Are Creative Resumes Worth Stepping Outside the Box?

Conduct a simple web search for “creative resumés” and there will be plenty of results showing artistic, innovative, creative designs while still retaining the components of a resumé. As beautiful as “risky resumés” are, will they actually help their designer land an interview, better yet a job?

Depending on the company that you’re applying to, a creative resumé may get your foot in the door. You may even get an interview simply so the employer can meet the person that was willing to step out of the box, but that still doesn’t guarantee a job offer. You’re a creative person and you’d like to display your creativity for everyone to see, but it’s better to keep your resumé professional. Let your resumé do its job by letting the employer know what your skills are, what experience and education you have and then show your creative side in the interview.

Instead of applying graphic design principles to your resumé, concentrate on customizing your resumé for each job application so that it makes it past the applicant tracking system, or ATS. Larger companies use the ATS to filter through the majority of resumés, looking for key words and phrases that relate to the job. If it makes it past the ATS, it’s sent to human resources, who then decide whether the applicant gets an interview.

To make sure your resumé gets through the ATS, pay close attention to the job description that the company provided. Companies usually list the desired skills and traits in the description; make sure to include those keywords and phrases in your resumé. Don’t lie; just include the exact words the company used.

You may have heard of the “white font” trick to sneak a resumé past the applicant tracking system. At first glance, the trick makes sense: place the keywords and phrases at the end of the resumé but disguise them as white font. Human readers won’t see the words but computers will. Unfortunately, if you have heard of this trick, so have managers. All managers have to do is highlight the document to reveal the “hidden” words. It probably wouldn’t hurt to try the white font trick, just don’t solely rely on it.

creative resumeThe resumé’s entire purpose, along with a cover letter, is to convince the Hiring Manager to meet with you. Write a professional, concise resumé on white paper with black ink and your skills and experience will get you a job.

Spending too much time on the presentation of your resumé may give the impression that you have nothing better to do than work on your resumé. You ultimately want your future employer to concentrate on your skills, not the look of your resumé. Keep it clean, keep it simple and let your experiences be the thing snags the interview.


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