You want a resume design that stands out, while still fitting both your industry and your personality.
There are many different approaches to resume design, as you’ll see in the following design tips. While you shouldn’t try to incorporate everything mentioned here, adding a few resume design techniques can make a big difference in the first impression you make on the hiring manager.
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Resume Design Tips The Experts Swear By
There are a few “best practices” in resume design that everyone should master. From keeping it simple to using a readable font, you’ll definitely want to follow these tips to keep your resume looking sharp.
The good news? If you can master these basic resume design principles, you’ll have a solid resume. Even better news? After the basic tips, we’ll share some more advanced resume design ideas that will really help you stand out.
Now, onto the tips:
Use the right fonts.
The font you choose can make or break your resume. Don’t believe us? Then we challenge you to land a job using a resume written in Comic Sans.
All kidding aside, choose one or two fonts that are easy to read and have some contrast. Using more than two fonts will give your resume a haphazard look. As for contrast, using one font in different weights or two fonts that contrast can be a great way to show hierarchy and draw attention to different sections in your resume (see below). And whatever you do, avoid Comic Sans. 🙂
Put your best foot forward
Because recruiters don’t spend much time reading each resume, you need to lead with your strengths. If you’re a recent grad, this means you may want to start by listing your education. If you’ve been in the workforce for a few years, start with your employment history and move your education to the end.
Match your resume design to your industry
If you’re an accountant, use a fairly traditional resume format. If you submit something wild and crazy, it’s simply going to distract the person at the accounting firm who is reading your resume.
On the other hand, if you’re a graphic designer, your resume should showcase your skills. You’ve got more leeway in your field to be experimental and try an avant-garde resume design.
If you’re unsure where your resume design should fall in the continuum between the traditional accountant resume and the trendy graphic designer resume, err on the conservative side.
Make it bot-friendly
We know those infographic-style resumes look awesome. But to the software doing the first read of your resume, it looks like images and gibberish. If the ‘bot can’t read your resume, and it generally can’t read image formats, like .png or .jpg, then you’re probably not going to make it to the next round of hiring. Skip the fancy infographics and opt for something text-based instead.
White space is the key to presenting a resume that looks clean and professional. Don’t try to overstuff your resume with information crowded deep into the margins on every line. Leaving white space makes it easier on the recruiter’s eye and helps draw emphasis to the most important parts of your career.
Make it skimmable
Recruiters don’t have time to search your resume for the information they’re looking for. You can make it easier on them by using headings and bold text to highlight important information.
Keep it simple.
When you’re in doubt, go for simple. It’s easy to miss the mark with a “creative” resume design. You don’t want to be the person whose resume got rejected because the wild border or funky text simply turned off the recruiter.
Advanced Resume Design Tips
These advanced resume design tips can help your resume stand out in a sea of plain, boring resumes. You don’t need to use all of these design tips. Instead, mix and match to create the perfect blend to showcase your personality and skills.
A two- or three-column resume is a breath of fresh air for recruiters who have seen hundreds of more traditional formats. Columns also help you maximize space, so if you’ve got a lot of great experience to share, consider this modern style.
While you shouldn’t put your picture on your use, you can still stand out by using a monogram with your initials. Monograms add visual flair without being distracting.
Try an accent color
Using color on your resume has traditionally been a no-no, but depending on your industry, it can now be a great design decision. Use a dark color so the text is still easy to read. Navy blue, dark maroon, or even a shade of gray can all add visual interest and help draw the recruiter’s eye to the highlights of your resume.
Want to look really pulled together? Use a cohesive theme for your cover letter, references, and resumes. Using a coordinated application packet will help you stand out in a professional way. Coordinated documents will also help a recruiter remember you better.
Add a border
Using a border around the edge of your resume is an excellent way to stand out. Use an accent color for the border, and remember to print colored copies when you bring a paper copy to your interview. Keep the border simple (no crazy patterns, please), and you can’t go wrong.
Line it up
Use lines to break up text or draw attention to your previous jobs and education experience. No need to get fancy here, a simple straight line is a powerful way to break up the large block of text that is your resume.
If you’re emailing your resume, consider adding hyperlinks to it so the hiring manager can get more information about you. For example, you can add links to LinkedIn or a portfolio of your work. Links are especially useful for people who are reading your resume on mobile, which happens more and more often these days.
Your resume design should complement the content of your resume, not distract from it. That means you don’t need to include all of these resume design tips in your resume. Find a style that matches your personality and your industry, and skip the rest. Of course, no matter what resume design style you use, remember to keep best practices in mind.
- Use correct spelling and grammar.
- Be honest.
- Keep it readable.
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