Your professional résumé is your opportunity to sell yourself on paper.
Yes, content is king.
But, aesthetics plays a key part in the overall presentation of your qualifications as well.
In other words, you want to make your résumé look good.
Companies create marketing collateral to accentuate their corporate brand in the marketplace.
Likewise, you need to strategically select specific details in these five areas:
- Design elements
You must visually accentuate your "brand" to remain competitive in the job market.
Not only should you create a compelling value-based résumé, but incorporating key visual components are important as well.
First impressions are lasting impressions.
If your résumé looks rudimentary, you likely won’t be taken as seriously – which could mean a direct hit to your salary potential.
Put some thought and effort into creating a fine document that showcases your value while enticing the reader.
By doing so, your perceived value could immediately rise.
The truth is, after viewing hundreds of résumés on a daily basis, recruiters are inundated with mediocre, lackluster documents.
So, help them help you.
Offer an exciting document that is not only strong in content but aesthetically pleasing as well.
Here are a few tips to help you make your résumé visually pop.
Pick the right font
Fonts do matter.
In fact, in a recent article by The Huffington Post, Times New Roman was coined "the sweatpants of fonts" and Comic Sans was considered a no-go unless you were applying to clown school.
Although comical, this shouldn’t be taken lightly.
People are actually being overlooked for career opportunities because of bad font choices!
I personally love looking at a light and fresh page with clean lines.
These are some of my favorite sans serif fonts:
- Calibri Light
- Gill Sans
- Century Gothic
For a more traditional look, I recommend one of these fonts:
- Book Antiqua
Depending on the font style, your size should be between 10 and 12 points.
(I teach more about this in my 12 Days of Résumés Video Training Series in my private FB group for professional women.)
Depending on the look and feel you’re going for, settle on a font that matches the tone of the résumé and complements your personal brand.
Create the perfect amount of white space
The fact is, no one is reading your résumé, beginning to end.
Studies show recruiters only take an average of six seconds on a résumé.
They skim the information for the content they are looking for.
So, it is critical that your résumé is easy on the eyes and inviting to read.
Creating just the right amount of space in strategic locations on the page can help balance text from open space.
If there isn’t enough white space, your document will look too dense and no one will even attempt to read it.
Your résumé will sadly make a swift transition to the NO pile.
On the other hand, if there is too much white space, your résumé will look rudimentary and scant.
- Keep margins between 0.7 and 0.5 on all sides.
- Avoid placing headers in the left column.
The screenshot below shows an example of how not to format your résumé:
Be reasonable with the amount of space between sections.
There is no need for two lines of space between your experience and education.
It’s a waste of prime real estate on your résumé.
- Make paragraphs no more than 3 to 5 lines.
- Lists should be no more than 3 to 5 bullets.
Also, a great rule of thumb is to have either one full page or two full pages.
Having only a few lines on page two makes it seem incomplete and may come off as tacky.
Use a splash of color
Résumés, in general, tend to be boring and mundane.
Don’t be afraid to add some minor elements of color to give recruiters a breath of fresh air.
But be careful not to take it overboard.
- Pick subtle shades of blue to play it safe.
- If you want, you can also move into hues of purple, orange, or even green.
It gives life to the page and stimulates the eye.
Here’s a quick example of a résumé I was able to create using green.
You can add color to the following six elements on your résumé:
- Your name
- Job titles
Also, use color to guide the eyes to some important selling points.
Add visual elements
A great way to make your résumé stand out and look visually appealing is the use of images.
Try adding elements such as:
These can break up text and add a delightful element to your résumé.
A chart or graph plays a double role as it also helps convey information.
In today’s information overload, our attention span is at an all-time low.
For this reason, pictures aid in taking in information.
So, don’t be afraid to create some sort of visual aid to help paint the picture that tells your career story.
(For more résumé tips check out What To Include In A Resume - 16 Best Things.)
Make sure items are consistent throughout.
Double-check these three aesthetic elements:
- Bullets need to line up and margins should be even on all sides.
- Make sure bullets are the same size, color, and shape.
- Make sure your fonts are consistent throughout.
Remember, it’s all about the presentation!
Think about this, a meal that looks amazing will be more enticing than a sloppy plate.
So, make sure your plate isn’t sloppy.
You want your résumé to look good!
Also, keep in mind that some of these elements (particularly the images) may not mesh well with online application systems.
So, I recommend creating a separate résumé without all the bells and whistles to upload online.
Perhaps, however, you’re doing a more direct self-marketing strategy.
If so, emailing a polished résumé directly to a recruiter or your future boss will take you far.
Can we help you?
Good luck with improving your résumé design!
By the way, we can help you with writing or updating your résumé.
Contact us today and let us know how we can help you land your dream job.