Should You Make Your Resume “Pretty”?

Sometimes it’s hard to stand out in a crowd without doing something drastic. Certain people will do just about anything at times to garner attention, but the end result is not always the one that was expected. When the U.S. economy took a nose dive in 2008 unemployment rates across the nation went up. The national average topped out above 10% but has settled back down around 8.5% overall.

The hospitality sector in Los Angeles is on the mend at the moment with employers scrambling to fill open positions. The unemployment rate in California held steady in May at 10.9%, still high but down from 12.1% in September 2011. Even better is the news that the hospitality sector saw job growth in nine of the last 12 months dating back to June 2011, including growth in five consecutive months to start 2012.

With that information in mind, Californians have been dusting off their resumes and heading out in search of employment. Given the level of competition for hospitality jobs, many people might consider going to extreme measures to set themselves apart from the crowd. The most common move at this point is to create a visually beautiful resume to set their resume apart from the other “bland” resumes in the stack.

This move often sabotages their effort to find a job though. More often than not this ends up eliminating an individual from contention for a position, a fatal flaw that most cannot afford in a high demand field such as hospitality. The following are three big reasons that putting together a “pretty” resume is a waste of time:

1.To many employers it shows a level of desperation. Even if you’ve been unemployed for a long period and badly need the job you’re applying for, your level of desperation will not sway an employer.

2.Some employers view “pretty” resumes as a tool for hiding deficiencies in your work history. Every employer is looking for talented, skilled employees to fill open positions. Unless you are applying for a graphic design or other arts related position, the time you spend beautifying your resume will be lost on the employer.

3.It simply doesn’t work. Many employers, especially those who field resumes online, using data extraction software to parse your resume information into company databases. When this happens, all the work you put in on your resume is lost as you become a number with statistics next to it.

Time is precious so don’t waste it on creating a pretty looking resume. Focus your time and effort on properly formatting your resume, and ensuring your achievements from prior jobs make the list. Be sure to highlight achievements and experiences at your previous jobs, not just listing out your daily responsibilities. If you were promoted at your previous company, make sure to break those out into separate bullet points to highlight your growth at your former employer.

Always remember that solid facts and proper formatting will win out over a cute resume every time. Employers know to look for fluff, so stick to the real thing and you’ll land the job you want in no time.

About Gail Wise. Find Hospitality Jobs in Los Angeles Gail Wise is a regular article contributor for Hospitality Jobs LA.