A well-designed resume is a game changer.
When we say well-designed, we’re not simply talking about something with a great color scheme and an epic layout. We’re talking about something that’s so clean and well-organized, it presents a breath of fresh air to recruiters and hiring managers when they encounter it and instills an unshakable sense of confidence in you.
While it’s absolutely necessary to have a killer resume that you’re proud of, investing in a resume template isn’t necessarily the only way to achieve that. Keeping a few basic principles in mind, you should be able to create something that’s clean, easy to read, and eye-catching to employers. Regardless of whether you go down the DIY or template route, use this design checklist to ensure your resume has great form and function:
Resume Design Checklist
- Clear sections. Compartmentalize your education, experience, profile/summary and core competencies into clearly labeled sections. This makes it easier for employers to quickly scan your resume.
- Healthy whitespace. Resist the urge to have tiny text that spans the entire width and height of your page. Include sizable margins on the perimeter of your resume and appropriate spacing between sections. Trust me, throw in some margins and increase the line-spacing on your text and your resume will already begin to feel much more clean and well-designed.
- A clear grid system. Literally map out a grid of how you’d like to organize the information on your resume. You might use a two-column approach with a header on the top quadrant or split up your content another way – the key is to keep it consistent.
- Easily editable. Your resume is a living breathing document that will evolve constantly as your gain more work experience. You should ideally be tailoring your resume for every job application, so you’ll want to have a document that you can easily access and update without having to rely on a third party or special software.
- A branded package. During our minisode with digital art director, Matt Vandrick, we discuss the importance of a well-designed package in the interview process. Everything from your cover letter to business cards to email signature and resume should feel like one consistent brand and voice.
- Printer-friendly. Although we’re in a largely digital age, many employers will print copies of your resume to share with team members so make sure your design is optimized for print and will still look great in black and white.
If you do choose to invest in a resume template, still be sure to select one that meets the criteria above and represents your personality well. I’ve seen a ton of great options on Etsy in the $10-20 range. Microsoft also offers a few free resume templates that could work well with a bit of tweaking and customization, but generally, don’t do as great of a job against our design checklist.
PRO TIP: Always export your resume as a PDF. This will ensure that everything appears exactly where it should across different devices.
Are you a fan of resume templates? Would you pay for one? Remember, you can always submit your own career and life questions to us by visiting joblogues.com/askjoblogues.