One of my recent clients shared this with me on Monday:
“[My resume] was professional clean and accurate, but boring. It didn’t even make it through the screening phase. Two months ago I hired Get Hired RDH to redo my resume and cover letter. I reapplied to the same company for the same position, was granted an interview AND offered the position! The only difference was the appearance of my resume!”
So, what’s the secret sauce to creating a great dental hygiene resume? Honestly, there are layers of complexity to it that really depend on each individual. In other words, the ingredients are often the same, but the recipe and certainly the taste are always different for each dental hygienist I work with.
But one of those common ingredients to cooking up a resume that differentiates you is quite simply color. This week, my tip is simple, but powerful and I have four key points to make that will hopefully help you in not only over-coming the fear of color, but also how to use it effectively on your dental hygiene resume.
Adoption is Slow – Don’t be Scared
Try Googling the word “resume” and 90 percent of the results will show you an example that is black and white. Why is that? Resumes have been around for centuries in one form or another, but the modern resume on a typed piece of paper came to be less than 100 years ago. Back then, color and design schemes weren’t options – lines of text (same font mind you) was it. The only variation possible was the wording.
Desktop publishing – the process of creating a document with graphics and color on a computer – was invented only 32 years ago (thank you Steve Jobs). And it took many years later before the process became refined and available to the masses. It’s really only been in the last decade that the average person could do extraordinary things with a resume. So the “art” of resume making just hasn’t quite caught on yet.
While many traditionalists will say, resumes should be black and white, with no character or eye-appeal, I come back with, “Why?”
Why do it the boring way? Why look like everyone else? Why show that you lack creativity or boldness? The truth is, employers are begging for job applicants that are interesting, creative, bold, and different. You come across far more appealing as a potential employee when you give them something that’s different.
Color Done Right
You can’t just choose any color, or any combination of colors. It really helps to know yourself and know what’s trending. I often turn to a company called Pantone as they are experts on color in areas of design and fashion. Click here if you want to see what’s trending in colors this Spring/Summer 2015.
A resume is a design document – at least that’s how I look at it – and as such you have consider each element carefully. Do the graphics help lead a person’s eyes down the page? How are graphics used to emphasize certain elements more than others? And where are the best places to incorporate color and how much?
I say “carefully” because you can over- or under-do it. You can introduce too many colors, for example, or use it in too many places. Since a resume is a design document, there has to be a balance and there has to be some thought put into how it’s all pulled together. So spend some time thinking about it, trying different things, and looking at really beautiful and eye-catching documents to see what you can learn from them. Then create a plan and execute it. But don’t be afraid to stray away from your plan – give yourself some flexibility. My resumes look almost nothing like I had originally intended for them and that’s all the better!
The Absence of Color
In my, minimalist opinion, the absence of color (black and white, by my definition here) is equally as important as color itself. It’s been scientifically-proven that the most readable combination is black text on white paper because the contrast is the most stark possible.
So does that talk you out of color? It shouldn’t because the problem is most resumes today abuse it to the point that it loses some of its impact. The way to keep black on white powerful is to add color to further extend that contrast in creative ways so that the reader (employer) stays engaged and interested in your resume.
In other words, the absence of color is most powerful, when you use color. Color and the absence of color need each other. They play off of each other and are most effective when they are joined and not exclusive of one another.
Consistency in Color
One final word about all this nerdy talk of color. As you carefully plan your resume document, make sure you are consistent in your application of color on your resume. For example, if one header is in color, all of them need to be in color.
Consistency to color and design is akin to errors in grammar and spelling. You just can’t afford for your document to be appear erratic or uncoordinated. Consistency creates the appearance that you have your act together, are organized, thoughtful, and detail-oriented. These are all traits and skills employers are seeking in a good employee and you communicate them when your resume is consistent in color (and design).