We’ve all been through the gruelling process of a job search before; the anxious wait before your interview, the tough questions, and the days (if not, weeks) that pass before you receive an outcome. But when it comes to what landed you the interview in the first place, it comes down to one document: your resume.
Resumes are a tricky craft to master, however, with even the smallest of errors resulting in them landing in the trash. Almost 60% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error, while over 50% will reject a candidate if their resume has nothing to differentiate them from the crowd. To add further insult to injury, over 30% of recruiters will reject you simply for using an ‘inappropriate’ font. Ouch.
So, how can you make sure your resume is eye-catching without being too over-the-top? Today, we’ll be sharing how you can create the best first impression, whilst using BeFunky’s Designer templates to produce a resume that rocks.
Now, what exactly should you include in a resume? There are 7 vital elements to this document, all of which we’ll explain below.
One thing you don’t want recruiters to go searching for is your contact information, especially if they want to give you good news. Therefore, your name, city and state, phone number, and email address should be prominently displayed at the top of your resume.
Include a brief paragraph that summarizes your ultimate career goal, as well as any big career wins you’ve had along the way. According to Scott Vedder, author of Signs of a Great Resume, your summary is where you “highlight upfront the most important things about you”.
Pay close attention to the skills required in the job advertisement, before ensuring you list these on your resume. You should also include any additional skills you possess (such as leadership, problem solving, etc.), even if they weren’t mentioned in the initial advertisement. Employers will glance over this section quickly to determine if you’re the right candidate, so be sure to list them in bullet points.
Possibly the most important section of your resume, your professional experience shouldn’t just list your previous positions, but also provide evidence of how well you performed in those duties. Rather than listing your day-to-day responsibilities, try to sum-up your achievements using numbers, dollars, or percentages (i.e. things that are actually measured).
This is where you place your education credentials, including where you went to college, what degree you studied, and when. If you can add any additional information to this section (such as graduating with honors), then be sure to include it!
Often, a recruiter will want to call your referees to verify information before offering you the job (or allowing you to progress through to the next stage). References can take the form of current or previous employees, colleagues, clients, supervisors, or anyone else related to your professional employment. Additionally, they can be personal references, which is basically anyone outside of your family who can vouch for your character.
Additional Awards, Testimonials, or Accolades
This section isn’t necessarily vital but can be highly effective for those who have any impressive awards, testimonials, or accolades related to their character, education or employment. These can also be used to strengthen any claims you made in previous sections.
What Makes A Great Resume
We know what you’re thinking: what separates a good resume from a great resume? Aside from including the necessary elements listed in the previous section, it often comes down to one thing: design. But not just any design – one that is eye-catching and visually pleasing, yet still highly-professional.
Remember how we mentioned that over 50% of recruiters will reject a candidate if their resume is too cliché and boring? The following tips will keep you in the clear!
Choose A Bolder Color Scheme
How many black and white resumes do you think an employer will see during the recruitment phase? Heaps! One of the easiest ways to initially stand-out from the crowd is to reject this out-dated trend and opt for your own bold color scheme instead.
There’s a trick to getting this right though, as you’ll want colors that compliment (rather than clash with) each other. Choose variations of the same shade on the color wheel for a monochromatic look, or opt for opposite hues that compliment one another well.
Use The Right Fonts
Forget Comic Sans. When it comes to using fonts on your resume, you’ll need to get it just-right. After all, over 30% of recruiters will reject you simply for using an ‘inappropriate’ font (harsh, but true).
The trick is to keep your fonts to a minimum, so we suggest no more than 2-3 with professional use of font pairing. You can differentiate headings with a strong, striking font, while your body text should be simple and easy to read. Steer clear of decorative and script fonts, and instead, opt for Serifs and Sans Serifs that are best suited for resumes.
Include White Space
No one likes reading block after block of text. The trick is to make your resume as readable as possible and the best way to do this is by including an effective amount of white space. White space is also great at breaking up your sections and creating a design that is balanced and cohesive.
Break Up Sections With Color
Speaking of breaking up your sections, another fantastic way to do this is with different colors.
You can alternate between 2-3 colors for a design that’s impactful, yet not cluttered.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Graphics And Illustrations
If you’re applying for a job within a creative field, then you may also benefit from extending your creativity to your resume in the form of graphics or illustrations. While illustrations may be purely decorative or serve as an example of your artistic skills, graphics such as graphs, charts, and more can also be used to represent information.
How To Make A Standout Resume With BeFunky
Now that you know what elements make a great resume, it’s time to create your very own! To get started, head to the Designer, before navigating to Templates > Small Business > Letterhead. Simply choose a design that takes your fancy to begin editing.
Pro Tip: For landscape-oriented resumes, the Brochure templates work like a charm.
Next up, we’re going to delete the bulk of existing text and start adding sections to our resume (keeping in mind the resume basics mentioned previously). To delete text and any other existing elements on your template, simply click on them before hitting Delete on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can left-click and select Delete Item from the menu which appears.
We’re now going to break the template up into sections using the wide range of graphics available in the Design Elements menu. There’s everything from shapes and lines, to badges, stickers, and social media icons here (and so much more), so be sure to experiment and see which works best for your design. In our design, we've changed the color of the header graphic using the Graphic Properties menu, resized a Square graphic from the Shapes category of Design Elements to create the left side section, and added lines to create additional sections.
You can change the color of any graphic element by clicking on it and customizing the options in the Graphic Properties toolbar that appears. From here, you can adjust things such as Color Overlay and Tint. You can either select your desired color from the color chart, use the Eye Dropper Tool, or type your Color Hex Code.
Next, it’s time to add text to your resume. Click the Text tab in the main menu on the left (the 'A' icon) and select the Add Text button. A textbox will appear for you to begin typing, as well as a Text Properties toolbar, which allows you to adjust elements such as Font, Font Size, Color, and more! A good place to begin is to label each section and fill in your header information. Remember to choose a strong Serif or Sans Serif font for the titles of your sections.
Next, fill in the rest of the information for your professional experience, education, awards, references, skills, and any additional information that might make your resume stronger. Using font pairing basics, choose a font that is complementary to your main font and be sure to include plenty of white space. Nothing will make your resume more of an eye sore than too much text.
Once your text is all in place, all that’s left to do is add any additional Design Elements needed, such as lines or symbols to tie everything together. We've added some Infographic icons to add intrigue, Social Media icons to represent social channels our candidate is great at, and created some graphics to represent each of the skills using elements from the Shapes category. A few graphics will make you look more design-savvy, but don't add too many! When you're finished adding graphics, don’t forget to triple-check your resume for any typos.
When your resume is looking perfect, it’s time to save it so you can start sharing it with potential employers! Just click Save at the top of the screen, before selecting a destination (such as your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, or more).
We highly recommend the Save as Project option too, as this will allow you to come back to your resume template at any time to make necessary adjustments.
Ta-da! Now that your resume is looking on-point, all that’s left is for you to apply for your dream job.
With a resume that sets you apart from your competition, get ready for plenty of interviews to come your way! Start practicing important questions (like, what’s your biggest weakness?) and ensure your LinkedIn is up-to-date. It also can’t hurt to notify your references that they may be receiving some calls over the next few weeks (so they can hopefully put in a really good word for you). The world is your oyster!