How Do I Pick a Resume Template That Feels Stylish?

With so many jobs attracting hundreds of applicants, it’s more important than ever to make your resume stand out among the crowd. Adding a little flair to your resume beyond just a by-the-numbers template can help catch a hiring manager’s interest. The longer their eyes are on your resume, the more likely you are to be scheduled for an interview.

However, adding style to your resume is something to consider with caution. There are instances where it’s better to reign in your creative and stylistic impulses and submit something more standard. Below are some tips to help you add just the right amount of style to your next resume.

Choose a Resume Format That Suits Your Industry

This is the first thing to keep in mind when creating your resume is what is standard and appropriate for your industry. For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design position, you probably have a lot of leeway when it comes to stylistic choices in your resume. Creativity is a positive here, and having a resume that is flexible with the format may be welcome and appreciated.

However, if you’re applying for a more traditional role (such as an engineer, store manager, or bank teller), your options will likely be limited to small tweaks and flourishes. Look up example resumes for your industry, and don’t stay too far from the styles you see. The stylistic design changes you make should be limited to font choice and size, with perhaps some well-placed deviations in text alignment.

Use a Professional, Readable Font

When it comes to choosing a font for your resume, it’s important to select one that is professional, readable, and supported by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Here are some popular font choices for resumes:

  • Arial: This popular sans-serif font is easy to read and widely available.
  • Calibri: The default font for Microsoft Office, this sans-serif font is widely used in business environments.
  • Cambria: This serif font is a good choice for resumes that will be printed, as it’s designed to be easily readable on paper.
  • Garamond: With a classic look, this serif font works well for resumes in creative fields.
  • Helvetica: Widely used in graphic design, this sans-serif font is ideal for resumes in creative fields.
  • Times New Roman: This serif font has been around for a long time and is a classic choice for resumes. However, it’s not as popular as it used to be.

Avoid using more than two fonts on your resume, and ensure the font size for everything except headings is between 10 and 12 points.

Use Appropriate Margins

It’s important to balance the amount of white space on the page with the amount of content you want to include. If you’re using a non-traditional resume layout, keep your margins between half an inch and one inch wide. This will help ensure your resume looks visually appealing and easy to read. You can reduce the margins if you need extra space but don’t make them smaller than half an inch. This will help ensure that your resume looks polished and professional.

Finally, don’t insert any text into the margins. This can make your resume look cluttered and unprofessional.

Where To Add Design Elements

Nobody wants to see a brick wall of text when they look at a resume — break it up with design elements that enhance your finest points as an employee.

  • Add personal design touches that reflect your personality and style. For example, you could use a unique color scheme or add a personal logo. In general, though, limit colors to no more than two.
  • Use a consistent design throughout your resume. This will help ensure your resume looks polished and professional.
  • Utilize bullet points to organize your content. These help break up large blocks of text and make your resume easier to read.
  • Use infographics to visually represent your skills and experience. Infographics can help you stand out from other candidates and make your resume more memorable.

Where To Keep It Simple

There are some design elements that hiring managers generally don’t like to see on a resume:

  • Fancy fonts: Stick to professional, readable fonts like Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman.
  • Inconsistent formatting: Keep your formatting consistent throughout your resume to make it look polished and professional.
  • Tables and text boxes: These can be difficult for ATS to read, which could hurt your chances of getting an interview.
  • Unnecessary personal information: Avoid including personal information like your age, marital status, or Social Security number.
  • Unusual colors: Ensure the colors you use on your resume are still readable on a white background — for example, yellows tend to get lost, and reds are hard on the eyes.

Use a Proofreader

Before submitting your resume, ask someone to look over it for you. Ask them to specifically let you know if any of the design elements feel confusing or overwhelming. It’s easy to let things get out of hand and to spend too much time trying to make something memorable and get a little lost in the weeds. This is where an outside perspective comes in especially handy.

Your resume should be eye-catching but not jarring and visually pleasing. Yet keep it easily scannable. If there are any bumps that need to be smoothed over, a proofreader can help you catch these things before you hit “send” on that email.