How to Design Your Best Resume
Yes it is in fact that time of year! The time where we kick into full throttle and apply to jobs and internships like… it’s our job!
Whether you’re looking in NYC for your first big-girl job or are in your hometown needing to impress that marketing agency for your first internship, a tailored, smart, and visually engaging resume is a must. (Click here if you want to network with your resume at the upcoming National Girlfriends Networking Day!)
I have been complimented on my resume for it’s layout and use of space, and I want to share my tips with you because too many people get freaked out about resumes and we need to demystify the process! I’ve never been a fan of those Times New Roman, text-only resumes created in Word with not much thought to design… but then again I am in a creative field so perhaps I’m a little biased! I think if you’re applying for jobs in a visually creative field, your resume is the first chance to show off your good taste. (If you want to skip my tips, and get right down to designing a killer resume, here are some sophisticated and free sample resume templates)
Caveat: do ALSO create a more boring, simple text Word file of your resume (with no fancy formatting and design) to send to those big corporation career databases (think any site with “brassring” in the url). WHY? Because these resume collectors are robots decoding your resume and they don’t always do well with visually appealing formatting, especially in PDFs. But if you’re sending your resume to a human (or a department with an email address), send the prettier one 🙂
Anywhoodle, I love helping my friends design a kickass resume that organizes their experiences in an exciting and easily-readable way, and I want to help you too Boss Girl!
So, for a little bit of the resume-revamping process, you have to think as if you weren’t yourself (counter-intuitive right?!).
When choosing how to design and format your resume, ask yourself:
- Would I want to keep looking at this if I were the one hiring?
- If the reviewer was only giving each resume a 7-9 second once-over to pull her in for further review, is the important slash why-I’m-the-right-fit info be easily findable?
And when writing the text of your resume in headings and bullets, ask yourself:
- Is the language direct and concise? (be as specific as you can in as few words as you can… I hate this part)
- Am I giving concrete examples of projects I completed (good!) or just vague terms like “assisted on branding project” (not so good!)
Since the majority of the resumes I send these days are digital (scratch that, ALL are online!) I make my resume clickable. Meaning, anything I refer to in my resume that can be seen online is then hyperlinked to that thing. This way, my maybe-kinda-sorta-future employer can actually see a bit of my work rather than just taking my word for it!
*****(TIP: if you’re sending your resume as a PDF, first convert your Word or Pages doc to PDF, then open PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader and hyperlink those bits of your resume with the invisible box tool… trust me trying to export hyperlinked text in Word can be a real b).
Now let’s get to the fun part: RESUME DESIGN & LAYOUT!! When I first started beautifying my resume a few years ago, I was doing everything by tedious trial-and-error using the clunky text boxes in Word. Luckily for you boss girls, this is no longer the case! Now there’s tons of free templates online to show your business chic. Here are 40 awesome free resume templates that you can edit in lots of different platforms (Word, Photoshop, online, etc).
Tailor and tweak your resume for each company/position. I rarely send the same resume to two people because I always want to prioritize and repackage my experience to fit the position. This is especially critical if you have varying field experience and need to guide your recruiter/potential employer to see why you’re the best fit.
p.s. your file title should be concise and helpful. Use underscores because computers don’t like spaces sometimes. (i.e. my resume for an LABG position would be saved as (Resume_LikeABossGirls_Lucy_Ross)
And finally, for the love of all things holy, keep your resume to ONE page. There are a few exceptions to the rule but as twenty-somethings with a few years under our belt or only internship experience, it’s best to keep it short and sweet.
Got any tips I left out? Hit me up in the comments!