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Career Advice

5 Reasons Why A Creative Resume May Do You More Harm Than Good

Posted by Heather Huhman

Last Updated June 20, 2016

In today's highly competitive job market, job seekers are always seeking creative ways to stand out. A tactic for many is to step away from the black and white text of a page and craft a creative resume to draw attention.

However, these creative additions to your resume might be hurting more than helping.

Here are five ways your creative resume may be hurting your job search:

1. It has too much flair. Stick with the tried and true black, easy-to-read fonts like Times New Roman or Century Gothic. Leave off the “about me” rainbow pie charts and other infographic stylings.


If you’re applying for a creative position, bring your colorful portfolio pieces and personal marketing documents to the interview. Your resume’s priorities should be clarity and accessibility.

2. It’s not customized. Almost 40 percent of executives say the most common mistake job candidates make on a resume is including information that’s not targeted or job-specific, according to a survey by The Creative Group.

Each time you apply for a new position, change your summary to reflect the impact you will make at the company or in the industry. Include specific skills that align with position needs, and leave out the ones that don’t.

3. It’s oversaturated with keywords. You might still believe the lie that your resume will only be seen by hiring managers if it’s stuffed with the right keywords. Employers use screening software to perform comprehensive searches. If you’re qualified, your resume will be seen. Designing your resume for a computer program will not make it appealing for human eyes.

4. You didn’t cut the fluff. Only include relevant information. In the Creative Group survey, 27 percent of executive respondents said another mistake candidates make on their resumes is including either inaccurate or too much information.

Don’t widen the margins, decrease the font size and call it a day. Be brutal. Take that backspace key and trim off all those filler words and redundant statements.

5. You left dates off. You might think this is a smart way to hide your short stints at previous jobs or how long you were out of work. Or, you might not want employers to know how old you are to avoid age discrimination. But, it will backfire.

Leaving your career timeline open for interpretation is a major red flag to employers. They know it’s a cover-up and cannot see your career progression.

Have you used a creative resume in the past? Did it result in a job offer?

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