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December 9, 2013

How To: Make A Kick Butt Resumé

It's no secret that the job market is more competitive than it has ever been. With the sea of recent grads applying everywhere that I am, I know that I need to do something to grab the attention of potential employers and get them to actually read my resumé.

As a Marketing student, I've learned that you can never pay enough attention to a professional presentation. But as a graphic designer, I've learned that it's vital you stay true to your personal brand in applying to companies that fit your "feel". Today I'm going to walk y'all through how I made my creative resume and how you can set yourself apart from the crowd!

No, I don't mean with an iron. Imagine that you are a company, how would you present yourself? 

Think of your skills as your product/service, your personality as the feel of the company, and think of where you are applying - what do they want to see in their "ideal" applicant?

Now, let's make your personal logo!
1. Pick your colors. What colors are you always wearing? What color is your personality?
I picked seafoam because it's beachy, the color of my room (and favorite shoes, and nails, and phone case...), calming, and professional. While in contrast, I picked mustard yellow because it is vibrant, energetic, passionate, and optimistic. Here is a cool website where you can learn the psychological meaning associated with each color.

2. Pick your font(s). I used Raleway Thin (a free Google font, also used here on my blog) because it is very legible but also has some personality on the letter "w" which is the most important letter in my name. Make sure that your fonts are VERY easy to read, you want them to remember your name. I know that pretty calligraphy fonts are really trendy right now, but it's important to remember the position and company that you are applying for. 
Here are a few examples:
Journalist, writer, blogger, etc - old school typewriter-esque font
Sales - Use a serif font with a little spunk (ex: Nixie One)
Artist - Use your own handwriting
Business, accounting, finance - I don't think they will appreciate anything more creative than Arial 12pt

3. Add your headline. Normally, a lot of resume's have an "objective" section, but I decided to simplify mine into a business tagline and make it more of a powerful statement! Make it short and sweet - who are you and what are you trying to do?

Alright, so now you have branded yourself and you're ready to start making your resumé beautiful! I made my resumé in Adobe Illustrator, but you can definitely get creative in Pages, Word, and even Powerpoint. Just be sure that your document saves as a PDF (so it preserves all of the fancy things that you have done) and fits the 8.5x11 dimensions so your employer can print it.

1. Add your header & background. I suggest that you DO NOT add a colored background unless it is light gray or a very light pattern. Emphasis needs to be on who you are and what you can do for this company - not your favorite color screaming at them from the background.

2. Section off your content. Think: what do you want to add emphasis to? What actually matters to your employer? Do you want one or two columns?
I chose to highlight what I have done with Heart & Arrow, work experience, education, leadership, and my technical skills that are relevant to the job. Most importantly: How you format your resumé should be a strategic move. This really is your chance to have a little control over your employer's first impression of you, so make sure you put your best foot forward!

3. Add your content!
Work Experience - PLEASE do anyone reading your resumé a favor and only include things that are at least somewhat relevant to what you're applying for. If you don't have anything other than babysitting back when you were in high school... I'm not really sure what you have been doing for four years in college, but you need an internship or a job... or five.

Education - I put less emphasis on this one (by putting it at the bottom)  mainly because my degree is in business and I am applying for a design based job. BUT I think that if your degree helps you score that dream job then definitely put it higher up on the list. Note: In this section I added study abroad, any majors and minors, academic honors, and my GPA. Feel free to add more or less.

Leadership - It's proven time and time again that companies want to hire team players who plan to grow within their company. This is the section where you SHOW OFF! What have you done, how have you grown, what causes do you support, and how have you been a leader? You can definitely put the "started/ended" dates in this section, but I chose to take the minimalist approach.

Technical Skills - This is the part of a resumé where people typically list some beautifully inspired list of BS adjectives that will not score you any job. Actions speak louder than words, so list THINGS YOU CAN DO plus a tasteful amount of words that help round out your personality. Bonus points: I added a link to my personal blog here because it allows my employer to see my "skillz" in action. Hi future employers, thanks for stopping by!

Contact Information - Where you put this one is entirely up to you, and I don't think it makes much of a difference. I've seen it in the header and it looks great there, too! Just make sure that your employers have the right information to contact you, and include any social profiles that will help build up your personal brand.  *Cue the "clean up your Facebook and Twitter because no one wants to hire an angry and opinionated drunkard" speech...*

So there you have it, my tips for a fabulous, job scoring, kick butt, resumé! Remember, every person is different and it is so so so SO important to cater your resumé design to both who you are and where you are applying.

Good luck with your job hunt, and please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below!


  1. I love this so much!! I wish I were going into a career where I could make a fun resume. I don't think any corporations that I may try and apply at would be too fond of my resume looking so fun.

  2. What a fun resume! and loving the colors too! definitely more exciting than your typical black and white piece of paper
    A Southern Style

  3. Your resume is so cool! I've been incorporating fun colors on mine for a few years now, but I love the idea of having a background pattern!

  4. This was so helpful Whitney! I have to revamp my resume design and my personal brand soon, so I'm going to keep all of this in mind when I do so! Thanks for such a great post :)

    xo, gina

  5. This is the most beautiful resume I have ever seen! Haha the ones I've ever made are plain black and white and just borrrring. Love all the colors you used (:

  6. What is the font you used for the "kick butt" part!?!? LOVE IT!

  7. Great tips! I love the look of your resume. I'm a PR major and I will be starting the daunting task of applying for internships soon. I wanted to ask you do you have any resources about graphic design? I would love to attempt to make a cool resume instead of a drab one.

  8. Hey there! I think this is just great and I really love the look. What program did you use to create the document? Thanks!

  9. Can you post a template of this?


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