6 Elements of a Modern Resume Templates
Updated : May 27th, 2022
Your resume is a prospective employer’s first impression of who you are and what you have to offer. In a competitive job market, a fresh, modern resume template is essential for capturing an employer’s attention and enticing them to take a closer look. As you search for the perfect modern resume template, there are certain elements to keep in mind.
6 Elements of a Modern Resume Template
- Eye-Catching and Professional Use of Color
- Modern Fonts
- Stylish Layouts
- Creative Design Elements
- Targeted Content
- ATS Readability
So, what is a modern resume? Great question. A resume is a professional document most employers require in order to apply for a job. It gives a potential employer a quick rundown of your qualifications and work experience. A modern resume does more than simply give the facts. An effective modern resume should tell a story.
Regardless of how impressive your credentials are, an outdated resume template can hold you back from scoring an interview. While it is always important to have a professional resume, if you are applying for jobs in a technical or creative industry, it is crucial to use a creative, modern resume template to set yourself apart.
1. Eye-Catching and Professional Use of Color
One of the most common questions job seekers ask is how to make a resume look attractive and modern. One easy tip is to make sure you are using the right colors. With a modern resume template, you’re not stuck with a mundane black and white resume. Now that many employers are viewing resumes electronically rather than in print, using an appealing color scheme will really make your professionally designed resume stand out. The use of color has become standard for professionally-designed modern resumes.
Injecting color into your resume template can be fun, but it’s important to choose colors that still project a professional tone. As nice as hot pink and lime green are on a beach bag, that color combination doesn’t exactly scream “elegant resume.”
Choose color combinations that are easy on the eyes and that enhance the overall design. Rich, deep colors like navy and burgundy are more soothing than neon colors. Make sure the color combination you choose has enough contrast to be easily legible. For example, if you use a light font against a light background, your resume may be difficult to read.
You should also be thoughtful about where you use color in your resume. In general, using color as an accent to highlight important information is more effective than a CV that resembles a bag of Skittles. A little bit of color, strategically placed, will go a lot further to make your resume attractive than a giant block of aquamarine across half of the page.
If you’re a bit unsure of what colors to choose, stick with mostly black and white or another neutral color and choose just one accent color for headings or non-text design elements.
2. Modern Fonts
For years, career coaches advised that the standard font for resumes and CVs was Times New Roman. Modern resume templates call for a break from tired old fonts and encourage applicants to use clean, modern fonts that are easy to read. Since many prospective employers are viewing resumes electronically, it is important to use a font that is designed to read as smoothly on a monitor as it does in print.
There are two main categories of fonts—serif fonts and sans serif fonts. As a general rule, serif fonts perform better in larger font sizes while sans serif fonts are preferred for smaller text. Modern resume templates often incorporate more than one font, using different fonts for the headings and the body. If you plan to vary your fonts, it may be better to use a serif font for section headers and other larger text and to use a sans serif font for the smaller body text. Using bold text and italics can also help to vary a single font for different parts of a resume template. The main thing to remember is to keep the usage consistent throughout.
Serif fonts like Cambria, Book Antiqua, and Georgia are great alternatives to overused fonts like Times New Roman. Try using sans serif fonts like Calibri, Trebuchet MS, and Helvetica instead of Arial. Also, you should use the same font in your cover letter that you use in the body of your resume.
3. Stylish Layouts
Traditional resumes typically consist of a chronological list of work experience with explanations of key responsibilities and achievements below. Modern resume templates challenge this approach by incorporating more creative and stylish layouts while keeping things functional and simple. Your goal should be a resume template that tells a prospective employer what they need to know about you at a glance and entices them to bring you in for an interview.
To make your resume easy to read at a glance, use bullet points instead of chunky paragraphs. Divide your resume into sections with clear headings that make it easy to find information. A clean resume with a thoughtful layout is a breath of fresh air to a hiring manager who has been looking through piles of cluttered CVs.
Modern resume layouts should include standard sections like Work Experience, Education, and Contact Information, but may also include sections for things like Achievements, Technical Skills, Interests, Language Skills, Awards, Community Involvement, and even, when appropriate, Social Media links.
White space is an important part of a modern resume. An overcrowded page is overwhelming to the viewer. When the brain receives an overload of stimuli, it stops absorbing information. By leaving ample empty space on the page, the most important parts of your resume will stand out instead of getting lost.
4. Creative Design Elements
Modern resume templates often include some simple creative elements like lines, dots, or visual data. You should focus on keeping things simple. A gimmicky or flashy resume can seem over-the-top and is likely to annoy any prospective employer. Any design element you add to your resume should be functional. Even something as simple as vertical or horizontal lines separating sections can create an aesthetically pleasing visual separation between sections. This looks clean and also makes the content easier to digest.
Using visual data is another unique way to present information that is quickly and easily understandable. For example, you can add a bar graph to show your proficiency with different programs or represent your language skills using creative icons. This will not be suitable for every resume template, however, so be sure to choose your graphics wisely.
Your cover letter should complement and match your resume format to provide continuity between the two documents. The letter should be in a typical business writing style, but you should carry over some visual elements from your resume so that the two work together to give the reader a positive impression of you.
If you are applying for a creative position, consider customizing your resume using Adobe Illustrator or InDesign instead of Microsoft Word. Showcasing your ability to use these programs has the added benefit of demonstrating a technical skill, and the template design is likely to look better as well. No matter what you use to customize your resume template, you should submit it to potential employers in a PDF file format to prevent any issues with compatibility.
5. Targeted Content
A curriculum vitae includes a complete job history and can run for many pages. Modern resumes, on the other hand, are much shorter (no more than two pages) and should be targeted towards a specific position. If at all possible, a one-page resume should be your goal.
It is more effective to showcase your specific experiences, achievements, and skills that relate to the job you are trying to get, rather than give details about every work experience you have had. For example, if you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, don’t use half of the page detailing your serving experience at Applebee’s. You can include less relevant work experience to show a consistent employment history, but limit it to a few lines and focus the majority of the resume on the skills and experience that will land you the job.
An alternative to the chronological resume template is what’s known as a functional resume template. Instead of sorting by date, a functional resume organizes your work experience into category headings–for example, “Administrative Experience,” “Management Experience,” and “Customer Service Experience.” This style of resume is particularly effective for people who are making a career change or those who have had an eclectic career.
If you choose to use a functional resume format, you should use your cover letter to direct potential employers to your most significant achievements. The cover letter is also the appropriate place to address any gaps in work history or to explain a career change. Regardless of how you organize the information, it is crucial for a modern resume to have content targeted focused on a specific position.
6. ATS Readability
A final design element to consider when customizing an effective modern resume template is whether your resume will be read by an ATS (applicant tracking system). Modern employers often rely on these systems to weed out candidates lacking the basic qualifications for the job.
If you are applying for a job posted on an online job search aggregate like Monster or Indeed, it is safe to assume that the potential employer is using an ATS of some kind. Getting past the ATS is the first hurdle in landing your resume on a prospective employer’s desk (or desktop).
Unfortunately, computer systems can be limited in what they are able to scan. In terms of content, your best chance of getting through the system is to use keywords from the job post in your resume. The resume layout can be a bit trickier.
Many ATS cannot download or interpret images, graphics, or data presented in charts or graphs. They also often do not register information placed in the header or footer of a document. This means that applying for a job through an online application system might require you to have a secondary resume format without the modern bells and whistles. Of course, that also means the resume may make less of an impact.
If at all possible, it’s better to submit your resume directly to the hiring manager (either print or electronic file) rather than to go through a computer application system. If you have no alternative, adjust your creative resume template to exclude graphics and to make sure to remove critical information from the header and footer. Other resume writing elements, such as colored text, bullets, bold text, italics, and underlining are all readable by applicant tracking systems.
Is the Modern Resume Format Right for You?
Now that you know some of the key elements of a modern resume, you may be wondering if it’s necessary for you. Modern employers are looking for candidates who understand the demands of the contemporary workplace. If you are a creative professional applying for jobs in design, marketing, communications, public relations, visual arts, writing, film, graphic arts, or a related field, a modern resume template is a must. However, if you are applying for a federal job, a job in law, construction, higher education, or finance, a more traditional approach using Microsoft Word or Google Docs may be appropriate.
If you’ve decided you need to overhaul your resume and make it more modern, the best way to get started is to find a modern resume template and customize it for your specific needs. You can also download cover letter templates to include with your resume. Remember these key elements as you browse professionally designed templates, and you’ll be able to customize a modern resume template that lets you stand out from the crowd.
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