Your Resume Should Not Be Instagramable

Matt Glodz
Your Resume Should Not Be Instagramable

How should I format my resume? Our tips on best resume formats for 2020

Last year, we came across an article in The Wall Street Journal titled “Résumés Are Starting to Look Like Instagram—and Sometimes Even Tinder.”

Given that we often get questions from our clients about the best resume format to use, we wanted to share our insights on the topic.

Simply put, your resume is a professional document.

As such, we always recommend a modern yet conservative resume format.

From our experience and discussions with recruiters, resumes that incorporate photos, graphics, logos, and colors do attract attention - but often not in a good way.

Based on the (predominantly negative) reactions that we’ve seen from recruiters with regard to graphic resumes, we strongly recommend playing it safe.

By using standard resume formatting, you’re able to achieve the following outcomes:

1) Demonstrate your professionalism

Your number one priority when applying for a job is to be taken seriously.

Your resume is typically your first (and potentially last) impression.

Keep it classy.

2) Allow your experience to speak for itself

You don't need to use gimmicks to stand out.

Instead, leverage impactful design elements and powerful phrasing that highlights your main accomplishments and the value you bring to an organization.

3) Optimize your resume for ATS screenings

Many applicant tracking systems cannot accurately read information from resumes with symbols, logos, tables, or multiple columns.

They only pull text, so your effort spent making your resume look pretty will likely go to waste anyway.

By keeping your format simple, you'll help your resume beat the bots.

4) Avoid negative reactions from recruiters

If an element of your resume even has the potential to make someone cringe or roll their eyes, it's best to avoid it.

5) Leverage the minimal space you have available most effectively

Trying to impress recruiters with "cool" designs wastes time that you could use to further refine and elevate your content.

Design elements also often take up excessive space that could otherwise be used to convey additional skills and accomplishments.

6) Eliminate any potential recruitment bias

As The Wall Street Journal says, "The flashy résumés are colliding with efforts by employers to strip down CVs to their most basic elements—coding skills, college degrees, work histories—to reduce bias in hiring."

While we acknowledge that graphic resumes are becoming more common and some candidates (such as those quoted in the article) have had success using them, we believe doing so is too risky a move.

Maybe they’ll become an accepted practice in the recruitment industry moving forward - and rest assured that we’re always monitoring the latest trends - but for now, keep it simple.

Land the interview first.

Then, you can showcase your personality and likeability during the interview.

But don’t attempt to do so using bitmojis and hearts on your resume.

You don’t want your resume to be overlooked.

As Katie Burke, Chief People Officer of HubSpot, put it, “Photos belong on your personal social-media accounts and online-dating profiles, not your résumé.”

“What you look like has zero impact on what you can do in a role, so photos, bitmojis and other gimmicks often detract from someone’s candidacy versus adding to it.”

When push comes to shove, you’re being hired based on your ability to do the job - not on your ability to put together a cute, Instagramable resume.

Focus on tailoring your content instead.

Need help with your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile? Email us at or call (312) 428-6048.


About the AuthorMatt Glodz

Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He works with clients ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.

Related Articles

6 LinkedIn Headshot Mistakes to Avoid & How to Choose Yours
Learn how to choose an impressive LinkedIn headshot and which mistakes could affect your credibility. We explain how to select and edit your photo, ensuring you make a strong first impression with prospective employers.
Read More
Expert Tip: Should your resume be in past or present tense?
We explain how to correctly use present and past tense on your resume.  By applying the concepts we discuss, you’ll ensure that your writing is not only be grammatically correct but also easier to read!
Read More
How to Request (and Write) a LinkedIn Recommendation
LinkedIn recommendations serve as an excellent source of social proof. Others are much more likely to believe in what you have to offer if someone else puts their reputation on the line to speak highly of you. We share proven tips on how to ask for - and write - LinkedIn recommendations.
Read More