I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

You should follow me on Twitter here.

For more, check out the archives.

The 7 deadly sins of résumé designSo you’ve labored with sweat and tears writing your résumé, and now you’re all set to turn it into a magnificently designed creation. Unfortunately, with the freedom of modern computers and fancy software, comes huge opportunities for abuse. When it comes to résumés, both non-designers and professional designers commit some almost unforgivable sins. Here are the 7 deadly sins of résumé design and how to repent:

  1. Fancy “résumé” paper
  2. Times New Roman
  3. Teeny tiny font size
  4. Grey text
  5. Excessive decoration
  6. Weird paper size
  7. Horizontal format

1. Fancy “résumé” paper

Take a tour of any office supply store and you’ll see shelves of extravagant “résumé” papers featuring special “linen” and “parchment” finishes. Avoid these like dog poop on a New York summer sidewalk. They’re too expensive and don’t make you look extra special.

To repent: Save your money and get paper with a plain smooth finish. It can be slightly heavier than regular copy paper, but not stiff as a board. An ever so slight hint of cream is fine. It’ll make your resume easier on the eyes than the super-ultra-pure-snow-driven white paper many designers are fond of. I prefer Neenah Classic Crest in Natural White with a Super Smooth finish. Never ever use pink paper with strawberry scent.

2. Times New Roman

The default typeface in Microsoft Word is Times New Roman, and thus it’s the default for most résumés. It’s a tragedy, because Times’s letterspacing and wordspacing is wretched in Word. The result is an unharmonious mess.

To repent: Choose a different typeface. I won’t go into explaining x-heights or the difference between Humanist Sans and Geometric Sans. If you’ve got money to spare, pick any of the typefaces in FontShop’s professional collection, and you’ll be a step above Times New Roman. If you’re cheap, use Matthew Carter’s Georgia. It’s free and already installed on your computer. If you send your résumé electronically as a PDF, it also looks quite good on-screen. If you need more guidance, check out Before & After’s tutorial on picking typefaces.

3. Teeny tiny font size

Designers fresh out of school love teeny tiny type. The belief is that it looks elegant, refined, and allows for more white space on the résumé. It’s a shame. For all that elegance, no one can read it, because most people in hiring positions won’t have fresh baby eyes with 20/20 vision.

To repent: Set your résumé no smaller than 9 points for sans-serifed type and 10 points for serifed type. Anything smaller, and your résumé is at risk of being shredded.

4. Grey text

Designers also love grey type. On an inkjet printer, grey text looks better because it reduces the appearance of noise. If you go too light, though, it becomes illegible and unfaxable. But wait, should you really be using inkjet to print your résumé?

To repent: Use a laser printer and print in 100% black for ultimate clarity. If you do go grey, don’t go lighter than 75% black.

5. Excessive decoration

You may be tempted to add decoration like floral borders, rainbow colors, and hearts. Perhaps, you want to use an illustration of a swan, tiger or unicorn to represent you. This is great if you want to look like a box of crayons melted on your résumé. Otherwise, don’t try to be cute.

To repent: Add some character by setting your name slightly larger, or in a different weight as the same typeface as the rest of your résumé. Use color, but very sparingly, if at all. No more than one color in addition to black.

6. Weird paper size

If you live in the United States, the standard paper size is 8.5 x 11in. In Europe, it’s 210 x 297mm. Anything else will fit awkwardly in a binder or file. When it doesn’t fit, it gets thrown out.

To repent: Keep to the standard paper size of your geographic location. It’s easier to print and package.

7. Horizontal format

In an attempt to stand out, some designers format their résumés in a landscape format. This is more annoying than innovative.

To repent: Keep to a portrait format. The first person who sees your résumé is usually a Human Resources person who sees hundreds of resumes daily. Too much variation from the norm makes it harder for them to make a quick assessment of you. If you want to stand out, write a good cover letter instead.

So what does a good looking résumé look like? Check out my follow-up post, Give your résumé a face lift.

126 Comments

  • Neil

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    6:51 am

    As somebody whose very recent redesign of their CV breaks both your colour and your horizontal rules, I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve had people in human resources ringing me just to praise me for doing something different (as well as offer me an interview). What evidence is this based on?

  • Chanpory

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    7:10 am

    Neil, congrats on the interview. As with any rules of thumb, they can be broken if done well. However, I see many resumés coming in to our studio, and it’s rare to see resumés with a rainbow of colors or in a horizontol format done well.

  • Neil

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    7:36 am

    Thanks Chanpory.

    It is more interesting, I think, to imagine the reverse of this post. “The 7 glorious virtues of resumé design”. For instance:

    1. Balance
    2. Harmony
    3. Contextual fit (what kind of job are you going for)
    4. Clarity
    5. Flair
    6. Impact
    7. Correct spelling and grammar.

    (Also, I think horizontal CVs are going to become more popular in a world where people email PDFs that are going to appear on widescreen monitors. The fact that it is rare to see them done well should, if anything, encourage people that by doing so they can stand out.)

  • Al

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    11:19 am

    “When it doesn’t fit, it get’s thrown out.” How about an article on the 7 deadly sins of apostrophication?

  • Adam of Waco

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    11:58 am

    I found this article witty and informative. Shame on those who feign superiority through mere contradictions.

    Neil, where is your resume? I didn’t see a link to it. I’d like to who — as you say — is singing its praises.

    Al, if you want to play hardball, seven should be spelled out, because it is less than 10. So don’t arrogantly correct one mistake and fumble one of your own. That isn’t a recipe for making friends — or appearing intelligent.

    In the end — and most employers agree — the content of your resume is what’s most important. You can impress through fabrication, yes, but shit still stinks, and it always will.

    Peace.

  • Jessica

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    3:27 pm

    The format and tone of this article make it seem informative at first glance, but I’m not convinced most people should take take these as rules of thumb by any means. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it sounds like it’s coming from a jaded creative director who has looked at too many poorly designed resumés from untalented designers.

    Having been on the receiving end of many resumés myself, I can say that when I come across the occasional applicant who has taken the time to creatively and tastefully decorate and layout their resume, it certainly stands out from the rest in a pleasing manner.

    I can understand this article in the context of design jobs, where people are just doing TOO much.. but most jobs are not design jobs, and most people do not spend time working on the presentation of their resumé. When they do, it’s been my experience that it’s definitely appreciated by hiring managers.

    Note: I do agree with paper orientation and font size suggestions here, however.

  • Chanpory

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    3:41 pm

    Jessica, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I certainly agree with you that we should all take care into making our resumés stand out in a tasteful and pleasing manner. You’re right about this post being targeted to designers who go way overboard on design. But I also know there are non-designers who’ve turned their resumés into a cornucopia of clip-art.

    Conversely, I’ve also seen designers who’ve poured so much attention into their portfolio’s that they’ve neglected their resumé. My hope is that we all present our resumés in a way that is not default or generic, but also not overdesigned.

  • billwrtr

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    3:54 pm

    Not so clever. Who prints resumes anymore????? You send them as email attachments. Preferably as .pdf’s, but sometimes Word .docs are requested. Therefore, on .pdf’s make sure any fonts other than Times Roman and Arial (or their Mac equivalents) are embedded. On Word, stick to Times Roman, Arial, Trebuchet MS, Verdana and a couple of there Windows defaults. Any other fonts will be substituted and you know what that can bring!

  • Chanpory

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    4:00 pm

    Bill, in my tip about Times New Roman, I suggested Georgia, because it’s made to look good on-screen. It’s available on almost every computer, so it looks fine in Microsoft Word. Adobe’s PDF format automatically embeds all fonts, so the range of typefaces you can use are wider. Also, at some point the resumé will likely be printed out by an HR department for reference or to file.

  • Mattymatt

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    4:00 pm

    Good tips. At first glance, that what-not-to-do example at the top looks like a menu at a vegan sushi place.

    If I may share a resume story of my own: I got an awesome new job a few months ago, and later had an opportunity to glance at a few of the other resumes that were sent in … to my surprise, mine was the only one that specified the job that I was applying for.

  • Abe

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    4:29 pm

    Well, thanks for the article. I am a law student and I have had many well informed professionals and editors revise my resume over the past three years and while I would never really think of violating 1 and 3-7, I was suprised how much of a different it did make to apply Georgia font rather than Times New Roman. It is a bit bigger and bolder without more size or making it appear cluttered. Thanks for the tip!

    I agree with “Adam of Waco” that this is an informative and useful article, as do many people from Digg (where I found this linked). While some resumes are too dull and could use some “flair” most of the resumes which I see with too much variation from tradition are usually attempts to “make up for something” that is missing from the text of the resume or the background of the applicant. Even if your design is well thought out, the fact that the person reviewing your resume may see your variation from tradition as an attempt to make up for something is not what you want them to be thinking. The place to explain your lack of professional experience in a given area or genreally is in your cover letter or at the interview, not the resume.

    Please contribute the the Wikipedia page on resumes, you have excellent information the would be a worthy contribution!

  • Kimberly

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    4:53 pm

    I have to disagree with the “fancy resume paper” aspect. I’ve been a part of hiring committees where prospective candidates had standard white paper. In my opinion, it lacks professionalism and effort when you do it that way. It just doesn’t seem like you care enough to print your resume one step better than what may or may not be accepted.

    As for the rest, not too sure. I’ve used Times New Roman and Arial font on mine and it comes out just fine either way.

    My one suggestion is that a piece of this nature ought to have research and evidence to back up the statements made. It just seems more of an opinion on how resumes ought to be composed rather than the way you’re really supposed to write it. I think I’ll trust professionals and books a little more than a site talking about “repenting” your resume writing sins.

  • Shiva

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    6:12 pm

    In this day and age of Ipods, Crackberry and PocketPCs, who is even using Paper Resumes ? Dinosaurs ??

    This article may have been useful 20 years ago. Not anymore !

  • Mattymatt

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    6:15 pm

    Of course, smartypants young hipsters like us don’t use paper resumes, but all employers are old and cranky and don’t understand electronic contraptions. If your attitude is “I don’t have any reason to work for an employer that doesn’t like to use PDFs,” well, then, potential employers are probably going to agree.

  • zack

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    6:24 pm

    Great tips! Thanks much. I submitted this at howtohut

    http://www.howtohut.com/7deadlysinsofresume_design

  • Mike

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    8:36 pm

    I agree on plain white paper, especially for a large company — it photocopies better, and the decision-maker doesn’t get the original. The original stays in a file in HR. Even today, even if it came in as a Word document or a pdf, I may get it as a photo-copy of a printout.

    I’ve been on the decision-maker side of things. I want a simple, clear format, because I have to skim through a hundred resumes for the first pass, pick out my top twenty for the second pass, and cut it down to three people to interview. (I’m an engineer, not a designer, so take my view with a grain of salt. I’m sure for a designer, the presentation flair is a valid aspect of the resume.)

    As far as content, besides your skills and what you’ve done, I try to see if you’re the kind of person who will work well in my group and my company — have you worked in groups? Do you comminicate well? Can you work with others? Do you get along with people who are sometimes difficult?

  • Chanpory

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    10:30 pm

    @Kimberly. Thanks for the comment, I love hearing disagreement and appreciate all the other dissenting viewpoints on resumé design. I agree that plain copy paper is not the best choice. My recommendation was to actually use a fine paper like Neenah’s Classic Crest, which has a smooth finish instead of a textured one. This is enough to stand out, without being opulent. I find paper that calls itself “resumé” paper are often too textured, too thick, and just too much.

    You’re also right about this being my opinion of “how resumes ought to be composed,” because, well, this is a blog, and by nature opinion-based. At LifeClever, we do not like to call ourselves experts (see blog description in the sidebar), but as for credibility, I’d like to think I have some. I have a bachelor’s degree in design and work for a major design firm with an international client list that includes Symantec, Adobe, Four Seasons, Sony, and FujiFilm. I’ve seen quite a few resumés from people looking for both design and non-design jobs, and the opinions presented in this article are based on this experience.

    As for Times New Roman, even Microsoft is abandoning it:

    The end of an era for Times New Roman?

    Yes, Times New Roman is getting replaced with Calibri as Microsoft Office’s default typeface. It also just happens that the designer of Calibri, Lucas de Groot, used to work at MetaDesign, the same studio I work at now.

    Finally, I wanted to point out that this post is about resumé design and not explicitly about resumé writing, of which there are numerous books for.

    I’m glad we all have different experiences, and hope more will continue to share in a constructive manner.

  • Alfa

    gravatarSep 26, 2006
    11:18 pm

    Found this interesting post through Digg-ing.

    I think it’s really a case by case basis. In my own opinion, cutesy (but not Legally blonde cutesy) resumes are now getting more and more nods because of the effort.

  • tony

    gravatarSep 27, 2006
    3:41 am

    At first glance though, the horizontal format of the resume` looked pretty neat. But then like you said, don’t try be cute !!

  • Whalt

    gravatarSep 27, 2006
    3:43 am

    Too many designery types think that a resume is a portfolio piece. That’s not what it is for. It is for conveying the relevant information in a clear and easy to scan format. Good design can certainly aid this goal but too often over use of design cliches detract from it.

    The best education anyone could get in designing a resume would be to stand over an HR person’s or manager’s shoulder while they sort through a pile of applicants.

  • Hans Schmutzabstreifer

    gravatarSep 27, 2006
    7:16 am

    As a person who’s been in the same position for ten years, and have seen little chippies come and go, trust me, a boring and clear resume, where the substance outweights the flash, is your best bet. If you make your resume too stupid, we will laugh at you and you will never know it, because we sure aren’t calling you.

  • Brigitte Schuster

    gravatarSep 27, 2006
    9:18 am

    The suggestions mentioned above are a good guidance.

    However, they should not prevent a designer from creating his own visual look for a resumé. Breaking the above rules does not necessarily mean that it is a bad resumé.

    If the hiring company is considering your resumé or not, is often a very subjective process. Tastes are different, tastes of design as well. Maybe, especially because you broke one of these rules they’ll look at it. It all depends on the final look, which might be even more interesting by breaking these suggestions.

  • Al

    gravatarSep 27, 2006
    12:50 pm

    Hey Adam of Waco, didn’t mean to sound like a hater, just having a light-hearted dig at a personal bugbear of mine. Incidentally the use of the numeral 7 was an ironic homage to the title of the original article. Had hoped my use of the neologism “apostrophocation” would go some way to conveying my intended tone but I guess a lot gets lost in type. The article was indeed informative and useful, no harm intended, thanks Chanpory.

  • Keith Gaughan

    gravatarSep 27, 2006
    2:12 pm

    The idea of using Georgia strikes me as a wee bit odd. Why not use Palatino? It’s available everywhere, is easy on the eye (when printed), and much more attractive than either Georgia or Times.

  • Daniel

    gravatarSep 27, 2006
    5:36 pm

    Ooooh! So… not Times New Roman. Okay. Can I use Papyrus instead then? :)

  • Neil

    gravatarSep 28, 2006
    8:15 am

    Just in case you were wondernig, I got the job!

  • Paul

    gravatarSep 28, 2006
    11:19 am

    I favor a cleanly designed functional resume design. If you need to impress with your cleverness, do it in a leavebehind or a followup. It depends on where you apply, big firm vs design shop. You can’t be faulted for a clean resume. You can however if you set your name in Sand and print on pink parchment.

  • jerrick

    gravatarSep 28, 2006
    2:50 pm

    let’s not forget another problem – hotmail email address.

    if you’re applying for a design-y job or really anywhere in a progressive field you should really consider getting a more reliable email account. perhaps gmail? or even your own domain?

  • Nabeel

    gravatarSep 28, 2006
    6:00 pm

    well they are not deadly in all the cases… it might be a good resume for a junior designer position .. i took various interviews last month for an assistant designer .. and many of the resumes did have fancy paper .. it didn’t bother me at all ..

    Nabeel http://nabeelzeeshan.blogspot.com

  • mark

    gravatarSep 29, 2006
    4:26 am

    coughs quietly nervously raises hand

    I, um… I still print and mail my resumé (or CV as it is here in the UK).. the digital job application doesn’t seem to have crossed the atlantic quite so well. Blackberries etc aren’t as popular and people still appreciate having a non-electronic, fullsize (9.8″ widescreen) piece of reference material on a person that can easily be carried about, reviewed in natural light without power on their lunch break, and passed around, dropped quickly into a reference folder – or scrunched up and dumped in the trash. Many job hunting tips collections I’ve seen reccomend snail mailing or even faxing your resumé and cover letter where possible, even if the initial call is for emailed ones, to make an impression and to give the employer something of yourself that is concrete… rather than one of a thousand emails that can all so easily be removed with a flick of Ctrl-A-Del when they get bored or tired and think they have enough applicants to form a shortlist already (a paper application makes it’s impact straight away from the moment the envelope arrives, not something you can do with a single text line subject header… and it shows you KNOW how to make an impression and produce a good printed presentation). Not everyone wants to be tied to their PC or handheld all day every day. Besides, who really wants to plough through piles of applications on a glorified cellphone with a three-inch screen? You’ll give yourself eyestrain.

    So…. these tips were pretty useful to me. Already complying with most of them, but I have e.g. been looking for an alternative to the Times New Roman, Georgia sounds good. Might see if I can find some affordable only-just-off-white inkjet paper. And though I don’t know how I can have the thing laser printed, unless I stump up the cash and go to a professional copy shop, I’ll put it on maximum print quality (with extra drying time to prevent wicking and smudging) and go make lunch while it slowly churns away.

    Cheers :)

  • Amit

    gravatarSep 30, 2006
    7:34 pm

    Thanks, I was able to pull off add a few things to my resume from this list. The most blatant was my use of Times New Roman. In terms of paper, I generally use a 60 lbs paper that’s either white or natural colored. The natural is lightly marbelized so it has some accent, but isn’t too distracting.

    Obviously this does not apply to graphic design positions completely. Though Neil’s comments would still apply. It just needs to all fit together well.

    @Shiva Even in this day and age, most companies still use resumes. Especially if you go to university job and career fairs. I went to one a week and a half ago. Many recruiters asked if I had a resume with me.

  • Maria Cecilia

    gravatarOct 4, 2006
    1:14 am

    Chaponry,

    Thanks for writing. I like your blog and will try to check it every other day.

    More power!

    Cecille

  • Mike

    gravatarOct 9, 2006
    10:12 am

    As a user of several Adobe products I can tell you definitivly that fonts do NOT always get embedded. Georgia is meant for on screen display and does not print as nicely as others. Arial is a poor knock-off of a poor knock-off and TNR is a joke. Also a san-serif is less readable in print and therefore needs to be an equal size with the serif.

    Where do you draw the line with embellishments? Are round bullets too much? How about diamond-shaped dings? What if it is useful in seperating information? Good design is communicating information clearly, which can be done any number of ways.

    We mustn’t discount some of these techniques just because they can be used poorly. Just like the scourge of PowerPoint, résumés can fail much easier when Out-of-the-box thinking is employed, but you have to have something that keeps you from getting lost in the pile.

    -m

  • Chanpory

    gravatarOct 9, 2006
    10:26 am

    Mike, thanks for the comment. I agree with you. A good resumé should stand out from the crowd. I did not mean to suggest that resumés should be generic as possible, avoiding any kind of flair.

    Used judiciously, a bullet or rule can aid in making information clearer as well as adding a hint of style. My general rule of thumb for embellishmenets is if it doesn’t help make the information easier to read or understand, then it’s too much. This means floral borders, and random clip-art are out.

    My point is that there are many ways to stand out in crowd without being over the top. A fine choice of paper with careful typeface consideration and a logical layout will create a subtle distinction that speaks more loudly than if the resumé was filled with the latest gimmicks.

  • Mandy

    gravatarOct 25, 2006
    1:33 pm

    When I first looked at this article, I thought the picture of the resume was what it should look like! I think it’s adorable, except for the small/light text. If I was hiring someone for my business, albeit not professional, rigid, or BIG, (Doggy Daycare) I would definitely look at this one first!

    Then I read someone’s comment about copies being made, and that makes perfect sense. If you’re applying for a big company in which copies would be made, that would look very unappealing in the copy.

  • Kevin

    gravatarOct 26, 2006
    5:21 am

    @jerrick: the big problem with using an email address from your own domain is that it takes a lot more thought for HR to use. They have to think about what the name is, and how it’s spelled, but GMail is a great idea.

  • alex

    gravatarNov 26, 2006
    2:51 pm

    If you really want a good Resume template than check out http://www.getresume.com

    They provide 4 resume templates and Europass CV, official CV of European Union. You can write a resume or CV in English, French and Spanish. After registration you will receive eBook on resume writing!

  • Pang

    gravatarFeb 4, 2007
    8:32 pm

    Well said, this is a great post for job seekers.

  • Chris Grooms

    gravatarFeb 27, 2007
    10:58 am

    Sending a file in PDF format when not specifically requested, or it is known to be the usual file format for the document you are sending, is not a professional move in any sense. You’re asking for trouble.

  • Dan

    gravatarFeb 27, 2007
    6:35 pm

    Listen to Chanpory. He knows what he’s talking about. Have fun with other personal promotional materials. That will show your design skills while your resume shows your experience and education. Using a not-so-ordinary-but-not-decorative typeface like Akzidenz Grotesk might be a good idea to show that you know about type design. Also, this is kind of a personal thing, but I wouldn’t ever use Futura or Mrs.Eaves on a resume.

  • Andyinsdca

    gravatarApr 8, 2007
    10:51 am

    Who uses paper for resumes anymore? All of my resume submissions in the past 7+ years were electronic. Things I read about resume writing said specifically to use TNR or a similar font because many HR departments will print/scan/OCR the resume into a database and TNR is the best font for this purpose. (Same goes for the size, 9 is the absolute smallest). Obviously, you’d NEVER use grey in such a situation.

    The rest of this is just common sense, when resumes are emailed/faxed/copied.

  • Mark Harrison

    gravatarMay 1, 2007
    2:08 am

    Thanks for the article.

    The only point I’d make (as someone who has hired a reasonable number of people over the years) is that the Design of the CV (I’m English, and working in England) should be appropriate to the job applied to, just as much as the content is.

    When I’m hiring programmers, I’m looking for logical ability – so have a CV that follows a logical pattern, and makes it easy to find the information I want.

    When I’m hiring designers, I’m looking for creative flair, so by all means draw something that stands out.

    However, I’m CTO at a company with a very clear (and simple) brand image. What would REALLY impress me would be if someone submitted a CV in our “house style”. Not only would it send me a concious signal that they took time and effort, but subconsciously I’m sure it would make me feel they were ALREADY part of the team.

  • Steve

    gravatarMay 2, 2007
    1:08 am

    Being an HR executive I must agree with all the tips in the article. Thanks

  • Shelly

    gravatarMay 29, 2007
    2:55 pm

    Hmmm, I don’t agree. Last time I had to hire someone, out of 115 apps I got 1 that was horizontal and decorative. Guess who I hired. Creativity will get you everywhere.

    But, I do agree on the font size.

  • j8ke

    gravatarJun 17, 2007
    12:02 am

    well, fo all yall hipsterz, dis waz da perfic ting iz needz fo aply’ing @ da local gaz station. gues fo dumb mofos likes me, it’z good writtinz.

  • Marcia

    gravatarJun 23, 2007
    1:01 pm

    I agree with the font size but disagree with most of the article. I have a very different-looking CV (in South Africa we call them CV’s) and just from that CV, I always get called for interviews. When I go for interviews, at the company, I print mine in a pastel yellow because I want to stand out from the crowd and I do.

    I’ve been on the hiring side too and I must say someone who takes the time to make their CV look nice and a little different gets noticed a lot more than the run of the mill CV’s. And by the way, I’m in financial services (as conservative as you get) :)

    I do understand that this was written from a design point of view!

  • sir william

    gravatarAug 8, 2007
    9:51 pm

    quote: “However, I see many resumés coming in to our studio”

    I think I see what’s wrong here. The hint on this whole made up fiasco is “our studio”.

    I work at an architect’s office. And trust me, I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a person who thinks they KNOW….really KNOW aesthetics. I’ll take empirical evidence any day. And a sample size of one office is lacking…

  • sir william

    gravatarAug 8, 2007
    9:53 pm

    p.s. Mark Harrison, a commenter, is the only one who actually hit the nail on the head.

  • Vanessa

    gravatarSep 10, 2007
    5:33 pm

    I believe this is a very good resource for beginners making a resume, regardless of whether there’s evidence of it’s verisimilitude. It’s still a good start. Sure, more experienced resume-writers could do some things that are condemned in this, but maybe less experienced job-seekers wouldn’t be so lucky.

    Thanks for this, hopefully it will help me in my class with making my resume.

  • Emdash

    gravatarOct 10, 2007
    2:06 pm

    I recently sorted through 60 applications for the designer position opening in our in-house design studio. I feel that applicants for a designer jobs should demonstrate their skills by promoting themselves in a compelling way (no ugly courier without regard for margins!) in their cover letter and resume–and present their contents logically and accurately. I’d say go for understated elegance, no geegaws. Gimme some white space!

    I assumed that anybody who couldn’t do that wouldn’t be able to promote our clients effectively or articulate the strengths of their design solutions, either. I saw horrendous typos, including the name of a current employer. One applicant said she’d “be an asset” to Organization A when in fact she’d sent her letter to us at Organization B.

    One applicant was especially resourceful. He went to our website, found the brand download tool, downloaded brand elements, and proceeded to create a fancy piece to mail us–kind of an “I am your brand” package. Boy did that backfire on him.

    The result was flashy but awful and a dreadful bastardization of our brand. HR thought it was “so creative!” while the creative director and I saw it as proof of no understanding of brand whatsoever. Had the guy put that much effort into creating “brand him” we might have been a lot more interested.

    When it comes to paper, I disagree with Sin #1. Assess your audience. A creative director might like seeing the thought you’ve put into it as part of the quality message. I agree Classic Crest is a nice choice, as are Mohawk Digital sheets. 100% cotton rag wove in bright white is rarely a wrong choice. Paper isn’t dead yet. Yes, we did get applications electronically, but the app materials got printed for review, and some portfolios were mailed in.

    When it comes to type, if word.doc is not the required submission format, and if you want to show that you appreciate typography, why not set your resume in InDesign, which handles type well, then make a PDF? Word sucks when it comes to type.

    I’d add to the list of deadly sins:

    ~ Never use “to whom it may concern” as a salutation. Oh come on, can’t you do a little more research than that? Even “Dear Hiring Committee” is better, a name is best. Shows you to be resourceful and interested.

    ~ Know who you’re applying to–at least look at their website. I learned this one the hard way 25 or so years ago. Ended up getting the president of the agency on the phone. Finally he asked in exasperation, “do you have ANY idea what we do?” and I didn’t!

  • Tsiftums

    gravatarOct 11, 2007
    3:44 pm

    Emdash: Spot on. Good thread in general as well. Thanks to all for improving my CV!

  • ryo

    gravatarNov 20, 2007
    7:07 am

    I am currently looking for a new job, this will be very handy for me. Great post!

  • Ash Burns

    gravatarNov 26, 2007
    7:20 pm

    Great comments and view point on CVs. As a hiring manager who receives most resumes via email, I have a HUGE frustration to add. Please do not email me a resume whose doc/pdf title is “resume.” I rarely get a resume mailed to me with a title such as “John Smith resume_job 1514.” Please put some thought into this and realize that since many people will be emailing documents, the hiring managers will probably download your file to a folder in their computer. It may be a smart choice to put your NAME or other identifier as the title of your mailed document.
    Resume templates are okay but they all look the same!! If you do not possess the creativity to design your resume from scratch, then begin with a template and alter it a bit. Even changing the type/size/style of font for your titles or your NAME would be an improvement.
    The HR department may think you have a great resume, but if you breeze past them and get stopped at the managers desk, then what good have you done? Remember we are visual creatures. First impressions matter, and your resume is just that. You have to make me want to read your resume. How you organize your words and thoughts on this document make me think about your ability to fit in with my team.
    At the end of the day, however, I believe it will depend on the place of business in which you are inquiring to work. I graduated with a guy who made an action figure of himeself and its box was his resume (and partial portfolio)! But again, he was applying to work at a design firm. Think outside the box.

  • Joe

    gravatarNov 26, 2007
    9:57 pm

    Speaking as a marketing manager who has occasion to review lots of resumes and who has conducted quite a few interviews for various non-designer positions, I think there are some good points in the article. Above all else, the resume should be a) legible (readable font sizes, structured so you can follow it along) and b) informative (pertinent to the position at hand, with necessary info presented with clarity).

    Beyond that, I think rules are made to be (occasionally) broken, as long as they are broken well. However, any time you step outside of the tried-and-true, you also risk falling on your face. So there’s a trade off and a greater risk there — you might impress someone with your origami resume, or it might wind up in the trash.

    I think the bar is higher for designers, since the resume is also a work sample. I’d say go for broke and show yourself off. For engineers, or secretaries, or lawyers, not so much– the content is more critical. Also, the jobs are inherently more ‘conservative’. So for that type of position, stick with the middle of the road.

    Oh, and spell check.

    Great post, good comments too.

  • bayareaguy

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    12:00 am

    The fancy stuff is risky.

    It may make a good first impression but for serious technology jobs, I’d say probably not.

    As far as I’m concerned if you want me to consider you seriously, please just let your background speak for itself and leave the fancy stuff to a cover letter, or to an online web version.

  • Lawrence the Photographer

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    12:13 am

    I never knew that resumes come in different sizes HAHA Lovely picture to depict your point. Great list what to do and what not to do.

  • Matt

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    1:04 am

    Spelling the word with 2 “é’s” really makes you look bad too. Because it is wrong.

    Pronounce the word. Do the 2 e’s sound the same? No? Then they don’t look the same.

    It’s “resumé” NOT “résumé”.

  • ninnymuggins

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    1:33 am

    I often apply for parole with scented paper but it doesn’t seem to work. Maybe a new font will break me from my cell.

  • cyrano

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    3:56 am

    The seven deadly sins of blogging…

    Tiny grey text on a ridiculously small left pane, making room for a lot of ads on the right hand side of the screen.

  • pete

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    4:46 am

    clearly you know JACK ALL ABOUT FONTS …. its NOT times Roman – more likely Trajan

  • Brian

    gravatarNov 27, 2007
    10:01 am

    I just wanted to point out that many companies have a policy of automatically deleting unsolicited resumés received by email due to legal issues. If you want to send someone an unsolicited resumé, consider doing so with tried and true paper (WITH a cover letter) in addition to an email.

  • Amanda H.

    gravatarNov 28, 2007
    2:08 am

    “Adobe’s PDF format automatically embeds all fonts…”

    Not really. If you use something like Clan Narrow or fonts that are symbols, you better save the PDF as Press Quality and check the option box to embed all fonts, otherwise the recipient is in for a surprise when they open the document.

  • emily

    gravatarNov 28, 2007
    10:27 pm

    i have to say i disagree. as a designer i created my own logo for my resume and i was worried i would go too far…seem too cute or not serious enough or any number of things…but i went with it anyway.

    when i finally got my first interview, every person in the building that had seen my resume commented on it, how they loved the logo and the extra details (decoration you may call it) and i used non-traditional colors (DEFINITELY not black and white) and they said it was so memorable and totally represented me.

    so no…i would not listen to this article. just be yourself.

  • Kym-Maree

    gravatarNov 29, 2007
    4:16 pm

    As a designer and production manager, I do a lot of hiring of freelancers for my company which specialises in financial multimedia. I strongly disagree with all points of the resume “sins” from the perspective of a creative. They are appropriate for non-creative industries, however, creatives would not consider a resume that does not express the person’s talent – I expect attitude and creativity in designer resumes, this is how I can evaluate their level of dedication to their career. Focus on typography, element location, use of white space, appropriateness of design for function (ie a resume document), tone of language used, spelling, and output compatibility (pdf, web accessible, laser printing). Please change your title to read “The 7 deadly sins of resume design for non-design jobs”. This would be more appropriate.

  • laurel

    gravatarDec 19, 2007
    1:18 am

    Great article & great discussion. It’s been going on for years. =)

  • jhammari

    gravatarJan 24, 2008
    9:48 am

    Recently I received a graduate course assessment from the professor as a .pdf. I was delighted when I opened it and found some of the most beautifully set type I have ever seen (as well as a good set of scores). The document contained no images and didn’t seem flashy. It just had some great typography. I still think about it.

  • Meghan

    gravatarFeb 4, 2008
    8:55 am

    Hi Chanpory, I would appreciate if you could leave an example of a resume that follows good resume design. Thanks!

  • Brittny

    gravatarFeb 8, 2008
    6:16 pm

    The hints were wonderful for beginners, but I have to say this. When you’re trying to write an academic resume for a scholarship, it sometimes takes a special flair to catch someone’s eye. I personally used a color other than black along with the typical black font color that was different enough to add some difference, but was still dark enough to be copied easily. I’m very happy with the overall results of my academic resume. Also I have to note that Georgia font is pretty good, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. I think there is a better alternative to it, even though I haven’t yet found it.

    Oh and also the resume I had to write was presented on paper.

    C’est la vie!

  • Terrie

    gravatarFeb 20, 2008
    2:37 pm

    Great discussion. I learned a great deal by reading this wide variety of opinions. I’ve been on academic search commitees and it’s not so much flair that makes a cv stand out, but just clean professionalism. Now that I’m revamping my own cv to stand out, I’m going to take all of this advice (not just the 7 sins) to heart. Thanks all!

  • Mark Harrison

    gravatarFeb 21, 2008
    4:03 am

    Someone I know is recruiting at the moment, and their job advert reads along the lines of:

    “If you want to be considered, send us a link to your web presence (personal website, blog, Facebook page, whatever you consider appropriate.) No resumes, no covering letters, no long emails – just the link.”

    This isn’t a media or IT role…

    This is for a finance company looking to hire a new analyst!

    I’m very tempted to go that route next time we’re hiring!

    Mark

  • andyinsdca

    gravatarFeb 21, 2008
    5:46 am

    If someone asked me for a link to a webpage for my CV/resume, I’d thank them for their interest and move on to the next company. The information that’s contained in my resume could be mis-used (ie: identity theft) and placing it on the Web for anyone to find/steal is just asking for trouble. Also, I’m not going to spend the hours on end to create a special webpage for this….another indicator that a company is more interested in flashy layout & graphics than they are the ability to actually do the job.

  • Mark Harrison

    gravatarFeb 21, 2008
    10:52 am

    No – this wasn’t a request for a “resume on a webpage”, or a request to create a special webpage.

    It was exactly the opposite of that!

    This was a request for a URL to an existing website / blog, where the company could get a far more BALANCED picture of the applicant than the “special filter” of a resume.

    We all know that most potential employers now Google their applicants to check for problems… this is simply the next step.

    When I’m hiring, one of the big problems is to wade through the “resume BS” and get a true picture of the applicant…

  • andyinsdca

    gravatarFeb 21, 2008
    12:42 pm

    I’m not sure how my random blog talking about my cats or my new car is going to influence (either way) an employer. Also, most (nearly all?) of the people that I hang out and work with don’t have a blog of any sort. Plus, I’m not sure that my junky blog with the random pics I’m sharing has anything to do with me being a Unix admin. Also, suppose that I do something (we’ll say I’m a gun/target shooter, which I am) that the hiring manager is dead set against (member of the Sarah Brady group), and they decide not to hire me based on that. Or a gay job candidate with a right-wing, rabid Christian. What about that? My outside activities like that have nothing to do with the job. ZERO. Sure, we have laws against such discrimination, but it’s easy enough for a hiring manager to say “he doesn’t fit our needs” and that’s the end of it.

    Also Googling a person proves NOTHING. Remember, as the old saw goes, no one on the net knows you’re a dog. So…a person Googles me. They get a bass player in France, another guy that edits a New Age newsletter, the lead singer for a punk band an internet entrepreneur, a soccer player, etc. none of which are me. Also, I could create a Wiki page with my name and stick any old random junk in there.

  • Mark Harrison

    gravatarFeb 22, 2008
    1:28 am

    Andy,

    This issue isn’t whether it’s “right”, it’s whether it’s “happening” :-)

    I’m seeing more companies begin to use this “Send me a URL” technique as part of the hiring process.

    Internet reputation management is only going to grow as the FaceBook generation enter the workforce in bigger numbers…. and boom once they hit the management cadre.

    M.

  • P

    gravatarFeb 25, 2008
    12:00 pm

    You fucking nerds are fretting over this shit, advice is cheap because everyone has got some to offer. While you should be loving, eating, drinking, running and playing you are sitting at your computer quibbling over unimportant details. Yeah, I see the irony, so am I. But I am hungover and on the way to getting drunk again.

  • Alexinhowell

    gravatarMay 7, 2008
    2:08 pm

    Thanks for all of the tips! I’ve been in the same job for ten years and I am looking for a new career. I am being priced out of my job with the current gas prices. I have never done a cover page in the past and my old resume looks old and boring. I’m taking everything here into consideration while creating a new resume. I would like to see some sample cover pages. Q: If I spill everything about myself in my resume, what’s left for the interview?

  • Funny about Money

    gravatarMay 8, 2008
    5:36 pm

    Flowers? Frou-frou on a resume for a legal job?

    You don’t have to be a designer to guess that one defies common sense. Strikes me that an effective design fits the kind of job you’re going after. If you’re applying for a design job, a creative-looking document or web site (within reason) might be required. But law firms are conservative critters, and the hiring partner is unlikely to be impressed by posies.

    I run an editorial office. Having hired my share of fruitcakes, believe me, a bouquet on a resume will have me searching for 87 reasons to tell Affirmative Action why this applicant doesn’t fit the job description. Please: keep it simple, keep it free of typos, and clean up the spelling, grammatical, and style errors.

  • heather

    gravatarMay 17, 2008
    7:35 pm

    i would just like to say that, not being an expert, i would think that the horizontal format would be a big no-no just because the employer looking through hundreds of resumes is probably going to just get irritated at the one that has to be turned to be read.

  • Sanibel Photographer

    gravatarJun 4, 2008
    6:23 pm

    No chance that would fly if it came across my desk!

  • trustblackal

    gravatarAug 8, 2008
    5:10 am

    stone elephant australia german car university student tree google watch

  • Heavena R

    gravatarAug 12, 2008
    2:06 pm

    Good article & interesting comments too…

    But i have to agree with others here that this resume would apply mostly for “non-creative” positions…

    Why should a resume not be a reflection of your creative abilities? Someone mentioned that thats not what a resume is for…but a newspaper is FOR news, Catalogues are FOR products, Annual Reports for…you get the idea…but all of them are well designed…

    One very important function of design (& therefore possibly a graphic designers role) is to provide design that enhances & complements the content, so I dont see why a Designer’s Resume should not be creative…

  • Adam

    gravatarAug 21, 2008
    3:48 pm

    As a designer who has had their eyes burn from aweful entry level design applicants. I agree with this article. The word “creative” is irrelevant as it’s a subjective term.

    Save the creativity for your portfolio. I’ve seen spelling take second place to “creative” resumes. It’s not acceptable. “Creative” positions are not excuses to showcase your talent in an informational piece meant to give vital education to the employer.

    Strong Foundations of Design take precedence in resumes and portfolios from a designers view. Anybody can layout trash. All you need is a computer, a program, a font, and a picture. Few can layout trash in an enticing spectacle that doesn’t strain the eye.

    1. Spelling
    2. Grid
    3. Typography
    4. Order

    Color is not listed simply because it’s such a subjective category. If it doesn’t look good in black and white it’s not going to look good in color. A pig is still a pig even if you dress it up.

    “newspaper is FOR news, Catalogues are FOR products, Annual Reports for–¦you get the idea–¦but all of them are well designed–¦”

    No!

    A newspaper is for informational design. Serif fonts are used because at a smaller size they are more legible (easier to read) because of their serifs. Newspapers have columns because the eye doesn’t strain when reading 6-12 words per line (with proper leading) and it’s much more easily remembered what the viewer read. Black and White text is the easiest to decipher. The paper is newsprint simply because it would cost a fortune to print on anything else. And why print on anything else when that or next day it is disposed of.

    Catalogues are used to entice consumers that brand X will make them look: “cool” “hip” “young” the list goes on. Catalogues are just a toe of branding (a vehicle so their story can reach consumers) that reminds consumers that dollars in their pockets could be spent and somehow make their life better, easier, ect.

    Annual Reports are to inform investors where their money has went and to keep them up to date on their investments… very few are excellently designed most are complete and utter shit. If it answers all the investors questions to me that is “well” designed despite being “visually well designed”. Great designed ones take aesthetic value into context.

    Once one understands that “design” is not just a pretty picture and that it has many different roles and rules pertaining to the situation will one excel.

  • Edgar

    gravatarSep 22, 2008
    6:23 am

    As a young graphic designer who is still learning his trade in this ‘complicated design’ world, I found some really interesting comments. Some that I totally agree with e.g. Adam’s.

    I was fortunate that some very experienced and creditable graphic designers taught me at my university. My education has been that you’ve got to understand the context of design. Everything has a reason.

    The whole idea of whether you should have an online portfolio or a well designed paper resume will depend on what you are and the job you are aiming for (why not have both? people love versatility). It is very unlikely that you will impress a very experienced book designer with your advanced Flash skills.

    Font – people seriously need to start leaving fonts such as Times New Roman (unless you have a very good reason) and look beyond. My personal preferences are modern day types, clean, easy on the eye, quickly accessible. There are plenty of them, which can also be adjusted depending on the quantity and layout of your resume.

    I’m not going to go into details of these reads, but some of you seriously need to go back and take a look at these: Jan Tschichold’s New Typography and Josef Müller-Brockmann’s Grid Systems in Graphic Design.

    –œLess is More–.

  • Dano

    gravatarNov 11, 2008
    2:59 pm

    Adam from Waco-

    You attempted to edit Neil’s article by pointing out that seven should be spelled out. Though you are correct, your use of the word, ‘less’ should be replaced with the word, fewer’. When referring to whole intergers, the writer should use the rules here: http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000214.htm.

    -grammar psycho

  • Shahan

    gravatarDec 1, 2008
    6:57 am

    Impressive blog; informative and to the point. I’ve just recently completed my resume (subject to small changes – I always tweak). Thankfully, I seem to have avoided the seven deadly sins!

    I love the debate that flows on this blog! Not that I have any “experience” as such, but why the hell do people think pastel colours would impress?

    If I want to stand out in the street, I could just wear my girlfriends clothes. Striking, but not appealing.

    The aim of my resume is to be sleek and concise, so that the potential employer looks at it, finds no fault.. but wants more. If they want more, they can find out at interview :] Ha, we will soon find out how that theory rolls as I move on from my current job.

  • Jay

    gravatarDec 2, 2008
    2:17 am

    When it comes to resume design, professionalism pretty much trumps all other attempts to get noticed.

    And riding high above all that is “content”.

    In a resume, content is king.

  • Sketchee

    gravatarDec 7, 2008
    12:47 am

    HP Everyday photo paper is awesome. It looks so much better than regular paper since it’s thick enough that colors don’t run or bleed. It’s very affordable and your design’s color will look crisp. Black text from an inkjet set to photo quality looks raised on the surface. And it’s pretty affordable.

    An inkjet can work great for certain paper types. Having worked with large six foot inkjet printers, I can tell you that paper choice is completely what makes this device tick. These printers can print on canvas, fabric, various weaves of paper.

    Anyway, there is a lot of defensiveness in the world of careers and resumes. As you can see in the comments here, people take their approach very personally. It comes down to the fact that the people who receive your resume may agree with these tips or they may not. Consider your target. Use methods that you would want to work with in the future. The employer’s expectations and tone of the interview are set in paper

  • projectautomatika

    gravatarJan 17, 2009
    10:45 am

    Great article and a good reference even for the experienced folks. Bookmarked.

  • Corey

    gravatarFeb 9, 2009
    8:32 pm

    To think that’s there’s only one correct way to strategize/design a resume is short-sided. If this person was applying to be a creative designer, this seems approrpriate. If this person was applying to be a administrative assistant, this would probably not be appropriate. The challenge is knowing your audience well enough to design correctly for them and the job your applying for.

  • Stephen Q Shannon

    gravatarFeb 13, 2009
    4:15 am

    Could not agree more about your 7 deadlies. You abhor New Times Roman…understood. Where are you in terms of serif vs. sans serif at the risk of being hyper about type face?

    All of my training seems to say, based upon eye fatigue quarrels, that serif type face is less taxing than sans serif.

    All of that said…a resume is in my view a McGuffin vs. what really matters in a job search. I also call it a “security blanket.” See Jeffrey Fox’ Don’t Send A Resume. Bravo Jeff!

  • matthew hall

    gravatarFeb 21, 2009
    11:22 am

    My advice is to call the employer ahead of time and ask what they look for in a resume.

    They may say, “I’m just looking for the right experience” or “I’m not interested in seeing colors, and special paper”.

    You can ask them without telling them who you are.

  • themisfit

    gravatarFeb 22, 2009
    8:25 pm

    I never knew there were so many things you could do wrong on a resume! Thanks for the heads up.

  • A

    gravatarMar 31, 2009
    4:06 pm

    Dont forget WIDOWS AND ORPHANS! If you’re applying for a design job and you leave widows or orphans on paragraphs the people reviewing them might just toss yours. Also you don’t want a font that is too big. Keep it between 9 and 11 point, I’d say.

  • Chris

    gravatarApr 6, 2009
    1:31 pm

    You need to be really careful about not using Times New Roman! I specifically know from friends that their companies reject “fancy type” resumes out of hand. The content is the most important thing.

  • Greg

    gravatarMay 14, 2009
    1:06 pm

    I am currently re-writing my “designer” resume. I’m not worried about the creative aspect of the piece, my big dilemma is CONTENT. Conventional wisdom says that the “Responsibility” based resume has been overtaken by the “Achievement” based resume. For whatever reason, I am having a lot of trouble “tooting my own horn”. Yes, I have been successful in my design career, but it is hard to quantify what I have achieved in solid terms. I’ve been in touch with Blue Sky Resumes, by all accounts a very respected resume writing service, but they want upwards of five hundred dollars to revamp my existing resume. Oh well, the search goes on as I find out how to do this…

  • Asya

    gravatarMay 14, 2009
    2:38 pm

    I truly enjoyed this piece! I disagree with certain posters who say that “nobody” uses paper resumes anymore. I am graduating with my MS in Library/Information Science and I am applying to:

    • Public school libraries
    • University libraries, information centers, other offices
    • Museums
    • Hospitals
    • Law libraries

    I usually attach a PDF file of my resume in portrait and a second in “wide” (horizontal). This way, those who prefer to view a resume in wide screen can get the same information in a slightly different format.

    For smaller institutions, I attach the portrait PDF and then send in a paper resume. I have a few interviews set up and I plan to come armed with my paper resume (in portrait) and my business cards. In case my interviewer is holding a photocopy, perhaps I can offer up an original.

    I used the type of paper similar to the one you had suggested. It isn’t textured, but it is soft and thicker than normal paper. I also had my name in a dark red, but the rest of the text is in black. I wish I could remember the name of the font I downloaded, it is pretty regular but just seems slightly more professional than Times New Roman.

    In case I don’t get hired soon, I was thinking about posting my resume online (in addition to sending in a PDF file). Does anyone have any experience with this? I would have my own domain name and omit my address and telephone number. I might have it printed on my business cards that I use for networking purposes.

  • Yuffie

    gravatarJun 15, 2009
    1:54 am

    uhm I yhink you forgot to mention putting a smiling photo of yourself on your resume.. I think it’s a requirement too isn’t it? I’m an artist, so my opinion is, if you are applying for a studio, it wouldn’t hurt to consider a little visual accents to your resume. It’s part of advertising yourself of what you can do. But of course, you have to maintain a little balance, too much might make it look more like a parafernalia.

  • Me

    gravatarJun 18, 2009
    8:07 am

    Last time I checked, resume and résumé were two different words. Pay attention to detail please!

  • FoxyLox

    gravatarJun 26, 2009
    4:13 am

    i see all of this talk about what fonts to stay away from. so what should we use?

  • RJ Eggens

    gravatarJul 10, 2009
    1:30 am

    Hmm.. the other failure I see is the @hotmail.com mail address.. Doesn’t really work well either..

  • Casey

    gravatarAug 2, 2009
    7:32 am

    Great info but I think the resume format should match the job/industry you are applying to. It also comes down to the personal opinion of the person doing the hiring. I had a resume designed and two people were interviewing me. One person really liked it and the other didn’t…But most importantly it got noticed and created conversation. I would say have common sense and keep it simple and not over done. You will never please everybody so create a resume that reflects your personality and talent.

    Good Luck Cheers

  • Ravi

    gravatarAug 27, 2009
    8:36 am

    All the comments are great. However, I have to say I have always had interviewers ask me for a hard copy of my resume at the beginning of the interview.

    Frankly, I have come to view that as a test of your organizational skills. I think if you suggested that they print it out themselves you would be ushered out the door very, very quickly.

  • blackmagic21

    gravatarSep 1, 2009
    7:19 pm

    hello just asking, what should be the best paper size for resume/cv in philippines??? is it short or long bond paper??? waiting for reply..thanks^^

  • Pol27

    gravatarOct 23, 2009
    3:13 am

    To a beginner this sounds intringuing, since simple groups are very natural objects to define, whereas vertex algebras seem more convoluted. ,

  • Norfolk Photographers

    gravatarOct 28, 2009
    5:58 pm

    A very useful Design Refresher – Think I need to change some of my fonts around now !! More work …

    Tim

  • themisfit

    gravatarNov 2, 2009
    10:51 pm

    Don’t forget spraying it with perfume (unless your applying to be an escort)!

  • TFord

    gravatarDec 3, 2009
    8:11 pm

    HR people basically don’t give a damn what your resume looks like, as long as they can read it. And most of them just scan it to make sure you fit the job requirements. So forget the nitpicky advice about fonts. Most HR people wouldn’t know a font if it jumped out of the PC and bit them. … You’re probably going to be submitting your resume as a PDF anyway, in which case you ought to make sure the file will transmit OK and be clear enough to copy. Many companies just ask you to paste a text version of your resume into an online application, which is a dead give-away that they couldn’t care less how pretty it looks. Just make sure you leave out the silly dingbats.

  • smartnsavvy

    gravatarDec 6, 2009
    10:58 pm

    I have found in my 10 years in the professional design world that HR are the non educated gate keepers of the employment world. Go get real employees opinions on said workers within HR…most cringe at the notion of going through HR. Really, what do people in HR do all day?

    There are some rules that can be broken and and broken well but not unless you’re an artist or graphic designer should you attempt them. Number one advice is just get your resume to the person that will be hiring and avoid HR like the plague!!!

  • James

    gravatarJan 9, 2010
    11:13 pm

    Wow, tough crowd. This is a perfect list of rules for design “begginers”. Of course designers and talented creative types may be able to make an impact by cleverly breaking some of these rules – but you’re probably going to have to use some software other than Word to pull that off. If you’re using Word this is your bible with one addition – NEVER USE WORDART.

    Nice work Chanpory

  • Andrew

    gravatarJan 21, 2010
    2:00 pm

    @James, I was thinking the exact same thing. Tough crowd indeed!

    @Chanpory, great advice! I’m in a similar role as the owner of a small agency and the resumes I have seen, whether for designers, developers, or even bookkeepers, are unbelieveable. My alltime favorite was one in Comic Sans (no joke!!).

    I think the key point is that design must always help achieve the goal. The goal for a resume is to get an interview. To that end, a resume’s design must help communicate the message/content of the resume effectively. Creatviity can have a place in your resume, but you ought to be conservative with it in my opinion: what’s clever, creative, and “the best resume I’ve seen” to one person might just be tacky and overdone to another.

  • DWalla

    gravatarJan 23, 2010
    2:49 am

    OK…. this entire “7 deadly sins” is bullcrap. Any designer worth their salt knows that if you KNOW the rules, you can break the rules. There is nothing I like more than receiving a fantastically creative resumé. After all, they are coming to us to be creative. It lets me see how well they understand how to sell themselves. I hate to say it, but your resumé ideas only makes them look like the cream of the crap… not the cream of the crop.

  • Vail Wedding Photographer

    gravatarJan 25, 2010
    11:26 pm

    I think its just a matte of time until the resume gets replaced. Sort of old fashion.

  • kathy

    gravatarJan 27, 2010
    9:58 am

    I think you are all missing a very important piece—who is the audience? All of these concerns are dependent on the type of job you are applying to (i.e. your audience). No matter what you are designing, this is the #1 variable to consider. What is important when applying to a creative job, is very different than what is important in the financial world, for expample.

  • Chris

    gravatarJan 31, 2010
    12:30 pm

    Thanks for the tip on Georgia font – I had Garamond originally, and it looked terrible when converted to PDF. Just tried out Georgia and loved it!

  • GC

    gravatarFeb 9, 2010
    9:51 am

    When we go to interviews, it’s nice to bring a copy of our resume along. That’s why it matters how it looks when printed. Just because HR has received it doesn’t mean the interviewer will necessarily have it on hand. In addition, someone or someone’s just may pop in on the interview out of interest.

    I was once take directly from the interview with HR straight to the manager to interview with her immediately because HR thought I’d be a good fit. I’m glad I had another copy of my resume on hand. It’s just good form to bring extra copies of a resume.

  • Sally

    gravatarFeb 23, 2010
    2:20 pm

    PS Speaking of bad font; what’s up with the font on this page?! Its super bold and narrow… and hard to read! Maybe try Georgia instead ;)

  • Briongloid

    gravatarMar 19, 2010
    1:09 pm

    I’m personally a huge fan of Palatino Linotype. (or its cousin Book Antiqua)

    It’s a nice serif font that’s easy to read and scan down through, it’s nicely formed and spaced and it’s ubiquitous but not always commonly used. And even if you don’t have it you can download it free.

    Somebody up there also made the point of trying to mimic the style and branding of the company you are submitting to. If possible you should always do that.

    One idea is to send the cv/resume in a nice folder the same colour as the company’s branding, to use similar coloured paper or to use the same fonts.

    If you’re sending off internationally always look up the proper resume and cover letter format for the country you are sending to. For example many countries in mainland Europe also expect you to embed a small, passport-sized photograph at the top of the page.

    Be sure to use the correct spelling also. True it’s best not to entrust your spelling and grammar to a machine, but, if you’re applying from one English-speaking country to another, be sure that you spellcheck it in the appropriate language – e.g. British English v US English.

    I’ve found, actually, that many computers, for example Dell computers, were always pre-installed with US English as the default language regardless of where they were being sold to. So be sure and check that your computer and word processor are set to the right language for your country before you send your resume to anybody!

  • Jad

    gravatarMar 31, 2010
    4:49 am

    This is so good to know and follow… I totally agree with kathy, but when you haven’t met the contact person the question would be: what should you present a graphically enhanced CV (Branding), a formal black & white CV or a flash animated CV?

    Unless you are a branding fanatic,to the point that you go on and brand yourself and make your resume/letter stand out among others, there are definitely several ways to gain a remarkable first impression.

    It also dependent on the culture of the company you’re entering and the position you’re applying for… and how old are you and your experience…

    your CV is your spirit and vision, at the end.. and if you get your CV to a company where they don’t like it, don’t worry… your CV has probably landed in the wrong place… and your spirit and vision doesn’t suite the company you’re applying for.

    I truly think design is essential, in order to stand out… but design alone doesn’t make the CV standout… it’s the content and experience and the way you brand yourself.

  • Joel Richard

    gravatarApr 7, 2010
    11:47 pm

    Wow. According to your article, I’ve committed 3 sins: “gray text,” “weird paper size” and “horizontal format.” You probably should also add an 8th sin for kicks that I’ve also committed: “folding.” Now, taken that I’ve broken lots of your rules in resume design — why is it that I’ve been working for my company for 3 years and 10 months thanks to my “poorly designed resume”? There has to be something wrong.

    A graphic designer’s resume should reflect his or her craft. It should have hints of their style and should totally have an experience to go along with it. Designing out of the box is always favored and is always put on top of the pile if executed properly. You should never confine yourself to designing freely. Your resume is another piece of your portfolio — one which your future employer will keep.

  • AllyMandor

    gravatarApr 20, 2010
    3:31 am

    I don’t believe filenames have been mentioned here. When sending a resume electronically, the filename resume.doc is the kiss of death. Be sure to change the filename to reflect your own name. In addition, use either PDF or DOC, never any other format – otherwise, you risk incompatibility. Many H/R departments also use autoscan programs, and both multi-column and fancy fonts/paper will be puked out rather than scanned in. When sending electronically, the plainer, the better! Finally, whether or not sent electronically, be brief. These days, virtually no one is worth a two-pager. The point is to get IN the door for an interview… you can elaborate later, during the interview.

  • Geisha

    gravatarApr 23, 2010
    7:01 pm

    Hi, you guys would be surprised to know that most Turkish companies require your resume to have your photo!! (It mostly (read:always) works in my favour :P )

    yeah, so my resume looks pretty messed up when I try to fit in my photo. It looks like a very detailed I-card!

    I think a photo within the resume screams prejudice.

    Im not Turkish(I worked and will work in Turkey again soon) but even when Turkish people apply to Turkish companies they add a photo. By the way, I know for a fact that some American companies ask for photos within a resume too (reference : my Turkish friends who’ve applied to American companies).

    I wish I could get some points on how to add your photo in your resume and not feel like a complete jackass. :P

  • MGBYG

    gravatarMay 1, 2010
    2:57 pm

    As an engineer and industrial designer who needs to walk a fine line between ‘logical’ and ‘artzy-fartzy’, I have found a san-serif font works far better than all the suggestions above. I have been using Tahoma for years and have gotten a call-back on every position I have applied for the last dozen years…I am 5 for 5.

    Tahoma kerns nice and tight and 10pt leave plenty of white space.

  • d5xtgr

    gravatarMay 24, 2010
    1:07 pm

    If you know how, typesetting your documents in TeX can really improve the font appearance through proper use of ligatures and a line-break algorithm that evaluates the appearance of the entire paragraph rather than that of the individual line. It can produce PostScript or PDF files for electronic usage. Failing that, it may be possible to use the Computer Modern fonts for which the program is configured in other programs like Word, and I expect these would still be a cut above Microsoft’s pet fonts.

  • Cinny

    gravatarMay 31, 2010
    3:01 pm

    I think everyone should come out of the dark ages. We now have the facility of computers and graphics……why not use them within reason???????/

    Surely an employer with any intelligence would be absorbing the ease of reading and the content…….not crossing a prospect off because of the font used. Lets move into the 21st century people.

  • pat g

    gravatarJun 24, 2010
    1:51 am

    As a recent “job seeker” I found this very useful. though of course we call them CVs in the Uk, the tips are all good. Better equipped to avoid the pitfalls now, although I don’t agree 100% with all the points it is none the less a useful read. Thanks again. Pat

  • toast

    gravatarJul 29, 2010
    4:23 pm

    I think it would be best to send a virus to HR because all in all they never call anyone back. Most of HR have no clue about anything tech, nor do they have any creative brain at all. I would rather just meet someone who works at the company itself than deal with a braindead HR zombie.