Friday, July 13, 2007

Is Your Resume Over-Bold? Page 3

How To Use Bolding More Effectively

The rule of effective resume bolding is to use it sparingly and use bold fonts only when you want to pull the readers eye to a specific detail. Here are some specific suggestions I typically give:
  1. The less bold, the greater the impact: In an extreme example, if you just bolded a single word in your resume, what are the chances that your reader eye will be drawn there? Pretty high, especially if that bolded word is in your most valuable resume real estate - the top half of your first page (
  2. Bold words or very short phrases: Bolding complete sentences is far less effective in drawing the readers’ eye to exactly what you want them to see. If you bold, make it brief.
  3. Where bold has the most impact: The top half of your first page
  4. Do you really need to bold your name? Or put it in 24 font? Does bolding your name help your reader ... or your own ego? Why not make your name blink on and off?
  5. Do you really need to bold the name of your employer? Or your title? Do you think your reader is more interested in where you worked, or what you accomplished? If you are looking at bold as a limited and valuable resource, you’ll want to use bold where it has it’s maximum effect. In most cases, aren’t your accomplishments and the value you provided to your past employers more important than where you last worked?
  6. Keywords: Once you learn which keywords the employer is likely searching for, specific to that employer and that opportunity, why not bold only those keywords? In that way, you make it easy for the HR screener who scans resumes manually looking for keyword matches to see that you’re a match. With potentially thousands of competitors, there are likely many qualified candidates who don’t get selected for interview. Bolding to help the manual reviewer can make the difference between an interview ... and the resume pile. This tactic can work well if you’ve done enough research first to understand what really matters to the employers and customize a response resume to meet that individual employers needs (
Using selective bolding to subliminally guide the reader’s eye to specific points on your resume gives you a greater chance to influence the reader to notice what you want them to notice.

But if you are like many candidates, over-bolding simply creates a mess, tires the reader, and gives them no idea what the really important points of your resume are.

Which would you prefer? Having your most important points noticed? Or having them glossed over?

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