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I have recently graduated my bachelor in IT Engineering. Now I'm looking for jobs primarily in mobile development.

So far I've been sending applications (CV and Cover Letter) to online advertised positions, either through some web form or by sending them an email. I've been creating my CV in Microsoft Word and converting it to PDF when I'm done. Same with the cover letter.

Lately I've been thinking to re-create my CV in Sketch, because I believe I have larger formatting freedom in Sketch. Also, I've used Sketch to design mobile applications and I would put it on my CV as a skill. Then if an interviewer asks me about my experience with Sketch, I could give the CV as an example that he can check right away. Of course, after I finish making the CV, I would convert it to PDF, as I believe every company wants to receive CVs in PDF.

I'm thinking to create one such as this one.

Now I'm asking myself if companies still print applicant CVs nowadays.(I never sent a physical copy) I'm asking about this because if most of the companies are printing them, then I shouldn't use many icons, colours or stuff like that. (if printed, then black and white most probably)

The companies I mostly apply to are small companies or start-ups.

I'm located in Denmark (pretty eco-friendly).

Why do I care? I believe it's important to have a nice CV layout, easily readable. When companies go through CVs they spend like 15 seconds per CV, so that's my shot to make them put my CV in the 'not for trash' pile.

Any advice?

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    You should have a look at this: Is having a resume with color/design ok if you are not a designer? – Lilienthal Sep 20 '15 at 20:26
  • yes, people still print out CV's, content is more important that colour I would think. If you use lots of colour, use high contrasting ones so they're legible in black and white. There is an answer advocating keeping it as a word document, I wouldn't advise following that advice. PDF has many advantages. – Kilisi Sep 20 '15 at 21:43
  • Your resume should stand out for its content, not its color. Spend your time trimming pomp to maximize whitespace. Nothing sets off content like a good margin. – bishop Sep 20 '15 at 23:02
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    It's usually a good design guideline to design the colour so that it still looks good black-and-white. For example, some people are partially colour blind, some people's display colours look slightly different, no colour printer, etc. – Brandin Sep 21 '15 at 7:35
  • A nice, limited colour scheme can reduce to greyscale / dithered B&W very cleanly. The default LaTeX modernCV is a simple example that ues a little colour to good effect while printing nicely on B&W printers. You could easily add a lighter blue to the image I've linked as well. (I don't think much of the example's use of small caps though) – Chris H Sep 21 '15 at 10:48
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If I invite people to an interview I will definitely print all their documents so I have them with me when I'm in the interview.

If you think color helps you get into the interview stage, by all means use color. Once they do invite you, no company will ask for the price of a colored copy over a black and white copy.

  • For creative positions I always give +1 to creative, even clever, resumes. This shows right up front how creative you are. I should note that I do not consider myself very creative and lack the skills to produce a slick clever resume, so maybe I give more points to that kind of stuff than others might. – Bill Leeper Sep 21 '15 at 14:55
  • last few people to interview me had tablets with them with the documents on them. It's another option for the tech savvy company. – jwenting Sep 23 '15 at 8:26
  • @jwenting I found it easier to make notes before, during and after the interview on real paper with a pen. But maybe those who really use that technology every day are just as fast with it as ordinary people with a pen. I haven't seen one up to now though :) – nvoigt Sep 23 '15 at 8:50
  • same here. Though I type faster than I write on a real keyboard, using an onscreen keyboard I'm significantly slower. – jwenting Sep 23 '15 at 10:50
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My experience is in the US, not in Denmark.

The companies I've worked for, both large and small, have generally sent resumes around via email. However, the majority of interviewers print their own copies before the interview, so we can easily take notes on it during the interview. We print in whatever way is convenient and normal for us, which is probably black and white.

If your resume uses colors those will be visible on-screen, but do make sure that when printed in black and white they don't become illegible. Also, give some thought to accessibility; for a while I used a reverse-video scheme for medical reasons and some documents were completely illegible to me because people hard-coded text colors that only worked on a white background. If the positions you're applying for involve graphic design then people will be more forgiving if you use color, but if I received a resume that I couldn't read because of what I thought was gratuitous design decisions (colors or fonts), I'd send that one to the bottom of my pile.

As for the filters before the resume gets to the interviewers, if you filled out a web form then the chances are very good that the HR person is working through a digital system (accessing those form submissions). In that case he may never read your PDF resume at all. If you didn't apply through a web form but sent a resume directly, some people will print and some won't. If there are a lot of resumes coming in at once (for example, college-recruiting season), people are more likely to print them out so they can sort into physical piles for the first triage.

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    I'd assume that if the job involves graphic design, people may be less forgiving for not giving a thought to accessibility... – S. Kolassa - Reinstate Monica Sep 20 '15 at 19:08
  • @StephanKolassa that's true (if they notice -- too much design seems to get done only in the default environment). I actually meant that people would be more forgiving of using color, not of breaking accessibility -- I've tweaked the answer to clarify that, but your point still stands. – Monica Cellio Sep 20 '15 at 19:31
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Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Manager Tools at all. I follow their advice and coach others on the use of their advice because I have seen how well it works. I am in no way paid or compensated in any manner by Manager Tools.


I follow the Manager-Tools.com resume advice. While they are based on the US, Manager Tools consults and uses the same advice around the world. They have found that at this level, one standard has been working well. They have impressive credentials with hundreds of thousands people coached and ten years of award winning business podcasts. To learn more yourself go to their website and find their podcast "Your Resume Stinks" or just buy their resume workbook (totally worth the $$).

In short-

No color: You don't know how their screen will display, if they are color blind, if their printer can handle color, etc.

No icons, graphics, pictures: Just the text. Use your LinkedIn if you want to get a little fancy.

Date First: Put your dates of employment (Month, Year) first for all jobs. The human mind likes to go in order and computer resume readers get messed up with any other format.

Keep it in Word: Resume readers don't handle PDF as well as word.

Always bring printed copies: When you go in for an interview. Bring copies you printed out.

I can't stress how much the Manager Tools resume guidance works. My last job I got solely on the power of my resume on a job site, they contacted me. During my most recent job search I only sent out three resumes "blind" (that is I din't know someone in the company). Of those three I got two interviews and two job offers. The MT resume format works and I have been coaching people successfully to use this format for several years.

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    "Keep it in Word" sounds very dubious to me. I'd never send anything but pdf. You can't know if they are using Microsoft Word. LibreOffice and the like or even an older version of Word may display your resume incorrectly. PDF makes sure it will look exactly the same for them. – helm Sep 20 '15 at 17:04
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    Word displays a little differently across versions and across platforms (to say nothing of other products like Open Office or Pages). I've seen too many Word resumes with screwed-up formatting, one-line spillover onto another page, etc to consider it a valid transport format. I can't remember the last time I encountered somebody who couldn't view a PDF. But all that is beside the point -- the question didn't ask about dates, tools, or services. It asked about printing resumes. Finally, are you affiliated with Manager Tools? It sounds like you are, in which case you must disclose. Thanks. – Monica Cellio Sep 20 '15 at 19:35
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    The only reason to send a CV as Word file is if they explicitly asked for it. And even then, it's quite likely that they just ask for Word because they don't know better - and not because they can't view pdfs. – kapex Sep 20 '15 at 20:14
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    "Keep it in Word" is mind blowing. If you don't know why it should be sent as a PDF, you and the company that is receiving the CV really have no business owning a single computer. Apart from that, how would I "keep" it in Word if I did not write it in Word in the first place? A CV really is not something you need a full blown office suite for. Even WordPad (comes free with Windows) will be able to produce something worthwhile. – nvoigt Sep 20 '15 at 21:08
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    CVs aren't meant to be edited by the recipient and are supposed to always render the same way. I have no idea where Word files would be the standard; they are objectively the wrong format. – Marcks Thomas Sep 20 '15 at 23:48

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