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Good, Poor, & Ugly Resumes – Here’s Which Resume You Have

It’s no secret that some people are much better at writing resumes than others. Some people even make it their profession, offering incredible resume writing services to improve resume content, structure, and readability. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have that same talent, and their job searches suffer as a result. They find it hard to get callbacks or interviews, as their resumes regularly fail to impress recruiters.

If that sounds like your situation, your resume could fall into one of two undesirable categories: “Poor” or “Ugly” (or even both!). Ideally, you want your resume to be classed as “Good” or even “Great” to give yourself the best chance of success. In this guide, we’ll look at what makes a resume poor, good, and ugly, providing some tips and tricks to help you improve yours.

image with 3 smiley faces that say "Good, Bad, Ugly" resumes

Good Resumes

The category that every applicant wants to be in: good resumes. Unlike their poor and ugly counterparts, good resumes are attractive, sleek, engaging, and effective. They help candidates, rather than hinder them. But what does a good or even a great resume look like? To see examples of professionally written resumes, you will need to research and find a top rated resume service that has a wealth of knowledge in this area.

A good resume will give you the best possible chance of getting the job you want, or at the very least getting more interviews and opportunities.

In short, a good resume is everything that the other two aren’t. Unlike an ugly resume, a good resume is well laid out and properly structured. Unlike a poor resume, a good resume should contain only the most relevant, important information. The best resumes of all are concise, clear, and impactful, with careful use of keywords and no wasted space.

image with 10 resumes with the words "Less than 1 in 10 resumes reach the hiring manager of the job being applied for"

Poor Resumes

These resumes are weak! They lack substance and often struggle to make any kind of positive impression on recruiters. Even if they might be attractively presented and properly formatted, they’re simply not convincing enough. Naturally, this means that they’re not very helpful in securing interviews and job opportunities.

Here are some of the most common telltale signs of a poor resume:

Too Much Content

Poor resumes tend to go overboard with information. They feel excessively detailed, making them a slog to read through. For example, they might include a long list of the applicant’s entire high school history or details of every duty they’ve ever done in previous jobs. Given that recruiters often have dozens or even hundreds of resumes to read, they won’t want to waste time on overly wordy ones.

Not Enough Detail

As well as having too much information in your resume, it’s also possible to have too little. Some poor resumes almost feel bare in places, with large sections of white, blank space. While it’s important to trim out unnecessary info from your resume, you still need to include enough to sell yourself to the recruiter.

Always include details about your key qualifications, skills, and experiences.

Irrelevant Info

Weak resumes also tend to include information that isn’t relevant to the job in question. For example, they might list past jobs or qualifications that have no real bearing on the role for which they’re applying. They might also include unnecessary personal info, like lists of hobbies and interests. It’s much better to tailor your resume for each job, including only the most relevant details.

No Vital Keywords

These days, a lot of companies – including pretty much every Fortune 500 company – use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). This software scans resumes on the company’s behalf, looking for the presence of keywords and phrases. If it doesn’t detect the right words, it’ll reject the resume right away. Poor resumes often fail to include these keywords, making them less likely to pass ATS scans.

man head is down in front of a resume that says "rejected"

Ugly Resumes

These are the ones that, as the name suggests, are unattractive and off-putting from the very first glance. In fact, in many cases, if you have an ugly resume, you might find that it gets rejected by recruiters right away. They sometimes won’t even read through to the end – they’ll simply look at the visuals or the formatting and put that resume right in the trash.

You might wonder how a document like a resume can even be classed as ugly in the first place. Well, here are a few characteristics that put these resumes at the bottom of the pile:

Poor Layout

The No. 1 sign of an ugly resume is poor formatting. The sections might be all out of order, for example, or the font sizes and styles aren’t aligned properly. There may be weird indents or formatting bugs that give the document an unprofessional aesthetic. In short, if the layout isn’t neat and tidy, the entire resume simply looks wrong.

Visual Clutter

Some people like to add visual elements to their resumes. They might add a photo of themselves at the top or even add images and graphic elements around the pages. In general, this is considered bad practice. Visuals like these simply clutter up the document and take up space that you could be using to sell yourself.

Excessive Use of Color

In general, outside of certain specialist fields – like art or graphic design – color has no place on most resumes. It may seem boring, but the best documents tend to be black and white, perhaps with one additional shade to highlight key sections. If you use lots of different color fonts and try to “decorate” your resume with rainbow shades, it may look ugly.

Typos and Grammatical Errors

Finally, ugly resumes often have mistakes in them. It might be something as simple as a word that has repeatedly been spelled incorrectly, or it could be improper use of commas. Either way, typos and grammatical errors dramatically reduce the professionalism of any document. It’s always important to scan and proofread your resume before you send it out.

Ask For Resume Help From The Experts

After looking through this guide, you may fear that your resume falls into the “poor” or “ugly” categories. If so, there’s no need to panic. While your resume might be in a poor state at the moment, it can be saved and upgraded to a much better and more effective version of itself.

That’s where our resume & career advice services in Denver Colorado come into play. At Expert Resume Pros, we have a specialist team of superstar resume writers. We know exactly what it takes to give a weak resume the wow factor. Give us a call today to discuss the details, and let’s give your resume a boost together.

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