Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Resume Layout Ideas

While content is king when it comes to resume design, there's no doubt that your layout makes a big difference. Here are some tips to help your resume stand out:

  • Use one or more lines throughout your document as a way to create letterhead or divide resume sections up in a visually-pleasing way. Remember, too, that you can alter the dimension, style, color, and length of any line you create.

  • Use bullets to emphasize the key words in your Career Summary and your achievement statements in the body of your resume.

  • Use no more than 2 different styles of bullets throughout your documents. Less is more when it comes to graphic elements.

  • Beyond selecting bullets from your task bar, you can also choose from a wide variety of bullet styles in Word's symbols menu. In particular, make sure you take a look at the webdings and wingdings choices, as many of these are perfect for bulleted statements.

  • Use boldfacing, underlining, and italics sparingly and consistently.

  • Keep your margins to about 1-2 inches all around your document. This will help you maintain a visually-appealling amount of white space. Likewise, do not crowd your sections - by adding white space here and there, you will dramatically improve readability.

  • The most universal fonts, in order, are Times New Roman and Arial. If you use any other fonts, be sure to PDF your document before you send it by email, or the receiver may not be able to read it in the form you intended it to be read.

  • You can create PDFs for free at and

  • You can also add color (sparingly) to a resume for a great look. You could use an alternative text color for headers, let's say, or an alternative line color for section dividers or accents.

  • Graphic images can also be added for a great look, especially on the resumes of people seeking creative work (hear that, Kristy and James?). In these cases, the resume itself serves as a small portion of your professional portfolio.

  • You can also use creative layouts for resumes. Some people actually set their resume up as a brochure. Or, if you're a technical writer, perhaps you could set yours up as a technical manual. The key is to think outside the box in a way that communicates effectively without distracting the reader from your strengths and qualifications.

Some templates for your consideration:

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