Swipe File

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It’s easy to spot where the first, “boring” resume goes wrong (it’s just a list, with very little organization), but many of the resumes in the “inspirational” article are potentially flawed as well. These resumes are primarily aimed at jobs in the design industry, where unconventional choices might impress employers. However, look at how these resumes might make some of the most important information (contact info, education, work experience) hard to find.

The first resume in the “Awesome” article is a perfect example. The charts are very interesting, but they make it difficult to get a precise sense of what skills and experiences the author might have. If you are hiring this person to design interesting charts, then this might impress you. If you are hiring someone to design more efficient sprinkler heads or write clear instructional material, it may not.

This is not to say that the resumes in the “Awesome” article are bad. Some are fairly straightforward and make important information easy to find. There may be ideas and elements in them you think work well, and you may want to borrow those for your own resume (I don’t recommend putting a headshot on your resume, though). The important thing is that you are making thoughtful decisions about how you want to present yourself and your professional experience.

Ideally, you’ll be able to find the design and organization that fits your skills and experiences, that strikes a balance between an under-designed, boring resume, and an over-designed, distracting resume. This assignment is designed to help you figure out what will work for your resume.

The Swipe File

In order to enhance your sense of what a well-organized, attractive resume can look like, I want the whole class to contribute to what’s called a “Swipe File.” This is a large collection of sample documents from which writers and designers borrow (or “swipe”).

Each student should add a reply at the bottom of this post listing at least 3 sample resumes they have found online (just copy and paste the web addresses where the are located). These can be resumes that you feel are strong in many ways, or just have one or two good points. You may even pick an “ugly” resume as an example of what not to do, but mainly try to find “good” examples. For each example, offer a brief two-three sentence description about what you like or dislike about the resume.

This Swipe File will be a resource for all students in the class to use to get ideas for their own resumes. Of course, you should not simply copy the entire design of one of the sample resumes, and you are free to ignore them entirely. If you are afraid that something you are borrowing might constitute plagiarism, just show me what you’re doing and I’ll let you know.

If you find more than three examples you think will be helpful to the class, you are welcome to link to as many as you like.


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