I have been creating my CV with Photoshop for several years now. I've heard and seen it myself, that this is not the right tool at all to design a résumé.

I never used the other tools from the Adobe suite, but I'm thinking of InDesign, Illustrator, Fireworks. From previous experience, I have identified these requirements, I need:

  • to define a structure/skeleton from the beginning;
  • to draw squares, rectangles, shadings just like on Photoshop;
  • to easily use percentages to divide my document;
  • to move one part of the document and to see the other one follow. For example, I move down the header, so all the rest below will move down as well;
  • to manage text alignments easily;
  • to use lists;
  • to perfectly align blocks;
  • to output a very light PDF file.

Which software will best satisfy the needs I have listed above?

Which software would you recommend to me for creating a curriculum vitae?

  • You know Word or OpenOffice Writer can do most of what you said with a lot less headaches and temptation to add unnecessary stuff.
    – Ryan
    Jan 31, 2014 at 15:18
  • I guess not. A resume can be sober and clear, but still different. Tools like Word are not really adapted (even if they could) to specific structure creation and layouts. Additionally, I use to add a very soft grey to white shading in the background, which would not be possible using word processing tools. Jan 31, 2014 at 16:23
  • Everything you just said is possible using word processing tools. Use shapes and adjust the word wrap for gradients. For structure use tables and turn off the border/edge.
    – Ryan
    Jan 31, 2014 at 16:38
  • 2
    @Ryan possible, probably. Easy? hell no. the Adobe suite is designed for layout. Word is a word processing tool with some layout tools available. Not the same thing. Jan 31, 2014 at 17:20

4 Answers 4


InDesign gets my vote. It does all the tasks you're describing, and is meant for layout.

However, as a general note, do NOT over-design your résumé. Even if you're a designer applying for a design job, please, make your CV clean and straightforward.

If I'm reading through 100 résumés in a week (which I've done), I am really, really not interested in bells and whistles. Put your pretty projects in your online portfolio and impress me there. Don't make it hard for me to pick out your skills, or I will toss the résumé and move on to the next one from the inch-thick stack in front of me.

Related: Is a graphical/original resume a good idea for a designer?


Sounds like Illustrator/InDesign combo would give you the most "bang"... though perhaps a combination of Photoshop and illustrator for all of the design elements, and then use InDesign to layout the text boxes and headers as you need.

I'm not entirely certain n percentages, but the rest of your list look like either an InDesign or illustrator task.

Photoshop is great for design, but bad for text as it creates raster and anti-aliased edges. The vector programming of Illustrator and InDesign will keep your edges crisp and more legible.

Since the software title is a page layout title, I think our final steps should be completed within InDesign... how you generate the content to get to that point is up to you...

To reduce the file size of the pdf you would need acrobat (not reader) and then save as... Reduced Sized pdf

Good Luck!


The Publishing View in Microsoft Word 2007 lets you maneuver all text and graphics very easily. You can create text boxes just like in InDesign, use rulers and guides to align text, group or ungroup objects, insert info graphic shapes using circles, squares, and rectangles, and more.

I've been using Word tools for over 3 months to develop creative, info graphic resumes like this one.

You can also watch this video I created to demonstrate how to make a simple resume in Microsoft Word easily: VIDEO

I hope this helps.

  • It's also a relatively common file format, so you will typically need a word version of a resume anyways.
    – DA01
    Apr 10, 2014 at 20:50

InDesign would be your greatest solution. It is a program focused on typography and meant to make ready-for-print output.

  • In InDesign, you will create "rules" when you begin laying out your document which will define a structure upon which you can build.

  • InDesign will allow you to easily create rectangles, squares, etc. much like you can do in Photoshop.

  • You can easily divide the layout of your document.

  • You can select as many elements as you want quickly and easily. InDesign, unlike Photoshop allows many elements on one layer, while still providing layer functionality if desired.

  • InDesign is a master at dealing with text. It provides many more tools than Photoshop for designing with good type treatment.

  • On a similar note, InDesign can create bulleted lists and other lists at the click of a button.

  • InDesign has smart guides that help align selections. As mentioned earlier, you can place guides in your document to help you stick with your desired layout grid.

  • InDesign is meant for printing and therefore easily exports as a PDF, offering many options in quality, etc. of the final PDF.

  • As an added bonus, InDesign is great at keeping great legibility on your typography and specializes in font clarity, etc.

As @Phlume mentioned, Acrobat can be helpful in reducing the size of your PDF.

All the best!

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