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Written by Anna MuckermanAnna Muckerman

Resume icons: when and how to use them

6 min read
Resume icons: when and how to use them
Artwork by:Nelly Borisova
A few years ago, resume icons became all the rage. Why simply write out your phone number when you could also illustrate it with a cute little telephone symbol?

Today, icons are the hallmark of personality-filled resumes where “Proficient in CMS” and “Expert guacamole chef” might appear alongside each other in the skills section.

But does this mean you should actually use them on your resume? And if you choose to, where should you place them? 

This blog aims to dive into the nuances of when and how to find resume icons and place them on your resume. Here’s what we’ll look at:

  • Should you use resume icons and where to place them
  • Free resume icons as vectors or png
  • Contact icons for resume
  • Modern resume icons to make your application stand out

Should you use icons in resume

Whether or not you should use icons on your resume depends on a few factors including the field you work in, the employer you are applying to and the overall style and tone of your resume. For example, a web developer with a colorful resume might benefit from some icons to make their contact information stand out, whereas a doctor applying to a prestigious medical institution should keep their layout icon-free.

PROS: CONS:
  • Can add a friendly and creative touch to an otherwise plain resume
  • Can call attention to your contact number
  • Can help you appear more modern and tech-savvy
  • Can come across as silly or playful when used inappropriately
  • May not load correctly when saved as a Word document
  • Can take away space to write about your skills or experiences

Where to place icons in resume

There are a few key places where you may consider adding icons to your resume:

1. Next to the contact information in your header

This is by far the most popular place for resume icons. Contact icons like a telephone or letter symbol can help draw attention to your phone number and email. If you’d like to add icons to your resume but are worried about going overboard, adding them to the header can be the subtle touch you’re looking for.

2. To illustrate section headings like “Employment History” or “ Education

If you’d like to use icons throughout the resume, then placing them next to the section headings is a good idea. These symbols can add a more modern feel and help draw the hiring manager’s attention down the page. They also give you a chance to add a touch of color further down on your resume.

3. Next to each individual skill

Adding an icon next to each skill in your “ Skills ” section is the boldest approach of these three options. If you’re sure the company will appreciate a touch of personality, then you can add more specific icons that illustrate each ability – like a pencil next to “Drafting” or a muffin if you’re a weekend pastry chef .

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Resume icons vector or png

Resume icons vector refers to vector graphics which can be stretched or shrunk as much as you’d like without sacrificing quality. PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. PNGs are useful for resume icons because they come with transparent backgrounds which means you won’t have to worry about them cutting into the text on your resume. 

Both vector icons or PNG files are preferable to JPGs which are often difficult to manipulate inside of word processors or graphic design software. JPGs also tend to show loss of quality when stretched or shrunk.

Where to get resume icons for word

Here are a few different places to get phone and email icons for your Word resume:

Freepik: Simple phone and email icons that are ready to be downloaded and placed into your resume in just a few steps.

Icons8: A huge library of colorful and monochromatic free icons that can be used on Word resumes.

Resume.io : No need to download individual icons for your resume – simply choose a template like Stockholm or New York where attractive symbols are already built into the page layout then download your resume as a Word doc or PDF.

Key takeaways:

  1. Resume icons can be a fun and creative touch but should be used only when appropriate for your field and desired position.
  2. Phone and email icons for your resume are the safest option and can allow for a bit of personality without going overboard.
  3. There are plenty of places to download free vector icons, or you can simplify things by choosing a resume template where they are already built in.
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Use professional field-tested resume templates that follow the exact ‘resume rules’ employers look for.
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