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

Top resume writing tips and design strategies are both important to implement if you plan on convincing the reader to learn about the value you can bring to their organization. Your resume’s format and visual appeal can be just as crucial as the content you have included.

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 your resume is an attention grabber, but for positive reasons. If you are an executive, these resume writing tips will be helpful.

10 Resume Writing Tips and Design Elements

Keep the Font 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.

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.

Make the Contact Information Stand Out

Your name should be the first thing a potential employer reads. Bold your name and make the font a few sizes larger than the rest of the text in the resume. 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 it does not get lost among the rest of the information. The position you are applying for should be listed before the body of your resume. It must stand out as well, so there is no confusion about what position you would like to interview for.

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 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 make a negative impression on the potential employer.

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, a globe for Social Studies, alphabet blocks for Kindergarten, etc.) Do not use this space to insert a picture of yourself unless you apply to positions in certain areas overseas where this is more common.

Use a Little Bit of Color

Color can make your resume appealing to the reader. If you incorporate 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. A border or testimonial (see below) could be colored. Use more professional tones such as dark green or dark blue. Do not use bright pink, fluorescent orange, etc.

Incorporate Testimonials

Quotes are a constructive method to prove you are an outstanding employee and 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 you can place a light background color such as grey, blue, or green to highlight it.

Highlight Areas of Expertise

Areas of expertise are referred to as core competencies or areas of knowledge. Placing them in a visually appealing way will give the reader a quick summary of your top relevant skills. Of all the resume writing tips on this page, using the correct skills at the top of your resume is one of the most critical on this page.

The words you use to describe your expertise could be a way to incorporate keywords. Keywords are critical in today’s job search because they will help your resume to get through the applicant tracking 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.

Keep in mind, if you are writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV) Vs. a resume, there are differences in formats to understand.

Ensure There is White Space

Though you may have much to say, do not cram everything into 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 challenged with limited space, you may wish to reformat your resume by adjusting margins, eliminating irrelevant information or extra non-essential words, or minimize graphics.

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. Adding one small graphic, a simple border, one or two testimonial quotes, and a smidge of color can be pulled off in the same document. Be careful not to overdo being fancy, though.

If your resume is starting to look crowded or cluttered, delete your icon and skip the color. This must be a professional-looking resume that portrays who you are as a person and a potential employee.

Keep in mind that your resume is the only thing representing you while you are absent. Make sure it makes an excellent impression.

Making the best impression means you need to grab the reader’s interest 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 by reading a bazillion resume writing tips 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.