By Cairo Amani

Here you are (again) sending out applications and getting nothing but form rejection emails—if any response at all. You’re being consistent, your writing is excellent, you’re following up politely—but nothing. You’re beginning to doubt yourself and your capabilities.

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(WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!)

But for real, girl, how’s your resume lookin’?

There’s tons of sources out there for getting an excellent template but content (in most cases) is key. I’ve been people’s go-to resume reviewer for years because of my writing background and I soon found out a well written and visually pleasing resume is important—but it’s not everything. So here are five common but possibly little known resume problems I love to tackle.

1. FORMAT

A recruiter only reads a resume for an average of six seconds. And my experience in recruitment supports that; not only is a hiring manager skilled in what to look for, they’re usually skilled in where to look for it. Positioning is everything. You should understand how a resume is read in order to put your most valued info in the best spots. You control your image and employers are eager to see you!

2. FONT

In the quest for more interesting design, I’ve seen candidate after candidate experiment with Goudy Old Style, Comic Sans (yes, still it plagues us) and Word Art (*rips hair out*). Let’s not, okay? Cool. A resume is useless for a million dollar candidate if it’s illegible. In order the most important things on your resume are content, format and design. Say the right things, put them in the spotlight and then worry about aesthetics. When you are ready to tackle fonts, here’s a great article—complete with supporting research—on the most easily read fonts. → MMM FONTS

3. TEMPLATES

Often, when a resume suffers from 1 and 2, sometimes it’s because of because of 3. There are tons of sources for free resume templates but choosing a good one is almost an art. Picking the wrong template is easy and you can find yourself with one that is difficult to print or doesn’t work as a Word document.* On the other hand, finding a great template is hard work, so don’t run for the first thing you see.

*Pro Tip: I say send out PDFs 99.9% of the time! But Word documents can be handy when working with recruiters.

4. LENGTH

Yes, long resumes are still a problem and cutting and editing your resume can be tricky business since content is so important. I’ll tell you right now, smaller font is not the answer. Please. Please don’t. What you choose to remove and what you choose to keep should be strategic moves that push you toward your goal (so don’t just remove or add things at random). Every word counts.

5. CONTENT (BUT NOT THE USUAL)

Yes, you’ve heard to make sure you put accomplishments and not just duties and responsibilities but have you been warned about having a “interest/hobbies” section past a certain age and job level? There are lesser known pieces of content that sometimes go overlooked, such as what to leave in the absence of a break in employment, things to say in your header, appropriate websites and social links, etc. If you’re worried you’ve said too much (or too little) on your resume, contact your Resident Resume Content Queen.

An eye-catching resume can get you ahead of the game so you CAN and SHOULD be creative, it just takes some expertise to get it right. You got this.

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And if you need a little extra help, contact me for a free consultation so we can chat about your dreams!

cairo-amaniCairo is a certified career coach, accomplished writer and proud QWOC. While she has many interests and has held many titles, founding ‘Apply & Command’ has been her most exciting endeavor yet. Apply & Command offers career coaching services for women and gender non-conforming individuals who need help defining a path to their goals. 

This blog post originally appeared on applyandcommand.com. Re-posted with permission.

About The Author

Your go-to resource for all things empowering, thought-provoking, and pertinent to Black queer and trans women and non-binary people.

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