Resume Design - The Backlight Guide

What template will work best for your target jobs and why?

Different jobs and industries require different skills, and in much the same way, different jobs and industries require very different resume design. Aside from that one jack of all trades we know, we typically don’t see the same person applying to a finance job and a journalism job too. Thus, you need your resume design to reflect not only the type of person you are, but also the type of person industry recruiters actually want to interview.

Let’s start off with the most traditional - financial services. Financial services people tend to be clean cut, sharp, efficient, and organized. Their resume design needs to reflect that. Most financial firms tend to be pretty conservative with regards to their personnel choices, and thus a traditional resume design is your best bet. Here you’ll find the classic name and contact info large at the top and center of the page, and then run-of-the-mill subject headings and strong, analytical bullet points. There won’t really be any frills like left or right aligned names or blurbs about their personalities - this resume design is straight and to the point. And, of course, it’ll typically be in Times New Roman or some other similar, classy font.

Engineering resume design is usually pretty similar to that of financial services, but the content of the resume is much different. Here, you’ll want to focus especially hard on past projects with quantifiable results and experiences. That may not sound like it directly relates to resume design, but there’s an interesting way engineers’ resume design differs from other industries - the “Projects” section. Typically, resumes can be split up into sections like “Work Experience” and “Education” (which of course applies to engineering too) but if you’re an engineer, recruiters want to see specific, measurable tasks and projects that you’ve done in the past. I’d stick to a clean, traditional resume design in Times New Roman or a similar font, but you might want to include a “Projects” section if you have a lot of industry experience.

Now we’ll move to a little more flexible of an industry - retail. Retail resume design doesn’t have to be as strictly traditional as finance or engineering, as people in retail need to be personable and social in addition to efficient and organized. This can be reflected in their resume design as well. You don’t have to stick to the usual Times New Roman, name in the top middle, super structured templates - there’s a bit of freedom to reflect your personality. If you tend to be more outgoing and creative, use a font or design that reflects that. Your resume is the embodiment of yourself on a piece of paper, so feel free to be a little unorthodox if that’s how you’d describe your personality!

If you’re going into journalism or communications, you might not want your resume design to be traditional. You might stay traditional if you’re applying to a larger institution or company, but there’s a lot of wiggle room in this industry. You want to show off your past experiences like everyone else, but having some flair like your name running down the side as opposed to the top, or maybe a more fun, creative font would suit you. I’ve even seen some resumes that look closer to LinkedIn profiles, with company logos or pictures next to past experiences, but that might be a bit of a stretch. To be fair, the workplace and job market is becoming less and less traditional, so if you feel confident in it, go for it!

Now is where the fun begins - if you’re going into marketing or graphic design, your resume is not only selling your skills and achievements, it’s also a piece of your own design or marketing work. What I mean by that is a marketing or graphic design resume design should be absolutely unique, consistent with the industry’s current marketing or design trends, and - if you’re ready for that level of uniqueness - should include your own logo. I’ve seen this done many ways, with the most common and applicable way being your name transformed into a sleek and unique logo. This small aspect of resume design goes a long way in this industry. It’s a very visual industry and so actually seeing what you’re capable of via your name as a logo is much more persuasive and engaging than saying you have x or y years experience in graphic design.

Now for most other entry level jobs, resume design matters just as much as any specific industry. Your resume design will reflect a lot about you - so treat it much like an interview and dress your resume to impress. No matter the industry, you want to avoid clutter while staying neat and organized, avoiding having two parts of the resume that don’t match. Entry level jobs provide a lot of freedom in what your resume design can look like, so don’t be afraid to try something different - within reason of course.

As you can see by what I’ve said above, there’s actually a lot of thought that goes into resume design and the statistics show that. In a survey of students at a top 15 university, 49.3% responded that they struggled the most with the formatting and design of their resume, and 35.6% said that the design of their resume was currently its biggest weakness. Even more astonishingly, 79.5% of those surveyed responded that it took up to four weeks to get a work-ready resume!

To me, those numbers are astonishing. So, here’s an idea: feel free to look at the rest of our site and check out our templates to see if you like any! If you do, we can save you the hassle of figuring out how to nail down your resume design and actually do all the work for you. We use artificial intelligence to analyze and optimize all your experiences and skills and then have a resume and HR expert look it over before we send you the final product. It’ll take a lot less than 4 weeks and save you all the headaches that come with this process. We guarantee that we can provide you with a top quality resume that’s built to truly illuminate your accomplishments.