Resume Writing: How Creative Should You Be?

It seems that in the push to stand out from the crowd, job-seekers are finding new, innovative ways to communicate their skills and work experience to employers, shunning the more traditional resume formats in favor of interesting (and sometimes downright weird) designs. A friend on Facebook recently pointed me to Business Insider’s article “13 Insanely Cool Resumes That Landed Interviews at Google and Other Top Jobs” (the editor in me goes a bit crazy reading that lengthy title and protests “but Google isn’t a ‘job’, it’s a company”, but I digress).  Some of these resumes are inspiring to me, very creative and fun to read.

How Much is Too Much?

While these creative resumes definitely stand out, some of them don’t communicate information clearly. As my mom, an artist and designer, used to say: “Form follows function.” A good design is not only pleasing to look at, but communicates the content (whether it’s an advertising campaign or a resume) effectively and succinctly. If I’m an employer and I can’t find the candidate’s experience on his or her resume, that’s a problem.

Know Your Audience.

A start-cereal_box_resumeup that passes out Nerf-guns during meetings is going to have different requirements than a 80-year-old mortgage company. If you’re interviewing for the latter, you probably shouldn’t wear jeans and a t-shirt to the interview. And you may want to refrain from featuring your resume on a cereal box. On the other hand, if you are applying to a young, creative graphic design firm or a company like Google, a wacky resume might be the right choice.

Finding the Middle Ground...

It’s fun to look at these amazingly creative resumes, but opening Photoshop and developing your own might seem daunting. There are ways to make your resume unique without going over the top. For instance, I like using a subtle splash of color, while most people stick to black and white. I also like to break the “3rd person” rule and speak in 1st person, directly to the audience, particularly in the Profile or Summary section. Taking a risk can have its rewards and land you the job that’s right for you.

All of that said, it’s Friday, so let’s look at some of these awesome resumes. They are definitely inspiring and make me want to break out of my box. Here are some of my favorites:

I love the graphic and fonts, and all the information is here.
Such a fun graphic, and I love that the accomplishments are near the top.
This one cracks me up…
When I look at this resume I think “Oh man, I wish I thought of that.” Brilliant!
While my eye isn’t sure where to go (information is kind of everywhere), the colors are beautiful and actually inspired a resume I created for a client recently. Great font, too.

I could go on forever. Go do a Google image search on “Creative Resumes” for more. What are your favorites?

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