You’ve just spent hours upon hours tweaking and primping your resume to try to land that dream job. Unfortunately, the average amount of time a recruiter spends looking at a resume is about six seconds. If you want to stand out, you need a resume that demands more attention. Even if you’re not a graphic designer or an Adobe Creative Cloud guru, there are some basic principles of design you should follow that will make your resume to stand out from the competitors and draw in the eyes of potential employers.
Think Outside the Box
The typical, linear resume design found in most templates can be ordinary and, well, boring. Some plain old resume is not going to catch the eye of a potential boss. In order to step up your game, think differently about the convention of the resume. Reinvent the way you display your information, while ensuring it’s still professional and easy to navigate. In many sectors, your resume can act as a demonstration to prospective employers of your design skills and creativity, so make sure it looks flawless and has your signature stamp on it.
Design Your Own Template
Instead of using the same templates that recruiters see over and over again, use Adobe Creative Cloud software like InDesign and Photoshop to design your own resume. This way you can add your own graphics and illustrations for a one-of-a-kind page that no recruiter has ever seen. As a student, you can get great deals on the Adobe software, making it a worthwhile investment if you want to get your page to the top of the pile.
Pops of Color
Color is one of the most important things that will make recruiters pause in their stack and take an extra moment to consider your resume. Use color in text, borders or shapes to create a more visually appealing page that recruiters will enjoy looking at. Don’t go overboard, though. The key is to use colors in the same family and to keep their incorporation to a minimum. You want contrast, not a busy and overwhelming resume. When in doubt, stick to one color that isn’t hard to read or too loud. Better yet, create different color schemes for different industries, like blue for finance and teal for creative fields.
One great design concept to experiment with is using borders. Try a basic border around the edge to add some classic detail or use them to separate the different parts of your resume into sections. Borders are important because they help the reader navigate the page. Plus, by distinguishing sections of your resume, you’ll be able to notice if something doesn’t fit. This will then allow you to streamline your overall page and reorganize key information.
Keep Fonts Legible
Although you may want to flex your creative muscles, don’t use any fonts that stray too far from the norm. Multiple fonts might make your resume stand out, but in a bad way that leaves the recruiter confused and your resume in the trash bin. Use similar fonts that are classic and that don’t overcomplicate your design—you want the recruiter to actually be able to read your resume! Try Myriad Pro and Minion (bold) or Helvetica (bold) and Garamond in combination and definitely leave Papyrus and Comic Sans alone.
Though you want your page to be creative and exciting, your design also needs to be easy to follow. Don’t crowd the page with too much information; instead, try to guide the reader’s eye to the most important pieces of information about you. This can be done through strategic use of color, white space and formatting. Plus, many jobs will be looking for concise resumes, so be sure to follow the best practice for the industry you’re applying to—this generally means cutting your wealth of experience down to one or (maybe) two pages.
While you might not want to include your own photo on the page, including some graphics or charts can demonstrate your design skills and make your resume more legible. Small, easy to understand graphics can stand out and show that you think outside the box. Consider a bar graph of your skills or some small icons to represent your contact information. One word of advice with visuals is that less is more. If your resume feels too busy or cluttered, it probably is.
You want your design to reflect your degree and desired position, but most importantly, you want it to stand out. Have friends look at your resume and take it to your career center for advice before you begin applying to any dream jobs. This way, you can ensure that your resume reflects your amazing talent and experiences so you can land that perfect job you’ve spent your university years working toward.