April 26, 2011

Resume Layout Design

On average, each resume is either kept or rejected within 10 seconds of review. What does your resume look like? Do you have your name and contact information centered at the top? Underneath that do you have your education and work experience listed with the company name and position on the left, the dates your were involved on the right, and a bulleted list of your accomplishments there below? This seems to be the standard recipe for resumes so, if your resume sounds a lot like the one I've just described, then it pretty much looks like that of every other young job applicant out there. So how can you make it stand out?

In creating a resume, a lot of emphasis is placed on content and organization, which are the most important elements, but if you only have 10 seconds to leave an impression, you don't want to neglect the very first thing people notice -- the design. Potential employer may not realize they are judging a resume at all by how it looks, but on a subconscious level, they are. You want a design that's clean, simple, and easy to scan for the important bits while also breaking that cookie-cutter mold.
So how do you do all that? A great way to start is by looking up resumes of professors, colleagues, and other students that you know. Many people these days have online portfolios with their resumes posted. Look through these and see if there are any in particular that catch your attention. You can also do a Google search for resumes for your industry.

Some things you might want to try to spruce up your resume:

  1. Add an accent color - I'd recommend no more than one color and limit its use to make key items pop

  2. Add a logo/brand/original icon that represents yourself and your work

  3. Use a two-column layout instead of a one-column - I really like resumes that had a large column on the left with work/education details and a narrower column on the right listing skills/programs. This makes it easy for employers looking for particular skills to look through them all at a glance.

Katie Hazard | Digital Artist, User Experience Designer
khazard@internlikearockstar.com | @katie_hazard
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