What I Learned From a Resume Overhaul

No Comments Yet | by Elise Perkins

Let’s face it designing a resume basically has tons of wrongs and tons of rights. However, there’s really no clearcut way to do it. Some like bullet points, while others will cringe at the sight of them. I just knew as long as I omitted my parts in youth plays from the Sikeston Little Theatre and that I played flute from sixth grade to my senior year of high school, I was fine.

However, I know that there’s something that a lot of people prefer a design-based resume. It took hours on Pinterest looking for ideas. I survived, but I there are tips that I learned along the way to prepare the brave if they want to make a design resume.

It will remind you putting behind your college life is hard

If you haven’t seen St. Elmo’s Fire, it involves 6 adults adjusting to life after college. I hated it the first time I saw it because I was in college, but after college you have love hate relationship with it because so many parts of it are true about the best days of your life are behind you. The end is pretty ridiculous, but it does have some truth. I had an old basic resume that I used and to change the content from 2 and a quarter pages to one page. Tracking and kerning in InDesign can help, but in all honesty some things you have to let go. Yes, I held officer positions and slaved countless hours to the PRSSA chapter at Mississippi State University. In reality, am I still in college? The answer is no. In my new resume there is no mention of PRSSA. However, I did include places of employment where I felt as though I learned valuable skills. It took a few deep breaths, but I knew I wanted to start a new journey.

Have someone examine it

Okay I’m the last person who hates to ask for help. However, if you are writing the content in InDesign ask a friend for help with spelling and to see if you are off on formatting. The chances are you have probably written a few parts of InDesign, which doesn’t have Spell Check.

Be open to suggestions

I was determined to have a gold font, and then I found the perfect Pantone color. It was perfect, until I had a dude look over my resume. My friend Roman looked over it and asked if there could be a darker font like a brown. My heart stopped, a brown? Even though Kate Spade uses gold all the time, doesn’t mean that it will be pretty for a perspective employer glancing over your resume in a hurry in hopes of coming up with a question during the interview. I took a moment and considered, “Hey Roman’s right, he’s taking time out of his day where he could be memorizing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt lines.” So I clicked on the Pantone color and made several shade swatches to compare. Sure enough I found some and it didn’t destroy the images. 

Make the design simple

Remember when Elle Words’ professor gave her a glare for having a pink resume that was scented. It is still smart to keep an old fashioned resume on hand for SEO and people who are old school, but having a design resume allows the ability to be professional, but yet let the resume reflect your personality. Having a big bold design that one might see on a Tory Burch shoebox, but that is not a smart idea. I tried to think of a simplistic idea so I thought the idea of something with changing tones of colors so that worked. I’m not going to tell my secret, but my design work in Photoshop for the backdrop probably didn’t take 3 minutes. I used that design and I adjusted the size in InDesign. The font still must be dark or easily read. I found a cute font that I had to omit because it was not in a straight line.

State the impressive, not the obvious

Welcome to 2016, where (almost) everyone knows Microsoft Office. I decided to omit some skills. I must say since I work in social media, and I want to think I am good at it. Well I decided to omit Facebook and Twitter as my skills, but instead keep Hootsuite and my experience writing for BuzzFeed. It always helps to keep a leg up.

Share it on social media

I blocked out my address and phone number due to two simple reasons: a peace of mind and Google Maps. I made sure to save several versions. It’s a shot in a dark, but long ago, I created a pin board in Pinterest called Portfolio. It is simply my work that I’ve done, which includes blogs and designs. Occasionally I see where people have repined my BuzzFeed post “16 Reasons Why Claire Underwood is your favorite character on House of Cards.” Plus, it helps when you need to show work. You never know you might find it.


First making it look cute and attractive to the eye is an easy answer. It is obvious that you can’t include everything on your resume. However, include a link to your website or in my case your LinkedIn page. If someone in your network is impressed, they might want to at least want to learn more about you. Yes, we know every employer Facebook stalks perspective employees, but this allows them to see more of your work instead of pictures of you playing with a dog and sharing list articles from BuzzFeed. However, adding a link shows them where most of your work can be found.

Make changes about where you want to be

Remember when I said putting your (undergrad) college life behind is hard? No matter what phase of life you are in, just need to realize where you need to go. However, I had to look at the bleak truth that my involvement with PRSA is not like my involvement with PRSSA. However, I started out with PRSSA the same as I was with PRSSA. I know that since I’m blessed to have a freelance career, I will try to make several meetings at the Memphis chapter because my sister lives there. Right now, I know I need to volunteer more than just collecting and cutting Box Tops on the dotted line, which I will mail to my sorority Delta Gamma as a nice alumna to help a local blind school. It was a reminder to me that I hopefully belong in Nashville working as a part-time instructor at a university while working at a public relations firm. As much as overhauling a resume feels like organizing your house instead of a piece of paper, you need to see what is the next step for you.


Emma Hawes is currently working as a freelance social media content creator, while attending graduate school online at Purdue University. Hawes has a bachelor’s degree in communication, with concentrations in journalism, public relations and broadcasting from Mississippi State University. In college, Hawes was a freelance broadcasting technician, working behind the scenes for games with ESPN. When she is not behind her MacBook, iPhone or camera, she enjoys watching comedy, reading and cooking. Her fictional idol is Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation.

About Elise Perkins

Elise Perkins founded ep communications in 2014 after seven years of working for trade associations and think tanks. Today she focuses on building brands for businesses and people, using a savvy mix of content and influencer strategies. She sits on the board of Washington Women in Public Relations.

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