Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Apply Graphic Arts Principles When Designing Your Resume

Human beings are affected by aesthetics: nice looking anything grabs our attention. That is why one book warrants your picking it up while browsing, and another doesn't. Keeping basic principles in mind when creating your resume will ensure your resume warrants a good look while the next one gets passed over.

KISS Principle
The "keep is simple" idea applies to resume design. In one to three pages you will be listing an unbelievable amount of information. If you don't keep the design simple, you will lose your reader's attention. Stick to one font, one design element, one set of structural changes.

Make it easy on yourself, and stick to one font. This eliminates a problem often seen in home-crafted resumes: inconsistent use of fonts. Use only fonts that are universally available. If you go fancy, you run the risk of your resume becoming seriously reformatted at the recipient's end, sometimes scrolling to an unintended multiple of pages.

Size of font will depend on the font itself. For example, Arial is fine in size 10, whereas Garamond in 10 is almost illegible. Use your judgment.

Maintain the same font size and style for all similarly purposed entries. For example, if you are adding a one-line description of your past employers, and you italicize the first, continue this pattern.

Refrain from overdoing capitalized or italicized fonts as both can be difficult to read in saturation.

Coordinate Your Documents' Appearances
Borrow an idea from professionals: coordinate your resume, cover letter, and reference page so that all maintain the same header, font, margins, and design element. An easy way to stand out.

The Four Principles: Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, Contrast
Closeness implies a relationship.

Proximity refers to related items being grouped together. This creates one visual unit and organizes the information for the eye of the reader.

Scattered information may reflect an unorganized mind. Alignment creates a clean look by purposefully positioning each entry on the page eliminating an arbitrary, scattered look. Stick to a left aligned, centered, or right aligned layout.

Too many knickknacks in a house turn off home-buyers, and too many graphic elements will distract a resume reader. Repetition strengthens a cohesive look, and enhances organization. Stick to one element, one font, one structure and repeat throughout.

Sameness equals dullness, and you don't wish to come across as dull and uninspired on your resume. Contrast adds interest, and eliminates confusion. If elements are not the same in function, make them quite different. For example, contrast heading font size not by just one size, but by a few.

All the above ideas lead to one vital thing: they make your resume ultra-easy to read and scan. Recruiters are busy people who will not labour over an unorganized, messy looking resume. If your resume is composed in an italicized, flowing font that is almost impossible to read, and absolutely impossible to scan through quickly, you have knocked yourself out of the running.

Become adept at applying these basic principles of document design, and you will instantly impress the reader by your ability to organize detailed information in a clean, yet visually appealing, manner.

Copyright©2009 New Leaf Resumes.ca. Feel free to reprint this article, but please provide the author with full credit.