When producing a resume, it’s easy to forget that beyond the content (the actual words you use), it needs to be clear and attractive on a visual level if you want to stand out as a quality candidate. Some very basic graphic design tips can help you get your message and personality across, and land you that all-important interview.
The Basic Rules of Graphic Design Typeface and Size
The term typeface refers to the family of lettering which is used, such as Times Roman, Arial, or Courier.
There are two basic kinds of typefaces: Roman (serif) and Gothic (sans serif). Times Roman is a typical serif typeface, while Arial or Futura are typical sans-serif typefaces. Usually, for large concentrations of type, serif fonts are easier to read on paper, while sans serif works better on screen. That said, your resume should not read like a novel, but like an attractive one-page newsletter; it needs to read clearly and the eye should have ‘negative space’ to rest upon. Think of the empty areas as arrows that point to your important information. This is even more crucial today with mobile devices; you need to make sure your resume looks good whether seen on a large screen or on quite a tiny one.
What about size?
Font sizes of 10-12 points are usually preferred, but of course, the typeface you are using can greatly affect the size of type on the page: one typeface may need 12 points while another might be totally readable at 8 points.
Looking at the left here, you will see the letter ‘a’ entered in 10 different fonts at the same size. What a difference a font makes! But generally, do keep to a very simple font for the body of text, and you can be a little more creative with your name or logotype. The correct font size you should use is often hard to determine on a computer monitor, and will be affected by type colour, paper colour, and the general layout. So, if the resume is to be handed in on paper, print it out and see for yourself. If it is to be faxed, make sure the font is a bit larger than you’d normally use, due to the distortions that come with this technology.
Don’t hesitate to ask staff at Career Link for a look-over, too!
Negative or Blank Space
The text and artwork is called positive space in a layout. The ‘ground'(or in this example on the left, the black space) which surrounds text or image is the negative space.
Think of the negative space framing and flowing through your text. Modern word-processing systems offer a multitude of ways to alter the traditional amount of negative space. Here’s a visual aide: If you are using MS Word, when you navigate to your print window (ctrl-P on a PC, command-P on a Mac), take a look at the thumbnail to the right and scale down the preview using the little slider at bottom right. Now, see if the page looks like a wall of text or if you can make out the basic ‘shape’ of your resume and recognize it as such. If you can, then this is a good thing.
Margins should be at least 1 inch on top, bottom, left and right margins.
The text line length should be no more than 5 inches wide (or it starts reading not like a novel, but a text book, which is worse).
Other negative (blank) space is also achieved by:
- using relatively short paragraphs
- varying the size of paragraphs
- using sub-heads and indentations, and
- making indented lists of items.
The white space between text lines helps avoid a cramped appearance making the text hard to read, but must not be so wide as to destroy a sense of continuity. Place items that belong together, closer together. The distance between lines of text should be 70% to 80% of the height of the type print.
There are many more tips, of course… come see us at Career Link and check out our many helpful hints on our website right here! Our self-help Career Lab has the computers and applications you need, plus visit our jobs board, use our phone (for local and long-distance), photocopiers, fax, all as long as they are job-related. Additionally, feel free to give us a call to set up an appointment with a Career Counsellor at 604.485.7958