The visual design of resumes is controversial topic that must be handeled carefully. The desire to stand out, combined with no shortage of bad advice online, causes many to use resume designs that recruiters don't like.
This section explains the principles of resume design, as well as how to avoid common pitfalls.
The Basics of Typography
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. When it comes to resumes, typography is crucial because resumes are primarily composed of text. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Use a readable body font size. 14 pixels is ideal, but no smaller than 12 pixels.
- Use larger font sizes for emphasis. This can help draw attention to important information, such as your name or job title.
- Be aware of line length. Lines that are too long can be hard to read, so aim for a maximum of 75-85 characters per line.
- Use appropriate line height. This will make longer lines easier to read and will give your resume a more balanced and visually appealing look.
- Don't be afraid to use fonts other than Arial or Times. This is outdated advice propagated by old resume guides. Readers will be familiar with other fonts commonly used in documents and websites, like Inter, San Francisco, Segoe, Roboto, etc.
- A commonly cited myth is that fonts other than Arial and Times will break an ATS scan. Most ATS scan resumes similar to humans, so if it's readable to you, it will be to the ATS as well. Using a small font size is an example that will have a negative impact on both humans and applicant tracking systems.
Margins and Whitespace
Margins and whitespace are essential for creating a clean, organized layout for your resume. Here's why:
- Vertical whitespace creates hierarchy. This makes it easier for the reader to scan your resume and quickly find the most important information, or the section they are looking for.
- Margins reduce line length. This keeps relevant information closer together and makes it easier read. They also add negative space to the page, which makes it more visually appealing.
Color can add personality to your resume and help emphasize important information. However, it's easy to overdo it and end up with a resume that is cluttered and hard to read. Here are a few tips for using color effectively in your resume:
- Use color sparingly. A little bit of color can go a long way, so don't feel like you need to use a lot of it.
- Use color to emphasize important information. This could be your name, your job title, or key achievements.
- Avoid using multiple colors. Stick to one or two colors and use them consistently throughout your resume.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
As with any aspect of resume design, it's important to avoid common pitfalls that can negatively impact the effectiveness of your resume. Here are a few things to watch out for:
- Over doing it: Too much design can be distracting and make it harder for the reader to focus on the content of your resume.
- Small text size: This is a common mistake made by people with long resumes. Maintain readability with a reasonable font size and edit your content instead.
- Using charts or diagrams: While they can be effective display techniques, recruiters generally don't like them and they can be distracting. An ATS will also skip them.
In conclusion, visual design is an important aspect of creating a successful resume. By following the tips outlined in this post, you can create a resume that is easy to read, visually appealing, and effective at communicating your qualifications and achievements.
If you're not sure whether your resume looks good, seek the advice of a professional designer. They can provide valuable feedback and help you create a resume that is both visually appealing and effective.