Less Design is More – Top 5 Ways to Get Your Resume Thrown Out

25_1_3 Red Swans anad Floral Border Close-Up


1. Mail in a hard copy on floral stationary. Or any ‘stationary’. Could be that small companies or those with older hiring managers might be impressed with such efforts, but even those places generally want it faxed in. (On a side note: Can you believe people still use faxes? Sorry, I didn’t get it, do you mind sending it again? Oh, you have a confirmation receipt that it was sent? Isn’t that lovely.)

2. Email in a virtual copy on floral stationary. Or any ‘stationary’. Even the ones in outlook, like simple plaid, are completely unprofessional. Not for sending a resume, not for once you start a job.

3. Put a border on your resume or cover letter. Again, no design is professional beyond a small logo, if you have one. I’m not going to say that if you’re an artist you don’t have more leeway, but for everyone else, NO.

4. Put a picture on your application for any reason beyond modeling-type jobs. If it’s a job on craigslist requesting it, save yourself scumbags checking you out – just don’t apply.

5. Use the resume format template options in word. They’re generally terrible, and show up awkwardly. If you’re not a pro at word you’re better off just enlarging & bolding your name, headings (like “Experience” “Education” etc.), then center everything. Better yet, play with word when making your resume, and make yourself a pro. There are very few professional positions that wouldn’t benefit from those skills.

…I have yet to hear that poultry, kittens, or flowers on a resume helped to make that ‘special’ impression that helped someone snag the job they wanted…but maybe I’m hanging with the wrong crowd!


2 comments on “Less Design is More – Top 5 Ways to Get Your Resume Thrown Out

  1. missdisplaced says:

    It’s funny. Even as a graphic designer, I’ve been told to keep the resume simple and fairly plain, leading them to the website to see my design portfolio. Keeping it simple also means -easy to email.

    However, last summer I was completely rejected by an employer because my resume was deemed “too plain for a designer” by someone at a company. He refused to even call me in for an interview or LOOK at my website. [I know this because someone who works there was a former co-worker and she told me what he said].

    Personally, I’m getting really sick of companies that will pick and pick and pick over every little thing like that. I think the real reason is because I’m in my 40’s and that was just his excuse [the guy was 20-something]. Whatever, but NO applicant is 100% perfect, as no company is 100% perfect either.

    • Hey Donna – maybe a happy medium would work for you? My husband is a graphic designer as well, and he went the middle road with a funkier font, calibri or garamond I think, and put his header on the left margin vertically…still clean bulleted style though. No images, just a little imagination worked in.

      Send me your portfolio/url if you’re interested in freelance stuff, I know he’s always looking for backup for large projects: rockstars@sharon.cc

      Also try networking for positions, yes even as a designer – people always prefer to hire someone they know over someone they don’t, even if the latter has slightly stronger skills generally.

      Good luck in your search!


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