Restyle Your Resume For Instant Results On The Job Market

Joshua Lockhart 11-07-2013

officechairthumbYour resume isn’t unique. It isn’t cool. It isn’t going to make your future employer throw all of the other resumes out his office window, stand up on his desk, and scream to his secretary, “PEGGY, WE ARE NO LONGER HIRING! WE HAVE FOUND… THE ONE.”


To them, you are just a name on a piece of paper with a few skills and little past experience masked by some fluff. But it’s okay. Everyone is.

Today, I’m not going to share with you the golden secret to resumes Build A Professional-Looking CV Or Resume In 5 Minutes Read More that will guarantee you the job. That would be stupid. However, I can guarantee that your resume will be ahead of a few others. For the most part, I’m going to tell you the basics of what to do and what not to do.


Restyling your resume isn’t necessarily about design – it’s actually about how you present your resume visually How to Make a Visual Resume with PowerPoint in 3 Steps Read More . With that said, we’ll cover a few topics that key in on current resume trends, old ones, and traits that will (most likely) never die out.

For those of you who are looking for jobs and have a digital copy of your resume, I encourage you to improve it based on these tips and then post a link in the comments. There’s a possibility that employers could be reading this very article, and this may provide a way for you to connect. Oh, and you can consider that a tip: post your information wherever it’s relevant.


Let’s get going.


Don’t Be Cute

There are a few people out there who have been successful with their resumes by doing something different. That is, they saw an opportunity to be unique – key word “unique” – and jumped on it. For instance, maybe they put their resume in video form, or maybe they even sent it with candy. As for you? Don’t do that.

Too often, it seems as though potential job candidates try to be clever with their job applications and resumes, and all it does is make them appear immature. If you’re reading this, I’m just going to strongly advise that you not do this. Try to be as professional as possible, but for whatever reason, if your gut tells you otherwise, then who am I to tell you different?


My reasoning is this: employers want to see that you are professional enough to handle the job, and this professionalism is reflected in your resume. On the other hand, for whatever reason, some of you may have that spark that keeps things unique.

Do Use Modern Design

Times New Roman… 12 point… Bullets… You’ve seen it before. It’s not that it’s bad, but the thing is that this standard type is a little bit old school. Modern eyes are typically interested in sans-serif fonts and minimalist designs due to screen-based influences, so I recommend making a very non-flashy resume that still has a clean layout. Basically, if your presentation looks good in a web browser, then you’re fine.

A few fonts that I would recommend are – and there will be many of you who dislike this – Helvetica, Arial, and Century Gothic. As far as body font sizes go, I would stay somewhere between the range of 10 and 12 point. Furthermore, don’t use artsy borders, and even more importantly, don’t use resume paper if you happen to print it. This brings me to my next point…

Don’t Use Resume Paper

Your resume must be adapted to be read on the screen, and screens aren’t made of resume paper. Nowadays, a piece of white paper is quite efficient. Why? Again, it’s because of modern adapted design. We’re in a minimalist phase for graphics, and this may be because people need less distractions than what we currently have these days.


So with that said, if you have to print off your resume, printer paper is fine. Else, I’d say that sending things in digitally will be just fine as well.

Do Use PDFs

One thing that really bugs me is when people send in Word files as their resume. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth throwing the resume out, but it does make things appear less professional. In my opinion, if you are digitally sending things to your potential employer, then I say PDF is the way to go.

To put it simply, a PDF shows that you have a finished product, and it also offers less of a chance for your potential employer to accidentally make a typo if they brush against the keyboard. Is that a little paranoid? Yes. But I’m sure it could happen.

Do Be Social

Transparency is a good trait to show your employer, and attaching relevant social media links to your resume Getting Results In The Jobs Market: The Modern Resume Your resume? Well, it's just a simple piece of paper, now. This certainly isn't to say that your resume no longer has a purpose. It most definitely does, my friend. Instead of serving as the... Read More is a decent way to give them a taste of you beyond the piece of paper. Ideal links include your website (if you don’t have one, get one 5 Reasons You Should Have Registered A Personal Domain By Now These days I think it’s important for everyone to at least register (if not use) a domain that is personal to them. Not only are domain names under current top-level domains running out , but... Read More ) and LinkedIn profile How to Build a Professional Network You'll Actually Use Social networking is a vital skill for our workplace happiness. But how can you do it without stressing yourself out? These tips can improve your career and your life with your own professional network. Read More , but if you feel as though your Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ accounts are polished enough to showcase, then have at it.


Personality is one thing that employers don’t get a chance at seeing between receiving your resume and your first interview. By allowing them to take a gander at yourself on the web, you become more of a person to them. However, make sure that your online profiles are relevant to the actual resume – else, it would be rather silly to do.

Do Keep A Running Theme

Don’t let your resume fly all over the place. For instance, if you use bullet points for one section, then make sure that they appear in another one. Bold headers? Make sure all of your headers are bold. You get the picture.

For those of you who are into CSS, I would say adapt the design of your resume to how you would code things. You know that one type of section should look one way while others would look another way. While you’re doing it manually, it’s essentially the same thing.

Furthermore, you really should brand yourself. Try to make the design of your resume match your business card and website. With that said, don’t pick a corny design set – it should define you.



You might get a job. You might not get a job. Let’s be real – these days, it’s tough. However, these tips can definitely improve your chances, and I wish you luck on your search. Oh, and don’t forget to post links to your resumes in the comments!

In what other ways can you restyle your resume? Has revamping your resume helped you get a job?

Image Credits: markgranitzMackenzie KosutMartin Cathrae

Explore more about: Job Searching, Resume.

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  1. Kathryn
    January 12, 2015 at 1:33 am

    What advice do you have for teachers who want to leave the field of education for the corporate world?

  2. Martin C.
    July 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Your mileage may vary depending on your field... Stray too far from the norm when it comes to corporations and you'll find your resume tossed.

    If you're a college student, when you're at a campus career fair and you're handing out resumes, sometimes the actual feel of quality resume paper might work out in your favor.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 19, 2013 at 4:21 am

      I guess it depends on the field. You're right.

  3. Kevin Freeman
    July 16, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Very good advice. I've had a website up for years as a freelance writer, which I always link to from my resume to display writing samples, portray an active professional interest and attitude, and as a great way to impress hiring reps for writing-related work. It's worked so well in fact that I encourage all of my resume seeking clients to do the same (either through me or otherwise, but the advice is free!), and have seen some impressive results that confirmed the idea that a personal website is the new way to turn heads and get hired.

  4. Harmon Smith
    July 12, 2013 at 2:39 am

    I run into about one employer per week who requires a resume in Word format. It's an effective filter to know which jobs to ignore. PDF for the win!

  5. TechnoAngina
    July 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Many places specify that you send doc or docx format. It's a good idea about the PDF though. One of my favorite modern fonts is Corbel.

    Another recommendation I'd have is to get a professional email address. was acceptable back in the 1990s, it is not today.

    As far as resumes, make sure you're solving the problem that they are posting. Even to the point of using similar wording. The less they have to think how you would fit the better your chances are.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 19, 2013 at 4:20 am

      Was Hotstuff24 EVER acceptable?! : )

      • TechnoAngina
        August 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

        Sadly, yes. When it was a really techie thing to have email it was a pretty awesome thing to have a vanity email address. I remember I was so proud to have my own business cards with my email address, then again, even then I had the sense to get my name on every email site I could manage.

  6. Matthew
    July 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    One other thought about PDF's.
    If you ARE emailing a PDF to a potential employer - name the PDF with your personal name. Don't send 'resume.pdf' you'll never hear back from anyone.

    • Mike
      July 29, 2013 at 1:36 am

      Yes! This is absolutely crucial. And something people screw up ALL the time. Resume.pdf and CoverLetter.pdf. I've seen dozens of them. First initial, underscore, last name, underscore, resume (or coverletter). It's already an uphill battle for you... don't make it harder for them to interview you.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      August 19, 2013 at 4:20 am

      BOOM. Right on.

  7. Justin Pot
    July 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Great advice. I'd also recommend editing your resume based on the job you're applying for – some experiences are and aren't relevant for particular employers.

    Oh, and as someone who reads pitches from potential writers, please: follow the instructions in the job ad. Don't just send a resume without answering questions in the ad.