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How to make your resume stand out: tips from Canva’s recruitment team

How to master the art of building the perfect resume to win your next gig.

By Harriet Templer — Recruitment Lead — Product & Design

First impressions count. Whether you’ve got years of experience or are newly joining the workforce, a killer resume is your first opportunity to make an impact on your potential employer and will dramatically increase your chances of getting an interview. In this three-part series, we’ll take a look at how to master the art of building the perfect resume to win your next gig.

Your resume is a reflection of you. This page or two of digital paper needs to quickly and succinctly sell the story of your amazing experience, skills, education and background and most importantly, should help you stand out from the crowd. So how do you craft the perfect resume to ‘wow’ the recruiting team at your dream workplace?

The cover letter controversy

Cover letters are always a controversial topic for recruiters, and on further investigation, our recruitment team was divided on whether they actually add any value these days. About 10% of our team like to see one, whereas the rest of the team say they’ll head straight to your resume, and maybe check out your LinkedIn if they want to see more.

For me, the simple fact that you’re applying for the role tells me you want it. And if you’ve got the right skills and experience then we can chat in more detail about why you want it. I’d rather make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply, helping to remove the time and effort that can be wasted on writing and formatting a cover letter.

There are a few potential exceptions — if a cover letter is explicitly requested or if you’re trying to change industries or specialisms and need to explain why. Even then, it may be more useful to include a brief summary in your resume instead. Your CV should have all the information needed to land you that dream job.

Create a legendary layout

Here’s where Canva becomes your best friend. Forget spending hours battling with your laptop over spacing and layout, Canva’s free Resume Builder will allow you to choose from hundreds of free, designer-made resume templates. It’s so easy to get caught up in details like fonts, colours and how the document looks. Don’t get me wrong — how it looks matters! But the content and substance matter more.

Using Canva’s resume builder takes the hassle out of this part so you can focus on the good stuff — promoting your skills. Here’s a few tips on where to start:

  1. Read the job ad carefully and note all of the skills and experience required to be successful in the role
  2. Grab a blank page or open a blank page in Canva and write everything down that you want to include, taking care to highlight where your skills and experience marry up with what was included in the job ad
  3. Once you know what you want to include, choose a suitable template in Canva. We have artistic, colourful templates with illustrative flourishes. Or, if you’re after something more formal or traditional, you can explore the collection of minimalist templates.
  4. Customise the template with your information. Play around with colours, fonts and rearrange the elements as much as you want.
  5. Save your final version as a design so that you can come back to it and customise the information to make it most relevant for each role you apply for. You can download the PDF, JPEG or PNG file or order prints — whatever makes sense for the industry you’re applying to!

A sure-fire way to make yourself stand out is to explore Canva’s Video Resume Templates. While it can be challenging to inject your personality into a static, stand-alone document, Video Resumes allow you to add a recording so you can give prospective employers an even greater glimpse of who you are and an interactive walkthrough of your skills, experience and more.

Nailed your layout and design but stuck on what to actually include? Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out more about the must-have information to include in your resume, and the details you can take a pass on.

We’re always on the hunt for amazing talent to join us at Canva. For more details on our current job openings, visit Canva’s careers page here.