Minimalistic Resume Design

I have always been fascinated by resume designs of all shapes and sizes – I guess you could blame the graphic designer in me. Over the years, my resumes have gone through many different iterations, as my skills have evolved as well as my vision of an ideal curriculum vitae.

I thought that today’s blog post could instead look at some of these past iterations as well as my most recent resume. In fact, I have just finished updating it today in preparation for the upcoming Global Recruitment Collaborative job fair in Dubai.

Here are some of the ideas that I try to keep in mind when designing a resume for myself or someone else:

  • Keep it organized
  • Keep it interesting
  • Make it yours

A resume should be pleasing to the eye, it should give the reader an idea of who you are, what you believe in, and what you are capable of bringing to the institution. Some people don’t believe in photographs on resumes, but in the world of education, I feel that a photograph can be the difference between two candidates. I also am extremely adverse to the idea of making a resume on Microsoft Word, Google Documents, or any other simple word processor. I know first hand from seeing my father sifting through stacks of resumes of potential candidates, that no matter how amazing your content happens to be if it looks exactly like everyone else’s it probably won’t be looked over.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at my first important resume, created back in 2011.

 

cv_alexanderjohnson-1

There are a lot of things I like about this design, despite how long ago I created it. I like the colors, the overall look of an old school editorial. I also think that the headers or sections are well named.

I mentioned above some of the things I liked about the resume, but there are also things I would certainly change. While there is a veritable trove of information on the document, it could also be more consistently organized – at times it seems too busy and difficult to read. There are many different fonts, sizes, colors, and overall it lacks a sense of consistency.

 

The first resume that I created for my now-wife Ashrita was extremely ‘safe’. Meaning that she told me explicitly to avoid the colors and design complexity seen in the resume above. She was reluctant to use anything that strayed too far from the traditional Word Processing CV.

 

ashrita_cv_2016-1

I like the diagonal consistency of the top left and bottom right, the organization of information works moderately well for me. However, I am not a big fan of the image I used at the time (pixelation is a problem), and some of the alignment of items seems off. I believe this resume certainly looks better offline when printed on good paper.

 

This brings us to the most recent iteration of both my resume and my wife’s. A lot has changed in my thinking since my earlier retro-styled curriculum vitae, such as:

  • Your online presence should speak for you, therefore reducing the amount of written text on a resume
  • Less = More

Of course, I still wanted something that would grab their attention and keep it! So, I stumbled upon a wonderful template that would serve as my inspiration – you can find it here.

So, below you will find both of the resumes as well as the cover letter. For the cover letter, I decided to address it from both of us – since we are a teaching couple, and most schools would be interested in knowing about us both. Some analysis will follow the images!

ashalex-cover-letter

Cover Letter

alex-resume-pdf

Alexander Johnson Resume

ash-resume-pdf

Ashrita Johnson Resume

There is just so much I love about this new design:

  • Minimalist theme looks gorgeous
  • Consistent across all three documents (even in the initials!)
  • Bars to show skills breaks up the monotony of text
  • Colors are complimentary
  • Excellent photos

I would like to mention the importance of color theory in design; it’s something that people often overlook. For me, I had images of both myself and Ashrita that were excellent quality and professionally taken. So, I wanted to use colors that matched what we were wearing and used an online color theme tool to choose the colors that were complimentary which could highlight sub-headings.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-4-13-04-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-19-at-4-13-12-pm

I would love to hear your feedback in the comment section! Let me know what you think about the new design, and feel free to use some of my ideas when creating the resume that’s going to land you your dream job!

11 responses to “Minimalistic Resume Design

  1. What a great article! Loved the formatting on the old resumes and the new ones. Minimalistic design is something that I try and use everyday in my work – just didn’t think of applying those principles on a resume. Or let’s just say I haven’t made a resume in forever now. 🙂 Do you convert the PS to PDF when it needs to be submitted electronically? I believe that may cause some issues as many recruiting engines use scanning software to parse out the keywords for filtering out the applicable candidates.

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    • Thank you Pinky! I know what you mean about not having to make a resume in a while, my father had to put something together recently and struggled. And yes, I do convert the Photoshop file to a PDF for online submission, although I’m not sure how frequently schools parse the text fields as compared to other industries. I’ll be using the new resume next month so we’ll see what sort of response it gets.

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  2. Very nice post, Alexander! Love how you’ve maintained that in the quest for minimalism, it’s still crucial to “make it yours”. Great designs, and a very interesting template link.

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  3. Interesting read. One of my mentors focussed on always starting any sub-point in a resume with a power verb, for which I think Ashrita’s resume content is sharper. Both look great.

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  4. Love these both 🙂 One thing I’m struggling with as we gain more experience is keeping our resumes minimalist & unique while still sharing our relevant experience, achievements & presentations (among other things).

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    • Thank you! And yes, you’re 100% right… The more you do and grow the more you feel you should put on a resume. Fortunately, we can get creative by connecting our online presence to our resumes – providing people the means to see things that didn’t make the print version.

      It’s definitely not easy deciding what should be included though.

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  5. I am amazed by this post! Never realised that putting a resume together had so much going on. And yet, come to think of it, why not?! I love both but am biased to the way the first one looks! Light years ahead of how mine used to look, almost 20 years ago, which is when I last wrote out mine! Love the play of formats, fonts, style – especially the choosing of the colour palette! So fantastic!

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