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Advice / Job Search / Resumes

How to Guarantee Your Resume Shows Up Correctly on Mobile (Because It Probably Doesn't)

Odds are you’re reading this article on your phone right now. And if you aren’t, someone else is. Last year, we reached a tipping point. For the first time, more people accessed the web via their phones than via their computers.

And for job seekers, this change is actually pretty important. You should no longer expect recruiters or hiring managers to be looking at your resume on a laptop; on the contrary, you should expect them to be browsing it on a tiny mobile screen.

Which means it’s time to “mobile-optimize” your resume. Here’s how:

1. Keep it Simple

We’ve already covered how most recruiters spend just six seconds on your resume—so now matter how they’re reading it, being concise is important. But especially so if they’re looking on their phones.

Start with numbers and dates:

  • Trade out “December 2010 - October 2013” for “12/10 - 10/13.”
  • Instead of “Saved department $10,000...” try, “Saved department $10K...”
  • Turn “Promoted two times in four years” into “Promoted twice in 4 years.”

You should also look for extraneous words you can cut, like “the,” “an,” “a,” and so on, as well as any “fluffy” writing. Just make sure that everything still reads clearly.

For example, let’s say you have “Worked with the Creative, Product, and Product Outreach teams to ensure the attributes and message of the products, tools, and features are effectively communicated to the target audiences.”

That can be shortened to “Worked with Creative, Product, and Product Outreach teams to market products and features to target audiences.”

2. Quantify Your Bullets

With such little space to work with, every part of your resume should be impactful. The best way to do that? Quantify your accomplishments.

Let’s look at that last sample line.

“Worked with Creative, Product, and Product Outreach teams to market products and features to target audiences.”

It’s better than it was before, but it’s still not great. Let’s quantify it.

“Acquired 300 clients in 3 months by collaborating with Creative, Product, and Product Outreach teams to market products, tools, and features.”

Much better.

For more help on quantifying your bullets, check out this article.

3. Change Your Format

Simplicity isn’t just crucial when it comes to what you’re saying—it’s also crucial in terms of layout.

The most mobile-friendly sites are one column, and we recommend making your resume the same.

In addition, you should choose a font that will display across any device, like Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, or Tahoma. No matter which font you choose, don’t go smaller than size 12. You really don’t want to force the person looking at your resume to have to “pinch-and-zoom.” (Because he or she won’t.)

Finally, make sure you’re maximizing the top third of your resume. This portion has always been an important factor in grabbing a hiring manager’s interest, but now, having an engaging one will probably make the difference between a resume that gets read and one that gets deleted.

So use a small header, list your experience before your education, and spend time making those first resume bullets compelling.

Now, the final step, emailing your resume to yourself as a PDF and seeing what it looks like on your phone. Bonus points if you can send it to a friend with a different operating system and see how it looks there, too.

Photo of woman looking at phone courtesy of Shutterstock.