This is it. You're ready to move forward, to level up, and above all to get paid. That means you've got to tell the world about yourself and what you can do. In addition to the most basic advice possible—no typos, follow application directions, tailor to your intended audience and position, and NO TYPOS—here are some golden nuggets on resume design from both applicants and hiring heads on the C77 boards.
Immediately relevant, useful, truthful information only! Inflating skills and including unrelated jobs is unhelpful. It's tempting to stick the kitchen sink in there to make the page less dauntingly empty, particularly if you're young and short on real world experience or trying to level up. But don't. Educational experience and student work count—if they're good they count a lot—so emphasize those relevant skills instead of your summertime ice-cream-peddling chops. And if you're fresh out of school, don't just note the technical abilities or high-minded conceptual thinking and big picture focus that programs hammer into you—consider how they translate into more concrete, widely applicable skills. Pitching how you work on the ground (or on a time crunch, or on budget...) is valuable at any skill level. Cheerygirl also stressed personality:
I place my career goal in brief with work experience on top of my education and accomplishments. I add in a brief line of other interests, especially in sports and other creative tasks that are worth mentioning, with references to all the information I put in... When you write your CV/resume, it shouldn't be just another CV but something that represents yourself as a person. In short, don't just write your CV, design it.
Keep It Simple
You don't want to get in your own way. As all designers ought to know, this can be easy to say and tricky to pull off, especially without external guidelines. Don't opt for a schlock Word form and formatting, that kind of simple sure isn't going to stand out in a stack (or folder, these days) of the same, and it'll more than likely bury your chances of being taken seriously as a designer. Do use your white space! Choose an excellent and appropriate typeface. Introduce color and graphics with care. Use clear terminology about what you've done without being repetitive, but don't bust out hoity-toity synonyms or unusual action words; GRE vocab and technical jargon generally hurt more than they help. Getting creative is great, but don't get in your own way—it has to look good and but the primary function is communication.Layout and Formatting
Do be creative, don't be chaotic. When structuring your resume or CV, rkuchinsky suggests thinking about levels of interface:
1. First impression, from 1 ft away - overall layout, color, typography...
2. Content while reading - organization, text content, (no typos!), phrasing and info. Think of a good CV as an ad for you. It should #1 communicate your experience literally (the purpose of a CV), and #2 should draw the user/reader in and communicate your personality and style.
Length and Attachments
Brevity is best, but use your head. If you're straight out of school, following the oft-cited 'One Page' rule is sensible. If you've got the experience to justify it, a two-page resume isn't excessive (unless, of course, you've been asked for a single page, in which case going long is extra tacky). Particularly in the U.S., a CV can sprawl a little because they're meant to be more exhaustive and academic, but keep that resume terse as a hearse.
Our online jury is split on when to volunteer examples of your work. Some say don't unless asked. Others recommend cutting to the chase and recommend a concise second page of portfolio highlights with a clear reference to your full online portfolio. Whatever you go with, if/when you incorporate graphics and images of your work, make sure they look good when scaled-down, optimized (read: compressed) and printed! Consider what it will look like if it's printed in black and white. Dropping it off in person? Make sure the type and quality are dialed. Over on the boards recommend going with pro-level printers, not your standard color desktop or cheap Kinko's offering.
Keep your file types in mind, and the more the merrier. Cheerygirl recommended having one version ready in Word format and one as a PDF. We'd go farther: have one in any format you can imagine, and in the cloud, and one on a thumb drive just in case.
Have a website and link to it, they're cheap and astoundingly easy these days even minimal online presence will (surprisingly) give you a leg up on slackers. And for goodness' sake at least have your portfolio hosted somewhere attractive and easily accessed. Wherever you host, check whether it looks good on every kind of browser. That's where you sell your brain and personality, so don't just pack it full of one type of slick rendering. Try to show a diverse range of projects, programs, skills and types of problem-solving.
You're on your own when it comes to presence of the social media variety, but at least make yourself presentable on LinkedIn.