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Why Design Matters When Writing Your Resume
Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest post: Jordan Grimes, freelance recruiter

After you've put your resume together you give it a read and feel that every word says what you want it to. But does the look of your resume give off an equally satisfying impression? Resume structures are a big deal.When you hand a resume over to a potential employer, the first impression they get from the looks of it.

From things like spacing to text amount, hiring managers and recruiters can make major decisions from just a quick glance. I can't even begin to tell you how many face-lifts my resume has gone through over the years. Resumes go through a lifelong metamorphosis because the process in which they are created is that of continual trial and error.

For the longest time I assumed that as long as the substance of my resume was on point, where the words fell on the page were essentially trivial. WRONG! Your resume makes the same kind of first impression on a hiring manager with the appearance of its format as you do with your attire. There is the right way to dress in an interview and a right way to doing some resume feng shui.

A good exercise that will help determine the effectiveness of your resume formatting is by putting one together using Lorem Ipsum. When not focusing on the actual words, you can start to see the resume as a whole picture. You'll notice subtle changes in legibility due to spacing or how increasing the font size for certain headings makes things pop.

Remember to always keep your audience in mind. The more corporate the place is, they don't care to see any kind of frills. More lax places will find hints of flair to be refreshing and may even be looking for it. Take a look at your resume right  now and compare it to the examples below:


Both have different styles and formatting, but can still catch the eye of a hiring manager. Granted, the one on the right has significantly larger font than making it much more noticeable, though a hiring manager might see that as a shortcut to fill up space on the page. It really all comes down to the overall cohesion of the resume.

Having a resume entirely in black and white like my first few drafts were is perfectly okay, but these days there's no such thing as doing too little to get noticed by a potential employer. You don't have to use crazy fonts--nor should you actually--but do get a little creative. Dare to align to the right, even.

The thing to remember about resumes is that who you are and your personality should be reflected in them. Just like your bedroom reflects your personal taste, add some of that style to your resume. In this case though, keeping it clean is mandatory. Do some research, try out different settings and stick with one that feels right to you. Before sending it out, get a second opinion and go back to the drawing board if you have to. 

You shouldn't rush the resume process because you're going to have to revisit again sooner or later. Think of a resume as a recipe. There are always core ingredients that go into it, but you can always modify different parts to suit your taste buds. It's better to make small changes along the way rather than starting over from scratch each time.