Have you ever come across resume icons on example resumes and wondered if you should use them?

A lot of candidates go through this dilemma. But first, let us understand resume icons.

What are resume icons?

Resume icons are small graphical representations to make your resume visually appealing. They add personality to your resume and make your resume stand out.
Although some recruiters believe that resume icons are not required, many candidates in the creative fields use them.

A few questions pop up if we should use them or not. And if we do, then how? Read our guide to know everything about using resume icons.

Should You Use Resume Icons?

A resume is a page-long document that explains your employment & academic history, interests & hobbies, and career goals to the recruiter.

A resume icon is like a design element. Just like any other type of design element, the usage of resume icons depends on how and where you place them on the resume.

A significant reason why many applicants might avoid using resume icons is parsing through the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Many companies use the ATS to filter resumes. The ATS converts the resume into a plain text file for a quick and easy-to-read experience for the hiring manager.

Visual elements such as resume icons are difficult for the ATS to read. The placement of resume icons might break the formatting of the resume, making it difficult to read or causing parsing errors.

Additionally, certain job positions, such as banking and finance, go by the traditional approach of not using resume icons. They can also shift the attention away from important content.

So, should you use resume icons?

Although parsing errors do not lead to a rejection, resume icons might not help present your best case when parsed through an ATS. At the most, it could fetch brownie points for efforts if the resume is viewed in the original format.

But when applying to creative fields such as the role of a graphic designer or art director, resume icons surely help. Resume icons are a great way to add some personality to an otherwise plain document.

More than that, resume icons help save space. You can fill in important information in that space. Also, you can showcase your creative skills by developing resume icons of your own.

Also Read: How to write a flawless resume in 2022?

When to Use Resume Icons?

If you are from a creative field such as writing, designing, etc, then you can use resume icons. But if you hail from traditional backgrounds such as engineering or law, then it is best to skip resume icons.

A resume icon is also best used when you know that the resume would not be parsed through the ATS. Say, if you share the resume with the hiring manager directly or email it.

It is best to not use a resume loaded with resume icons when uploading it on a company’s portal.

Furthermore, resume icons differ from plain text. They naturally draw the attention of the reader. Hence, a minimalistic approach is the best when using resume icons on your resume.

Types of Resume Icons

Going by the minimalistic approach, you can not simply toss arbitrary symbols onto the resume. Loading the resume with icons would not make it visually engaging.

It is best to use the resume icons with a reasoned approach, thinking about which sections of the resume would benefit the most.

The basic resume icons that you can use are:

Contact Information Icons

The contact information section contains details such as a phone icon for resume, email address, website, or portfolio link. These can be easily replaced with resume icons. For instance, you can add an email icon to your email address.

Social Media Icons for Resume

You can include social media icons such as the LinkedIn icon for resume. Social media icons are recognizable and illustrate the information in a fun way.

Section Header Icons

The section headers such as the employment history and education section can be represented using resume icons. For instance, a graduation cap would signify the candidate's academic history or a trophy for awards and accolades received.

List icons

You can draw attention to the items in a list by using bullet resume icons. This would make the resume look more presentable.

Where to Find Resume Icons?

Many websites and tools provide free resume icons. We have listed them below. Alternatively, you can choose to make your resume icons to showcase your skills.

  • Visme: They have a variety of icons and graphics for non-designers. You can choose from several styles- isometric, outline, flat, etc.
  • Icons8: This is a great website if you wish to choose from various options. It showcases 33 different styles of resume icons to include in your resume.
  • Adobe Illustrator: Illustrator is a paid software to showcase your design skills to the recruiter. You can build your resume icons from scratch.
  • Inkscape: Inkscape is free software that enables you to build resume icons and vector graphics. Vector graphics are images created using 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional geometric shapes.
  • Reshot: This is free software where you can design icons and illustrations. The website supports instant downloads and numerous formats for downloading.

Also Read: What do’s and dont’s to follow while writing an impeccable resume?

Tips for Using Resume Icons

Now that we know when and how to use the resume icons, let’s learn some quick tips to not overdo using them.

Keep it Simple

The resume icons need not be fancy. Simple resume icons, such as monochrome telephone, email, or social media icons, will do the job. Also, you don’t want the resume icons to take up a lot of space. This defeats the purpose of using resume icons in the first place.

Find the Right Style to Go With the Job

Consider the industry and job that you're applying for when adding resume icons. For instance, when applying for a director-level position, using fewer symbols would do the job. The resume would look great if you just use resume icons in the contact information section.

If you are applying for an entry-level graphic designer position, use resume icons for contact information, section headers, etc. Resume icons designed by you would get you brownie points.

Pick Clear Icons

Choose icons that are clear and easily recognizable. This does not apply to the social media icons and logos that you might include.

For instance, you could use a filled circle or a square to depict a pointer in a bullet list, but using an inverted comma would not make sense to the reader. So, analyze if the icon would convey the information you wished for.

Key Takeaways

Resume icons enhance the visual appeal of the professional document if used in the right way. Remember to:

  • Use resume icons when the resume would not parse through ATS.
  • Consider the industry(if it is traditional) and role(entry, mid, or senior level role) when using resume icons.
  • Do not load the resume with many resume icons and use them to draw attention to the most important sections.
  • Choose easily recognizable resume icons.
  • Use free tools or websites for resume icons or design your own.

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