The content of your resume is flawless, so why are you not getting any nibbles for an interview? It might come down to the layout and design of your resume, as seemingly unfair as that may be. As unfair as it may be, the look of your resume matters just as much as the content, and sometimes even more depending on the type of job you’re seeking.
The design can tell someone a lot about you, like how much effort you put into your application and whether you have an eye for style. Think of a resume like a first impression and it’s easy to see why it matters.
If two equally qualified people were applying for a job, even if it’s not customer-facing, if one shows up in sweatpants and unwashed hair while the other one is in business clothes and looks tidy, you know who will get the job. This is even true if the candidate in sweatpants is more qualified!
We judge one another based on appearances, and in the digital era of applying for jobs that are often remote, that means the appearance of your resume.
What Makes a Good-Looking Resume?
You know a good-looking resume when you see it, but can you identify exactly what that is? Can you replicate it? Maybe and maybe not, but the reality is that nobody except an expert designer can actually make a resume stand out.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire a resume designer, and sometimes merely copying the look of a great resume can be enough. However, keep in mind that in a competitive job market, working with a professional resume builder will simply give you an edge. It’s worth the investment for many people.
An attractive resume today often means that it’s dynamic. There might be colors and images. There’s certainly a lot of white space and clear headers. There might be bullet points or other ways to help highlight information without overloading it.
That sounds simple to some, but it’s also very easy to overdo it on colors, fonts, and design if you’re not a professional. Sometimes there’s a thin line between a dynamic resume and a messy one.
Considerations for Top Resumes
How employers are accessing your resume can also play a role in its appearance. Ideally you are able to share a PDF of your resume, either via email or uploaded into a system, so that you can be certain there are no changes made.
Avoid sending anything but a PDF if you can. Also make sure you have a format that is easy to copy and paste information, as many employers require individual inputs for jobs. Ideally, you’ll have two versions of your resume: one in PDF and one in Word or another format that’s easy to pull information from.
You’ll also need to think about any caps on resume page limits, especially if you’re at the top of your field or have been in the industry for several years. Creating different versions of a resume, including long-form and short-form, is one way to always have a suitable resume available.
Creating a website that shares a more comprehensive overview of your resume is an excellent complement to a PDF resume. This way you can also share live links on your website and keep it up to the minute. Just make sure you direct the person looking at your resume to your website at the top of the page where your information is shared.
An expert resume builder can help create these formats for you, taking into account your industry and the types of employers you’re approaching. Think of it as an investment in your future—and one less task to take on yourself.