Isabeau Léonore January 29, 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.
If you’re applying to a job in a traditional industry, like law, accounting, or real estate, consider using no color on your resume, or use a professional resume color like dark blue or green. If you’re applying to a job in a more modern industry like graphic design, marketing, or fashion, you can safely choose from a more creative color palette, but don’t overload your resume with several different colors. Use one or two complementary colors for headers or borders. Your body text should be black.
Taking the time to perfect your resume is normal if you want to get it right. But, don’t ignore the cover letter and make it an afterthought. It’s important to dedicate the same amount of time to the cover letter to make sure you’re tailoring it to the position and the company you’re applying to. Fonts and colors should be consistent with those used on your resume. The tone of voice should be professional. Although you’ll want to make sure not to sound like you’re copying and pasting the same information over and over.
The best place to start when preparing to write a resume is to carefully read the job postings that interest you. As you apply for different jobs, you should study each job description for keywords that show what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Include those keywords in your resume where relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a medical billing coder, an employer might list keywords like “coding,” “claims submission,” “compliance” or “AR management” in the job description. Pay particular attention to anything listed in the sections labeled “Requirements” or “Qualifications.” If you have the skills that employers are looking for, you can add these same terms to your resume in the experience or skills sections.
Have you been actively volunteering with a non-profit organization? Skills-based volunteering (SBV) is a great way to fill an employment gap or supplement your work history when you’re trying to change careers. Please list any volunteer work you’ve done that’s relevant to your current job goals in chronological order, beginning with your most recent work. If you’re new to the workforce, include any campus activities or clubs in which you were active.
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.
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