Join Steve Harris for an in-depth discussion in this video General resume layout and design principles, part of Designing a Resume.
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A resume is an advertisement for yourself. So, treat it like a client project and put your best effort into it. Follow the same rules you have for your client work and don't break long-standing design rules to fit more content inside of the design. Here are a few items to consider when it comes to general layout and design principles. First, I recommend that you use bullets rather than full paragraphs. Bullets help to breakup the design and make it a little bit less intimidating for your reader to look at. Next, don't clutter up your design.
In this example of Nicolette's resume, you can see that she's included a ton of text. And this is just really difficult for a reader to skim through quickly, and get the most important information out of it. When it comes to where to place your most important information, I recommend that you move it to the top of the design. Lots of people like to include their education or their job history at the top, and that's okay. But I'm a firm believer that if you have something to say or an important message to convey, that your resume begins with this.
Also, always be sure to use a legible font. In this example of a modern font, it's quite cool, however, it's going to be really difficult for somebody to understand what it means. And at the end of the day, if it's difficult to read, it's not going to pass. When it comes to printing your resume, you might have more than one page. And I'd recommend that you don't print on the back side of your first page. It's okay if your resume spans to a second page. Just make sure that you print it out on a new sheet.
Or else your reader may not know to flip this page over and your resume could abruptly end at the bottom causing it to be thrown out. Once you've clarified and optimized the information to be presented, focus your efforts on making a beautiful and highly legible document for employers to read. Remember to present your most powerful content first, make an impact, and leave some room for the company representative to contact you to learn more.
Note: Steve uses Adobe InDesign to create these resumes, but we've included a bonus chapter that shows you how to recreate the same designs in Microsoft Word or the software of your choice.
- Understanding general resume layout and design principles
- Setting up InDesign for resume designs
- Building the layouts
- Styling the text
- Introducing color
- Outputting your resume to PDF