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!