The Truth Behind Resume Designs
In the world of resume writing, there is one “f-word” that is always a no-no: “fancy.” Fancy resume designs can be challenging to read and decipher and can confuse applicant track systems (ATS). This makes them a hindrance to your job search rather than an asset.
Skip elaborate borders, images, and other embellishments that take the focus away from your accomplishments. Instead, choose a resume design that combines “format” and “functionality.” These are more likely to make it past an ATS and will be more appealing to a hiring manager
Below, we have chosen 10 resume designs that showcase your skills, experience, and education without compromising on visual appeal. These tried-and-true resume designs will get your resume past the ATS and into the hands of a recruiter so that you can get the job you want. Take a look!
Top 10 Resume Designs
ResumeNow works with professional designers to create resume designs that are attractive and informative without being distracting or dull. Take a look at our top 10 tried-and-true resume designs to find the one that’s right for you!
Asked and Answered: 10 Questions About Resume Design
ATS stands for applicant tracking system. ATSs are software applications that are used by many companies as the first line of screening job applicants. Businesses use ATSs to filter applications automatically based on criteria that are critical to the role, such as an applicant’s skills, years of experience, education, and companies that have worked for in the past.
Hiring managers and recruiters enter keywords into an ATS, which then scans resumes for those keywords. This helps recruiters weed out unqualified candidates in the first round.
To get your resume past an ATS and into the hands of a human being, it is critical for you to pay attention to the keywords listed in the job ad. Carefully read the job description and list all of the skills, experience, and educational requirements that it asks for in a candidate. Next, make a list of those that you possess and add those skills to your resume.
This is called personalizing your resume. Jobseekers should do this every time they apply for a job. Echoing the language in the job ad is the only way to get your resume past an ATS. Since most systems cannot understand nuance, mirroring the exact wording used in the job ad is critical.
For example, if a job ad calls for a candidate with “ten years of experience,” writing that you have “a decade of experience” may knock you out of the running, even though those two sentences mean the same thing.
In addition to mimicking the exact language used in the job ad, be sure your resume design is free of elements that could confuse an ATS. These might include fancy borders, photos, images, icons, and other design elements.
Less is more when it comes to resume design. Once you have identified the skills you’ll need to personalize your resume, look to the resume format. Make sure that the format incorporates plenty of white space. This will allow recruiters to access the information they need to assess your skills and experience easily.
Also, be sure to use conventional titles for your resume sections. Stick with traditional headers such as “professional summary,” “skills,” “work experience,” and “education,” rather than trying to be clever with section names. ATSs, again, don’t understand nuance so if you get creative with your section names, so the algorithm may reject you before your resume meets a human.
These rules apply even to companies that don’t use an ATS. Recruiters want the facts on your resume to be easily accessible during a quick scan. Organize your resume so that it’s easy to skim.
A great resume can take hours to write, but the fact is that recruiters and hiring managers use a fraction of that time reviewing the fruits of your labor. In fact, according to a study by TheLadders, an online job-matching service, recruiters spend an average of six seconds looking at an individual resume.
How do we know that it’s just six seconds? Researchers used a technique called “eye tracking,” which assesses eye movement to record and analyze where and how long a person focuses when reading a document or performing a task, to perform a study. This study gauged specific behaviors of 30 recruiters over 10 weeks as they performed online tasks, including resume and candidate profile reviews.
The takeaway? Candidates have just seconds to make an impression. This means that incorporating a resume design that organizes information well is critical to getting a recruiter to zero in on your qualifications quickly.
Once you write your resume and personalize it to the job you want, spend time proofreading your work. Consider running it through an online editing program, such as Grammarly, which will point out spelling and grammar errors. Or, you can read it from the bottom to the top. This will force you to focus on your content more deeply.
Next, print out your resume and proof it again on paper. This time, also check for consistency. Do you have the names and locations listed for all of the companies you’ve worked for? Does every job have a start and end date listed? Is your font and font size consistent throughout?
Finally, check your resume design to make sure that your contents are legible on paper, and that all of your margins line up.
Depending on your work history, different resume designs and formats might make more sense than others. While a chronological resume format is the format most preferred by recruiters, for jobseekers who are new to the workforce or who have gaps in their employment history, other format might be more appropriate.
For more information on chronological, functional, and hybrid resume formats, see our resume formatting page.
Yes. All resumes should have some basic design elements, such as a header that showcases your contact information and headers to highlight resume sections, but there is no need to get fancy.
As long as your resume is well-organized with section heads, has consistent formatting, and is easy-to-read, a simple black and white resume without the bells and whistles is perfectly acceptable for most industries.
Applicants for roles in more conservative industries, such as finance or law, will benefit from using a simple resume design. Typically, these jobseekers will stick to a chronological resume format to keep their work experience in the spotlight.
Professionals who are applying for jobs in creative industries, such as advertising or web design, might consider a resume design that incorporates a pop or color or a simple flourish to satisfy their creativity. Remember: never to include photos or graphics that could confuse an ATS.
Professional branding is the way that you express your professional identity and image to employers. This can come through in the look and feel of your resume design and should be carried over to your cover letter, portfolio, and other application materials you create.
The personality you express in your resume design, combined with the words you use to describe yourself in your professional summary, can go a long way in convincing a potential employer that you are a cultural fit.
For example, a jobseeker who is seeking a job at an ultra-conservative law firm but who is using a colorful, creative resume may send the wrong message about their ability to fit in with the firm in question. Think of your resume design as your resume’s image. What image do you want your resume to display on your behalf?
A great resume is your ticket to the job you want, and it all starts with a great resume design. On that front, we’ve got you covered.
Resume-Now’s free resume builder is designed to help users create a personalized resume using a variety of designs that will express your unique style. Our builder is a quick and easy solution for jobseekers of all experience levels who need a great resume fast, with no writing experience required. Give it a try today!