Is Canva a good tool for creating and designing your resume? Here's what to consider.
Everyone wants their resume to look nice, but unfortunately we're not all graphic designers. That's why a lot of people will try to find a “hack” to create a more visually appealing resume to help them stand out from the crowd.
One of these hacks is Canva, a popular design tool. It's free, easy-to-use, and allows you to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, and, yes, resumes without any graphic design know-how.
It has dozens — if not hundreds — of resume templates you can choose from, with categories including modern, infographic, minimalist, corporate, photo, and even acting resumes. All you have to do is drag and drop your text into the template. You can even upload your own images before downloading or printing your resume.
Sounds easy, right? Sure — but is Canva good for resumes? Let's break it down.
Are Canva resumes good?
Using Canva to design your resume sounds smart; it's free, easy to use, and the templates look pretty sharp. However, using Canva to create your resume may not be as effective for your job search. Here are some of the biggest downsides to the design tool.
Canva resumes do not pass applicant tracking systems
When you apply for a job, there's a good chance a human won't be the first to see your resume. Many companies employ applicant tracking systems (ATS), or “resume bots” to collect, sort, scan, and rank resumes based on certain programmed elements.
There are several strategies you can use to beat the resume bots, and a lot of these strategies focus on the design of your resume. For instance, with resume bots, it's important to use a clean resume design. This means no complex designs or unusual formats; applicant tracking systems have a difficult time reading these.
It's also important to avoid using any images or charts. These often become a garbled mess in the ATS.
Although Canva offers interesting and unique designs, these aren't designs that are likely to pass through the ATS because they're riddled with headshots, icons, various fonts, and other graphic elements.
As a rule of thumb, less is more, so stick to simple resume fonts, straightforward bullet points, and an overall minimalist look. There's no need to include a headshot, infographics, or cute little icons.
Your goal is to get past these applicant tracking systems and into the hands of recruiters and hiring managers. Even the humans reading your resume are more concerned with your skills and experiences — not the design of your resume.
Canva resumes are only one page
It used to be frowned upon to have a resume longer than one page — even if you had 20 years of experience under your belt — but times have changed.
Now, recruiters, hiring managers, and HR pros don't mind a resume that's more than one page. In fact, a study from ResumeGo found that recruiters are 2.3 times more likely to prefer a two-page resume over a one-page resume, regardless of an applicant's job level.
Why? Young professionals today tend to have a lot more valuable experiences, even when they're fresh out of school, like internships, co-ops, freelance work, study abroad experiences, etc. This isn't just fluff — these are experiences recruiters are interested in seeing from recent grads and entry-level job candidates.
When you check out the resume templates on Canva, you'll notice a common trend: They're almost all built for one page. Not only that, they're difficult to edit into two pages. Sure, you can duplicate the first page of the resume, but that duplicates every section on the first page, which isn't necessary.
If you want to use a Canva template for the first page of your resume, you'll have to tap into your inner graphic design skills to figure out how to format the second page in a way that's congruent with the first (Spoiler: It's going to be difficult with the way Canva has these set up).
Canva resumes leave out valuable information
When you're perusing Canva resume templates, you'll probably find quite a few designs that look clean and sharp. The design pros certainly know how to create a simple template and utilize white space. However, upon further inspection, you'll notice there's not a whole lot of room to list your experiences. Plus, you'll find there are quite a few missing sections.
For instance, the “gray and black professional resume” looks nice. But upon closer inspection, you'll notice there's very little room to list your job experiences — just a corner of the page. Additionally, you'll notice valuable real estate dedicated to character references, which you should not list on your resume at all.
There's also a chunk of space on a resume reserved for contact information. While this information is important, you can oftentimes condense it and include it in one line at the top of your resume, under your name.
You'll also find important sections missing from some of these templates, including a key skills section, achievements and awards, and career summary.
In general, these templates look minimalist and airy — which is great — but they also don't leave you much space to showcase your experience and qualifications, which is essential when you're building your resume. Instead, use this ultimate resume guide to determine which sections you need to include in your resume.
Should ever I use a creative resume?
OK, so is it time to just write off Canva resume templates? Generally, yes. In reality, they're just not right for most people. They won't pass applicant-tracking systems, they'll constrict you to one page, and they don't allow you to show off all your qualifications, skills, achievements, and experiences in an effective way that'll land you the job.
Many times, a creative resume design will work against you. If you do want to show off your design, photo, or other creative skills, consider building an online website or portfolio where you can show off your skills to your heart's desire.
We know it's tempting to use a Canva resume because they are free, quick, and easy, but they may be harming your job search more than they are helping it. You're better off working with a professional resume writer who knows the ins and outs of resume design. They'll ensure your resume passes applicant tracking systems and overall are formatted for your success.
Not thrilled with your resume's format and design? Let a professional resume writer clean it up.