How to Avoid the Most Common Resume Mistake I See

If I had a nickel for every time I saw a resume with a font under 11 point, you would definitely want to be invited to the high end parties I could afford to throw.

Do not ever submit a resume with a font under 11 point. Please. Just don’t.

Perhaps the #1 reason not to do it is that anyone with less than perfect eyes will struggle to read it. Now, my father was a pilot before you could get corrective eye surgery to qualify for flight school so I can handle small fonts like a champ but most of the world is not so lucky.

A recent gallup poll showed that only 29% of people do not need glasses or contacts.

Don’t need any type of corrective lens 29%
Primarily wear glasses 57%
Primarily wear contact lenses 9%
Wear glasses and contacts about equally 4%
Other/No response 1

Given that many hiring managers and people reading legal resumes (like judges!) tend to be older, giving them a document they have to struggle to read is already going to put you at a significant disadvantage in the hiring process.

A second reason is that when your resume font is that small, it just looks like you are trying to cram a lot of content on to one page. When you adjust formatting to get your resume down to one page, you sacrifice aesthetics. The spacing looks off, the journey to the end of your resume seems as daunting as summiting Everest, and the reader becomes unable to separate their frustration with your resume formatting from the content.

A final reason to make sure your font is at least 11 point is that recruiters only spend 6.25 seconds on average reading your resume so you want the relevant information to jump off the page. Recruiters want to look at your resume and be able to tell immediately why you are qualified for the job. If you are cramming so much information on your resume that you have to shrink it down to 10 point font, then it is highly unlikely that your resume has been distilled down to what is most relevant for the specific job you are applying for.

Have you ever gotten an email that was extremely long and then decided just not to bother reading it based on the length alone? If your resume font is below 11 point, then hiring managers are doing the same thing to you.

Your resume should always be tailored to the job you’re applying for, which means that for each work experience and even undergraduate activity you have, you are asking yourself how it is tied to the position you are trying to get. Space is valuable on a resume and the more irrelevant information you include, the more you obfuscate the relevant content that directly shows why you’re qualified for the job.

So bring that font up to at least 11 and put your best foot forward. You’re qualified for the job but your resume has to look good for the hiring manager to see that.

If you are having trouble cutting content or tailoring your resume, that is what the CDO is here for! Send us an email or schedule an appointment with one of us on IrishLink!

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