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10 Resume Writing and Design Tips to Grab the Reader’s Attention

The format and visual appeal of your resume can be just as crucial as the content. If your resume is hard to read or is an eyesore, most likely it will be set aside without even being read. It is essential that your resume is a real attention grabber, but for all the right reasons. Follow these 10 resume writing tips to make it visually appealing.

1. Keep the text simple.

Other than perhaps using a fancier font for your name in the header, make sure you use a basic and easy-to-read font such as Book Antiqua, Garamond, Times New Roman, Helvetica, or something similar. Styles such as Comic Sans and Papyrus might look nice, but they can be quite hard to read.

2. Use a similar alignment.

All of your headers should be consistent and lined up the same way, either centered or left aligned. If using bullet points, make certain that each point is of the same style and has the same margin. All paragraphs should also appear in the same format—justification is the most preferable as it lines up all sentences at the beginning and end of each row.

3. Make your contact information stand out.

Your name should be the first thing a potential employer sees. Make it a few sizes larger than the rest of your text and bold it to make it stand out. Your contact information such as your address, phone number, and email should follow. It should be smaller than your name, but no smaller than the body of your resume to ensure that it does not get lost among the rest of the information. The position you are applying for should also be listed before the body of your resume. It must stand out as well so there is no confusion as to what position you would like to interview for.

4. Use an attractive border.

A simple border can do wonders for a resume. It draws the eye and adds a nice polishing effect to the document. Make sure that your border is simple and relevant. A single, double, or triple line border is preferable. Do not get overly creative and use palm trees or hearts, as this looks unprofessional and will end up making a negative impression on the potential employer.

5. Insert a graphic or icon.

Depending on the position you are applying for, a small graphic in the corner also helps grab the reader’s attention. Make certain that the graphic is relevant. Note that icons will only work for some positions. For example, a teacher may use different graphics (paint palette for Art, globe for Social Studies, alphabet blocks for Kindergarten, etc.) Do not use this space to insert a picture of yourself, unless you are applying to positions in certain areas overseas where this is more common.

6. Use a little bit of color.

Color can also make your resume stand out. If you are going to use color, insert it right into your resume—do not print on green or purple paper. You may wish to highlight your name or desired position. Your border or testimonial (see below) may also be colored. Use more professional tones such as a dark green or dark blue. Do not use bright pink, florescent orange, etc.

7. Incorporate testimonials.

Quotes are a great way to provide proof that you are an outstanding employee and, therefore, an excellent candidate. These should appear after an introductory paragraph or at the very end of the document, not sporadically throughout. Italicize the quote, include the name and position of the person who said it, and use a light background color such as grey, blue, or green to highlight it.

8. Highlight areas of expertise.

These are also called your core competencies, and are a quick way to sum up your relevant skill sets. They are also used to incorporate keywords. Keywords are critical in today’s job search because they will help your resume to get through the scanning software. Your areas of expertise should appear on the first page of your resume under your introductory paragraph. Displaying your core competencies in a chart or centered format really makes them stand out from the rest of the resume—this can put you miles ahead of the competition.

9. Ensure there is white space.

Though you may have much to say, do not cram everything in to your resume. White space plays a key role in holding a person’s attention. It breaks up the text and makes everything easier to read. If you find you are running out of room, you may wish to reformat your document, adjust margins, eliminate irrelevant information or extra non-essential words, or minimize graphics, etc.

10. Keep everything looking crisp and tidy.

Do not go overboard with formatting your resume. Keep everything uniform and use items such as graphics, color, borders, and testimonials sparingly. You do not need to use every single one of the items listed above. One graphic, a simple border, one or two quotes, and just a smidge of color can be pulled off all in the same document. However, if your resume is starting to look crowded or cluttered, delete your icon and skip the color. This must be a professional looking document that portrays who you are as a person and potential employee.

Keep in mind that your resume is the only thing representing you while you are absent. Make sure it makes a great impression—this means you need to impress the reader before they even start reading your resume. If you submit an unprofessional looking resume, they will more than likely think you may do an unprofessional job—don’t make that mistake. Either spend the time needed to create an excellent resume, or hire a professional to do it for you.

Do you know someone who could benefit from a professional resume writer? Comment and share this article below! Thinking of hiring a professional for yourself? Reach out to Candace to learn more.

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