The Career Spectrum Blog

Resume Design: K.I.S.S.

Posted on: January 18, 2010

I’ll admit to being a sucker for a fresh, innovative design — I did spend the first few years of my professional career in desktop publishing and graphic arts, after all.

However when it comes to resume layout, I’m a firm believer in keeping designs simple, yet elegant for several reasons (unlike this very creative, but also very confusing layout done for a curriculum vitae).

1) Employers are pressed for time, so the last thing they need is to try to figure out a creative road map in trying to assess if a candidate has the necessary skills for further considerations.

2) An innovative design such as this doesn’t fax well, it doesn’t scan well, and I just don’t see how the person could even begin to post this on a  job board (unless he/she had a text version to go along with it).

3) The design is probably better suited for a younger audience who can appreciate colors and graphics. 

Last point about funky resume designs. When I was recruiting for an assistant back in my MARCOM days, I will never forget this one male candidate who presented me with a gorgeous — and I do mean GORGEOUS — resume that was just a work of art as far as design and layout. It was simple, it was elegant and it just was really that beautiful to look at.

BUT it lacked strategy, it lacked vision and it lacked impact. When I went back later on to read it, it was also arrogantly written, touting this candidate as “da bomb” as the kids say nowadays, but not really convincing me that this candidate was the best one to hire.

The moral of the story is that you can put a pretty dress and lipstick on a pig, but that doesn’t necessarily transfer it into a beauty pageant contestant.

Again, I’m all for a creative twist on resume design, but it has to be simple and elegant enough to where it transfers over well, and doesn’t attempt to mask deficiencies in a client’s background.

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