Bernadine Ella January 30, 2021 Resume
If you’re sending a portfolio, resume, and cover letter to apply for your dream creative role, think about how you can make all the elements of your application look more unified and professional. Treating your job application as an exercise in branding is a great way to both elevate your application to the next level and prove to your future employer that you can be creative while working within a set of brand rules. Before you begin creating your portfolio, resume, and cover letter, lay down some simple rules for your personal brand.
Perhaps the role you’re applying for is more administrative, even if it’s within a creative company, or the company isn’t so much a youthful start-up but more an established, formal enterprise. Applying for a role at an architecture firm or marketing company? Perhaps a more stripped-back resume design would be more fitting. This means no photos (or at the very least, no colorful cropped images from Facebook…but I’m trusting you wouldn’t subject any future employer to those anyway), no graphics, and no colors that’ll give a CEO a headache. Choose a classic sans serif typeface and keep the structure of your minimal resume conventional. Flush type to align left, to keep your text traditional in style. Allow for white space to make the whole design appear serene and professional. Use simple, thin lines (look to the Stroke Tools in Adobe software) to divide sections of content into manageable chunks. Use color sparingly—as a little pop of blue to mark out subheadings catches the eye without being overbearing.
Odds are, you’re looking for a role that’ll make good use of your skillset. If this is the case, fine-tune the design of your resume to make a nod to your chosen profession. For example, if you’re a publishing designer, make your resume look a little bookish. Use classic typefaces like Caslon and Baskerville. Structure the layout to mimic a beautifully typeset book page. If you’re a web designer, take inspiration from this digital-inspired resume template and give your layout a digital-inspired design with neon pops of color, data-like icons and bars, and a precise, clean-cut layout. Just like a beautifully designed web page, right? Use your creative resume as an opportunity to show off your design skills in practice. This will make the look of your resume a great talking point at the interview stage and will showcase your enthusiasm for your career of choice.
As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. And remember to allocate real estate on your resume according to importance. If there’s a choice between including one more college internship or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter (unless a previous job was more relevant to the one you’re applying to).
We’ll talk about getting creative in order to stand out in a minute. But the most basic principle of good resume formatting and design? Keep it simple. Use a basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. Make your resume easy on hiring managers’ eyes by using a font size between 10 and 12 and leaving a healthy amount of white space on the page. You can use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked, but keep it simple and keep it consistent. No matter what resume format you choose, your main focus here should be on readability for the hiring manager.
Since you’ll want to be swapping different information in and out depending on the job you’re applying to, keep a resume outline or master resume on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information together. Think of this as your brag file.
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