As someone who has seen hundreds of resumes during my time at the Career Services Center, I can definitely say that the typical resume is a snore to look at. I’ve seen enough of the ol’ Times New Roman standby to last a lifetime. This trend is understandable. Certain fields like accounting and business actually prefer the traditional over the aesthetically pleasing. And with only a few templates and examples to choose from, how creative can anyone really get with these things?
Lucky for you I have taken it upon myself to clear the air. There are several things you can do to help your resume stand out from your competition. I’ll start with the most basic of techniques: the line. Adding a few divisionary lines between the sections of your resume makes it visually easier to approach. Subconsciously, readers will think the resume will actually take less time to look over –since you’ve already divided the information into concise sections. At the very least –put one under your heading. It will automatically make your name and contact information stand out tenfold.
While this example does utilize color –something that would not be appropriate for those more conservative jobs- it also displays the line division I was talking about. Everything looks clear and concise. I would have recommended to Andre that he use bullet points to further organize his information –but hey, there is always room for improvement.
Another thing I wish more people would do –is create a personal logo. No one does this anymore (probably out of lack of know-how) –but it really is much less complicated than it seems. The key is simplicity. You want it to compliment your resume, not overpower it.
As you can see in this example, Carol simply played with a font she liked and the first letter of her last name. Simple and effective. Yes, the purple was probably a step too far –I think black ink would have been a better choice (since it is always a safer bet to err on the conservative side with colors). However I think her design is fantastic, aka not a snooze fest. She could also easily use the logo on business cards as well. If you haven’t already, check out VistaPrint.com to take advantage of their free business card offer. Nothing looks better than a snazzy business card attached to a polished resume.
Another easy change to make is the paper you are printing these bad-boys on. Anyone can use the standard printer paper –not everyone takes the time to use the higher quality (aka better looking) resume paper. One reason for this is that this stuff is pricey. I’ve seen it as high as $15 for 50 sheets (yikes!). But don’t despair –several colleges on campus are secretly giving away these gems to students who ask for it. Also keep in mind that one box of resume paper can last you as long as a couple years. Looking at it as a long-term investment can help take the sting out of spending so much on paper.
Obviously this is not your run-of-the-mill resume paper. This would definitely not be appropriate for those conservative office jobs I’ve been mentioning –but if you’re entering a more creative field, this could be a fun way to help your resume catch your interviewer’s eye.
The moral of the story is get creative! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. With the hiring process getting more and more competitive –standing out is the name of the game. If nothing else –please don’t use Times New Roman. For my sake. J