Your Guide to Creating a Professional, Eye-Pleasing Resume
When creating your resume, you should aim for professional and visually appealing. You want a resume showing you’re a true professional keen to demonstrate your skills while also being visually pleasing enough for the hiring manager to want to read it.
A pretty resume devoid of substance won’t get you anywhere, but at the same time, being the most highly qualified candidate won’t land you the job if your resume is chaotic and disorganized. To get the most out of both content and style, make sure they complement each other. If you’re struggling to balance these two aspects, consult our resume experts for more specific tips.
Here are some ways to create a professional, eye-pleasing resume.
Spice up your professional summary
This is the first section hiring managers read. Although your professional summary should only be three to five lines long, you can make it reflect your personality and showcase your style of writing.
Draw the attention of the recruiter by crafting a creative yet informative professional summary. Write it thoughtfully because if you don’t do a good job here, the hiring manager likely won’t continue reading your resume. Think carefully about the information you most want them to know.
Use lists when possible
One way to create an easy-to-read resume is to use lists. Your skills section should consist of bulleted lists. Also, some major achievements in your work experience section can be presented in the same manner. Whenever you’re making lists, keep the grammatical structure consistent. This makes you look more professional and organized, which attracts the attention of hiring managers. Here’s an example:
- Improved sales strategies (verb)
- Responsible for a marketing team (adjective)
- Improved sales strategies (verb)
- Supervised a marketing team (verb)
Making small changes such as this helps you create a professional, attractive resume. Incorporate consistent lists for a well-organized document, but be careful not to overdo it—that could make your resume look tacky and unprofessional.
Include specific information
Whether you’re making a list or explaining your accomplishments, be as specific as you can. Include quantifiable results when possible, taking care not to leak confidential information from another company. What hiring managers want to see more than anything is how valuable you were in your previous job. You get to highlight your value while proving that you indeed possess all the skills you’ve listed.
You can accomplish this goal in a couple of ways. First, you can use specific numbers or percentages to quantify your results. For example:
Increased sales by 42% in three months by implementing new sales strategies.
Notice how the result is quantified and better visualized with the inclusion of specific numbers. This is crucial for demonstrating your professional skills. Now the hiring manager knows what results you can produce and what you did to achieve them. They are clear about what they can expect if they hire you.
You can also take it a step further by highlighting the specific numbers to draw the hiring manager’s eye to that result. Let’s use the same example to demonstrate how you can do it:
- Increased sales by 42% in three months by implementing new sales strategies
By simply highlighting the numbers, you make the results jump out. This simple technique guides the hiring manager to your accomplishments. You can also highlight keywords that truly showcase your achievements and skills.
Incorporate visually pleasing formatting
Nothing says professional and visually pleasing like correct formatting! One of the most common reasons hiring managers give up on a resume is formatting issues. The right information isn’t enough if it’s presented poorly. Here are some things to consider.
Create section dividers
If your resume looks like one big chunk of text, the hiring manager can find it overwhelming. Use section dividers—such as section headers or design elements that appropriately separate each section—to split up the text. Using a simple line under the heading gives your resume a different look and makes it more visually appealing.
Don’t be afraid to play around with your section headings and dividers to spice up your resume. That said, don’t go too crazy or you may distract from your information. Getting too creative is not good because the focus should be on the information, not the visual presentation.
Stick to standard fonts
“Visually pleasing” in terms of a resume is a little different from “visually pleasing” in other areas of design. On a resume, a visually pleasing font is a standard one, such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial. These fonts may be boring, but they’re professional and give your resume a clean look.
Moreover, these fonts ensure your resume can be easily scanned and accurately assessed by applicant tracking systems (ATSs), which are programs that most companies use nowadays to weed out irrelevant job applications. Before it gets to the hiring manager, your resume must make it past the ATS, so you need to keep that in mind when formatting the document. You can get a little more creative with your section headings, but you must use a standard font for your content.
Give it space
Nothing overwhelms a reader more than a page packed to the gills with words. You may have a lot of information to include in your two-page resume, but don’t overcrowd it to the point where you have to extend the margins and decrease the font size. Hiring managers can immediately see through these tricks, and they won’t be impressed.
You may have to sift through your information and delete anything irrelevant because you definitely need space on your resume. Having “white space” on it helps hiring managers process all your information with greater ease. It also shows them that you know how to organize information effectively.
Check for accuracy
You may have a resume that will, on the surface, attract hiring managers, but if you overlook details such as spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar, you probably won’t get the job. If a recruiter finds linguistic mistakes in your resume, they’ll probably toss it aside, so read it as many times as necessary to ensure you have an error-free document. Since you’re overly familiar with the content, it’s easy for your brain to fill in the blanks and skip over missing words or typos, which is why it’s imperative to have a trusted friend go through your resume as well.
Your resume should communicate that you’re both professional and well-organized. If you can present the appropriate information in the appropriate format, you can grab and hold the attention of the hiring manager. Do you need help making your resume professional and visually appealing? Hire a resume expert to assist you!