Co.Design

New Service Gives Any Job Seeker A Slick, Custom Resume

Who needs a degree from Harvard when you’ve got a great-looking resume? Okay, Harvard doesn’t hurt.

On average, employers spend less than 30 seconds scanning each resume, which is just enough time to determine if you went to the right college and joined the right eating club. Not that you can totally blame them. Perusing entire stacks of single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman crammed improbably between the margins is enough to make a guy go cross-eyed.

Can a better designed CV help job seekers differentiate themselves? Dodd Caldwell and Emory Cash think so, and to that end, the Greenville, South Carolina, designers have developed Loft Resumes, a new web service that sells customized resumes based on a dazzling panoply of templates for $99 and up. “Design is becoming more and more important in the workplace but the resume is usually left out,” Caldwell tells Co.Design. “It’s seen as purely utilitarian. A visually appealing, yet still easy-to-read and professional resume can really help job searchers stand out among standard Word document resumes.”

Cash and Caldwell (who also cofounded a service that lets nonprofits design their own websites) dreamed up the idea after chatting with job hunters in their lives: “I had a friend who hired a graphic artist to design his resume, and he ended up getting a lot of interest from employers mainly because of the visual appeal of his resume,” Caldwell says. “At the same time, my cofounder was designing his wife’s resume and realized that when he was searching for great looking resumes as guides, he couldn’t really find anything.”

So here’s how Loft Resumes works: Select a template from a menu of nearly 50 designs, which range from urbane (the New Yorker) to traditional (the Banquet) to straight-up country (the Alamo). Then specify things like colors and number of pages you’d like, upload the text of your resume, and within days, PDFs of your glossy new resume and a matching cover letter arrive in your inbox. Your purchase includes two rounds of revisions. After that, there’s a $5 charge for each text edit.

Loft Resumes is not an automated service. “We actually take the resume content that the customer uploads and typeset it in InDesign,” Caldwell says. “Given that everybody’s content is different, our graphic artists really use the chosen design as a guide. Sections may be moved around some, headers and typography may change in size and placement, and so on.” The goal is to simply create the best-looking document possible.

Caldwell and Cash don’t pretend that a slick resume will land everyone a dream job. But they believe it can draw employers’ eyeballs the way a sea of black and white can’t. More importantly, it sends a message that you’re the kind of person who takes job searching dead seriously. Why would you approach the job itself any differently?

But just to be sure, you might as well put “Princeton” in bold.

[Images courtesy of Loft Resumes]

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40 Comments

  • Dana Leavy-Detrick

    These are an interesting visual solution, but resumes are content-driven, not design-driven. Design often sacrifices the readability or the content of the document.  For entry-level professionals, it's a little easier since there's typically less information to deal with, but mid and senior-level candidates need to be a little more wary of losing the overall message and focus in return for cool design.  This kind of resume should be more of a "supplement" to your overall candidate portfolio, and having a more traditional version ready to send off as well is a good idea.

  • Holly

    I thought you were NEVER supposed to put your photograph on a resume.... why does Loft feature several examples with the candidates' mugs featured prominently on the resume?!

  • Mikef

    As a longtime recruiter, I found this article to be very valuable.  I've sent it to over 600 candidates to read.

  • Cesar

    Wow, this is horrible. The two examples are over designed and the logic of elements is extremely arbitrary. If a resume is designed to the extent that these two are, they should represent the individual. People better hope that another person didn't use the same template they did.

  • hubc

    Exactly, because everyone doing the same black and white is going to help them remember you better. You're so right, people shouldn't use the same templates.

  • Deanne Fletcher

    After reading the article, and a few comments here and there, I feel that one major point of view is disregarded - Demographics. The majority of young people today, are so far advanced in technology, that paying $99 for a custom resume is absurd. Why? Kids can do this themselves - whether it be in InDesign, or on Word. Granted it may not be as clean on a Word document, but I gurantee you, it can get pretty darn close. With Babyboomers starting to retire gradually over the next decade or so, the job market will be vicious. So having a fancy resume is not going to get you the job, knowing how to do it yourself might.

  • Adrian Marcelo Cardenas

    I completely agree with you. I designed my own based on one of the templates on their site using indesign. It took me about three hours to complete, but hey, it beats shelling out $100

  • Deanne Fletcher

     Regardless, I think this idea has some potential is marketed correctly. Pricing may be too steep.

  • Jon

    @FHCGSPS...really? Please show me some data illustrating Ivy League educated job seeker success vs. "most other people"...no, really. I'm waiting, like most other experienced yet unemployed professionals past the point where education matters much...

  • VinayakSuley

    My impressions:

    Positives: 
    Good design. Will stand out when the vast majority of other resumes are plain.

    Negatives:
    - Wait 1-3 days for my own resume? Are edits any faster? I would like to tweak/tune my resume for every application and as I learn more after each interview. 
    - Similar to above, but a $5 editing charge will stack up cost REAL quick. I might as well find a designer on craigslist and have her give me the sources files so I can make subsequent edits instantly and for free. Do you think that'll work?
    - Using a designer resume feels like the person is trying too hard, doesn't it? It's like going to a casual dinner dressed up for a masquerade ball. 
    - If sifting for information in a sea of plain resume is bad, I can imagine that sifting for information in a sea of custom designed resumes each with it's own infographics would be a living nightmare. Or does the business plan depend on this being sparingly used...in which the plan seems to start out with a fatal assumption. No?

  • Guest

    To everyone complaining about these resumes being good to post online or send to an HR email address, maybe you should start trying to put resumes into potential employers' hands. If you start doing that, consider how your scannable resume will look, and what it will communicate about you. This seems like a cool in-hand idea.

  • Kristen

    Oy. I'm a recruiter, and most of these "snazzy" resumes are a nightmare to read, and many Applicant Tracking Systems *cannot process or scan documents* unless they are in .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt or .pdf. Paying to use In Design may be shooting yourself in the foot. I don't see any mention in the article that either of founders are recruiters or have an HR background. I wonder if they know about federal regulations such as OFCCP, USCIS, EEOC and how they affect recruiting? And do they understand the Boolean Search as it relates to keywords? Do
    Kristen Fife
    Sr. Recruiter and Resume Consultant
     

  • Eleanor

    Kristen makes some great points.  As a freelance UX designer, I am more or less constantly seeking new employment opportunities.  I have a snazzy, "infographic'ed" resume, but have found that unless I'm emailing it directly to a recruiter, it's super hit-or-miss when you have to go through an applicant tracking system.
    First, a number of HR systems require applicants to paste text-only versions of the resume. Others will accept the PDF upload, but I've had recruiters follow-up and ask for a "normal" version of my resume; so I can only imagine that I sometimes don't get callbacks because the HR system can't parse or display a "designed" resume properly.

    I've found a lot more success in submitting a plaintext resume -- remember, resume information can be nicely designed, formatted, and sufficiently differentiated from others in the stack, even in plaintext form -- along with a URL to a "snazzy" PDF version. 

  • Dodd Caldwell

    Hi Kristen. Loft sends out resumes in PDF format so that they can be forwarded to corporations and run through HR resume parsers. We just custom typeset the resumes in InDesign - that's not the final file format.

    We haven't made any public claims that the resumes are as effective in the HR software as a .txt file yet because we want to run more tests. But, from the tests that we have done, they have performed very well in Boolean Searches. 

    We are aware of different federal regulations. Loft Resumes isn't the right solution for everyone or for every job, but there are plenty of plenty of employers that have expressed to us that Loft Resumes would certainly work on them.

    All that said, thanks for your feedback. It's certainly a reminder to us to do more testing in the HR software so that we can confidently say that it matches up with the standard formats.

  • Fhcgsps

     Thank you, Kristen! Not to mention that you couldn't forward that to most corporations, either.

  • HowSoonIsNow

    They're doing cool things with resume infographics nowadays.  The one problem this doesn't  mention is that these infographic resumes reduce the SEO footprint a job seeker has with typical format resume.

    BTW: Ivy League education  ....soooo overrated