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 many people will try to find a “hack” to create a more visually appealing resume that will help them stand out from the crowd.

One of these hacks is Canva, a popular design tool. It's free and easy to use, and it 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 down the truth about using Canva for resumes.

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, a/k/a the 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.

Canva resume templates employ, at the very least, a bunch of text boxes that you can use to copy and paste your resume content. Resume scanning systems simply can't parse information from text boxes properly. This means that your resume will look like it has a bunch of nonsensical characters in it, leading the ATS to reject your resume as an incompatible file. 

Important Note: ATS rejection is one of the main reasons that job seekers are ghosted by companies. The ATS kicks out your resume submission, making it so the human beings at the company don't even know you exist.

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.

Write for the ATS and human beings

Your goal is to get past the 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. Since you have two different audiences for your resume, it's best to use something more common, like the reverse-chronological format

The ATS knows how to read a reverse-chronological resume, and it's what hiring managers expect to see. In fact, the human beings looking at your resume know exactly where to find pertinent information in a reverse-chronological format. You don't want to present something to them that they have to spend time deciphering because, in reality, they're only spending a few seconds skimming through your document. 

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.


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, and study abroad experiences. This isn't just fluff – these are experiences recruiters are interested in seeing from recent grads and entry-level job candidates.

When you use Canva for your resume, you'll notice a common trend: Almost all of the templates are 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.

Some of these templates also lack important sections, including a key skills section, an achievements and awards section, and a 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 I ever use a creative resume? 

OK, so is it time to just write off the notion of using Canva for your resume? 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. 

On the other hand

With that said, if you're attending a career fair or networking event and need something that's short and crisp, you could use Canva for your resume. Basically, anytime you're not applying for a job online, it's probably OK to have a Canva-designed resume. Just remember that you'll want to get the email address of the person you hand your Canva resume to so that you can send them your real resume – you know, the one that has more of the relevant information the hiring manager wants to see. 

Canva could harm your job search success

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.

Key takeaways:

  • Canva resumes do not pass the ATS

  • Canva resumes utilize improper formatting, like text boxes, tables, and images

  • Canva resumes cannot be downloaded as .doc or .docx files

  • Canva resumes do not provide enough space to include relevant information

  • Canva resumes emphasize all the wrong things (like your contact information and references)

  • Stick with writing a reverse-chronological resume in Word or Google Docs to get past the ATS

  • Only use Canva when you're giving your resume directly to a human being

Not thrilled with your resume's format and design? Let a professional resume writer clean it up.

This article was originally written by Carson Kohler in 2021 and updated by Marsha Hebert in 2024. 

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