Your Resume's Appearance: Make Sure It's Easy to Read
EVERY ELEMENT AND section on your resume is important. This sheet of paper needs to convey all of the information a potential employer needs to make an educated decision about whether or not you're qualified enough to invite for an interview. Because of your resume's importance, it's imperative to spend considerable time developing the content, so that every word, line, and section makes a positive impact on the reader. Not only should your resume pique the reader's interest, it should excite him or her about the prospect of meeting you in person.
No matter how good the content, however, it won't make a bit of difference if an employer is turned off by your resume's appearance, and chooses to skip it in favor of a better looking one on the pile. The first impression your resume makes is critical. It should be visually pleasing to the eye, printed on high-quality paper, coordinated with your cover letter and envelope, and not look intimidating.
It doesn't matter which resume format you decide to adopt (chronological, functional, targeted, etc.). When creating a traditional printed resume, how the document appears on the page is the first thing a reader notices.
If you don't believe you have the creativity and taste necessary to create a visually appealing document, study as many sample resumes as possible, paying careful attention to layouts, fonts, line spacing, margins, and other visual elements.
This article explains many of the design elements you need to consider when creating your resume. As previously mentioned, make sure your entire resume package (your resume, cover letter, personal business card, envelope, etc.) are all coordinated and work together for a greater overall visual effect. Using the same paper type and color, font, ink color, and design elements for each of these documents helps you convey the fact that you're well organized, detail oriented, and able to communicate well in writing.
Choosing the Best Resume Paper
When you are creating your resume and cover letter, how these documents look and feel are as important as what they say. When applying for most jobs, you want your cover letter and resume to convey a highly professional and somewhat conservative image. To achieve this, you will have to choose the right paper, select the right resume format, and decide whether or not to add a touch of color in order to make your resume stand out. Resumes that stand out in a positive way are the ones HR professionals and recruiters read first.
When you visit an office-supply store or print shop to purchase resume paper, you will be surprised at how many different shades of white there are. You will also find paper stocks in several different weights and textures, some containing watermarks, and most will have at least some cotton content.
The most traditional choices for paper color are bright white, ultra white, or ivory. The paper colors in the white family ensure the text on the page will be legible (depending, of course, on the font, typestyles, and ink color you choose). Resumes printed on white paper are also better for scanning, which helps eliminate the possibility of applicant-tracking software misreading something on the page.
For traditional printed resumes, it's also acceptable to use a slate or light gray paper. Avoid using bright-colored or dark-colored papers, however, which will cause your resume to stand out for the wrong reasons. As for the weight of the paper, 24- or 28-pound bond paper works fine. One way to help your resume stand out is to use a heavier paper stock. Expect to pay between $.15 and $1.00 per sheet for quality resume paper unless you buy a box of 50–500 sheets at an office-supply store.
Warning: Don't try to fold a resume that's printed on a heavy paper stock (over 28-pound basis weight) in order to insert it into a business-size envelope. If you're using a heavier paper stock for a resume package, send it in a large (9 by 12-inch) envelope.
Make sure the paper color and ink color work well together to maximize readability. The ink color you choose for your resume and cover letters should be standard black. Navy or burgundy are also acceptable. Some people choose to use a small amount of different colored text (a second color) within their resume to highlight specific items. This strategy can be effective, but using multiple colors is not considered traditional. Multicolor printing is also more expensive if you're using a professional printing service, and using a color inkjet printer doesn't usually offer the print quality needed for a resume. Unless the multicolor print quality of your resume looks totally professional, use one ink: traditional black.
According to the director of marketing at Paper Direct, "You want your resume to stand out, but you also want your documents to look professional and be easily readable. Sometimes that's a contradiction. No matter what type of paper and ink color you select, it's vital that your resume, cover letters, thank-you notes, and envelopes all match. Part of being professional is being coordinated."
The job you're pursuing and the industry you hope to work in should also determine the look of your resume. Graphic artists should show creativity through the use of graphics, design, and color in their resume package, whereas someone applying for a traditional job in the business world should stick to the basics in terms of traditional resume layout and design.
When choosing resume paper, make sure you see and feel a sample of the paper stock prior to purchasing a sealed package of that paper. Finally, when printing your resumes and cover letters on a laser or high-quality ink-jet printer, make sure the paper you choose was designed for this equipment.
Instead of racing to your local office-supply superstore and grabbing the first package of paper you find suitable for your resume, shop around a bit. Visit a local print shop or copy shop and look at all of the different types of available paper. As long as you select a resume paper that conveys a professional image, the actual paper you choose is a matter of personal preference.
"Avoid paper that is too loud or outrageous. Although I am always looking for someone with energy and creativity, fluorescent green paper screams flashy, inelegant, and egotistical to me! It also detracts from the actual content of the resume. Who can concentrate on a candidate's skills when you can't stop looking at the paper?
—MARGARET, HUMAN RESOURCES EXECUTIVE
Make sure your resume package forms a presentation that you're pleased with and can be proud to show and distribute to potential employers. Remember, the appearance of your resume package says a lot about you and will most likely play a major role in creating a positive (or negative) first impression with an employer.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Child Development Theories
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing