Stand out from the Crowd by Making a Creative Resume

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You’ll never get a second chance at making a positive first impression.

These wise words not only apply in your next interview, but also at the moment you submit your resume to a potential employer or client.

A 2018 Eye Tracking study published in HR Dive revealed that recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds skimming resumes. This means that you only have a small window to grab their attention. The chances of getting noticed drop further when you compete with individuals applying for the same position.

How do you stand out, then? The answer is a creative resume.

What is a Creative Resume?

creative resume black and pink sample
Photo by Dawnielle Rene’ via Flickr Creative Commons

A creative professional resume veers away from the conventional and text-only resume layout. It contains creative elements that can easily catch the attention of any talent acquisition specialist. Examples include infographics, an online portfolio and video clips.

There’s no specific or one-size-fits-all format in a creative resume. If you’re bold enough, you could even print your resume on a cake, and then present that to a hiring bakery. The only limitation here is your imagination.

The Benefits of a Creative Resume

Using a creative resume layout is helpful for job applicants that do not have an extensive work history. This type of resume enables applicants to highlight their skills instead of their chronological work experience or details about their professional development.

What’s more, creative resumes showcase these skills in a way that’s not possible with a traditional resume template. They show what the job candidate can exactly do rather than merely assert the qualifications on an ordinary piece of paper.

Who Should Make a Creative Resume?

collage of photos
Photo by Landin Hollis via Flickr Creative Commons

Adopting the creative resume format can be beneficial for applicants looking to land certain job titles.

Some of these positions are the following:

Graphic Designers

This role involves taking colors, typography, images and other visuals, and transforming them into eye-catching signage and other materials. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to jazz up your resume and get creative. Hiring managers expect job candidates to think out of the box and display skills that scream, “Hire me.”

Web Designers

You’ll need a creative resume to show just how talented you are when working with text, images and other graphical website elements. Example formats you can consider include an Amazon product page, a search result generated by Google or Bing and a Facebook profile page.


Applicants looking to become a successful journalist need to stand out in the highly competitive and ever-changing world of news and media. Apart from being honest, objective and resilient journalists need to have design, photography and social media skills. You should, therefore, incorporate these skills into a creative resume.

You could, for instance, customize your resume by making it look like a front page of a newspaper. Your skills, experience and achievements will serve as the “headlines” and “stories” on your front page.

Another idea is to add links to your resume. These links would direct the recruiter to pages with high social media engagement and impressive news photographs. This creative resume strategy is an effective way to show off your skills in social media and photography.

Public Relations Representative

You can craft a creative resume by making it look like a press release. Your PR, for instance, could state the opening that you’re applying for along with how your skills and qualifications would make you a great fit for the organization.

Marketers and Advertisers

Both positions demand creativity with graphics and content to attract and engage potential customers. Instead of telling the hiring manager how awesome you are, show your abilities by making a creative resume. Include images of the ad campaigns you launched or the marketing copies you produced in your resume.

Sales Representatives

If you’re an ambitious, passionate and awesome salesperson, you’ll want to make sure that these traits reflect on your job application. Instead of sending a bland-looking, text-only resume that doesn’t represent your colorful personality, come up with a creative resume. This is crucial especially for representatives selling creative products within the arts sector.

Who Should Skip Making a Creative Resume?

Lawyer using his laptop
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

A creative resume is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Companies in certain industries will deem this resume format as inappropriate or unprofessional instead of eye-catching. You, therefore, have to do your research before sending off a flurry of non-traditional resumes to employers.

Here are jobs wherein a creative resume will hurt you more than help you:

Legal Positions, Such as Attorneys and Paralegals

Hiring managers in the legal industry expect to receive a traditional and professional-looking resume. If you’re applying as a paralegal, for instance, the law firm doesn’t need a graphic and colorful resume showcasing your clerical skills. So, do yourself a favor and dial down on your creativity when applying for jobs in the no-nonsense legal sector.

Oil Rig Workers or Offshore Riggers

You won’t impress a hiring manager in the petroleum sector by sending a creative resume. Most professionals in this industry are practical and hands-on individuals with excellent trade and technical skills. Talent acquisition specialists in this industry won’t be interested or impressed by your artistic capabilities.

Teachers, Instructors and Professors

Schools and universities may impose stringent requirements for job applicants. Deviating from these standards will cause the hiring manager or recruiter to toss your creative resume into the bin.

Computer Programmers

Some employers in the tech look at photos and other graphics as unnecessary additions to a resume. They’re more interested in your ability to code or develop a program or software.

How to Make a Creative Resume

woman filling out a form
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

When you’re producing a creative resume, you need to seriously think about what your brand looks like and how you can promote yourself to various employers. If you’re not sure how to go about this process, keep these suggestions in mind:

Don’t Use Cookie-Cutter Resume Templates

If you want to separate yourself from the rest of the pack, avoid using online resume generators or cookie-cutter templates. Your creative resume needs to be unique. It should also reflect your style, skills and abilities. When you’re developing a resume, use graphics, colors and fonts that showcases who you are as an individual.

Gather All Relevant Content

Come up with a list of information that you need to include in your resume. Some of the important content may include the following:

  • Relevant work experience
  • Contact information, such as e-mail address and mobile phone number
  • Academic history
  • Academic and extra-curricular achievements, including school leadership awards, Latin Honors and your college GPA if it’s high
  • Technical skills and awards
  • Personal references

Add a Personal Statement

This statement allows you to introduce yourself and set yourself apart from the sea of job applicants. When crafting your personal statement, make sure it engages the employer or hiring manager who will read your creative resume.

Also, keep your message short and sweet. Use two or three lines to briefly talk about who you are, what you want to happen in your career and what sets you above from the rest.

Proofread Your Work

Spelling and grammatical errors can ruin the beauty of your creative resume. Make sure you proofread +your resume thoroughly before sending it out to potential employers or clients.

Add Links to Your Previous Work or Portfolio

Hiring managers sometimes ask job applicants to provide a copy of your portfolio or previous work. When designing your creative professional resume, include links to your online portfolio, website and social media profiles. Put these links on the first page and below your contact details.

Personalize Your Resume to Each Job

Avoid sending the same creative resume to multiple employers. Find out what the employer needs in the job description. Then, tailor your resume around that information.

Avoid Getting Too Carried Away with Your Design

There’s a fine line between an eye-catching and an eyesore resume. Although you want your creative resume to stand out, you want to do it in the right way. Make sure that your style choices are consistent, properly executed and appropriate.

The key to landing the job of your dreams is about showcasing your skills and passion. This is possible by developing a creative resume that will help you become more visible to prospective employers. So put your artistic abilities to good use and make a resume that looks amazing and out of this world.

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