With a well-designed resume, you can open up the door to a better job and future. What other piece of paper has that much power to change your career? Not many!
That’s why you need to take the time to make a resume design that effectively shows off your best professional qualifications and qualities.
A resume is a document that summarizes your work experience, education, skills, and knowledge. But when it comes down to it, a lot of people aren’t that great at designing resumes that actually stand out.
Your qualifications may be better than other candidates’, but if they are presented poorly, you may not even get an interview. So if you want to be noticed by a hiring manager in 2019, you’re going to need to up your resume design game.
Not sure where to start?
This guide will explain 5 essential parts your resume should have, along with 15+ resume templates and examples of impressive resume design to inspire you.
So let’s get started!
What should a resume include?
1. Contact information
The first part of your resume should always include your contact information. You want to make it as easy as possible for a manager to contact you with any questions or comments.
So don’t hide this pertinent info at the bottom of your resume, or in some other odd space.
The resume contact information section should include your:
- Full Name
- Phone Number
- Home Address
- Email Address
- Social Media Usernames
2. Resume introduction
Once a hiring manager has skimmed through the contact information, your introduction is probably going to be the first substantial thing they will read.
You should only include things that really set you apart from the rest of the applicants. For example, things like:
- Direct Experience
- Soft & Hard Skills
- Power Words
- And more!
It also could be the last thing they read on your resume if you don’t approach this section correctly. So make it count.
The first entry in your education section should always be the most recent you completed. So if you got an advanced degree, that should come first, followed by your undergraduate degree.
Like the contact section, there are a few things that you should always include in the education portion of your resume.
These four pieces of pertinent info include:
- School Name
- School Location
- Years Attended
On a professional resume, you really don’t need to include more than that. The hiring manager will ask questions if they want to learn more about your education and such.
4. Job experience
Next, on your resume design journey, you should add your job experience. Like in the previous section, you should start with your most recent job and work backward.
Most experts recommend that you should only include jobs from the past 10 to 15 years.
For each job you want to highlight on your resume, include these four things:
- Job title
- Company name
- Dates of employment
- List of responsibilities & achievements
Each of these responsibilities or achievements should be presented as a bullet point like above. Otherwise, your resume will be very hard to read!
5. Relevant skills
For the final essential part of your resume, we will cover the skills section. This one is probably going to be the smallest section on your resume, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
Especially if you work in an industry where you need experience with specific software, programs or processes to succeed. These are usually called hard skills because they are easily defined and measured.
For example, if you want to be a professional designer you must have a ton of experience with the Adobe suite. But a writer may need WordPress experience.
You also can highlight soft skills on your resume if they are related to your current or future position. As you probably guessed, soft skills are the opposite of hard skills and are not easily defined or measured.
15+ Resume Design Tips, Templates & Examples
Now that you know what information your resume should contain, it’s time to talk about how to design a perfect resume.
You might not think that the design or resume template that you select matters, but trust me it does.
Especially if your design choices make your resume actually harder to read.
To avoid that tragedy, I have collected a few great design tips that will not only make it easy to consume, but also help it stand above the others.
1. Use a professional picture on your resume
Most of our resume templates on Venngage include a section where you can add a headshot or profile picture.
Including a photo is a great way to help the hiring manager put a face to a name. Also, a simple headshot will make you seem a lot more real, instead of just a name on a piece of paper.
However, I would recommend only using a professional photo on your resume. Something like the example below would be perfect, but you also don’t need it to be that formal.
Just make sure the image is recent, high quality, and makes you seem like the perfect candidate. Never use a casual photo from your social media profiles!
2. Give your resume design an eye-catching border
I think it’s safe to say that most resumes are going to be printed on a crisp piece of white paper. And the most color that they will use is probably a light gray or a dark blue. Just like the fifty other resumes that a manager has on their desk.
Adding an interesting border, like in the resume example above, can really help your resume to stand out. You can also inject a little bit of your personality into the resume without pulling the reader attention away from the important information as well.
I would recommend using a flat color, a simple texture or muted pattern, for your border. Anything else, like a photo or gradient, will be more distracting than helpful.
I think it goes without saying that this approach should probably not be used if you’re applying for a bank or other more formal company. But a creatively driven company, like Venngage, will love it.
3. Use data visualizations to show off your soft skills
Talking about what soft skills you possess is a little difficult on your resume. It can easily come off as not very genuine if you include a bunch of buzzwords. Or seem a little odd if you only have a few extra specific traits.
I believe a data visualization, like in this resume design, is a fantastic way to highlight your soft, and hard skills. A unique data visualization will not only catch the eye of the reader, but it will also present your information in a unique way.
In this resume template, they use a pie chart at the top and a bar graph in the body of the resume. Both of these visualizations will help the hiring manager get to know the applicant a little better and provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision.
Additionally, I really like that in this resume example they included some keywords that describe the candidate from the beginning.
4. Make sure your resume design fits your industry
Not every design tip that I will talk about in this part of the article can be used in every industry. And I think this resume design above is a great illustration of this point.
A resume like this is perfect for an art director or graphic designer but would get you laughed out of a bank.
A creative resume like the one below is perfect for a professional photographer because it allows them to show off their work.
However, if you’re an amateur photographer applying for a Customer Support role it might not be appreciated by the managers.
So if you plan to create a resume like this, make sure it fits the job or industry you’re applying for!
5. Stick to a consistent color palette throughout your resume design
If you want your resume to succeed, I would strive to make consistent design choices throughout. Make it your mission to use the same fonts, types of icons and colors in each section of your resume.
In this resume design template, the designers stuck to a beautifully consistent color palette. With light pinks interacting perfectly with the darker purples. Additionally, because they used a white background the colors really jump off the page.
The consistent color palette not only looks great but makes the resume very easy to read as well.
Now if they didn’t use the same colors for the headers, subheaders and data visualization, this resume would be a mess.
6. Create a minimalist resume if you don’t have a ton of experience
There’s nothing wrong with not having a ton of professional experience. It’s a fact that everyone has to start their professional journey somewhere, so don’t be embarrassed!
To combat this lack of experience when applying for jobs, I would create a minimalist resume.
For example in this resume template example, they only highlighted two of their past jobs.
But the resume doesn’t feel empty at all. Instead because of the minimalist influences, the whole resume feels like they wanted to keep things brief.
If you plan to use this tactic, just make sure the other sections of your resume follow suit, like above. It will look very odd if you only include a brief job history, and then list every soft skill you think you possess.
7. Highlight your contact information with a different background color
Like I said above, your contact information should be very easy to find. Preferably it will be placed in its own section of the resume for easy access.
I mean, you don’t want to miss out on the job of your dreams because the manager or software can’t find your phone number!
One of the simplest ways to make your contact information stand out is by using a different background color.
For example, this simple resume template below uses almost 1/4th of the page for their contact information:
They made it stand out from the rest of the resume just by changing the background color to a nice shade of beige. This might not seem like an earth-shattering addition, but it will help a reader quickly consume and use your resume!
8. Never use a single font for your resume design
Using a single font throughout your resume is one of the worst things design decisions you can make.
There are literally thousands of fonts out in the world you can use. Honestly, with that many choices there’s no excuse for using a single font on any design project, but especially a resume.
If you’re not comfortable picking fonts yet, check out our font guide first!
In this resume template, they use a combination of three different fonts and italics to make things interesting:
One for the headers(1), another for the sub-headers(2) and a final one for the body text(3). A combination that features serif and sans serif fonts like this makes the resume easy to skim and jump from one piece of information to the next.
9. Always include some power words in your resume
To help your resume really stand out, I would recommend using power words throughout the descriptions. According to TheBalanceCareers, these power words should include:
- Action verbs
- Company values
- Skill words
- Specific keywords
- Industry buzzwords
In the resume introduction above they used a nice mix of all of those types of power words.
Using these powerful words will not only help your resume stand out to hiring managers, but also make it through the software they use to filter candidates.
Just remember to not go overboard and include too many of these power words. It may cause your resume to look inauthentic, and end up in the trash can.
10. Design a data-driven infographic resume
If you were not away, Venngage started as an infographic resume company! Back in the day, we would create an infographic resume from the information on your LinkedIn page.
Obviously, we have come a long way since then, but we still know how powerful an infographic resume can be.
A combination of data visualizations, icons, and more can make your resume design wholly unique. In the resume template below they used not one, but four data visualization to tell their professional story:
This approach is a great way for someone with not a ton of experience to fill out a full resume. As you can see above, they used a timeline to outline their education, travels, and internships. And then a bar chart to explain some of the skills they learned while in college.
Overall, I think it’s a resume that will definitely get you an interview!
11. Use bold colors to highlight important power words
In a previous tip, we briefly talked about how important power words are. These are words that could make or break your resume. So if you skipped that part, go back and read it now!
If you want your power words to stand out even more on your resume, use a different font color like below:
This designer made sure that the reader will see those power words by highlighting them with a nice lilac.
Not sure what colors to use in your resume? Check out this in depth color guide!
I really like this approach because those keywords will stick with a manager throughout the hiring process. Plus, if they are just skimming the resumes those power words will immediately jump out and grab their attention.
12. Include direct links to your social media platforms
In the contact section of your resume, use links that a manager can easily copy and paste into their browser. Remember that you want to make your resume easy to use and interact with.
I would also recommend adding any links to your work on other sites like Medium, Behance, Dribbble or even your own WordPress or Wix website.. The resume example above actually includes a direct link to their Behance profile.
A curious hiring manager might want to check out your past work before looking at the rest of your resume. Again, make it almost too easy to learn more about you with a simple link.
If your work is good enough, it might just get you the job. Or at least make your name stand above all the other applicants.
13. Feature icons to illustrate your interests outside of work
Most companies these days don’t just care about your experience, they also want to see if you’re a good culture fit.
At Venngage we sometimes care more if you fit in with the culture instead of if you have to most experience. This is because we can always teach you a skill or process, but not how to be a team player. Or a fun person to work with!
I know that including that’s very open-ended and vague on your resume can be a little tricky. That’s why I recommend using a few simple icons to illustrate your hobbies and interests. Like so:
As you can see in this resume example, the designer included a bunch of icons to show what he likes to do in his free time.
Hiring managers can learn a lot about a candidate with this information, so don’t forget to include it. And with a few well-placed icons you can make your resume very visually appealing as well.
14. Write a resume introduction that fits your experience
According to the fine people at ResumeCoach, there are 3 main types of resume introductions that you can use.
The first one, called an Objective Introduction, should be used if you don’t have a lot of experience in the field or industry. This kind of introduction can be thought of like an abbreviated cover letter as well. The resume example below lists some very interesting information about the applicant:
Next, we have the Qualifications Introduction, which is exactly what it sounds like. With this kind of intro, you should only list your relevant soft skills and abilities. The resume example below uses their management experience as a focal point as they applied for a more senior role:
And finally, we have the Summary Introduction, which is basically a brief synopsis of your relevant jobs and experience. This introduction is built for people who have a ton of direct experience and accomplishments in the industry.
The resume design example below includes a nice mix of accomplishments, qualifications, and experience:
Just remember to include only things that are very relevant to the job that you’re applying for. Also, don’t write a novel on your resume, keep any introduction short and sweet.
15. Include a simple timeline to visualize education or experience
One of the best ways to visualize your past experience or education is with a simple timeline.
Most people are very familiar with timelines and will be able to consume the information efficiently.
I should be noted that any timeline you add to your resume should be relatively minimalist.
The timeline in this resume example strikes the perfect balance between informative and interesting. If the timeline design gets too complicated, it will distract from your written information.
You can even use a timeline infographic to organize your education if you have multiple degrees like they did above.
16. Use icon headers to draw the eye to important information
Icons can be used in a bunch of different ways on your resume. We have already outlined a few interesting ways you can incorporate them in previous sections.
But I think the best way to use icons is as headers for important information in your resume.
Not sure what I’m talking about? Take a look at how this designer used icons across his resume:
For every ability, skill, educational milestone and more they attached a related icon. This won’t only help the reader gain some quick insight but also draw their eye to each piece of information.
Plus it makes the resume look extremely unique!
That’s all the resume design tips we have for you today! Hopefully, some of these templates and tips will help you find the perfect job in the future.
Some of the best resume tips to follow are:
- Create a minimalist resume if you don’t have a ton of experience
- Stick to a consistent color palette throughout your resume design
- Design a data-driven infographic resume
- Feature icons to illustrate your interests outside of work
- Write a resume introduction that fits your experience
Need some more help creating a resume or cover letter? Start with these two articles: