Do you have the "perfect" resume template?
Does it even exist?
No, it doesn't.
Because regardless of what template you use, you are not going to get a callback for an interview if the content of your resume is bad.
BUT the way your resume looks is still really, really important.
Why is resume layout and design so important?
Because within the first 3 seconds, the recruiter decides if your resume is worth reading.
What can you see within 3 seconds of glancing at a document? These 5 things:
If the content is evenly placed
If it is professionally-looking
If there are any outliers in the fonts or margins
What the sections of the resume are
If the colours you used are appropriate
And plenty of other subconscious things that vary from person to person.
It's the combination of all of those things that make or break that first 3-second impression. This ultimately decides if your resume will be read or discarded.
A short moment for a recruiter with 200 applicants, an important job application for you.
Are you going to leave it chance or are you going to maximise your opportunity?
How to maximise your resume layout for the most impact
With your resume layout, you need to maximise every element of the resume, and I'm not talking about content here. I am talking about these three things:
The whole format of the resume comes down to these 3 things being done right.
Let's look at them closely.
White space on a resume page is supercritical for readability of your resume. White space is what frames the rest of the content, it:
divides the sections of the resume into chunks to process,
helps the reader find keywords they are looking for,
makes it easy to read.
White space is what makes the resume scannable.
Because remember, resumes don't get read until after they pass the 3-second scan test.
Look at these two different examples of a resume and tell me, would you bother reading the first one?
Even if you tried, you'd probably find it very difficult. In reality, it would be discarded after the scan.
When it comes to font, there are two things: the font you choose and the size of the font on the page.
Always, you need to go for simple professionalism. The resume font needs to be easy to read in every font size not be smaller than 10pt as a general rule.
However, remember that all fonts look different in different sizes.
When it comes to using fonts, these are the basic rules:
One font for headings and another font for the rest of the text.
Don't know how to match two fonts? Pick one font for everything.
Use bold and italics sparingly and consistently.
Always be consistent.
There is a big difference in someone trying too hard in making their resume stand out and a resume looking professional and sleek with just one font.
If it's hard to read, no one will read it.
Using colour in the right way is a great way to stand out from the pile of applicants and make your resume one of a kind (or at least a little different).
But it is also the easiest way to fuck up your resume completely. When in doubt, stick to these rules:
A white background is always king
No more than two colours
Stick to legibility rules of colour contrast and text size
When it doubt, stick to black & white
The rule of thumb when it comes to colour is simple: if you don't know how to mix/match colours, don't do it.
You can never go wrong with simple black text on a white background. But you can easily go wrong with using colours.
There are lots of cool colourful templates available everywhere on the internet to pick and choose from. Be careful with them and check that they pass the ATS (applicant tracking systems).
Picking a template right for you
I cannot recommend the perfect template, because I as I said, there is no such thing.
Even my own template is not perfect.
The way you use your template is what matters the most. The content of your resume is the most important element in its success.