I’m going to give you some advice that will rock your world. If you’re a web designer, you should design your resume. *GASP*
All kidding aside, the importance of impressing people with your resume’s visual appeal, especially online, is important. Here are some tips on styling a resume so it conveys your skills and is pleasing to the eye.
Keep in mind, when I say design, I don’t necessarily mean having flying planets, sparkles and grunge effects all over it. That would be annoying and if that’s what your resume looks like right now, I strongly encourage that you remain employed until you get a chance to fix it.
What I mean is paying attention to three critical things: typography, layout and accessibility.
- Provable Type
No matter what you think, as soon as people look at your resume they instantly begin forming opinions about you. “Oh my god, why the heck did this guy put his name in Comic Sans Bold!?” It’s your job to make sure they get the right message. At the same time using the same font size all over your resume can look boring. Vary the size of fonts in your headers.
I used bold and caps above to break up the space in my “skills” section which would look jumbled otherwise. As a general rule you should only use one professional looking font for your online resume. Using more than two font-families on a resume is ill-advised (and by ill-advised I really just mean ugly.)
On my resume I used Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif at font-size:20px for headers and font-size:12px throughout.
- Organization is Key
The layout of your resume is directly proportional to your chances of getting hired. Repeat that. I don’t know if it’s true but it sounds nice. But you really should make sure your design is as clean and easy to read as possible.
Don’t justify text, only use all caps for headers and to define lists. Double check to make sure your resume prints well. You may want to consider using Hartija’s CSS Print Framework.
- Usability is Important
Since your online resume is displaying in a web browser, usability is very important. It will also convey some basic understanding of web design if you can demonstrate comprehension of usability. On my resume I floated this column on the left:
This allows the user to download the document in whatever format they see fit. It also includes a link to my online portfolio and my hcard, two other things that will convey competence.
You can view my full resume here. It’s to the point and clean. It looks nice in the browser, prints well and if the user wants to take it with them there’s the links for downloading as Rich Text, PDF or DOC.