There are many myths that both aspiring and established professionals can fall into believing when crafting the perfect resume. In order to stand out amongst competitors, some individuals often find it attractive to design a resume that focuses more effort on aesthetic than content; this may take the form of utilizing graphics, colors, and images. These strategies, however, may actually hinder your chances of landing your ideal position.
Though an individual may find a color scheme or image attractive, the hiring manager that views the resume will not. It may sound trivial, but using a certain color or image may create bias toward the resume, as you risk using a color that some may dislike, or a pattern that is not pleasing to certain readers. Colors or patterns may also inadvertently convey a lack of professionalism, which may cost you the position. Managers view the resume and its design as an indication of your professionalism and how you’ll represent the company.
In addition to personal bias, using colors and designs on your resume may interfere with applicant tracking systems that are often used to automate the hiring process. Applicant tracking systems, or (ATS), select resumes based on algorithms, including keywords used throughout the resume, to identify strong candidates. Therefore, it is crucial that your resume is optimized to succeed when ran through such systems. Certain images or colors may interfere with the ATS technology and prevent you from moving further along the hiring process.
When discussing creatively formatted resumes, it is important to address applications for creative and design related positions. For these types of positions, it may be ideal to demonstrate your creative abilities. However, as resume design is something that must be carefully optimized, as previously discussed, it may be in your best interest to demonstrate your creativity via a portfolio or personal website, rather than on the design of your resume. Each job applicant and career trajectory is different. Yet, implementing these resume best practices will increase your chances of being selected to move on in the hiring process.