Are personalized fonts or bullets acceptable on a CV/resume?

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 - CV format, CV Help, CV Template, CV Tips, CV Writing, how to make a cv, How to Write a CV, tutorial


CV Writing

Pisces
Creative Commons License photo credit: shudrbug

Diedre, a Phd Chemistry/Materials graduate, asks: I have had my CV/resume reviewed at school career centres and conferences, and I have had mixed reviews on the bullets I use. The first tier bullet is a Pisces symbol that looks like an H with the ends curved. It’s not much larger than a capital letter and sometime people don’t even notice its different. I have used it on all my resumes, curriculum vitaes. presentations, and posters since high school (finished my PhD a year ago) and it’s a regular symbol in all the MS programs. Some have told me its creative and make the resume stand out and other say it’s okay but may be distracting. I really like it and don’t want to change it but if its a real problem I will. I just wanted to get some feedback about if it is appropriate. Thank you!

In answer:
The first two questions any employer will want a CV/resume to answer are:

  1. Do you have the basic+ skills required to do the job (ie – functional fit)
  2. Will you work in our team? (ie – social fit)

The first read of your job application will probably be done by an assistant, junior or trainee in the HR department, and they will be briefed to apply the top five criteria of the job specification rigorously. Anything which distracts them from this – even if you have the full set of functional skills – means you end up in the “thank you for your application, but on this occasion….” pile.

So, with regards the first question, your beloved bullets will distract the reader, and don’t help at all in answering the question of functional fit. In the second case, the liking of them will be personal choice of the reader – love or hate. As your job application if you progress to the point where they call to telephone interview you will need to pass at minimum through three people (junior HR person, senior HR person, hiring manager). As job applicant sifting for an employer is a case of finding reasons to reject over finding reasons to employ (you have to do the later), you have to hope that all three not just like by love your custom bullets.

These bullets seems to have an over emotional tie to your life – used them from High School to your Phd. They can still be in your life and your work place, but concentrate first on getting a job by answering the function and fit question a potential employer wants answering, by conforming a bit more to accepted – and hence not rejected – convention.

I wrote an article on this on my blog about bullet and £/$ sign conventions, which you can read via the link below.

Good Luck!

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