Pimp my CV
April 25, 2017 11:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm applying for a policy job in a tech company. Most of my experience with CVs involves dull templates and I am looking for some inspiration for this one.

I'm happy with the content but want a clear, simple and eye catching way to display it. I'm thinking of using a word cloud as a header on the front page to emphasise certain skills but beyond that I'm seeking inspiration.

Can you point me towards any funky CV formats / templates? Advice on hitting the right balance between fresh and functional also welcome.

(I have a mac but the pages CV templates are not so exciting)

[Anonymous because job hunting]
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I recommend browsing Etsy for templates. I've used a couple different ones from this shop, and on several occasions hiring managers (mostly from tech companies/creative agencies) have complimented the design and mentioned that my resume really stood out.
posted by ad4pt at 12:47 AM on April 26, 2017 [9 favorites]

I'd suggest carefully considering the use of a word cloud; as a technique, it's a become a bit dated. Tech Policy employers don't always have great design sensibilities, so may not be attuned to this sensibility- but I'd perhaps try to find another approach that expresses what you're trying to say.
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:54 AM on April 26, 2017 [12 favorites]

Since it is a wrapper and not content issue, try laying it out in landscape.
posted by jadepearl at 4:43 AM on April 26, 2017

I'm thinking of using a word cloud as a header on the front page

posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:38 AM on April 26, 2017 [28 favorites]

Do not do this. Your resume needs to be machine-readable and no one cares about a spicy-looking resume.
posted by thirdletter at 5:54 AM on April 26, 2017 [20 favorites]

Word clouds are neither simple nor clear, they're busy and cluttered pretty much by design...

There are well-designed templates out there which will be improvements over the standard templates, but they are still ESSENTIALLY the same. And as a person who has been involved in hiring before, I can tell you that gimmicks like this will only get you noticed in the "can you believe this fucking guy" sense.

We had a guy apply for an internship once by showing up in person in a suit with his resume in a fancy envelope with hand-done calligraphy. Here's the thing: we did hire him, because he was the strongest candidate... but we would have hired him anyways, because he was the strongest candidate. And now, this was two years ago and he's long gone and I can only remember him as The Calligraphy Guy who didn't understand professional norms. Not his work or his personality or anything.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:31 AM on April 26, 2017 [10 favorites]

Nthing that this is not the place to show off your creativity. People who read hundreds of CVs a week want to be able to find the relevant facts quickly, that's all. Clear & simple = good. Funky & eyecatching = not so much.
posted by penguin pie at 7:54 AM on April 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

Also - bear in mind that they have a huge pile of CVs and their first job is to whittle them down. When I've had to do that, I get to the point I'm literally looking for any reason I can find for throwing people on the discard pile*. Trying to stick your head up above the parapet is risky unless you're absolutely certain you're doing it in a way they're looking for (which, as you see from this thread is hard to know - you think "Ooh, word cloud" everyone else thinks "Oh dear God - word cloud?")

The job of your CV is simply to let your skills and experience keep you in the game as a qualified candidate, so you can get an interview.

*(Obviously this might be different in larger organisations with more formal processes!)
posted by penguin pie at 8:01 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also - bear in mind that they have a huge pile of CVs and their first job is to whittle them down. When I've had to do that, I get to the point I'm literally looking for any reason I can find for throwing people on the discard pile.

Oh man, I just remembered a story that my godfather told me - he was a history professor and apparently he was trying to choose between a bunch of really good applicants for his PhD program, and he would up eliminating one person just because they used the phrase 'olden times' in their application essay.

OP, there's a site that has REALLY good advice for resumes (among other things) - askamanager.org. If you go through the resume tag you'll find all kinds of tips for making your resume stand out in a way that will be attractive to HR/managers without the resume coming off as a little weird.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:19 AM on April 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

Agree with all of the above. You want easily readable and machine-scannable – so yes, you want clean and simple, but definitely not "eye-catching" or funky. Err well on the side of boring. I am a professional designer with all the Adobes, and when friends ask me to format their resumes, the fanciest thing I do is to use Georgia instead of Times New Roman.

And yes, this would hold even if you were applying for a visual design position. When I hired a junior designer, the resumes that I paid attention to had clear, error-free writing and consistent, well-applied typography, not funky layouts or pointless graphics and charts – because any visual designer worth their salt would realize that a well-designed resume is made to be read.
posted by fifthpocket at 9:05 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Now my answer earlier presumed that your layout will maximize the ease of retrieving information. Here is a free website that has a load of templates whose main features are pretty conservative and readable: Hloom The main thing in designing a resume is this: do not make it difficult for people to give you money. Your resume should be targeted, keyworded and laid out where information is very readable and searchable. With all that said, if you are doing a CV for academia then the format is very set and formal.
posted by jadepearl at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2017

If you absolutely must do something fancy, use LaTeX. It looks super professional and sends the message that you're the kind of person who knows how to use LaTeX.
posted by phoenixy at 10:37 AM on April 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

As someone who has (and does) work at a fancy tech company, please don't get too creative with your CV. Just make it readable.

If you want to go the extra mile, I do think people in tech recognize/appreciate a resume in LaTeX. That said, mine certainly isn't :P
posted by wooh at 11:12 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

You want your resume to be easy to read and to follow basic formatting conventions. The recruiter or hiring manager should be able to easily find the relevant information. Fancy fonts, word clouds, functional resumes, etc. are just distracting. (Also I agree that word clouds are dated.)

I'd just use a nice sans-serif font (I use Helvetica Neue, which is not very inspired, but it's easy to read), and strategically use bold, italics, and spacing.

Make sure your resume showcases your accomplishments, not just your job description. Also, if you want to emphasize your skills, have a skills section! I also like having a "Summary of Qualifications" at the top.

Agree that Ask A Manager has great advice.
posted by radioamy at 11:20 AM on April 26, 2017

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