5 Tips to a Visually Appealing Resume

Writing a resume is challenging and time-consuming. After it’s well-written, tailored, and grammatically correct, it’s time to make sure it’s noticed and read by recruiters and potential employers. Creative resumes are acceptable in almost all fields, particularly those industries where creativity and thinking outside the box are highly coveted skill sets.

Here are five tips to help you…




1. Bring a Splash of Color
Since most resumes are sent electronically or uploaded there is no reason to be stingy with color. The way it appears on your screen is the way it will appear on theirs. So get a little wild. Use bold and italics to help key words pop out. Keep in mind colors can evoke emotions and some (yellow or light blue) can be hard to read. Stick to colors that will help get your skills and experience across and do not overuse colors.

2. Font Choice
Choosing an appropriate font is essential for making your resume appealing. If a font is too fancy or too busy the resume will be set aside quickly. The two most popular resume fonts are Arial and Calibri. They are both easy to read and Calibri was designed to be read on a computer screen, which is where the majority of resumes are being read. Readers also tend to relate Calibri with stability, which would be a huge positive in resume writing. You can also vary the size of your font to attract attention. Your name should be larger than the rest to highlight that. Section headers may also be slightly larger to draw attention.

3. Use Space Wisely
Generally resumes give you two pages to work with. That is not a lot of space for a mid-career employee so creativity is a must! Margins should still be 1” on all sides, but there is no reason you need to stick with straight paragraphs or loads of lists. Utilizing the space you have on a page, lay out your resume in a way that makes sense to the reader. Think about the job you are trying to land, what is the main purpose?

Put that up front and center. Most resume readers look above the fold first and then decide whether to continue. That often puts your experience as one of the last things they read. Make sure the executive summary and key qualifications are popping off the page at them so they want to keep reading!

4. Shapes
To create the “eye-catching” look of some very appealing resumes a bit of creativity is required. Text boxes and shapes are a great way to simply outline a section without over formatting. Imagine glancing at a resume and noticing that an experience section had a circle around it. Or that there was a text box around the education section. Wouldn’t that make you stop and look again? It works on resume readers as well. Also, there are plenty of basic shapes that can make columns or tables of key qualifications jump off the page.

5. Charts, Graphs, Pictures
Adding to the visual appeal of shapes are charts, graphs, and pictures. Portfolios are not just for photographers; if you are a web designer, you want a potential employer to be able to see your work. A great way to showcase that is a thumbnail image with a hyperlink. You could do a few of those on the bottom of the first page. You could also use charts or graphs to dramatically show an increase of sales for which you were primarily responsible.

Using all of these tips may cause stimulation overload for whomever is reading your resume. Choose wisely and play around with these ideas until you find a creative, visually appealing, professional resume format to follow. Ask colleagues to give it a 10 second test. Have them skim the resume and then tell you what they remember most about it.

Always keep this in mind:  if you think your resume is boring, so will anyone else who reads it.  So follow some of these guidelines and give your resume the lift it deserves.