Resume Redesign

Full Title: Resume Redesign for J. D. Newport

Context: This project was an assignment in Document Design (RHET 4305), a course I completed while on the Professional and Technical Writing major at the University of Arkansas at Little RockDepartment of Rhetoric and Writing. The artifacts in this project demonstrate formatting, organization, and copyediting skills.

Project Artifacts:

  1. Resume (deliverable) <View pdf>
  2. Optional design <View pdf>
  3. Early draft <View pdf>
  4. Original as received <View pdf>
  5. Explanation memo to instructor <View pdf>

Purpose: The assignment had a dual pupose: 1) apply document design concepts introduced in the course to a professional document, and 2) to explain and defend my design rationale.

Audience: Instructor, classmates, website visitors.

Development: Before making any design decisions, I needed to first identify what kind of individual my client is, who his audience is, and the context for the document and any design constraints.

  • Description of the employer/client: The fictitious client for this project is Jason D. Newport, a mechanical engineer. For the purposes of this project, as the designer I chose to apply the ethos of Newport’s profession to Newport’s personality. In addition to his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree, Newport minored in Technical Writing, Mathematics, and Business and Management. This information suggest to me that Newport has a highly organized mentality. He is methodical in his work and completes tasks and projects with precision.
  • Description of the users/readers: According to the Engineering Management Institute, some of the top mechanical engineering hiring companies include NASA, Google, Boeing, Apple, and Lockheed Martin.1 The primary audience for this resume come from this category of potential employers; in particular, human resource personnel within these companies. Demographically, this group are career professionals and many will have extensive academic backgrounds. Secondary audiences might include members of the academic community.
  • Context and design constraints: Readers of this document will likely be accessing it online via an online portfolio or as an attachment in an email. This context allowed me to be a bit more frivolous with color, because I didn’t need to factor in degradation to document quality that can sometimes happen when documents are printed; nor did I have to overly consider the cost of printing.One of the constraints for this document is that both the client and the users/readers are from a highly professional background and, therefore, expect a degree of constraint in the look of this document. However, in expecting a resume to have a particular look, there is always the risk of creating a document that is boring and uninteresting simply because its look has been overused. Another constraint in designing the initial version of this document was the time limitation of one week. I struggled with controlling the layout and ran out of time, so was not able to resolve some of the design issues.
  • Design Rationale: In its original form, Newport’s resume lacked visual appeal and was uninspiring. I needed a way to maximum its visual appeal so that it would stand apart from other resumes. I wanted Newport’s personality to come across on the page. Newport is a mechanical engineer, which is a highly technical and precise field; so I aimed to design a resume with clean, precise lines and sharp edges. I chose different hues of gray to add contrast.What I needed to do was break the formatting mold, without breaking the rules. I did this with, what I refer to as, the additional info bar – a 2” wide by 11” inch high vertical bar located on the left-hand side of the page.I incorporated subtle color to add contrast; the additional info bar, for example, is RGB 64 64 64 – a soft, grayish-black color. The font color on the info bar is RGB 217 217 217 – a silvery color. The headings on the bar are black, another subtle contrast. Overall the additional info bar sits in sharp contrast to a crisp, white page with a black typeface. I felt these design elements fit with the personality of the resume, which reflects the personality of Jason D Newport.While print resumes are more readable with the major copy in a serif font (e.g., Garamond, Georgia) and headings in sans serif fonts (e.g., Lucida Sans, Tahoma, Verdana), Newport’s resume will be read primarily online and as an attachment to an email. Based on the context in which this document will be read, I chose Calibri, a sans serif typeface, for the main body copy, set to 12-point. I felt this would ensure the resume was both legible and readable when accessed online or via an email attachment. I also used Calibri at 14-point for the main headings. I reduced the Calibri typeface to 10-point for the additional info bar.Readers can see that ‘Education’ and ‘Experience’ are visually separate groups by way of ample white space between them. The white space also makes the groups of information more legible and readable. Adhering to the rules of proximity discussed by author Robin Williams, readers have a visual cue that ‘Education’ and ‘Experience’ are logically connected, as they share the same typeface and weight for their titles.3I chose to placed Education before Experience, as Newport’s experience in the field of mechanical engineering is brief. Within the Education group, I drew attention to Newport’s minor studies – ‘Technical Writing’, ‘Mathematics’, and ‘Business and Management’ by emphasizing the word, ‘Minors’ within the group. Likewise, I emphasized Newport’s ‘Advanced Engineering Courses’ heading to highlight the courses he completed in this area. Note: I assumed most of the companies viewing or receiving this resume would be American companies, so I chose a paper size of 8.5” x 11”, set to portrait orientation.



  • Created: July 3, 2018
  • Last update: February 23, 2019
  • Tools Used: Microsoft Word 2010
  • Keywords: Resume, Document Design