• Leily L Sanchez

Resume Series: Looks Matter!

When it comes to your resume, you need to make sure to put your best foot forward with a resume that is organized and looks consistent. This post explains the finer details of crafting your resume and notes on accessibility and color.



In one of my many visits to Cal State LA's Career Development Center, I learned that while updating and creating your resume is a continuous process, there are some details that you should always be mindful of when you are working on your resume. To figure out the resume type that is right for you, follow this link to my first post in the series, Resume Series: Resume Types. For information on how to write your resume, follow this link to my second post in the series: Resume Series: Making it Work for You.


So, now that you have figured out the type of resume that is right for you and created the content, you are ready to start looking at your resume's formatting and look.


Remember that above all, readability and ease of printing are always the most important considerations to make when formatting and designing your resume.

The Bad Resume


We will start with the bad and end with the good. Below, is an example of a bad combination resume example that I created. The formatting is not necessarily bad but the execution definitely is. To the right of the picture is a quick rundown of what is wrong with this resume.


<--- Your name on top should be black and in a more professional font.

<--- Contact information should avoid long numbers whenever possible.

<--- You want to keep bold, italics, and underlining to a minimum


<--- Here bold, italic, and underline are used at once. Keep it simple.


<--- Stay consistent with the bullet point you use.


<--- Stay consistent with your fonts.




The Good Resumes


Below are examples of a good functional resume to the left and a good combination resume to the right. Read about the key differences between the content of these two types of resumes in my earlier post Resume Series: Resume Types.


The Good Resume Example Style Descriptions


This description is only about the style of the resumes and not the content. To learn about the content of each resume type, you can read my previous posts, Resume Series: Resume Types and Resume Series: Making it Work for You. This functional resume has a bold name in a large serif font size on the upper left-hand side and phone number, email address, LinkedIn URL, and City, State, and zip code listed on the upper right-hand side.


The good combination resume also uses a large serif font but lists the same contact information below the name.


Both resumes were created using the table tool in MS Word. All headers are bold and feature a border below each header that extends across the page.


Each resume uses the same bullet point that either ends in a period throughout the resume or does not, with the exception of the skills. Times New Roman is used throughout both resumes but another serif font is used for the names.



A Few Words About Color


If you are in a creative industry, you may play with color but be mindful of using color blocks and make sure that there is high color contrast on your resume.

If you have color blocks where you place information, it won't print well in black and white if there is no high contrast. Even if there is high contrast and it is printable in black and white, it can waste a lot of ink.

To the right, you will see a creative chronological resume. The color in this example is used as an accent to create inside borders for each section of the resume. If this resume were to be printed in black and white, the blue would translate nicely into black without affecting the content of the resume.


When selecting an accent color, stick to more dark colors. If there is not high color contrast, your resume will not print well or the hiring manager will not be able to see your information without straining. When in doubt, keep it simple and stick to clean, uncomplicated formatting and design.


The formatting for this resume has the name on the upper left-hand corner and the objective on the upper right. Below the objective is the work experience. Below the name is contact information, relevant skills, and education. Each header is bold and blue, including the name. Times New Roman is used throughout.



More Things to Consider


  • Bullet points statements don't have to always end in a period but whatever you choose, stay consistent.

  • Bullet points for your skills are the exception.

  • Use a maximum of 2 fonts. It is acceptable to use a different font for your name and header and another font for the rest of the text.

  • Keep bold, italics and underlining combinations to a minimum. For example, If I were to use those all at once for my name, a screen reader will read: "bold, italic, underline Leily L Sanchez"

  • Check accessibility of your resume on MS Word by clicking on Tools and selecting "Check Accessibility"

  • If you are in a creative industry and are using color, use a color contrast checker before finalizing your resume. This color contrast checker from Web Accessibility in Mind is great. (WebAIM is a great resource to use for accessible content creation.)

These details all contribute more to the look, format, professionalism, and accessibility of your resume rather than the content. These details can make a difference between getting an interview or not.

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