Using Canva to design your resume can be a really great idea as resumes are becoming more designed focused. There are just a couple of things I would warn you about before you dive in and start designing.

Links I mentioned in this episode:

39. Using Canva to design your resume – Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:00:29] Hello. Hello. It is Bec McFarland here helping you do better and be better in your career. Now, one of my favorite business tools is Canva, which is an online design software. I have been using Canva since I’ve first started my business, and it is one of the pieces of software that I have a paid plan for that I would [00:01:00] never ever give up because it is so, so incredibly useful.

[00:01:05] If you have not already used Canva, please feel free to head across to the show notes where you can pick up my affiliate link. It will give me an opportunity to earn a little bit of a kickback from Canva for the referral if you decide to sign up for one of their paid plans, but just noting as well that it will never cost you any more than what it usually would to support me through affiliate links. And also, I would never use an affiliate link or recommend something if I didn’t believe in it wholeheartedly.

[00:01:38] Today though, I didn’t want to talk about Canva in terms of a business sense. I actually wanted to talk about how you can use the Canvas software to create your next resume, and two things that you need to be very mindful of when you do this.

[00:01:55] So I find that Canva is such a wonderful tool and it [00:02:00] is really great to use for your resume, particularly as resumes are becoming more design focused. As we move into the future, you are able to use a little bit of design finesse on your resume to make your resume stand out from the crowd, and to also show off a little bit of your personality. I think it’s absolutely fantastic. I can tell you as someone who has sifted through hundreds and hundreds of applications at a time, the one that has got that little bit of design going on, is it is so much more exciting to look over, particularly when you’ve got a pile of just black and white.

[00:02:40] Canva is based in the cloud, which means that you can access your designs from absolutely anywhere and you really only need the free plan, unless of course you are a business owner, in which case, I would suggest that you definitely, definitely upgrade. You’ll love the extra features.

[00:02:59] Anyhow, in [00:03:00] Canberra, you can use their drag and drop technology to use shapes and different design elements to pull your resume together. And the great news is that they actually have a huge library of resume templates already available to get you started, particularly if you don’t have a lot of experience in design or you’re not really sure where to start.

[00:03:22] But here is where my first warning comes in. When I look through the resume templates on Canva, I find that most of them have a space for your photograph. Now, we’ve already spoken about that on the podcast, but just to reiterate, there is no reason for you to have. Your photo on your resume, unless you are applying for a role as like a model or an actor or something like that where you are making money directly off your looks. For the rest of us, what you look like has absolutely [00:04:00] no bearing on whether or not you can do a job or how well you can do the job. So we definitely wanna leave that off our resume. As I’ve said in the podcast episode, that was about putting your photograph on your resume, I know that in other countries it’s still quite popular, particularly in the US I think there is a lot of photographs on resumes, but here in Australia we are definitely not doing that.

[00:04:25] So the first thing that I would do, if you’re gonna use one of those Canva templates, is to get rid of the photos template off there, the photo frame focus on embellishing your design and creating a really clean, sharp design without that photograph section.

[00:04:45] The second tip that I will give you or warning perhaps, is to just make sure that when you are doing your design, that you do still keep it really clean and sharp, as I mentioned. I know that there are a lot of [00:05:00]templates there that are quite busy, and they’ve got lots of different design elements going on. This isn’t a design test. So although you have the capacity to include some design elements, and as I said, to show off a bit of your personality, you don’t want the design to actually take away from the content. So what I would say is stick to a colour scheme of one or two colours. Make sure that the fonts that you select are very easy to read. And if you are using a serif font you may choose to actually size up. We’ve spoken about that in one of the previous episodes as well. And just keep an eye on, you know, not using too many little bits and bobs on the design because we don’t want it to be distracting. Ultimately, your resume is there to sell you as the product, and we don’t want a potential employer to be turned off by a [00:06:00] design that is just too over the top.

[00:06:02] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at

[00:06:22] The third warning or tip that I’m gonna provide you with today is that a lot of the Canva templates that are out there are not necessarily set up to go through application tracking software. So a lot of companies these days are using computers to follow through and do the first shortlist. Now, this does not happen in Australia quite as much as what happens in some other countries.

[00:06:52] Here in Australia, a lot of recruiters and employers are still doing their recruitment and selection the old fashioned way, where [00:07:00]somebody is actually physically reading every resume. But there are employers and organizations that do use application tracking software. And what this means is that they Pull all of the text out of your document and then basically dump it into a text file that has no formatting.

[00:07:21] Now, specifically, the templates that you will have issues with are the ones that are mapped out in columns. So if you’ve got like a little column along one side and then you’ve kind of got the body of the resume in the middle, then you might find that once that is actually chewed up by an application tracking software, and then it’s spat out at the other end, it can actually look really, really messy, unappealing, and also be unreadable.

[00:07:50] Now there are quite a few different tools available on the internet that actually allow you to upload your resume and they will run it. Through an application tracking [00:08:00] software and spit it out and show you what the end result is. I would suggest to you that this is worth taking a look at if you are looking at one of those more complex multi columned designs, just to make sure that you are not completely wasting your time by submitting a resume that can’t be accessed on the other end.

[00:08:20] My final tip today is to just also keep in mind that some of the templates on Canva have been created as what we would call an infographic resume. Now I will do a whole episode on infographic resumes. I’ve got a fair bit to say about them, but I do find that a lot of the little elements that can often be used in an infographic resume aren’t really actually very useful.

[00:08:48] They are far from being objective and they don’t really tell much of a story. And what I’m talking about specifically are situations where you may label a skill and then give [00:09:00] yourself a number of stars out of five. So it might say communication four out of five stars, stakeholder engagement, five out of five stars. This kind of thing, putting it on your resume, absolute waste of time because what you think is four out of five stars could be vastly different to somebody else. There is no key or no measure. There is no standard interpretation of what that means. It might look cute on the resume, but it actually doesn’t mean anything. So if you do come across some Canva templates with that kind of design on them, I would be spending a little bit of time actually changing that around and giving a little bit of context to the skill that you have, rather than just popping in a certain number of stars. It’s just not helping anyone.

[00:09:49] Anyway. As I said, I think Canva is an absolutely brilliant tool, and I’m excited about the fact that we have got something else that we can use these days to create resumes [00:10:00] other than boring old Microsoft Word. If you give Canva a try, please let me know. I would love to hear how you find it. As I mentioned, my affiliate link will be in the show notes for you, and I thank you for your support. I look forward to hearing back on what you think about this new way of preparing your resume. I’ll see you next time.

[00:10:23] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you wanna continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.


About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.