Traditional vs Modern Resume Formatting

“How do I make my resume stand out?”

That is one of the most-common questions I am asked. In a world where everyone has access to design software in one way or another, you may be inclined to make your resume stand out visually…

However, there are very few circumstances where this will be your best strategy!

1. Are you a graphic designer or in another creative field?
If the visual presentation of your resume is a peek into your design or creative skills, you may consider designing your own resume. You should have a web-based portfolio to accompany your resume and your resume should still highlight your professional experiences, as much as your creative skills. Always include a link to your portfolio on your resume AND on your LinkedIn profile.

2. Are you submitting your resume as a PDF attachment by e-mail or through a website?
If you are submitting your resume by e-mail or as an attachment, you have much greater control over what they see. Many CMS systems will extract the data from your resume into a format it can read. A more modern structure may leave the reader with a resume they cannot understand, giving them an easy reason to move to the next candidate.

3. Do you want to stand out because of the look of your resume or the content?
We all remember THAT scene in Legally Blonde where she turns in her pink, scented resume to “give it a little something extra.” But, life is not always like the movies…bummer, I know!  Always remember that the content – your experiences, your skills, and interests – are what you need to highlight. Visual presentation may grab the attention of the reader, but it won’t help you overcome a lack of experience or an adequate skill set.

Let me know in the comments… Do you have a traditionally formatted resume or one that you feel will visually stand out?

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