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6 Resume Design Rules That Will Get You Hired

Resume Design Rules

Are you struggling with your resume design? In the competitive job market, the resume design you choose can make or break your chances. A well-designed resume can help you stand out by highlighting your most valuable expertise and your personality. But lousy resume design could make you look unprofessional and prevent you from getting an interview.

A winning resume is equal parts of good design and great content. When you combine the two, your chances of landing interviews increase, and you are one step closer to new career opportunities.

6 Rules of resume design to make your resume stand out

1. Choose the right font
2. Choose the suitable layout
3. White space balance
4. Add a personal touch
5. Keep it brief
6. Use the right file format

1. Choose the right font

Making a good first impression is choosing a simple, easy-to-read font. A good font should embody professionalism and improve the readability of the text. Your resume will have a higher chance of getting noticed amongst all the other applicants.

Here is a list of the best fonts for your resume:
1. Garamond
2. Calibri
3. Tahoma
4. Arial
5. Helvetica
6. Verdana
7. Corbel
8. Times New Roman

Related: Top 9 Resume Fonts to Level Up Your Resume in 2023

Basic fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri are all great to use on resumes. You can add flair with a bolder alternative font if you’re applying for a creative position. Make your resume easy to scan; make the heading bold or large. Moreover, make sure your name stands out by making it larger and placing it at the top. Finally, remember to leave enough white space for the resume to be easy to navigate. When it comes to font size, aim for between 10 and 12 points. Any font smaller than that will be hard to read. Also, make sure your font is legible both on paper and on the computer. As mentioned before, you can make the section headings larger, and your name should typically be twice the size of your basic font size.

2. Choose the suitable layout 

When deciding on your resume design, you have three basic layouts to choose from. Each highlights different aspects of your professional journey, so choose what best fits your expertise. The most used is the chronological layout that lists your experiences, starting with the most recent. But, if your work history isn’t consistent, you may want to choose a functional layout instead. This resume format lists your skills and expertise first instead of focusing on your career history. Finally, the combination layout merges the two, presenting your work experience and skills.

3. White space balance

Too much text can make a resume look cluttered and chaotic. The hiring manager might be overwhelmed by it and skip to the next one. Ensure every page has enough white space between the text to avoid this. Ideally, set the margins to one inch to have enough space and no technical challenges when printing the resume.

Related: How to use white space on a resume

4. Add a personal touch

In essence, your resume is a personal sales pitch. You need to sell yourself, and the best way to do that is to wrap your experience in an attractive, relevant design that matches the content. While you should always aim for a professional resume design, you can experiment with colors and fonts that best convey your personality. However, the resume design should not distract from its content. Adding some flair can help your resume stand out and leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager.

Related: 20+ Best Microsoft Word Resume Templates for 2021

5. Keep it brief

In most cases, your resume should be one page long. This length is optimal for conveying enough information about you without boring the reader. Yet, there are exceptions to the rule. If you have decades of experience, you may use up more space to describe your expertise. Similarly, if you work in a field that requires a longer resume format, you can expand your resume to two or even three pages.

6. Use the right file format

The best file type to save your resume in is PDF. It preserves your resume design and prevents it from getting jumbled up. However, you should check the job description before sending your resume. While most companies accept PDFs, some may ask you to send your resume in Word format. Also, choosing the correct file type is vital to ensure your resume will pass the Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).

Resume design rules: dos and don’ts

  • Use a ready-made template – If you want a polished, elegant, modern or classic resume without spending hours on the layout, resume templates are the way to go. They will make formatting quick and easy and increase the readability of your resume. When choosing a template, select one that is suitable for your industry. Then, fill in your information, highlight the important content, and you’re all done.
  • Tailor each resume to fit the job – When applying for multiple positions, make sure you change your resume according to the job. Each of the resumes should target the specific requirements of the position. Moreover, each should highlight the skills and qualifications most relevant to the job you’re applying to.
  • Don’t mix more than two fonts – It’s best to stick to one font, but if you want to experiment, never use more than two fonts on your resume. Using too many fonts can be distracting, and they may clash with one another. So, unless you are a design professional, stick to one or a maximum of two fonts.
  • Don’t go longer than two lines in bullet points – You may want to explain your past responsibilities in great detail, but hold back on your resume. Your bullet points should be concise and no longer than two lines. This will help keep the resume short, but it will also improve its overall readability.

Key takeaways

Unique, professional resume design is guaranteed to catch the hiring manager’s attention. Remember that you don’t need to be a designer to create an elegant, innovative resume. Use premade templates if you want to save time or design your resume to reflect your personality. However, remember to keep the resume design professional and straightforward. Use one font throughout and create easily identifiable headers for each section to do this. Finally, keep the importance of white space in mind. Use bullet points to list your past job descriptions and leave extra space between paragraphs and their headings.

Creating a resume that stands out and brings you results takes time. But keep in mind that good resume design combined with your accomplishments can boost your chances of success and help you land your next interview. By implementing these six resume design tips, you will be well on your way to having a professional, eye-catching resume that will make the hiring manager want to know more.


FAQ – Resume Design Rules

Are there any specific rules for designing a resume for a specific industry?

Designing a resume for a specific industry can involve considering certain rules and guidelines that are tailored to that industry. While there may not be hard and fast rules, there are some industry-specific considerations to keep in mind. Here are a few examples:

  1. Creative Industries (Graphic Design, Advertising, etc.): In creative industries, you have more flexibility to showcase your design skills. Consider incorporating visually appealing elements, such as an eye-catching layout, graphics, or a portfolio section. Make sure your resume reflects your creativity and stands out from the crowd.
  2. Technology and IT: For technology-related roles, it’s important to showcase your technical skills and expertise. Include a technical skills section that highlights relevant programming languages, software, and tools. Use a clean and modern design with a focus on readability and organization.
  3. Finance and Accounting: In finance and accounting, precision and attention to detail are crucial. Use a clean and professional design, with a focus on readability. Emphasize your analytical and quantitative skills, as well as any relevant certifications or qualifications.
  4. Healthcare and Medical: In healthcare, the resume should prioritize relevant qualifications, certifications, and experiences. Use a simple and clean design, with clear headings and sections. Highlight your clinical skills, patient care experience, and any specialized training or expertise.
  5. Education and Teaching: In the education field, the resume should highlight your teaching experience, certifications, and educational background. Use a clean and organized design, with clear headings for each section. Include a section on teaching methodologies, classroom management techniques, and any innovative approaches to education.

Should I use a template or create a custom design for my resume?

When it comes to creating a resume, the decision to use a template or create a custom design depends on your preferences, skills, and the specific job application. Here are some points to consider:

Using a Template:

  • Saves time and effort: Templates provide pre-designed layouts and formatting, saving you time and effort in creating a resume from scratch. You can simply fill in your information and customize the template as needed.
  • Professional appearance: Templates are often designed by professionals and follow industry standards, ensuring a polished and professional look. They typically include sections for key information such as contact details, work experience, skills, and education.
  • Consistency and readability: Templates help maintain consistency in formatting and layout, making it easier for recruiters to read and understand your resume. They often have a clear hierarchy and use consistent fonts and spacing.

Creating a Custom Design:

  • Showcasing creativity or design skills: If you have design skills or are applying for a creative role, creating a custom design can help showcase your creativity and stand out from other applicants. It allows you to create a unique visual representation of your skills and experience.
  • Tailoring to specific industries or roles: Certain industries or roles may require a more tailored or unique design. For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design or marketing position, a visually appealing and creative resume design may be more appropriate.

Ultimately, the choice between using a template or creating a custom design depends on your specific needs and goals. Consider the industry, role, and company culture you’re applying to, as well as your design skills and time constraints.

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