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Although it is widely accepted that the content of your resume is more important than its appearance, a good design and proper formatting can make your resume look much more appealing to potential employers. It is important to help your resume stand out with a contemporary look, but make sure you find a good balance between content and cosmetics. No employer is going to take your resume seriously if it looks like an advertisement from a Sunday newspaper.

The industry you are in should also be an important factor when designing your resume. If you are a graphic designer, or in another creative field, you have more freedom to be a little edgy with your resume. If you are in a traditional field, like HR or sales, try to keep your resume toned down and professional. Below are a few tips which can be used to improve the appearance of resumes in any industry, including example pictures of each tip.

Here is an example of a plain, boring resume:
before

1) Force Justify. This justification setting helps to span your paragraphs across the page, creating a nice block which aligns on both the left and right side of the page. This setting is commonly used in newspapers, for instance. Although this is a small detail, it can make your resume look much more professional. Take a look at the force justified Summary of Qualifications in the example below:

FJ

2) Fancier Bullets. Microsoft Word has a wide variety of built-in bullets. Utilizing the stock circular bullets is an easy way to make your resume look like it was created in 1997. Consider utilizing a slightly-more-fancy bullet to help give your resume a little extra style. Check out the bullets in the example below.

FJ-FB

3) Color Accents. Subtle color accents can help make your resume look better while also offering better separation between sections. Please do not interpret this suggestion as an opportunity to colorize your whole resume, because that is unprofessional. As with everything in life, moderation is important. Use common sense and color can be a welcome addition to your resume. Check out the color in the example below.

FJ-FB-CA

The example at the bottom is much more aesthetically-pleasing than the version at the top, yet it retains is professionalism. Use these simple tricks to make your resume look more creative and help you stand out from your competition.

By Drew Roark