In each class that I have taught, I have included a lesson on resume design because I believe it provides students with the most concrete value on incorporating not only document design principles that I also teach, but understanding the rhetorical situation as well. The biggest preconceived notion I get from my students is that the resume is one single document for multiple purposes. They even start out by calling it “my resume” as if there could only be one.
Resumes, like every other document that is produced with a definite purpose, must be contextual to a situation or specific job. That is the first difficult lesson for students—that each job application necessitates its own resume that highlights different qualities of ourselves as professionals.
All of this is to say that while I am providing this general purpose resume with my portfolio, I feel the need to stress the fact that I would always customize a resume, even if slightly, to whatever job I applied to.
The design of my resume has gone through several iterations, but none of them too severe. My most-recent design choices were to limit the maximum line-length to 5 inches, use an off-black text color, and update the typography.
Limiting the line-length is a good idea in any document, print or online. The worst offenders of long line-length are websites that expand disproportionately to fit the window size. Long lines are very hard to read, especially when the text size is small, because the eyes tend to jump lines. Longer lines need greater line leading to maintain readability. In my resume, keeping the lines short also creates negative space on the right side which is also contrasted by the dark heading (my name) above. Using a dark grey (85% black) instead of 100% black is a very subtle design technique used to reduce eye strain, especially when printed on ivory linen paper. Reading black text on white paper is hard on the eyes. Finally, I chose Marion as my primary typeface for my name in bold and the body text. Marion is a relatively new typeface (2006) but has a classic feel. Headings were done in Calibri, which is one of my new favorite sans-serif fonts.