Resume First Date

2 Reasons Why Your Resume Is Like A First Date


I think most of us have experience in dating. Some of us might even have “special tactics and moves” for their first date. In my opinion, the situation of submitting your resume is pretty much like going on a first date, and I think you will have a better resume if you apply your dating knowledge in the preparation process of your next killer resume.

Related: Single And Looking: 5 Reasons Why Job Search Is Like Dating

But let me elaborate.

1. The Looks

Remember those times as a teenager when you would spend hours trying out different outfits, hairstyles and different looks?

Why were you doing this? Because you wanted to impress your date, and look better than the other guys in your class. So, we know that looks are important for a first date. And already as teenagers we knew that we had to invest time and effort in order to achieve a great result. However, only a few apply this knowledge to the looks of their resume.

Many times, I get to see the same sad and boring “Arial,” “Times New Roman,” “One Headline,” “All Black and White,” and “a zillion bullet points” resumes. Do you really think you can impress your date this way? Do you think your date (which in the professional world is a professionally trained recruiter) is going to be impressed by your 5-minute formatting job? Of course not.

You will look like all the other 40 people asking your recruiter that day for a second date. So, it is time to invest some Teenager-first-date spirit in your resume. Be a bit creative. How can you look different than those 40 other people? Maybe try out adding some decent color elements to your resume. Maybe visually highlight certain passages in your resume more. One thing is for sure: professionals will be able to tell how much time you invested.

2. The Talk

The Right Balance – Once you are on your date, it is important to find the right balance of talking, and choosing the appropriate topics for a first date. But how does this convert to the resume submitting scenario? Well, the talk is the content you include on your resume. Don’t talk too much.

Just like on a first date, your task is to give the other side a chance to get to know you better. The task is not (!) to overload the other side with information regarding everything you have ever done (I call it the “And-Then-Syndrome,” which is unfortunately a widespread resume syndrome).

Have you ever been on the “receiving” end of a date, where the other person just keeps on rambling and rambling about their entire life story? If you are like me, you probably stopped listening after a while, and started thinking about how to end this date as soon as possible. Definitely no second date.

Do not be tempted to think any recruiter worth their salt would be more lenient than I on my first date.

The Right Topics – Finding the right topic on a first date can be really easy and smooth if you already know what the other person is interested in. The good news in the resume situation is: you already have tons of information about what the other side is interested in and what they are looking for. Usually, they even provided you with an explicit list (aka, the respective job posting) of their interests in needs. Show them in your resume (and ideally your cover letter) that you have read and understood their needs and that your skills and prior experience is an answer to their problems.

The second date will be yours!

If you are still not sure about your Looks or your Talk: I provide free Resume Checks. Just send me an e-mail via my website:

Related Posts

How To Write Your Resume Like An Online Dating Profile
5 Mistakes Job Seekers Make On Their Resume
3 Things That Make Your Resume Less Effective


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tim Windhof

Tim Windhof is an experienced Career Strategist, who loves helping people to take their careers to the next level. Tim is a certified resume writer (CPRW), Career Coach and certified Human Resources Professional. He operates his company, Windhof Communications LLC, out of the Greater Columbus Area in central Ohio.


  1. MY advice is to stay away from fancy formating and colors on the reume, for the reasons people have cited…the ATS will probably reject them as gibberish. The online job application process is very low probablilty for a variety of reasons, so I suggest developing good networking skills to find the “hidden” jobs (the ones never advertised or posted…the 80% of jobs!

    Regarding cover letter formats that deliver the maximum “payload”:

    1. short and concise, no fluff
    2. The main body of the letter is a simple list of the top 4-5 job requirements and then alongside are how you measure up on those
    3. Add a P.S. at the bottom with something you thing makes you stand out, and is relevant to the job, such as being “saleman of the year” last year (if the job is sales obviously)

  2. Regarding point #1: the reason for the “sad and boring” resume formatting is because that is what we are told we must do so our resumes can get through the APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEMS.

    • Totally agree! I have several friends who are recruiters. They have consistently emphasized the criticality of conquering the ATS. They’ve explained some of the tricks and traps, which are crazy! The long hours I spent working on the look and feel of my resume were almost all a waste, as I can only use my “real” resume on the rare occasion when I can apply directly to a real person via email, or if I decide to stand up a personal website that includes my resume.

  3. Hi JT,

    It would be awesome if you could give any links or examples of great cover letters or CVS, I am into Design and Architecture, would love anything from your side.


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