Do you need a fancy resume with colors, call-out boxes, and bar charts? Or should your resume be plain and straightforward?
There are lots of opinions on the subject, but mine has always been that content is king. In other words, I favor a classic, simple style of resume that highlights your accomplishments and gives the reader a clean, easy-to-read encapsulation of what you’ve done.
It used to be that applicant tracking systems couldn’t read anything fancy, and in some cases, that’s still true. But more importantly, I find fancier resume formats a little busy and hard to read. They can look very nice and elegant, but when I’ve been in positions to hire, all I’ve really wanted was to be able to see what the candidates had to offer, and to review their qualifications quickly as I got ready for an interview. A simple format, to my mind, does that much more effectively than a fancier one.
Also, those visuals of your skills, where you score yourself on things like your expertise with Illustrator and so forth, aren’t actually very informative. Sure, you can give yourself a high rating, but if you’re a stranger to me, I don’t have a real sense of what your 5/5 means. To be fair, I’m a language-lover, so my preference for a description instead (high degree of skill with SQL, for instance) may be informed by that. At the same time, a large part of your work is likely to be information you convey verbally, even if there’s a visual component to it, so I say go ahead and embrace your words.
And did I mention editing? Those Canva-style resumes are a huge pain in the butt to edit! Add one little thing and suddenly your whole format needs to be readjusted. Or there’s now a single line on the third page. Or your fonts are weird and need adjusting. What a hassle!
And, of course, the classics never really go out of style, so if you choose a clean, simple resume, all you’ll really need to do to keep it current is add new info and removed outdated stuff. So I’m Team Simple Resume! What do you think?