How to Design Your Resume to Get the Right Attention


The most basic principle of good resume formatting and design is to keep it simple.

1. Font

Use a basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. Keep it easy to read at a glance by using a font size between 10 and 12 and leaving a healthy amount of white space on the page. You can use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked, but keep it simple and keep it consistent. Your main focus here should be on readability for the hiring manager.

2. Icons and Graphics

Creative resumes with icons or graphics can set you apart, but you should use them thoughtfully. If you’re applying for a larger company or chain store they most likely use applicant filtering software, so keep to the standard formatting without any bells and whistles so the computer can read it effectively. If you’re applying to a more traditional company, don’t get too crazy, but you can consider adding some tasteful design elements or a little color to make it pop.

No matter what, keep it clean and tidy and don’t go creative unless you’re willing to put in the time and design work to make it perfect.

3. Layout

Keep your contact information easy to read and prominently placed at the top of the page. It’s still worth including a postal address and make sure to give a  phone number you can be contacted on during businesses hours. Your email address should be professional such as (not that embarrassing old one you chose in high school). Avoid using your contact details from your current place of work unless your applying within the company.

Most importantly, remember to design for “skimmability”.

Hiring managers don’t spend a lot of time on each individual resume so help them get as much information as possible, in as little time as possible. This means putting the most important information at the top of the first page such as including a brief career summary and a snap-shot of key skills. Left aligned text and a chronological work history are also helpful.

And don’t forget to get help from a professional. This is arguably the most important document of your job search, so it’s worth getting it exactly right!

What Do Employers Really Think When They Read Your Resume?

First of all, put yourself in an employer’s shoes and consider their frame of mind when looking at your resume and what they’re asking for in the job description.

1. Provide quantifiable prove of your experience.
“Hardworking team player” is written on almost every resume I come across but it doesn’t tell the employer much. Prove your commitment through achievement-based language such as “Increased performance by X% through introducing…” to get the right attention.
For instance, boilermaker might cite X number of days incident free, a hairdresser can measure his or her success by a client feedback system or industry awards achieved; while an administration assistant might provide typing speed and data input accuracy percentages.
Use results-driven language on your resume and see the immediate difference in employer response.
2. Put the most important information in the top-half of the first page.
On average, employers only spend a few seconds skimming over your resume before developing an opinion regarding your suitability. So making sure the important parts stand out is a key challenge. Employers are most interested in your achievements and experience, in other words, what you bring to them.
Listing the most relevant information first to grab their attention during that first skim over makes a huge impact on your call back results.
Have someone glance over your resume and tell you what they noticed and the overall impression they got. Make adjustments as needed and try it again.
3. Use keywords in your resume and cover letter.
Many large recruitment companies use an automated applicant tracking system (ATS) to review resumes which look for key words that relate to the job ad. This system filters out the resumes that are irrelevant and needn’t be considered for the job. So to ensure your resume gets through the filtering software, you must look for keywords in the job ad and insert them into your resume and cover letter. Addressing selection criteria and using industry terminology will get you a long way with the company.
Utilizing these three key points will significantly improve your results next time you apply for a job.

When You Have No Relevant Work Experience

Applying for a new job can be daunting enough even for those with years of relevant experience, but when you’re fresh out of school, a uni graduate, or making a massive career change, it can be difficult to know where to start when you have no relevant professional experience.

​1. Start With Your Education and Training

It’s understandable for school leavers and entry-level applicants to start with their educational background instead of professional experience. There are a lot of relevant skills and experiences you developed during your education that you can include on your resume.

Primarily,  your educational background tells a lot about your intellectual capacity, academic strengths, and your ability to transform learned material into actual skills.

Consider also including your sporting memberships or participation in additional school activities. This will give employers insight into your ability to manage a schedule, multi-task and commit to team projects. Give thought to tasks assigned to you that are relevant to the position you want to apply for and specify the skills you used to accomplish these tasks.

2. Follow It Up With Transferable Skills

No matter how inexperienced, everyone has a degree of skill in a few basic areas. It’s simply a matter of presenting those skills in a way that will impress potential employers by your ability to link seemingly irrelevant skills to something of substance and value for the job your applying for.

Consider pocket money jobs and other activities you were involved in and look for transferable skills such as leadership, research, ability to work independently and work with others. Also, you no doubt picked up other useful skills for administrative tasks like computer knowledge, presentation experience, and working as part of a team during your academic experience.

Ask yourself what you’re good at, what your natural abilities are and how they apply to the workplace. Think about whether you have people skills, organization skills, or problem-solving skills. You might have a natural talent relevant to the field your applying for.

3. Combine Your Resume With a Strong Cover Letter

Cover letters serve an important role in introducing yourself to employers and help make up for a lack of experience. They provide an opportunity to express your interests, goals, and ideas and how these benefit the company. Be specific when outlining your real-life experience to show how your abilities compensate for your lack of experience in the workplace. Show employers why you are an asset and this will advance you in the application process.

Everybody has something they can use when applying for a job. Remember, employers are looking for people with drive and commitment, rather than just professional experience. Present your skill or talent in a way that highlights your value. If your still not sure how to go about it, ask a professional like CV Savvy for advice.