Is a Minimalist Resume Right for You?

Brandi Glass
5 min read
Minimalist resumes are popular among recruiters, but are they the best choice for you? Let’s break down the pros and cons, as well as some design tips.

A minimalist resume, with its sleek and modern design, is a popular choice among recruiters and job-seekers alike. It has plenty in its favor: it’s easy to read, draws attention to your best features and is also relatively simple to create. That said, it can have its pitfalls.

So, is a minimalist resume the best option for you? Keep reading to find out. We’ll explore what a minimalist resume is, its pros and cons and how to build out a minimalist resume template.

What is a Minimalist Resume?

Minimalism is all about cutting out anything that doesn’t add value, and that extends to minimalist resumes.

A minimalist resume is a concise resume with a clean, modern design. It typically fits onto one A4 page without looking cramped. The goal is to only present the most relevant information so that recruiters can get an at-a-glance understanding of who you are.

To squeeze all the important information into one page without looking cluttered, most minimalist resumes use a clear structure with headings and plenty of bullet points.

They might also use graphics, such as a number of stars next to different technical skills. Graphics can backfire, though. They’re not always machine-readable and can fail to give a clear understanding of your proficiency levels. Although they might look attractive, use them with caution.

Minimalist vs Functional, Chronological and Hybrid Resumes

Functional, chronological, hybrid, minimalist: there are numerous resume styles to choose from. You might wonder how to know which is really the best style for you.

The good news is that a minimalist resume design is actually compatible with most other resume styles. That’s because it’s focused on conciseness, while the others represent different approaches to the structure.

A chronological resume, or a traditional one, focuses on your professional experience. It details your work history, starting with your most recent position. It doesn’t have to list every position you’ve ever held, but it should include all the ones that are relevant to the position as well as from the last five years.

A functional resume, on the other hand, lists your skills instead of your past positions. While it might mention specific roles, it does so in the bullet points elaborating on each skill.

A hybrid resume, meanwhile, starts with your skills and then moves on to your career history. It’s the most popular resume type because it emphasizes your past achievements and capabilities, while also giving a clear overview of your professional experience.

The only difference between a minimalist resume and other resume types is that a minimalist resume does this in one page instead of two. You can have a minimalist hybrid resume or a minimalist chronological one. You just need to ruthlessly cut unnecessary information.

Pros and Cons of a Minimalist Resume

They say that less is more, but is that really true?

Recruiters spend on average just 7.4 seconds looking at a resume. While they might pause to read an impressive resume in more depth, others will be discarded after just a couple of seconds.

From that perspective, a minimalist resume makes sense: if you include less information, a recruiter will be able to read and process more of it. You don’t want the recruiter to waste those 7.4 seconds reading about your hobbies or previous job responsibilities that are unrelated to the role you’re applying for. Instead, by the time they put down your resume, you want them to have a strong idea of who you are and why you’re a good fit for the role.

However, there are some potential pitfalls with minimalist resumes. Some people might cut too much and fail to demonstrate to the recruiter why they’re a good fit for the role. Some might even cut so much that their resumes are automatically discarded by the applicant tracking system — software that filters out any applications that lack the required skills and experience for the job.

When applying for a role, it’s important to review your resume alongside the job listing. Is your suitability for the position clearly demonstrated? Did you include all the key skills mentioned? Have you left out anything important?

A minimalist resume can be an excellent choice. However, if fitting all your must-include information onto one page proves impossible, it’s not the right resume style for you.

Minimalist Resume Design Tips

Poor design is one of the most common reasons why a minimalist resume might fail to impress. Make sure you follow these tips:

Keep the layout simple

Clean layouts, lots of white space and bullet points increase the chances of a recruiter spending longer on your resume (and yes, that’s been scientifically proven). Columns, however, have been shown to reduce recruiters’ level of engagement.

Some applicants try to get around the one-page minimalist resume limit by cramming as much information as is physically possible onto the page. They reduce the font and margin sizes, create multiple columns and even use gimmicks like QR codes that link out to the “extended version” of the resume.

Unfortunately, these resumes are neither minimalist nor easy to read. Don’t fall into this trap.

Use essential headings (and cut the rest)

Headings make resumes far easier to read, especially if a recruiter is scanning the document to find the important information. Make sure to include the most important ones: professional summary, skills, work history and education.

Some popular headings, however, aren’t needed. Take “hobbies” or “references”: these will just use up precious space that could be better dedicated to demonstrating your skills.

Not sure which headings to include? Take a look at our blog post explaining which headings are useful and which aren’t.

Make sure the resume looks good in black and white

It can be tempting to use colors to help structure your resume. For example, some people like to have headings in a different color instead of a different font size or format.

However, if you make it through to the interview stage, recruiters will often print out your resume to review. Should they print it in black and white or grayscale, those headings will become indistinguishable.

Before submitting a resume, do a test print in black and white. Is it still visually attractive and clearly structured?

Minimalist Resume Templates that will Fast-Track Your Resume Writing

No matter what style you opt for, your resume should highlight your best features so you can make a positive first impression on recruiters and interviewers.

Here at Rocket Resume, we have millions of professional resume templates that will help you get started. They’re easy to customize, and our resume builder will guide you through choosing the best structure and layout based on your experience and qualifications. Plus, it will then suggest recruiter-approved phrasing based on the role you’re applying for.

They’re also all machine-readable, so you can beat the applicant tracking system and increase your chances of being invited to an interview.

It takes just 10 minutes to build your resume, so get started now.