Is the hiring manager reading your resume reaching for bifocals?

Resume font too small?If you are one of those people who has not yet been challenged by diminished vision you may not realize why we always tell you to keep the font size in your resume to 11 points.

When I turned 44, my eye doctor told me that I could expect to be wearing bifocals at the age of 45 because that’s what seems to happen. Sure enough, next year, I had to buy bifocals because I couldn’t see.

Strangely enough, now my vision has changed yet again because I now work upstairs in the light of the sun instead of downstairs under fluorescent lights. However, just because I now don’t need bifocals at the age of 56 doesn’t mean the hiring manager who is squinting to read your 10 point or smaller font doesn’t need them.

Don’t shrink the font to fit

It is a common problem for many people that they think that if they shrink the font, everything will fit and all is well. I had a gentleman client some years back who was ranting before he started working with me that he had no clue why a prominent IT-based firm was ignoring his resume. After all, he had all the qualities they needed. I asked that he send the resume he was currently using.

Shrink it to one-page and you will be hired – NOT!

When I got it, I started laughing. Yes, he did have all the experience and keywords they could want. He was supremely qualified for the position. But he crammed all his information into a one-page resume (probably because he heard that myth about the one-page resume) and he put all his wonderful information into a 7 point font so it would fit.

This gentleman’s contention was that with the online reading of resumes, the person reading it could just make the page bigger. Wrong! With the predominant theory that your resume gets a 3 to 6 second pass before it misses the A pile, you can assume no one is going to enlarge the page to read your resume.

After I explained all of this to my client, he understood and was willing to listen since he hired me as his resume expert and his way wasn’t getting him anywhere.

The one-page resume myth is just that a myth. The career marketing industry surveyed hiring managers for years and it is documented that you will not be excluded if you have a two page resume. Yet every class I teach brings up the same question and the myth is perpetuated by people who are neither hiring managers nor career professionals.

Missed opportunity to sell yourself

But the person who shrinks the font size and jams the content, removing white space and readability to meet this demand for the one page is also missing the opportunity to showcase his best accomplishments in his resume.

There are a few fonts that run large much like shoes do but you should make sure you print and let someone else read your resume. Take the time to get your resume filled with super stories and accomplishments and worry less about fitting on the page. You’ll be hired sooner!

Julie Walraven can help you achieve results through using a personalized job search and resume writing  strategy to take the mystery out of the process. To find out how, simply click here!

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  1. Shahrzad Arasteh | Career Consulting Services on October 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Great points, Julie. Another thing to consider is that it’s not even initially (necessarily) a readability issue, but the appearance of readability. If the reader is presented with a resume that has a small font and no white space, the mind is likely already thinking “this is hard to read” and the eye has no place to focus.

    Thanks for helping to get the word out. The recommendation to increase the font size, make sure there is white space, and use two pages if that best showcases your talents comes up often with my clients.

    • Julie Walraven on October 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Shahrzad and you are right about appearance… you don’t want to push them back from reading by even the thought that it is too hard. I write almost no 1 page resumes because most of my clients (even students) have more value to showcase.

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Julie Walraven

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