Every couple of weeks, I set aside a day in my calendar which I mark as my “productive day”. What that means is, in short, I turn off my phone and refrain from any bullshit like browsing Reddit (okay, maybe a little Reddit), watching Netflix, and generally being lazy.
Instead, I get up in the morning, make breakfast, sit down at my laptop, and get started on my chores for the day which I plan out the night before. Normally, my productive day consists of cleaning, taking care of business, getting a head start on my taxes, and taking stock of my financial situation.Generally, everything I do today helps me slack off for the next couple of weeks… until my next productive day. It’s quite a nice system, really.
Today was my first “productive day” in a while. I needed it, since I was applying to jobs and wanted to make sure that my portfolio was pristine, my blog was updated, and my resume was up-to-date. Plus, you know, the whole applying-to-jobs part would also take up a decent chunk of my day.
However, I was soon sidetracked by an interesting find from the years gone by: my previous resumes, gathering dust under the ‘old’ folder. Most of them are clumsily written, and the design choices are even worse; I cringed when I looked at the color scheme, the off-center spacing, and the kerning which looked like it was set by a cross-eyed designer with epilepsy.
Go on a journey with me!
Holy cow, this was bad.
This was my first-ever resume where I tried to stray from the text-only status quo. Unfortunately for me, I had neither the tools – this was created on Microsoft Paint, of all things – nor the technique to do it right. The result is a mishmash of clumsy facsimiles.
I was enamored by Microsoft’s new design language – called Metro at the time – and I tried to recreate its iconic ’tiled’ design, even using the same font, Segoe UI. To add insult to injury, I broke the fundamental rule of resume – nay, all – design: shit must be easy to read, yo.
My work experience was all over the place; it wasn’t chronological, it wasn’t sorted by category, it was just a heap of words and dates and numbers. Also, the writing. My god, the writing. It’s so fluffy, Agnes is gonna die.
Also, I put my blog as work experience. I put my own personal blog as work experience. Even four years later, reading it now, I want to curl up into a ball and banish myself into a land filled with Comic Sans and medieval literature.
Why, oh why, did I think I was important enough to create a logo for myself? And why does my name take up the top quarter of the page? Well, at least things are chronological now… oh my God, the colors. That yellow. Who in their right mind would think that sun-vomit yellow was a good color for a resume?
There’s progress, though. My work experience is actually chronological now, and I don’t try to pass off my WordPress blog as legitimate work experience. The dates, titles, and locations are clearly labeled, and the wording has gotten a bit better. I still don’t know why I decided to forgo bullet points for those weird-looking ‘l’ shaped things, though. I started moving away from my fascination with Metro UI (or, as it’s now called, ‘Modern’) to a less harsh design, inspired by iOS and its rounded corners.
Look at my little icons I made for my phone number and e-mail, and how it interferes with the eye as it attempts to move down the timeline. I still hadn’t understood the importance of spatial arrangements and sight lines; it looked cool, and that’s all that mattered. Look at all of that wasted space.
Also, can you tell I like cyan and magenta? It’s still my favorite color combination.
The colors are toned down significantly, which is always good. Also, I ditched the rounded corners to go back to my Metro-inspired roots; I think it looks cleaner this way.
I finally realized how stupid it was to have a godforsaken logo (seriously… why??), and I began to understand how to arrange the limited space I had so that the most important things would get the spotlight. My header became a lot smaller, and the actual work experience – you know, the resume part – became bigger. There’s still a lot of wasted space, though.
I got rid of the timeline, but I still wanted a way for things to visually flow chronologically. The simple answer was to connect them with small lines, which was a horribly clumsy way to do it and pretty much the equivalent of duct-tape arrows on the ground. I wanted superfluous design, but I also wanted clean lines of reading. I began to realize I couldn’t have both.
Holy clusterf*ck, Batman!
This is what happens, kids, when you go too far in the other direction. Gone are the boxes, the logos, the unused space. Now, there’s not enough unused space. White space is a valuable commodity on a piece of paper, but there’s pretty much nothing of the sort here. Instead, I was too focused on making sure I had all the information I wanted.
The purple bars, separating my work experiences, are far too thick and muddy up the entire resume. My attempt to put the relevant information inside them doesn’t help; there’s little semblance of logic or indents or columns. Some of the entries have two columns, while other have just one. Everything is just a sploosh of words and color.
Also, why are there two e-mail addresses? However, there’s no question as to how the timeline works: top to bottom. Getting rid of the boxes and having all the information on a single plane definitely helps with the comprehension, but unfortunately, things were packed just too close together.
This is what happens when you don’t play around with Illustrator like a five-year-old does with LEGO bricks.
I realized bullet points were more trouble than they were worth. Condensing those points into a single paragraph allowed me to save valuable space, but more than that, it was simply easier to read that way. A reader’s eyes wants to keep reading where they are; they don’t want to jump down a line, breaking cohesion in the process.
Everything is indented clearly, and the way they’re indented makes sense. The work information comes first, in the beginning, then the details follow second. Capitalizations and bolds have meaning now, and the timeline exists naturally – top to bottom – without me having to force it.
Finally, in a world where the majority of resumes are transmitted and seen through the Internet, I realized there was no need for a white background anymore, which led me to do some interesting color combination choices. Dark maroon and orange is a questionable choice, but I think it works.
There’s still some amateurish things, though. The QR codes are clearly out of date, a relic from 2013; the avatars clearly need a little more work and possibly a little less orange; and aligning the paragraphs on both sides might have been a little cleaner. But all in all, I don’t think anyone would argue that this is a horrible resume. It fulfills its function, which is to serve as a billboard for my work and my skills. And that’s all anyone can ask of a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, can it?