I have heard the phrase many times especially from new job seekers:
“I have been told that I need to get creative with my resumé in order to stand out.”
Is this really the case? Well, it depends.
I've seen the results of people trying to be creative with their resumé. Creative can refer to the structure of a resumé, the fonts and graphics used, or the format that a resumé takes such as a video or document. Sometimes the results are impressive and other times the results are utterly disastrous.
Logos and fancy borders
I've seen the use of logos and fancy borders on resumés to the detriment of the content. In these instances, more space is devoted to a logo than in selling the candidate’s skills and experience to the reader. In this case creativity hurts your chances of getting noticed, rather than helping.
Then there are resumés where the fonts and graphics have not been well executed - This too may hurt your job chances.
When to express your creativity
That is not to say that we've not seen the good use of creativity on a resumé and in the cases where it worked it made a lot of sense. For instance, a game designer who sends their resumé in the form of a game.
Why does this work? Because it is relevant. The game highlights the developers’ skills both visually and functionally – aspects of a job seeker’s profile that an employer in this field wants to know. A video game, however, would not make sense if you were applying for a job at a bank.
What's most important to remember?
If you're not sure of your creative skills then it is always a safe bet to default to a classic resumé style. So far in my near 20-year career, I have never seen a resumé rejected because it utilized a classical format. What was the most important element? The information contained therein, including how it highlights your skills, qualifications, and experience.
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