Friday, July 13, 2007

Is Your Resume Over-Bold? Page 2

Last week, this was a topic with one of my clients. His resume had a serious case of over-bolding. Every 3rd or 4th line used bold font. Some entire lines were bolded. An entire paragraph was in bold. If the candidate knew how to make flashing fonts in multicolored lights, that candidate would have gladly used it ... all over their resume.

This is a drastic and extreme example of over-bolding. Many resumes that aren’t as gratuitous with the bold are still way over-bold.

Before we get started - I use bold for section titles. Blog platforms allow readers fewer formatting options as MS Word. Bold is a good way to keep readers on track in the outline writing format I use. I’m discussing the use of bold in resumes, a document written for a specific purpose, and read in a specific way.

Problems With Over Bolding

Bolding is useful to draw the reader’s eye to items that the candidate wants to highlight. What happens when too much is bolded?
  • Everything looks the same: When so much is in bold, it all looks the same. The whole intent of bolding is to make an item appear different, to gain the reader’s attention.
  • It’s tiring to the reader: Imagine Gilbert Gottfried reading a resume to you. Over-bolding is like reading an email in all caps - it feels like the writer is shouting at you. Keep in mind that your reader is reading dozens, or perhaps hundreds of resumes at the same time. All that shouting gets tiring.
  • Reader focus: When everything is bold, the reader’s eye isn’t drawn to the bold - because it’s all bold. The human eye is less able to focus when a document is over-loaded with bold.
  • Shows a lack of ability to prioritize: Bold is supposed to show priority items. When many items are in bold, the writer is trying to show that everything is a priority. Is that how you’ll prioritize in a work situation?
  • Difficult to skim: Not only is an over-bolded resume difficult to skim, it’s difficult to pick up any details. Remember that the average reader spends 15 seconds per resume ( - do you really think that over-bolding will make your reader stay longer?

( Continued ... How To Use Bolding More Effectively )

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