I graduated from college in 2013, and had a choice in how I wanted to present myself professionally to the world through my resume. I decided then to make my resume a little "quirky", to bring my personality and personal brand through in a more obvious way than just a quick line at the very bottom that mentioned I had a dog or like to hike (though I do, of course, have that too!). I penned this blog piece for a small resume consulting firm I ran during undergrad; this definitely still feels relevant to me today, and I definitely wouldn't have it any other way.
Everyone wants their resume to stand out – to really make the HR manager go “Wow, this person is just so interesting and creative – we need them!” But is a “creative” resume really the answer for everyone?
The interesting thing about creativity is that it’s not always about being wacky or funny. Creativity in a resume can be as simple as having an elegant and unique layout, having creative copy that really shows off your expertise, or just adding a bit of color or design that suddenly brings your resume to a whole new level.
If you are in a flexible and youth-oriented industry – for example, web design or fashion – having a creative design is really important. These business areas already experiment so much with their marketing, products, and overall business strategy – they would, thus, be looking for someone who is committed to experimentation as well. Making your resume look different is always a risk – it may turn off some and actually stop you from getting a job. But an industry such as fashion knows that all of its employees and staff need to be ready to take risk and be unique if they want a true edge over the competition.
Not every industry is like this. Many manufacturers, for example, tend towards the more conservative and strictly “professional” resumes. This does mean you can’t hand in a tye-dyed resume sprayed with perfume, but it doesn’t ever stop you from having a resume that shows off who you really are. Adding small touches like an uncommon font for your name, or a border of your favorite color surrounding the page, can really set you apart without going overboard. Think about the people looking at resumes in HR – they see hundreds if not thousands resumes a day, all that are boring Times New Roman lists of experiences, skills, and education. Seeing a resume that looks just a little bit different may be just the thing to have an HR personnel keep you in mind rather than someone else.
One interesting way to make your resume more creative is to make it interactive. Try making website and email links actually hyperlinked in the documents, or adding in a professional photo to the left or right hand side of your contact information. These things are all unexpected to the average HR person, and can show that you genuinely care about marketing yourself well through your resume. Consider setting up a personal website that is linked to on your resume that explains further about your various skills and experiences. Personal websites are an online resume of sorts, and can really boost your favor when being considered for a job.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to have a creative resume to get the job you want – but it certainly doesn’t hurt.