Published on January 15th
How Creative Should Your Resume Be?
No matter what job industry you’re applying for, odds are good you’ll need a resume to do it. The idea of the resume is a classic one, but with so many emerging technologies and markets, some people are starting to embellish their resumes or even create new types of resumes using audio and video aspects. How creative should your resume be? Should it be on fancy paper with innovative typography? Should you send it along with some kind of a gift? Should you create an online resume which has a video? Should pictures go in your resume?
Your first impulse might be to be as creative as possible with your resume, but this is usually inappropriate.
Try to think about this from the perspective of a hiring manager. If you’re a hiring manager, you might read (well, skim) 50-100 resumes a week. Wouldn’t it make your life easier if all of those resumes were formatted in roughly the same way? Then you could see at a glance what each of them is about, and you could easily skim to find relevant information. If everyone sent you resumes which were highly “creative” and all of them were different, it might take you ages to scour through all of them and find the most interesting candidates.
This is why it’s suggested that you stick to the most basic format for your resume. Use plain white paper, simple fonts, no huge font sizes, and follow the usual guidelines for formatting (or use an online resume builder to help you format if you don’t already know how). Also, do not send gifts like baked goods with your resume. It will only make the hiring manager feel uncomfortable. It’s an honest mistake, but it can be seen as a bribe, and bribes aren’t good.
Does this mean that you should never be creative on your resume?
Definitely not. The key question you should be asking yourself is this: “Does being creative on my resume showcase a particular job skill I have which is relevant to the company?” If the answer is no, then you should avoid trying to be creative. If however the answer is yes, then use your creativity to showcase your talents. If you’re applying for a job that involves typography or graphic design, you could use your resume to show off your abilities in those fields. If the job you’re applying for involves television or radio, it makes perfect sense to create a video resume, but not necessarily at the exclusion of a traditional paper resume.
Hiring managers aren’t interested in your personal creativity, or who you are when you’re away from the office. But they are interested in the creativity you can bring to your specific job role. Use that as your guideline when you decide whether or not to send in a creative resume. If you’re applying for a job which doesn’t involve media or art, you probably should send in a standard resume. If however you’ll be incorporating design or communication skills into your job, showing them off can help you stand out.