Your Resume: Design vs. Content

Carla Vaughan

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There are two basic components to a resume. The first one is CONTENT. The second one is DESIGN. Both elements are critical in determining the success of the resume.
What does the design component consist of? Quite a few aspects of the resume fall into this category. Here are some for you to peruse:

  • type and color of paper
  • format
  • layout within the format
  • font(s) used
  • white space
Determining the design your resume can contribute a great deal to the impact you make to prospective employers. A resume must not only contain the right words and qualifications, but it must be easy to read.

When a pile of resumes are first taken out of their envelopes, the process of making a first impression begins. You can’t take a chance of being ruled out at any stage of the process, so your materials must be superior.

Do you know what your competitors are doing? If not, then you need to ensure you are doing everything possible to give yourself an advantage over them. Keep in mind that they could just as easily be reading the same information you are right now. How are you going to out-perform them?

You are going to ensure that each design component is outstanding!

The next component of the resume that you must strive to do well is the content portion. There is nothing of more important than speaking to a prospective employer’s needs. When you are able to communicate your achievements and abilities in a positive way, then you have a good chance of getting a call for an interview.

That means you must tailor the content to each employer’s specific needs for the position you are seeking. It is not difficult, but you will need to put some thought into it.

Think of it this way. We know very well that salespeople use our names whenever possible to make a sale. They know what people like to hear their names used. It's personal and it adds a touch of authenticity to the salesperson. Why? Because they took the time to find out about us and then put it to use.

The same holds true for prospective employers. When you take the time to find out about them and then use that information in your “marketing materials", you have a better chance of succeeding.

A hiring manager will know immediately if your resume is being mass marketed to dozens of organizations. If you are not making an effort to speak the language of each company you send your resume to, you will not find success in the job-search process.

It is a relatively easy process, but you have to put some time into the research aspect. It will pay off, though, when you get an interview!

Best of luck!

Carla Vaughan

Carla Vaughan is the owner of , a web site devoted to assisting candidates in the job-search process. She holds a B. Business from Southern Illinois University and has authored several books.

You can also visit her Professional Resume blog at:


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