Career Advice

3 Tips For A Creative & Effective Resume

There’s no doubt resumes can be boring—the standard black-text-on-white-paper format is nothing new to most employers or job seekers. Many professionals want to stand out from the crowd of job applicants, but they feel forced into the standard resume templates that don’t adequately display their personalities or eye for creativity.

Your resume is a powerful tool for marketing and branding yourself, and there’s no reason you need to stick to a bland template if you don’t feel it’s an effective representation of who you are as a professional. But crafting a compelling creative resume is a fine line to walk—you don’t want to come across as desperate or overdo it. Keep these three tips in mind when utilizing a creative resume for your job search:

1. Ensure It Stays Relevant.

If you’re not applying for jobs in design or other creative fields, try to avoid going too over-the-top. Remember, employers are mainly interested in your skills and experience, so remember to keep it readable and focused on what makes you employable. Though you don’t have to rule out colors altogether, colored text is often a bad idea, as it can be difficult to read. Your creative resume should be tasteful and clean, not distracting.

2. Decide How Far You Want To Go.

There are a number of creative ways you can customize your resume—take a look at these 30 examples from Applicant to get the gears turning. If you want to stay understated, consider adding a creative border, or printing your resume on high-quality or colored paper. Stick to adding just a few graphics to keep things readable, or center your entire resume around one compelling image. Design the resume yourself with programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, or have a more skilled friend help you out—just make sure to disclose this to your potential employer should they ask about your design capabilities.

3. Consider Creative Options Online.

If you’re reluctant to change the look and feel of your paper resume, offer hiring managers links to online content where you can really show your stripes. Create an online portfolio of your work with free options like Google sites, where you can add text, edit your background and layout, and upload corresponding documents like design work, writing samples, and links to other projects. Or consider creating a video resume—sites like Spark Hire help you to create one in minutes. Here’s a good example from a PR practitioner.

Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to paper. Creative resumes are a great way to distinguish yourself from the swelling crowd of qualified job applicants. Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality to employers—as long as you keep your document clean and readable, most employers will like to see your ability to think outside of the box. But—and this is important—don’t forget that many of the more creative options like infographic and video resumes are supplements to, not replacements of, a traditional resume.