Designing a Resume for 2020
According to a post from LinkedIn, one of the worlds leading professional networking websites, the average amount of time a potential employer spends looking at your resume is six seconds.
That is the equivalent of dropping a piece of food on the floor, picking it up and yelling "5 Second Rule!"....plus one second.
Six seconds is not a large amount of time and I know what you're thinking. "If they only spend six seconds looking at my resume, why is it so important and why do employers always request it, and why do I always find myself stressing over it?!"
That is a big mood.
But what if you created a resume that not only caught an employer's attention for six seconds, but held him/her captivated long enough to actually read about some of the really fantastic things you've accomplished in your career, no matter how long or how short your career at this point has been? You've worked hard! Wouldn't it be nice if someone took the time to read some of the things you've worked so hard on achieving and saw some of the assets that set you apart from the rest of the applicants?
I recently applied for a new teaching position and decided I would take this opportunity to do away with my basic black-and-white-overly-regurgitated-resume and spice things up a bit. I will share some of the changes I made to my resume in the hopes that you can use them to spice up your own. The goal is to take those six seconds and quickly turn them into 15 (or at least 10!)
But before we dive into the "eye-popping" design features, let's consider some of the important items you should be including on your resume.
What to include:
- Contact Info (make sure this is easily spotted on your resume!)
- Phone Number
- Website (if applicable)
- Degree(s) & Specializations
- Year(s) Graduated
- Honorary Distinctions (ie. magnum cum laude)
- GPA (optional)
- Past Employment Experience
- Try and stick as close to the positions you've held that directly relate to the job you are applying for. If you are fresh in your career, list what work experience you do have. We all have to start somewhere and no one should feel ashamed of where they are in their journey.
- Special Skills
- Are you fluent in any specific computer program or application? Are you a fast typer? Are you strong will communicating amongst colleagues and co-workers? Really think about all the special attributes you have that could make the company successful and the workplace environment strong and healthy.
- Organization Memberships
- Do you belong to any organizations that are specific to your area of expertise? For instance, I belong to the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME), National Association for the Teachers of Singing (NATS), the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA), and several other local organizations that are centered on music/fine arts.
- Departmental awards, scholarships you received, etc.
Great! We know the information we need to include, but how do we surpass the six second mark? I think one of the best ways to do this is to allow your personality to shine through in your resume. Three easy ways you can do this while remaining professional are: (1) Font Type, (2) Color, and (3) Layout/Design.
1. Font Type
I love, love, loooooove fonts. I love computer program fonts, I love stenciled fonts, I love calligraphy fonts...you get the picture.
Fonts are an easy way to allow some personal flare to pop from the page. Now, I am NOT condoning using your favorite swirly font, horror-film font, or even comic sans for that matter. It is still important to choose a font that represents you in a professional manner. I highly suggest using your more personalized font for any headings within in your resume and adhering to an Arial or Times New Romans font for the information presented under the headings.
I have seen several resumes on Pinterest that integrates the use of color into their resume design and I wanted to try that with mine. I decided to go with a light blue, because I consider blue to be my signature color. If your signature color or favorite color is a vibrant one, such as hot pink, I would consider the level of professionalism when using that color on this particular document. If hot pink is your color, I suggest finding a muted pink, one that has an almost neutral-tone to it. This still allows for a bit of your personality to pop on the page, but keeps the professional presentation as the highest priority.
My old resume used to have my name in large lettering at the top-center of the page with my contact info directly below that. I would then lay out all the necessary information needed on a resume in a very boring list with headings and bullet points.
Did you know margins exist? And did you know they can be our friends when it comes to highlighting information such as our contact info, special skills, memberships in organizations, and even honors/awards? This discovery changed the layout and design of my resume for the absolute better. I now use the main section of the resume to list my education, work experience, and related field experience while reserving the margin space for my memberships, professional development, awards, and masterclasses or workshops attended. This helps separate the meat from the additional highlights in your work experience that could potentially make you the standout for hiring.
If you are looking to enhance your resume, but are unsure of where to start, there are some great templates that exist that you can use for free. I built my resume using the resume template in Google Docs. Another great website you can use is Canva. Canva is free, unless you wish to upgrade to pro, and has some amazing templates and capabilities for a varying number of design needs including resumes.
For more resume ideas, be sure to follow the Tipsy Troubadour on Pinterest. If you would like to see the full layout of my resume, please leave your email address in the comments and I would be happy to share.
Oh, and I did get the job! 😄