I'm asked to submit resume in HTML format. As I'm applying for web-designer position, I believe adding embedded CSS would be more effective.

What factors do I need to take into account considering adding custom effects/formatting to a resume to showcase designer skills?

  • 1
    Depending on what the company uses to screen their applications within HR, it should be noted that some systems do general screening of textual results like a word processor. If your skills, or anything textual is included in template formats to which your random Microsoft Word program wouldn't be able to read then you may be overlooked for candidacy as you aren't going to pass the screening process. Just some advice.
    – SQLSavant
    Nov 19, 2012 at 17:13

4 Answers 4


You have to understand how the résumé items work.

  • Skills Section - it's rather a bulleted or comma-separated list (usually, categorized) of every skill you have and every technology you are familiar with.
    • highlight the items that are relevant to a position you're applying to. Since embedded CSS is relevant to HTML development, yes, it should be listed here.
    • list should only contain those tools/technologies you are willing to use in the future. If you are not willing to use the technology, don't list it.
  • Projects Section - here you specify recent projects you participated with. Of course, if it was your responsibility to develop CSS, list it here, too;

As per using a certain technology (embedded CSS) when writing a résumé, the same rules apply:

  • Do it if you can master it. It will be a good asset, and may give you a certain reputation;
  • Don't do it if you aren't familiar with it.

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind you have to be able to verbally expand how you used the technology in prior projects. You will probably be asked technical questions to check your level. If you haven't used it or you don't feel comfortable about it, don't put it there. Study it first or you may be putting yourself in a bad situation during the interview.


Using CSS to improve the formatting and make the resume more readable would probably be effective at demonstrating a subset of your skills on a small scale. If, however, you went over the top with too much formatting or other bling, the presentation could become distracting from the actual content. You want to showcase your skills and abilities, with a tastefully chosen subset of your abilities that are relevant to the presentation of the document.

Keep in mind, your interviewer(s) could also choose to look at your source-code, given the nature of the position you are applying for, so you would want to demonstrate the sort of clean-well-formatted code you would be producing for them should they hire you. You might even want to add some embedded comments in your source-code, if appropriate, explaining design decisions you made, etc. For example, you might explain why you chose to put your styles in a style block in the header of the page, rather than in a separate file vs attached to html entities with a style attribute. Obviously, the choice you would make for a file that might be passed around as an email attachment or possibly even read offline, might be different than what you would choose for a live-website. Having everything in one file, so when a less computer-savvy team member reads the resume and double clicks the attachment rather than saving all attachments and then opening the html file, you don't risk the formatting being missing.

But all in all, don't lose sight of the fact that the purpose of this document is a resume, having well-written content selling your skills and past experience, all things that you feel confident discussing on your interviews may be even more important than the specific formatting you chose to use.


How are you being asked? If online through a form, I would make a subjective evaluation of the website and try to determine whether it is likely to respond appropriately or simply be converted to plain text somewhere and become a mess.

Also consider whether or not you feel this would actually add value to your resume - is this the type of web design you really want to show?

If you have contacts there I would send an email similar to, "Hello, my html resume contains embedded CSS when submitted in this format - will this be a problem with your automatic system?" Make it clear you do not normally embed CSS in everything you create...

  • 1
    Good point. It is dependent on their automatic system. I should consult my friend there, to know what exactly will happen and decide accordingly. Thank you1
    – kern
    Oct 14, 2012 at 15:08

A good web designer will always try and place their styles in an external spreadsheet.
Having them inline is poor design.
As you are applying for a web design position this would be even more important.

  • 6
    "Having them inline is poor design." - Unless you are anticipating that the person reviewing the resume will be reading it offline, in which case an external stylesheet will be useless and leave your resume flat (unless you can be sure that the stylesheet you give them will follow the HTML file everywhere).
    – alroc
    Oct 15, 2012 at 0:17

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