Please critique my resume

JammyB's picture

Hi all. This is my first post here but I've been lurking for a while and trying to learn as much as I can. I'm fairly new to graphic design having only done it seriously for the last year. Due to the limited nature of our software at work I can only really practice and learn in my spare time, so I'm now trying to look for a job where I can actually develop and improve within the working environment.

I'm a bit scared to post because it's my first go at something like this, but I'd really appreciate your critique and comments.

I'll probably modify the top "Personal profile" section depending on the job.

I'd be very grateful for any feedback whatsoever. I'm planning to send this off for a junior typesetting job on Monday, but I will try and revise anything that comes to light. Cheers.

inde's picture

i can say that it is pretty good, do you have a portfolio so as i could see your works, (just curious)

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Hi, James; welcome to Typophile.

I think that you have a good start here with the two-column layout and the use of just one typeface, but I also think you need to adjust a few things...

For example, you are using many different sizes of type and leading... This is a bit distracting and doesn't lend visual unity to the piece -- quite the contrary. I would try to keep things simple and consistent. Choose one point size and keep the leading constant throughout. You can reduce the space between your job titles and their descriptions, as well as the leading in your personal profile, and apply that extra vertical space to do this. If you need to highlight something, you could use a second, bolder weight (for the section names, or for your job titles and university degree, to give two examples).

You could get rid of those tiny paragraph indents (they are barely visible) and add vertical space between the paragraphs instead. This will accomplish the same goal of indicating a new paragraph and be more in keeping with the overall design.

Your job titles are followed by a big white space and the name of the employer; this is distracting. What if you simply separated the two items with a comma, avoiding that white space in the middle of those lines?

Your contact info is the only block of text that is set ragged left; I would set it ragged right, like everything else on the page. And under "Relevant modules..." in the Education section, I would align the second bullet point in each line so that you have two ragged-right columns.

timd's picture

I would work on the line endings of the second work experience section to remove the hyphens turn over ‘edu-’ and ‘to’ and in the second paragraph ‘and’ and ‘Comuni-’ and in the final year project description ‘to’. I am not so concerned about just one point size, however, I think you should restrict yourself to a maximum of three sizes, more important is the leading and inter-section spacing which should be consistent, less space between heading and body than body to heading. Your name is hanging a bit, my feeling is that it should align with the wide column or you could try aligning Barwell with that column.
Good luck in your job hunt.


Ricardo Cordoba's picture

I would work on the line endings...

Good one, Tim; I didn't even see those word breaks. And you're right about one point size being too few. :-) Can't hurt to have a bigger size for titles, for example.

Your name is hanging a bit, my feeling is that it should align with the wide column or you could try aligning Barwell with that column.

Another good catch.

timd's picture

Ricardo, thanks.


JammyB's picture

Thank you so much for all of the helpful comments. It's amazing how things stand out once they've been pointed out to you.

With the leading I was being a bit overambitious and trying to make the Profile copy stand out. I did bring the leading back into rhythm after that section, though I see that it's not working.

I believe I've done all of the amendments that were suggested. I've changed the leading to 13pt to try and space the page out a little, and reduced the amount of font sizes (excluding my name) to 3, using 2 weights. I've also made slight adjustments to the copy because, for example with the bullets, certain things just weren't fitting in correctly.

The one thing I'm concerned about is the heading. I liked the way it broke up the page slightly, and thought it added some interest. I've done a few variations which can be viewed here. Personally I'm still inclined to use the 3rd one down rather than how it is set in the PDF, but I'd be grateful for any further insights into that and anything else about the new layout.

Indie-graphics: thanks for your comments. I'm afraid my portfolio is rather underdeveloped at the moment. I'm trying to work on it every night and will have something ready should I get invited to interview, and I will certainly post it here once I'm a bit further along with it. I was working on a vector guitar illustration last month which is nearly finished, but that's about all I dare show for now!

timd's picture

Much cleaner, the personal profile doesn’t, to my mind, warrant being a different point size; in fact it contains the kind of information that should be in the accompanying letter (handwritten would be good if you are confident of your handwriting), however if you keep it turn over ‘it’, ‘to’ and ‘and’, this will achieve two things, one improve the rag and two avoid the widow ‘techniques’, you might also turn ‘and’ over in the last paragraph of relevant experience. The space before personal profile might present a better appearance if consistent with the document. The phrase ‘though I also do logo design when required’ might be better worded, don’t exaggerate beyond your capabilities (you might be found out) but it is a throwaway remark at the end of that sentence. For your name I like the vertical position in your current pdf (aligning to the ascender of the address) and the horizontal position of the third in your sample. One other thing I would remove the th after 7 in your d.o.b.


Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Nice work, James -- like Tim says, this looks much cleaner and inviting to read. I also agree with his remarks about improving the rag, what he says about not overstating your capabilities, and using careful wording.

I would add that the bold weight you've chosen does not have enough contrast with the rest of the text -- I think that you should make it a bit bolder, so that it truly stands out. (You could try a couple of darker weights and compare the printed results with the current document.)

As for the header, I like the smaller size you're using for your name in the revised PDF... I second Tim's comments on the vertical and horizontal positioning... Now, what if you moved it left, back to the first column, and broke it into two lines? Then you could move "Date of Birth" and "Driving licence" up to the top. I would also line up the address column with the "Final year project" column. It's just an idea -- you're the final judge of whether this works or not, of course. :-)

One last tip: don't forget to kern your 1's...

Best of luck!

JammyB's picture

Thanks again both. I've done a further revision here:

I've printed and I think the new font weight (75) is looking much better. I tried moving the head around as per your suggestion Ricardo, which I thought was interesting but didn't fit in so well with the rest of the page, so I've moved it back to its original position for now. I've upped the weight of my name from 65 to 75 to keep it consistent with the increased weight further down, but I'm still a bit undecided on it, particularly with the tails on the a's. I do think it works but I might play around with it a little more, perhaps even moving back to how it was in the last draft!

Well observed comments regarding the logos, and I can see how it sounded a bit odd. Our head graphic designer normally does them but more recently he's thrown a few my way just because of his increasing workload. It's not really part of my job description but I did want to mention it, since I'm pleased with the work I've done. Hopefully the new sentence sounds a bit more reasonable and modest.

I just hope everything else is in order and to the tastes of my potential employers!

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Wow, if you compare this latest version with the first one you posted, the improvement is outstanding! I like the current header but agree that this might not be the definitive version (not that there ever is a definitive version with resumes and portfolios, heh heh!)

These may or may not be tiny things, but:

1a) I think you can lose the periods at the end of your referees' titles and addresses. First because they are not sentences, and second because you don't have periods in your own address or university degree.

1b) Speaking of periods, I understand that in the UK it is common practice to not add a period after abbreviated titles such as "Dr."... But I've never lived there, I just read it in a couple of books on typography. You probably know more about that!

2) I'm not sure, but a few items look like they are letterspaced or tracked: your name, your telephone number, and Dr. Collins' phone number. Am I just imagining it? Maybe it is just the abundance of 1s and 7s.

JammyB's picture

Thanks I'll have a look into those before it goes off. You are quite right, I have increased the tracking on various numbers, which I think was something I read in Bringhurst's book in order to increase legibility. I did on my name as well just because it felt a bit dense on the page with that new weight. I suppose there's a bit of a trade off between consistency and legibility here, or perhaps I've just misunderstood that technique! I can't remember the chapter off hand but I'll try and double check that tomorrow.

I was a bit skeptical at first and thought that my old one had some interesting elements which had been removed, but now that I look at them side by side the improvement is vast. It looks so much cleaner and inviting, I can't thank you guys enough for all the input and advice.

jason's picture

Hmm... While the comments thus far have been primarily concerned with micro-issues (which are, of course, important), it seems that no one is mentioning that the Emperor is, well, naked. What I see is a certain competence with alignment, rather heavily aided by Ricardo and Tim's comments, but the issue, to my mind, is that the resume as a whole is lifeless.

I see that you say your portfolio is a little underdeveloped, so without a pile of work to present you really need to make an impression with your resume; that is to say your resume has to be a solid example of your ability, and, to be really blunt, the current design ain't exemplifying a lot.

I'm certainly not suggesting you over-design the thing, but the skill and talent you bring to and present in your resume design has to prove that you're a "hard working, creative and motivated graphic designer"; I would also stress that you need to place skill at the top of that list, and skill can only be shown, not spoken about.

My point is that what is there in the resume at the moment is a certain technical ability to arrange and space type, but there's no personality on the page. By personality I mean evidence of a solid education and relationship with type and design, from which your selections and decisions will speak volumes about you. That's the problem at the moment: the current resume tells me you're lacking in typographic and design experience, and whether or not that's true, the important thing is to not allow that impression to be made.

Get your hands on some decent typography books and read them half a dozen times. I guarantee you that if you do so for even a week or two your resume will take on a whole different dimension of depth and balance.

JammyB's picture

Ricardo, you were absolutely correct about the periods. I checked Bringhurst and he says in the UK the general convention is to only use a period after the abbreviation if the word ends abruptly (so Doctor becomes Dr whereas Professor becomes Prof. with the period).

The bit about letterspacing the phone numbers also came from Bringhurst, but I've remembered only part of the detail and therefore got it wrong. Here's part of the section:

2.1.6: "Many typographers like to letterspace all strings of numbers as well. Spacing is essential for rapid reading of long, fundamentally meaningless strings, such as serial numbers, and it is helpful even for shorter strings such as phone numbers and dates. Numbers set in very short strings - triplets or pairs - need not be letterspaced."

Jason, thank you for your comments, and it pains me to admit that you are absolutely correct. As you can see from the resume I've never studied design or typography formally, and it shows more than I'd appreciated. It's too late for this job, but I will definitely be going back to the books and will have another go at this in a month or two. In the meantime I'm going to make the minor amendments and get my application sent out (it is a junior position with full training, doing company reports, so hopefully they will at least see my enthusiasm).

Once again thank you everyone for your time. Hopefully I can progress over the next few months and return with some better quality work.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

James, in regards to the overall design of your resume, you might want to check out a book by Kimberly Elam, Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type, to learn about different ways of organizing a page. There is also an excellent book that deals with activating the white space in a layout, Alex White's The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type.

As far as your present resume, you are applying for a position as a typesetter, and a good typesetter attends to the micro-issues. Your resume does show that you have paid attention to these.

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