Question: If a picture is worth a thousand words – and it is – what’s it worth on a resume?
Answer: A lot more!
But this discussion doesn’t end with you inserting a picture of you on your resume. We also touch on color, graphics, and, ironically, the absence of everything.
These four simple elements are easy to include in your resume, yet 75% of resumes don’t have them, giving you a great opportunity to stand out and look sharp.
There’s a whole psychology to choosing colors that say something. We won’t get into that, but here’s a resource on that you may want to review because it is worth considering. Author Margaret Feinberg gives you some really fast and simple definitions for what colors communicate. Click here to review those.
What should you color? Well, how about this rule of thumb: don’t color everything. Besides looking like you ran out of black ink (which looks tacky), it loses its effect and can be (depending on the color) borderline annoying to the eyes.
We recommend using color in one, two or some of the following elements:
- Picture of you
- Lines, boxes and other “graphics”
Avoid color in the main body of text – bullets (the actual element) is optional.
Picture of You
For a long time, putting a photo in a resume was taboo – partly because of tradition (just wasn’t easy to do in the past) and later born out of fears that resume-scanning machines would get confused and reject them.
Neither of those hold up today or apply to the dental hygiene field. Business has completely embraced the digital age and it’s human nature to want to know what people look like before you meet them.
Here’s our recommendation, if you don’t feel comfortable including a photo of yourself, then don’t include it. If you are okay with it, then do it. Who will have the advantage? Probably the latter because it’s one more way to stand out. This is changing, but most people still won’t include one – and that gives you a leg up if you do.
Consider this, studies show that most employers will search you out on the Internet anyway. They’ll look for you on Facebook and other social platforms to see who you are beyond the resume – and chances are they’ll find you. Wouldn’t you rather include a picture of your choosing than some of the ones you may not like as much that might be floating around?
LinkedIn, considered the social media platform for the business world, and basically an extension of your resume, gives everyone a chance to include a profile picture of themselves. Those profiles that include one always standout, look more professional, more complete, more trusted than those that don’t. We’ll be talking more about your online presence in October.
Lines, boxes, interesting icons, even bullets are considered accents to your resume and they aren’t pointless window dressing – they give your eyes a rest. Reading is work. It requires intense levels of concentration and thinking so a reader can understand what’s being communicated.
Graphics are like seeing a bench after hiking through a mall all day. When placed strategically, they give your reader’s eyes a quick break to rejuvinate. And after reading 15-25 resumes a person’s eyes not only enjoy seeing these little benches, they long for them.
What this all means, of course, is the more visually-pleasing breaks you can offer, the more time they will spend with your resume and more favorable they will be toward it. It’s that simple.
The absence of graphics and text is really just an extension of what we were talking about with other graphics. It’s a break for the eyes and in general gives you a more organized-, professional-, clean-feel. Try it out – take a page of single-spaced text and compare it to a page of 1.5 or double-spaced text and see which you think looks easier/faster to read.
I think it’s also nice for the person screening you, to give them room to make notes right on your page.
Your Turn: If you like these tips, share the love – make a comment and pass them along to a friend. Good things come your way when you share. Also, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest or even LinkedIn, where you can get additional postings of things interesting to hygienists.