There are so many nuances when it comes to writing an effective resume for today’s market that it’s hard for anyone other than a trained professional writer to keep track. Between the evolving needs of employers and their growing reliance on recruitment technology, resume writing has become both an art and a science.

In this series, our goal is to explain some of the common changes resume writers make — and why they are in your best interest.

Why we remove the images and charts from your resume

If you’re working in a creative field — or you just have a passion for graphic design — it can be tempting to embellish your resume with embedded images, fancy charts, and other design elements to make it pop. However, there are a few good reasons why your professional resume writer opted for a sleek, yet simpler design.

Employers aren’t fans of fancy resume formats

A creative resume design can often work against — rather than in — your favor. When TopResume surveyed nearly 400 recruiters and HR professionals about the resume mistakes they considered to be deal-breakers, “format and/or design is too elaborate” was among the top 10 resume offenses.

Recruiters spend, on average, less than 10 seconds skimming a resume during their initial review; they don’t want to waste time hunting for key pieces of information. Unfortunately, a creative resume design often changes the whole layout of the document, making it a challenge for recruiters to quickly find the information they care most about.

Images distract from what really matters: your qualifications

While fun design elements may catch a recruiter’s eye, they can also be distracting. The best way to impress employers is by making it easy for them to identify your qualifications and understand your career story in a short amount of time. Don’t distract them with images or charts that draw attention away from your measurable achievements.

Embedded images aren’t ATS-friendly

In addition, resumes that contain embedded charts or images don’t play nicely with applicant tracking systems (ATS), the software most employers use to scan resumes and eliminate the least qualified candidates for a role. In fact, these design elements are often unreadable by the ATS — and will appear missing from your application once it passes through the ATS.

When it comes to your resume format, less is more

Professional resume writers are trained to use clean resume designs that favor white space, making it easy for the reader to quickly skim your information and understand your career story. The more creative you get with your resume design, the more likely recruiters will be forced to hunt for the information they care about — and the more likely they will skip over your application altogether.

Save the fancy graphs and other bells-and-whistles for your personal website (if applicable).

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