Business and Professional Resume Design Tips

This post is somewhat in response to a comment, left by an anonymous reader, on a previous graphics inspiration post. It really made me think about what I've been talking about when it comes to resumes and that by some means I've been preaching that a graphic resume is the only resume way to go... well, folks, it still is. However, you have to make sure that the 'graphics' part that I've been referring to, is less of the cutesy little images and more of the more cohesive design graphics (graphic design). When I say graphics, I'm talking the whole overall graphic design of the resume, not the little images.

Dear Undergrad Business Class Person,

I, too, have taken business classes (graduate level, but I'm not saying that I'm above you in any way, shape or form) specifically for the purpose of creating resumes. There are many sectors in the business world are stodgy and unwilling to budge on forward movement concerning the branding of an individual. My ideas, though, aren't just about graphics... It's more about creating a cohesive package and consistent 'branding' for all aspects of your career. Let me give you some visuals...

Can you imagine this hunk-a-hunk-a-burnin'-love
What car could you imagine him getting out of? Something like this?


Eh, probably not, right? You'd probably catch him in something like this:

or maybe even this.

Something fancy and luxurious, though, for sure.

Now, thinking of that same thing, would that same guy have a resume like this?


Bullet points and all. 

Eh.... Probably not. The layout is ok and the font is clear.... but man, that resume just doesn't do anything to stand out. At all. To change it, here's what I would do...

It's neat. It's clean. It's readable. Oh yeah, and you can scan that baby in a heartbeat.

And if you were really adventurous, I'd add a little bit more with some emphasis on the major font.
Like this:

So how do you achieve this look? There are four things that I design around, for more professionally subdued resumes, as well as more graphic oriented resumes.

(Mind you this is just an example, so the fields aren't 100% filled in)

1) Always make sure that you create a hierarchy with your text. Make it easy to read and make sure that the proportions are right next to the rest of the text on the page. The most important things, like your name and title, should be in a larger font, less important things, like the city in which your last job was, should be a little smaller (but not so small they can't be read). Make sure to use an not-so-typical font for these things. Mixing fonts can be hard and getting the right mix is even harder, but step out of your comfort zone and create more of an emphasis and interest in your resume.
2) Make sure that your text is all aligned to one place. I'm talking margin wise here, not left/right/center alignment. In this resume, you can see that the text of the page stops about the same place that the name heading stops. It creates continuity and makes it easier to read. Guide your reader through the text using the space on the page. You can mix left, center, and right alignments of text, but make sure that the margins are the same!
3) Use sub-headings and be consistent with them! Make sure that if there are categories and then sub-information that your reader can easily understand them. Again, make sure you guide your reader through the path that you want them to go! Make sure that the spacing between the lines of your text is also consistent... it can be distracting if it's off a lot.
4) Repeat elements to create more continuity. Like the separation lines I used in this design, repeating elements creates a unified design that is more pleasing to the eye. For more professional resumes, choose more simple, classic elements and make sure they're not distracting. I also repeated the box shadow from the name heading in the sub-headings, then again, I repeated the lines coming off of those headings (which then stop at the same place as the text!). 

Designing resumes is much like designing interiors, landscapes, and even cars... You have to know what your overall goal is and break it down into steps of how to achieve it. Here, with a business type resume, I kept the fonts, colors, and alignment simple. I used the font type to be effective in the reading of the resume and to catch the reader's eye. Think classic and/or traditional design moves for more business related resumes.

If you're interested in more about resumes, you can visit these posts I've written previously
Graphics Make All The Difference: Graphic examples and inspirations for great resumes and other personal branding accessories.
Great Graphic Resume Tips: Tips on how to create a great graphic resume. Some of these tips transfer over to the ones I've just written about! That means they're important!
Or visit my Etsy Shop to get your own custom resume designed by yours truly!


Jane Droll said...

don't you just love anon comments? lol!!!!!!!! GENERALLY annon comments are from chickenshits or spammers.

i am glad you took the time to respond and explain. i used to work in hr and i had to review thousands of resumes. BIG, FAT YAWN. the most interesting ones were from the graphic designers, by far. most of the others were a snore. it is tricky to present content in an interesting fashion. one wants to make sure all the info is clear and easy to read, but it also needs to stand out from the crowd. gauge your audience, and craft accordingly. some industries are pretty freaking uptight, so you might have to tone it down for them. but there still should be some room for creativity and uniqueness.

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aliya seen said...

To get job the proper resume format should be follow and the you can e all set to start your career.