résumés

Avoid density with a second page

Dur­ing law school, I inter­viewed for a job at a small firm. One of the hir­ing part­ner’s first com­ments wasIt’s so unusual that I see a résumé with­out any typos.”

Are you seri­ous?” I said.

Yes,” she said,prob­a­bly 90% of the résumés I get have typos. And that includes the ones we get from the top schools.”

I got the job. There were surely bet­ter-qual­i­fied can­di­dates. But they dam­aged their chances with sloppy résumés.

This is a book on typog­ra­phy, not typos. But the point is the same—faced with a stack of nearly iden­ti­cal résumés and lim­ited time, read­ers will make judg­ments that aren’t based on sub­stance. Whether you think that’s fair is irrel­e­vant. It hap­pens all the time.

The biggest prob­lem I see with résumés is that they’re uncom­fort­ably dense with text. I take this to be the influ­ence of the myth that a résumé can only be one page long. Unless a poten­tial employer demands one page, feel free to make your résumé two pages. This will ease your typo­graphic prob­lems.

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