It should be a no-brainer, but I can’t stress it enough. I know many recruiters and hiring managers who will throw out a resume at the first typo, regardless of people’s qualifications.
Is this unfair? I have to say unequivocally maybe :-). I practice the “Typo Mulligan” approach. If an otherwise well qualified, well written and clean resume with not a lot of verbosity is what I am seeing, I will give a Mulligan for a minor typo. If you however spelled your name, contact info, company name or occupation wrong, those are show stoppers. NEVER EVER SCREW THOSE UP. Obviously, certain jobs there is no room for errors (prufreeederz, etc.), but there is no excuse really for any resume to be typo-laden. It smacks of lack of attention to detail and a less than serious effort in your quest for a new career.
Write it, run a spell/grammar check, read it again because sometimes you accidently put in the wrong replacement word in spell-check. Print it and read again. Have a friend or family member read it as if they didn’t know you and were interviewing you. Sounds like overkill, but trust me it will benefit you to do this.
As far as style… Reflect the type of job you want in your styling and font usage. Job seeking is serious business – make it known you take it as such. Avoid “cutesy, playful” fonts and lots of over styling (lots of shadows, bolds, outlining of text when not necessary) If you aren’t a graphic designer don’t try to be one in your resume – conservative is the best approach. Surprisingly, you will find that graphic designers have the most elegant and cleanest designed resumes. Making the layout easy to read gets it noticed and moved up the hiring chain.
Lastly, I will speak a little more about brevity/length in the next post, but if you are a college grad or don’t have much experience, don’t use unusually large fonts and triple spaces and whatnot to fill your page. It’s OK to have a short resume, sometimes that is what the company is looking for. The bulking thing does not work and is the equivalent of using steroids in sports…big risk for small rewards (I know that’s a stretch but I thought the comparison was funny.)
Next Tip: Brevity (I will try to be brief on this post)