The 10 Best Resume Template Design Elements That Will Get You Hired

James Clift | April 9, 2015

You have less than 10 seconds to catch a hiring manager’s attention when they look at your resume. In order for you to land the interview and hopefully the job, your resume needs to stand out.

Most job-seekers know to incorporate essential sections, like work experience and education, into their resumes, and there are several resources available online to help you write a top-notch resume. Words on the page, however, aren’t necessarily enough make your resume stand out.

Resume design is an overlooked element of a great job application. If you put two well-written resumes next to each other with similar qualifications, the one with the best design will be the one that ends up on the top of the stack.

It’s true that you need to balance creativity with professionalism when designing your resume, but even a traditional banking resume can incorporate design elements that help it stand apart from the rest. Virtually all professions will benefit from a resume that encompasses the right blend of resume design elements.

It is also wise to tailor your resume template for the role you are seeking. If you are applying for multiple jobs, your resume designs should suit each position and company. If you are a creative writer and you’re applying to a marketing firm and a law firm, one design might have more creative design elements and flare, while the other might be simpler and more formal.

Creative Resume Ideas to Make You Stand Out

As you think through how to catch a potential employer’s eye with one of the best-looking resumes possible, there are several resume design elements to consider.

You can make your resume stand out when compared to other job seekers by incorporating a images, vertical design elements, color, the right fonts, and charts. You might choose to incorporate them all into your resume or only select the ones that work for you.

Use a Resume Template With a Header Image

A header image or portrait makes an immediate impact, even before candidates meet hiring managers and recruiters. A professional photo also helps people put a name to the face while giving your resume a personal touch. Check out some VisualCV resume samples to help you decide on which fits best.

Be sure that the photo you select is a clean, professional picture of you alone, preferably with a nice backdrop. The photo should be large enough that it’s easy to see, but not so big that it takes up too much space.

Your goal is to complement your resume or cv template with your photo, not distract from it. If you’re struggling with what resume photo to use, consider asking a friend or colleague who will be honest about what the photo says about you. After all, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.


Design by: Sean Halpin


Design by Bartek Zyglowicz

Pay Attention to Vertical and Horizontal Elements

Given that most resumes today are digital, think about how webpages are laid out when designing your resume. Well-designed webpages often boast a vertical design with a large header image at the top and smaller images below. If your resume design is laid out in a similar fashion, it will flow in a way that is visually familiar and appealing to hiring managers and recruiters.


Design by Steve Fraschini

Use Columns in Your Resume Template

On webpages, the images below the main header image are often sectioned in columns. Columns can be used to organize large blocks of text, so your resume is easy to scan by hiring managers and recruiters.


Design by S1M

Use Infographic Resume Elements to Illustrate Quantifiable Information

A well-written resume will include as many impressive, quantifiable results as possible. Quantifiable information helps paint a clear picture of your accomplishments. Highlight quantifiable results on your resume with charts and graphics to grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. VisualCV templates have several charts and graphs available for you to incorporate to create a visually appealing infographic resume.

Some career paths and fields can benefit significantly from quantifiable information, such as sales or engagement metrics, conveyed in an engaging infographic resume. Examples include sales directors, advertising professionals, marketers, financial investors, external recruiters, and real estate agents.


Design by Anne Thai


Design by Studio Creosoul

Choose an Eye-Catching Font For Your Resume Template Design

You might think the font you use on your resume doesn’t have much of an impact. This might be true if you select the right font. Think about reading a book. If the font of the book you’re reading is a standard one, you won’t give it a second thought. However, if the font is unusual or difficult to read, you would question it and probably stop reading the book. The same is true for a recruiter who is reading your resume.

If you consider the design elements and thought that go into font creation (people get paid a lot of money to design fonts), then you’ll appreciate why selecting the right font for your resume matters.


Design by Michael Doran


Design by Emilie Daboussy

Use Color (Wisely) to Highlight Creative Resumes

Color can help your resume stand out when used appropriately. Some conventional color combinations that can be eye-catching but still clean and professional are deep colors with black and white, such as deep red or burgundy with a white background and black text. For a classier look and feel, you could choose a beige or deep peach with black and white. Bright colors should be used with caution and reserved for creative professions and positions with creative firms.


Design by Michael Belong


Design by Eleni Gkizi

Employ a Clean Resume Design

Recruiters see hundreds of resumes in any given day, so yours needs to be the best resume they see. If your resume has a crisp and clean feel to it, then the recruiter will likely give it more time than one that’s poorly formatted and overloaded with images and content. Visual balance and white space are your friends.

You can quickly add white space to your resume by increasing the margins. Using vertical columns to balance out the content will also allow for more white space and visual appeal.

Coordinate Your Resume Design With Your Cover Letter

If you are submitting or uploading a cover letter with your resume, you have the opportunity to coordinate how both are designed. In fact, you want to ensure they have a similar look and feel that aligns with, and highlights, your personal brand. Use the same font, font size, and overall visual design (layout, header, colors) for both.

Use the Right Resume Template for the Job

With a well-designed resume, you will stand apart from the competition. VisualCV has helped thousands of professional build their personal brands and create professional marketing tools to land the job.

We’d love to help you, too. Research our Job Search Blog, Resume Guide, and other VisualCV resources to help you go after and land your dream job sooner rather than later.

Blost post author James Clift

About the author

James Clift

James is the CEO of VisualCV. He has spent the last 10 years building businesses, from window cleaning to software. His passion is helping individuals create the careers they want.

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