The topic of an “overly polished” resume came up recently with recruiters and it intrigued me. Apparently there are hiring directors who become suspicious of a well-written, professionally prepared resume and cover letter, and it was explained why. Some recruiters have been burned by hiring candidates with impressive marketing documents, who didn’t exactly live up to their resumes.

Does that mean they would only look at lousy resumes? I’m not sure about that. But here’s what I am confident of. The resumes I write are fairly basic in format. I don’t add fancy graphics, highly artistic fonts, borders, etc. Each document is clean, easy to read, and written in either Times New Roman, or Arial. In other words, it looks like you could have written it yourself. I use standard fonts because every computer has them. And clients come back to me years later when it’s time for an update.

So before you shell out $1500 for a resume with color-coded graphs, drop in text boxes, or anything else over the top, ask those in your industry if these enhancements will help or hurt your job search. Graphic Designers, and those in artsy creative fields are expected to have an eye-pleasing resume. But for the rest of the world, keep it simple enough so that it doesn’t cause the reader to ask, “what are you hiding?”

–Susan Geary, Certified Resume Writer / 1st Rate Resumes