Resume Appearance Plays a Role in Your Job Search

Posted May 07, 2012 by

While employers are concerned with the content of your resume, they also pay attention to how it is presented.

Creative professionals may want to “dress” their resume for success, a new survey by The Creative Group suggests. Nearly half (46 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said for those pursuing creative roles, how a resume looks matters as much as what it contains. Another 43 percent of respondents said good design is somewhat important; only seven percent of executives said a resume’s appearance is not very important.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “How important would you rate the overall look and feel of a creative professional’s resume when you are evaluating potential hires?” Their responses:

Very important 46%
Somewhat important 43%
Not very important 7%
Don’t know/no answer     4%


“While the content of a resume is crucial, it first has to capture a hiring manager’s attention. This is especially true for those in creative fields, like design and marketing, and applies to both print and online versions of resumes and portfolios,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Hiring managers should be able to find information quickly and easily, as well as get a sense of someone’s attention to detail.”

Remember these five tips for developing a resume that’s easy on the eyes:

  1. Consider the user experience. Most hiring managers spend seconds scanning resumes to spot the ones they want to read in detail. Use simple fonts, standard margins, section headings and bullet points to highlight key attributes and help employers navigate the information.
  2. Don’t overdesign it. While it’s OK to incorporate elements of your personal branding into your resume (like a logo), refrain from excessive embellishments, including too many fonts and colors, which can be distracting. Instead, use your portfolio to showcase your creativity and artistic style.
  3. Paint a picture worth a thousand words. A visual or infographic resume can help you stand out from the competition when done right and tailored to the job opening. Should you go this route, make sure your graphics don’t overshadow the actual information and offer a traditional version, too.
  4. Take advantage of all your options. Professionals today have access to various tools for building online profiles that showcase their strengths and career accomplishments and can easily be shared via email, social media, RSS feeds and the like. These sites also offer more space to list relevant interests and link to a personal website, blog or online portfolio, giving employers a more complete picture of your individuality.
  5. Prepare a ‘plain’ version. Although most email systems can accommodate attachments (like Word documents and PDFs), not every hiring manager or organization is able or willing to accept them. Cover your bases by pasting a plain or ASCII text version of your resume into the body of an electronic message or online job application.
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