Keep resumes simple

- February 2021
Picture of a resume and laptop

Are you making a few simple mistakes that complicate job hunting?

In the modern business environment we all deal with massive amounts of information. Recruiters like me, whether internal or agency, and hiring managers deal with lots of candidate applications. We have loads of data to digest every day.

This data comes in the form of resumes, application letters, emails, LinkedIn content etc. It’s generally inconsistent in format, so it’s a challenge to review and quickly understand the relevant skills and experience of the applicant (even with recruitment management systems which automate and standardise the format of information).

Herein lies the challenge for job hunters. How to cut through?

To be individual and unique, many applicants resort to creative formatting and layout of their resumes. This might be a positive attribute for some sectors like creative and design industries, but for many other positions it makes it harder to determine key skills and experience. Applicant contact details – the key for a recruiter to follow up with you – are often secreted away in hard to find locations, or in some cases, not in the resume at all.


One simple way to make yourself stand out against other applicants is to employ the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid.

Recruiters and hiring managers need to be able to easily read your application. Keep the formatting simple, don’t become too technical in your language and make it easy for people to contact you. All these seemingly minor aspects add to the picture of who you are as a candidate, and difficulty reading your documents might not put you in the most positive light.

Take time to step back from your resume and application letter to look at it from the perspective of the person receiving it. Be critical of your work, and don’t overcomplicate it. Help those trying to help you find a new and rewarding opportunity in your career.


Nick Pieper is a Principal at Parbery and has many years’ experience in recruitment roles. Parbery is always on the lookout for great talent – if you’re interested in talking, send your resume to