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Professional resume writers are worth a premium because they know that format is driven by content; in today’s online application world, a visually striking, custom-designed resume may not generate the return on investment you expect.

A number of my clients have brought resumes to my office that are formatted beautifully but are unlikely to result in interviews. Why? Because they are incompatible with the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that most employers use today.

Tables, charts and graphics are problematic. Tables, if not created in a way that allows text to flow with related headings, are likely to be mangled within applicant tracking systems. Graphics and charts are invisible in ATS.

Note also that red text on a black background is very difficult to read, both in hard copy and on a computer screen. If you must have a graphic or an infographic resume, be sure that you also have one that is created in text (MS Word) format to upload to hiring sites or you may be waiting a very long time for an interview.

It is, of course, fine to use a visually exciting format for those resumes that you plan to bring with you to an interview.

Ellie Vargo, MRW