worst resume formats

Posted: September 22, 2012
By: Clay Cerny

Everyone is in a hurry.  One consequence of our rush-rush society is that people claim that they don't have time to read.  They look for short cuts.  In resumes and other business documents, bullets have come to represent a fast read.  However, when we look at the function of the bullet, it doesn't tell us to go.  It says stop.

At a community group meeting last week, someone I like suggest that it would be easier to read a marketing letter if we changed two paragraphs to bullet formats.  Each paragraph had 4-5 sentences of essential information.  In paragraph format, our eyes roll from sentences to sentence.  We read quickly.  If the same information were laid out with bullets, our eyes would have to stop at the end of every sentence for the period and stop again at the start of the next sentence for the bullet.

The false assumption of bullet lovers is that it is easier to read lines than paragraph blocks.  If that were true, newspapers, magazines and books would be laid out in all bullet formats.  Instead, these publications use bullets properly:  to call out important information.

When it comes to good writing that is easy to read, bullets are not the magic bullet.