7 Tips for Designing the Perfect Resume

By on May 2, 2016 in How To
7 Tips for Designing the Perfect Resume

Your resume is one of your best marketing tools. The goal of your resume is to tell your individual story in a compelling way that drives prospective employers to want to meet you. In today’s competitive job market, a well-designed resume stands out from the crowd and indicates to employers that you have something extra to bring to the table. With just a few new ideas, you can breathe life into your work history and hopefully land that new job.

Create a Personal Brand

Your professional life is not just black type on white paper, and your resume should reflect your creativity and uniqueness. Turn the marketing eye on yourself, and highlight your unique selling proposition in your resume. Perhaps add a photo or sample of your current work, or include a photo of yourself. Use colors that will reflect your brand and pop for the reader.

Use Columns For Better Organization

A resume should be as short as possible while also including the best and most important highlights of your career. Rather than wasting white space to list employers and accomplishments sequentially down the pages, a column layout can be used to help organize information. An infographic approach is one way to pack in necessary information in a visually appealing way.

Be a Show Off

Your best work and most impressive clients should pop from the page. Don’t let the reader just stumble upon it amongst all the text. A sidebar is a great place to list achievements and successes. A call-out within the body of the resume will break up the text and draw the reader’s eye, especially those just scanning, to the important information.

Use a Design That's On-Trend

If you are in the creative world, there’s no excuse for an outdated resume design. For instance, flat, colorful designs are currently a popular trend in just about every type of design, from websites to apps. Your resume design will tell your potential employers if you're up to date with your sense of style.

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Use a Distinguishing Orientation

For some professions, a simple change in page orientation to landscape can help you stand out in the crowd. Nothing shows a designer's eye like flipping the standard around and creating a whole new look.

Be Ready When They Ask for a Different File Type

Be prepared to send your resume in several formats. PDF and Word are by far the most common, but be ready when you need a different file type (such as text).

Always Have a Cover Letter

Even if you feel as though no one will read it, make sure that you include a cover letter along with your resume. Those who do read your cover letter are the ones who genuinely care about what it says. Your cover letter could make the difference in a hiring decision, as it can reiterate the important information from your resume and allow you to speak in a more personal tone to the reader. In addition, creating a cover letter makes a statement about your overall approach to job search efforts.

The Right Template is Everything

Using the right resume template could be the difference between landing on the top or bottom of the potential hires stack. Browse our most popular resume templates and approach your job search with confidence.

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10 Comments

  1. To be fair with you, I don't think everyone should have one of those stylish resumes, full with icons, colourful and so on. Obviously it needs to stand out, but I believe the emphasis should be put on the content you want to sell. If I would apply for a job at a bar I wouldn't leave there a CV full of colour. Not to mention there is always the big debate of whether you should or should not include a picture in your CV. Truth is, not everyone works in an art-related, computer-related or creativity-related area - so what do these people do? Standing out too much when you want to apply for a job in a hotel as a receptionist/bar back or whatever might actually ruin your chances.

    Questions is where is the limit between standing out in your advantage and the right choice of design for your CV according to what your profession or the job you want to get?

  2. Relax Dragons. This a a place for designers. Its what we do. We are not applying for a job at a bar so you point while valid is out of place here.

    As for content over design, it is true, but why can't our resume be proof to how we can design. It can only help our chances.

  3. Another biggie. Print it well. Sharp and on nice, but not too thick paper. (Paper does still exist!)

  4. I'm sorry. I've come across this article twice and I just have to say something. I work mostly in theatre, entertainment and product design and in the academic world. I have fifteen years of experience on both sides of the hiring process. I mentor students on how to write effective resumes and hold workshops as well, so I know a little bit about what I'm talking about, and I have to say I don't think most of these are good resumes.
    Maybe things are different in the graphic design world, but in most other creative fields and in academia, these would end up in the rejection pile. A resume has to be able to be read and digested in a minute or less. The design comes in creating a narrative that is simple, elegant and readable. Save the bells and whistles for the portfolio.
    To me, as someone who is hiring-whether alone or as part of a search committee-most of these look like a lot of distractions used to pad a weak resume. The one at the top is particularly egregious. It tells me that this person is not serious and has poor design skills: lots of wasted space with an unnecessary photo and banner and a penchant for the obvious (Yeah, I know it's your resume. Thanks).
    And never ever use a black background! Many employers still print out a hard copy, usually on a desktop inkjet printer. Do you know what you get when you print out an entire page in black under those circumstances? Soggy tissue, that's what!
    And there's really no need for a headshot unless you are a performer.
    Again, I'm not trying to be a troll, I just had to say something. Competition is fierce-particularly for creative positions, and you want to stand out all right, but for the right reason. The first thing employers want to know is if you can come across as professional and serious, and that has to be reflected in your resume. When you get past that first step, then you have time to showcase your design aesthetic.
    But, like I said, maybe things are different in graphic design...

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