Your resume is the “face” you present to potential employers — and it makes or breaks your chances of getting noticed. Resume icons are just one way to make your resume stand out from the other applicants and organize it in a way that makes sense.
The average recruiter spends 3.14 minutes reading a resume and makes up their mind within 60 seconds. You have one minute to make an impression on the job recruiter. Mistakes or poor grammar knock you out of the running for almost any job, but elements such as resume icons aren’t something you typically think about.
Adding resume icons to your resume requires thinking through the best placement and finding ones that match the overall tone of the job you’re applying for. It’s okay to customize each resume to the specific role. Here are some top free resume icons to match nearly any tone:
Out of the resume icons available, arrows give your resume a bit of definition. It draws the reader’s eye toward the main points you’d like to highlight. An arrow like the one in the screenshot above moves the recruiter from your intro into the body of your resume. Even though the person knows intuitively they should read from left to right and top to bottom, the arrow speeds up the process and keeps the viewer engaged.
The arrow icon shown above is free with credit given to the artist — or you can also sign up for a premium download package for $7.50 per month and not have to add attribution. The site has both free and premium icons, so you can also find one that’s not in the premium category. Choose from hundreds of arrow icons.
Adding “contact me” icons to your resume pinpoints where items such as your phone number are. A phone icon draws attention to your phone number, encouraging hiring managers to get in touch.
In the phone icon set above, you can also add a splash of color to your resume. Some people prefer to stick with black and white icons to maintain a sleek professional look, but a subtle splash of color makes your resume stand out. Think about the personality of the business to which you’re applying and decide whether color might be a welcome addition.
Resume icons let you show off your personality. The cute email icons above are hand-drawn, adding a touch of whimsy. They’d work perfectly for a creative resume, such as a marketing professional or a designer.
Adding a small envelope signals that the person can mail you at the address shown. This also provides employers with another means of contacting you if they have questions or want to schedule an interview.
Keep in mind that the email you use for job contacts should be separate from your personal email. Make it professional. JimmyEatsCorn@freeserver.com isn’t nearly as professional as JamesSmith@freeserver.com. Little details make a difference in whether the employer takes the next step with you or not.
Adding numbers points employers to your most important information. Numbers work particularly well as resume icons in a page laid out in boxes rather than horizontal areas.
You might place your name and contact info on the left under the number one and your work experience on the right under number two. The icons above, geo numbers, work particularly well for this type of layout because they have a sleek, geometric look.
5. Social Media Icons
Trying to land a job at a hip tech startup? Show them you understand the importance of social media and understand an online environment by including your handles on social media.
One idea is to use social media icons like the ones above and place them in a sidebar to the left of your resume. List your handle under each icon. So, it would look like this:
- Instagram Icon
- Twitter Icon
Keep it simple, but show your versatility and additional ways the company can reach out to you and learn more about you.
While hobbies don’t always fit on a resume, if you have hobbies that enhance your career and make you more valuable as an employee, you should include them. One way to do this is by adding a hobby section at the bottom of your resume and showing your hobbies with icons.
Stick to one type of icon rather than mixing and matching different looks to keep the overall aesthetic of your resume uniform. You can also add text under the icon and make it clear what your hobbies are.
Check out the travel icons pictured above. You could use the camper icon if you like to travel and camp out and are applying for a job with travel, or the camera icon if you’re adept at landscape photography. On the other hand, the bikini icon or cocktail icon isn’t appropriate for a job application. Smashing Magazine also has icons for interests in space, business and general topics.
A diamond icon adds an elegant touch and separates sections of your resume without the need for bulky lines. The simple shape outlined above works with just about any layout and doesn’t distract from the critical information on the page.
Add a diamond in just a few key places or three across to show that you’re moving on to a new topic. Resize the diamond, so it fits in the allotted space.
8. Graduation Cap
Set off your education section with a graduation cap signifying the shift in focus. You could also place a cap next to programs that came with a degree. For example, you might have several types of information in your education section, including a bachelor’s degree from a university and a certification from business training.
Using Icons on Your Resume
Icons offer a unique look for your resume that shows you understand basic elements of design. Use them sparingly to set off important information and make sure the overall look meshes well, especially if you use different icon sets on the same resume.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.