, would your resume possibly fall into the "lengthy" and "tough to read" category?
3. Trim it down
The above exercise might leave you with the answer that your resume could be hard to digest. This result usually stems from good intentions: you actually meant to help the reader by providing as much information as you possibly could fit on your document. There are a few easy measures you can implement to turn a "well-meant" into a "well-done" resume project:
•Make sure that you don’t use too big of chunks of text without any breaks for the eyes. No one likes to read big chunks of text these days. Just think about how you read articles, blogs etc. yourself. You are "scanning" for vital information.
•Use bullets, paragraphs and sub-headings to break down bigger chunks of text.
One word of caution though about bullets: don’t go crazy and simply use a bullet for every new sentence. Large amounts of bullets won’t really improve digestibility of your resume too much either.
4. The take away
There are many nuances about your resume that you can go back and forth on. And people can have different opinions on what would be the best resume solution. But it will never hurt to double check the following before submitting your resume: Does my resume appeal to the potential homo economicus reader? Does it look easy to digest? It might make all the difference.