Being creative is second nature to most designers. And, since we are normally constricted by the requests of clients, the chance to design your own online portfolio usually gives way to a cutting-edge design that pushes the limits of the everyday norm. This is the fun part. A chance to go crazy and do something that YOU like — just for yourself. But then it’s time to design your resume. How do you create something to accompany your brilliant website? How do you keep it legible, clean, and professional — yet show your creative side? How do you make it clear that your resume and website are partners — born of the same designer — without going overboard?
Take note from these professionals (and students). They have managed to create professional, clean, typographically interesting resumes that are organized, easy to read, yet still creative. Check out these beautiful resumes, and their accompanying portfolio websites. Just click on the resume thumbnails to download the original pdf, or click on the website screenshots to visit the designer’s site. **Note: this post was published in 2009. Many links are no longer working, but please still enjoy and be inspired by the designs you see in the screenshots
Hopefully you were able to learn a little something from these examples, and pick up some inspiration for your own resumes. Here are some things that are crucial to remember when designing your resume:
1. If the job you are applying to has resume requirements, follow them. Even if it means keeping a Word version of your resume for such occasions.
2. Typography is key. This is your potential employer’s first chance to judge your design skills, and almost all design includes some form of type. You are expected to refine and perfect your text layout on your resume just as you would a design for a client.
3. Organization is also key. If people can’t find your information, they won’t be calling you. Some design positions bring in hundreds of resumes daily. There is no time to search for information.
4. Spell check. Spell check again. Read your resume out loud to catch any errors you may have missed. Have a friend proofread. Have someone else proofread. And, then run one more spell check. You don’t want to miss out on a job because you used you’re instead of your, or to instead of too.
5. Legibility is a must. Most interviewers will not be in their twenties. Keep your text legible — dark enough and large enough for the average person to read. Ask a parent or relative who is a little older to give you an honest opinion about the legibility of your resume. If you are planning to fax it, legibility is even more important. Do a test fax to make sure that your page is coming across clearly.
6. Less is more. If you try to add graphics to your resume, you’ll see that there is a VERY fine line between creative and cheesey. When in doubt, stick to creative type and minimal use of color. A good designer should be able to use type in an interesting way — without the need for photos or drawings.
7. Leave your photo off of your resume. Unless you’re interviewing for a modeling job.
8. Make sure your resume is standard size, standard orientation, and on one page if possible. You don’t want it to get lost in a stack, or be annoying to file.
9. Stick to clean paper. Leave the cheesy parchment resume paper for the family holiday letter. As a designer, your creative type should make your statement for you — not the paper with the clouds on it.
10. Don’t forget your grid. The grid you use when creating a graphic layout applies here also. Your resume should be balanced and pleasing to the eye.
11. Keep away from decorative, swirly, circus, crazy, or ridiculous fonts. Again, clean and professional type is best.
12. Don’t forget to be yourself. Remember, the company you are interviewing for is looking for a creative person. Leave the cookie-cutter objective statements for your high-school resume-writing class. Show them who you really are with a few creative statements in your own language. Just remember to keep it professional (you don’t want to offend anyone or turn anyone off) — but not law-school-graduate professional.
Bonus: Check out this fantastic post from Smashing Magazine offering even more advice and inspiration: How To Create A Great Web Design CV and Résumé?
Hopefully this post will be useful to some of you. Good luck with your resumes!