A well-designed resume doesn’t need flashy colours, expensive fonts, and illustrative gimmicks.
There are small ways you can make your resume #aesthetic while still keeping things professional, no matter your industry. Something that’s easier on the eyes gives recruiters a better reason to pay attention to the actual content of your job app. Here are quick design fixes you can give your resume the bump it needs...
1. Choose the right font
Your choice of font can make or break your resume. Something that’s simple and easy to read like Helvetica or Lato are great starting points, but you should definitely be shopping around for fonts that appeal to your target industry or business. Looking to work for a startup? These guys tend to be contemporary forward thinkers so a clean modern sans-serif font like Sofia Pro or Avenir is the way to go. Are you a writer? Stick to old-style fonts like Lora or Optima for that bookish feel.
Bonus tip: If you're willing to go that extra mile, use the same font as your recruiter. Download the browser extension WhatFont, then head to your recruiter’s website and take note of which fonts they use.
2. Spend time on your layout! Space. Things. Out.
You know how your lecturers NEVER fail to tell you to double space your essays? Spacing out your content gives your readers' eyes a rest and can win you some serious brownie points. Double-spacing isn’t necessary here since you shouldn’t be having huge blocks of texts, but something simple like 1.2 points between lines and creating clear spaces between your different sections can make a huge difference.
A great way to do this is to use columns — they shorten the width of your text blocks which increases readability. They’re also a great way to organise the overall layout of your information. They make things easier to skim and will draw the eye of your recruiter to the things they’re looking for. Columns are your friend!
3. Make your resume phone-friendly
It’s easy to picture recruiters opening your resume when they’re sat down at their well-organised desks, but busy times can call for on-the-go browsing. Submit your resumes as PDFs rather than Word docs. Ever tried to open a Word doc on your phone? Weird font changes, overlapping text, and overall chaos. This is another a great reason to use columns and really workshop your layout in a way that makes it easier to zoom in and out.
Making your resume device-friendly also means you can have it on you at all times. Airdrop it to recruiters at your next networking event or whip it out at Friday night drinks just to flex on your friends.
4. Colour is not the enemy — add some.
Nothing says “I don’t care whether I get this job” like black text, a white background, and zero flair. Even a little splash of grey can bring some life to the page.
Blue is a great start — from corporate to creative, everyone loves blue. Keeping things simple? Something like a neutral navy banner across the top of your page is perfect. Going for some wholesome vibes? Throw in some sky-blue accents. Feeling more adventurous than blue? Play around with some forest-y greens and deep purples, maybe even a mustard yellow.
5. Use visual aids
We are a very visual society, and a picture is worth a thousand words. Visual aids like bar graphs to reflect your skill levels and small icons to distinguish different methods of contact give your recruiter's eyes a break from all that text without compromising the information you need to communicate.
All in all, the key to a well-designed resume is simplicity and readability. Applying just a couple of these quick fixes proves you don’t need to be a master designer to design something well. In fact, you don’t even need the right software. If InDesign and Canva aren’t up your alley, Pages (Mac users) and Microsoft PowerPoint both let you rearrange things with ease, so they're great for playing around with layouts. Give the work you’ve done the presentation it deserves.