Firing out resumes isn’t what it used to be. Especially not in the fiercely competitive job market of today. A common question that many job seekers have is, “How can you stand out from the crowd when applying for a job?” Now, the difficulty is that you may have all the right skill sets, qualifications, and certifications, but how can you get a hiring manager to take a look? Well, it all starts with your resume.
Let’s face it: the traditional, plain, black-and-white CV can feel dull and uninspiring. If you’re in a creative industry, originality and innovation are the name of the game. So why can’t your resume also benefit?
This is where unconventional, creative resume ideas come into play.
In this article, we will explore how you can ensure your resume meets requirements with a little more ‘pizazz’ to catch an employer’s eye. We have also spoken to people in creative industries to see what their success has looked like. Additionally, we have also asked a recruiter for their thoughts on what’s required.
Let’s get started.
What is a Unique Resume?
A unique resume is essentially a creative resume. But one that isn’t your usual, traditional resume. It’s a 21st-century redesign inspired by current trends where innovation and originality are key. One where you’re not just listing the skills that you have, but you’re actively implementing the skills that you have relevant to the job but in a resume format.
A creative resume will allow you to stand out from the stack of ordinary resumes on a hiring manager’s desk. If you’re a creative professional, then this should always be your aim. Creative resumes give you a chance to make a memorable first impression that sets you apart from others before you even attend an interview.
Are Creative Resumes Worth It?
You might be wondering, are creative resumes really worth the effort? It’s a yes, especially in creative industries. Here’s why:
Attention and engagement are everything, and it starts with your resume.
In an inbox packed with traditional resumes, a creative one grabs attention immediately. It piques the curiosity of employers while keeping them hooked enough to request an interview.
It displays your creativity.
For professionals in fields like design, art, writing, or marketing, a creative resume is a demonstration of your skills. It’s a mini-portfolio that showcases your ability to think outside the box without having to show them your actual portfolio or capabilities.
It shows you’re unique.
Creative resumes allow you to inject your personality into your application. They provide insights into who you are beyond your qualifications, fostering a personal connection with potential employers.
But, as with any creative task, there’s a fine line between eye-catching and a chaotic mess. It’s about getting it right but tastefully.
So, are creative resumes worth it? Absolutely.
Are Creative Resumes Professional?
The short answer is yes; creative resumes can be highly professional when created thoughtfully. It’s a misconception that professionalism and creativity are mutually exclusive. In fact, when executed with care, creativity can enhance professionalism and even create a better impact.
Here’s how creative resumes can maintain their professionalism:
1. Creativity should always serve a purpose. It should enhance your resume’s content and make it more engaging while still adhering to industry standards and expectations.
2. The creative elements should be in line with the expectations of the specific industry. What might be seen as professional in the graphic design field could differ wildly from what’s expected in law or finance.
3. A professional resume, whether creative or traditional, should be well-organized, easy to read, and free from errors. Clarity and professionalism go hand in hand. This isn’t negotiable.
4. The level of creativity should match the job you’re applying for. While a colorful infographic resume might be perfect for a design position, it will not be suitable for a corporate finance role. In that scenario, you’ll be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
5. A creative resume should showcase your skills relevant to the job. If you’re applying for a role where creativity is a key asset, your resume can demonstrate your ability to think creatively. I.e., If you’re a video editor, create a video resume.
6. Know your audience. This is at the heart of any successful design. Your resume should speak to the expectations of the hiring manager.
Professionalism in creative resumes is all about moderation. Your resume should strike that perfect balance where creativity enhances you as a candidate rather than not being taken seriously.
Nowadays, many industries are changing. Employers are increasingly valuing qualities like innovation, adaptability, and creative thinking. A well-crafted, creative resume can provide evidence of these qualities.
Creative Resumes – The Basics
Creative resumes should allow you to step outside the conventional template and present your qualifications in a visually appealing, unique, and sometimes unconventional manner.
This can include using visual tools to tell a ‘story’ about your skills.
This includes visuals such as:
- Multimedia elements e.g.videos or interactive links.
Unlike traditional resumes, creative ones provide room to infuse personality. They allow you to reveal your passions, interests, and character, giving employers a glimpse of the person behind the qualifications.
However, the degree of creativity varies by industry. For example, a graphic designer might craft an elaborate, artistic resume, while a lawyer’s creative touches may be more subtle. The key is to ensure that your creative elements align with the expectations of your field.
What makes a ‘Traditional and Professional Resume?
Traditional professional resumes follow a structured format with a focus on clear, concise language and a straightforward presentation of qualifications, work history, and skills.
These resumes are widely accepted across industries and are often the preferred choice in more formal or conservative sectors, like law or finance.
The emphasis in traditional resumes is primarily on the content. They rely on a traditional list format to present qualifications, making them suitable for roles where a straightforward presentation is valued.
Additionally, traditional resumes often follow a strict one- or two-page limit, which necessitates a concise summary of qualifications.
When to use a traditional vs creative resume?
The decision between a creative resume and a traditional professional resume largely depends on the context.
If you’re seeking a role in a creative field like design, advertising, or digital marketing, a creative resume can help you stand out and showcase your skills.
However, in fields such as law, finance, or healthcare, where formality and tradition are still expected. A traditional professional resume is the safer choice.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still provide creative input. Some job seekers opt for a ‘hybrid approach,’ using a traditional format for initial screenings and a creative resume as a supplementary document to demonstrate creativity and passion.
It’s best to get a feel for the company you’re applying to and who the hiring manager is. A quick glance at their LinkedIn profile will be able to tell you what they’re expecting.
Components of a Creative Resume
Creating a creative resume is art in itself. It’s very easy to get carried away, but here are the basic components you need to include.
- Contact Information
Start with your name and essential contact details, and ensure that this information is easily accessible at the top of your resume. This includes your phone number and email address. You may also include your location and LinkedIn profile.
- Professional Summary
As with any resume, you need a headline that highlights your career goals and what you bring to the table. This section provides a quick snapshot of your qualifications and aspirations. Here is also where you can use copywriting skills to make it more eye-catching and memorable.
- Work Experience
This is an important part of any resume. You need to show you’re a suitable candidate for the job by highlighting your relevant work experience. Focus on achievements that demonstrate your skills and expertise.
Create a section where you list your key skills. Depending on your industry, this can include technical skills, soft skills, or specific software expertise. You can present this section creatively, such as through icons or a visually appealing layout.
Include your educational background, starting with the most recent degree or qualification. Mention the institution, degree earned, and graduation date. If you have noteworthy academic achievements or certifications, highlight them here.
- Portfolio or Projects
In creative fields, a portfolio is often more valuable than words. Include a section showcasing your best work, whether it’s design samples, writing clips, photography, or other creative projects. Use visuals, thumbnails, or links to make this section engaging.
- Creative Elements
This is where the magic happens. Infuse your resume with creative elements that align with your field and personality. This might include color schemes, unique typography, graphics, or even interactive elements, depending on your industry.
Employer Perspectives: Do They Like Creative Resumes?
Employer reactions to creative resumes can be divided into two broad categories:
- Positive Responses – Some employers value creative resumes highly. They show that a candidate is innovative and willing to do whatever’s necessary. Creative industries, in particular, tend to embrace these resumes as they align with the culture of creativity and innovation.
- On the flip side, some employers may approach creative resumes with caution or skepticism. In more traditional industries or roles where conformity and formality are highly regarded, a creative resume might be seen as risky. In such cases, there’s a chance that it could be misunderstood or not taken seriously.
We spoke to a recruiter (Emma), who highlighted several factors you need to keep in mind.
- The industry and company culture play a significant role. Creative industries like design, advertising, and entertainment often welcome creative resumes with open arms. Many people opt for creative elements, and in creative industries, whoever catches the employer’s eye wins.
- The quality and relevance of your creative elements can sway employer opinions. If your creative resume is well-crafted and enhances your qualifications, it’s more likely to be appreciated.
- Some companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan and filter resumes. Creative elements like unusual fonts or excessive graphics can confuse these systems and cause your resume to be overlooked. Ensure your resume is ATS-friendly when applying online. Unfortunately, using tools like Canva can sometimes cause issues with ATS, too.
Her final comment was, “You should definitely use a creative resume; in some creative industries, they are being requested by the companies themselves.”
Real-Life Success Stories: How Creativity Paid Off
To truly understand the impact of a creative resume, we spoke to four recent job seekers who opted for creative CVs. This was their experience.
The Graphic Designer’s Artistic CV
Emily, a talented graphic designer, decided to take a bold step in her job search. Instead of a traditional CV, she created visually stunning infographic resumes that showcased her skills in a visually engaging way. She began by looking through many different creative resume templates online. However, she soon realized it needed to have her own personal flair. So, she spent time making a creative template that she could then edit for future applications. Her unique approach not only captured the attention of prospective employers but also earned her a position at a prestigious design agency. Her creative resume became a talking point during her interviews and demonstrated her design prowess especially with tools like adobe illustrator file.
The Filmmaker’s Video CV
Daniel, an aspiring filmmaker, recognized that a traditional CV wouldn’t do justice to his passion for storytelling through film. He created a video resume that showcased snippets of his work, his storytelling abilities, and his enthusiasm for the industry. The video went viral on social media, drawing the attention of production companies. Daniel landed an internship that eventually led to a full-time role in the film industry. The video resume won’t work with ATS systems, but managing to go viral certainly helped him catch the attention of many hiring managers.
The Writer’s Creative Cover Letter:
Alex, an aspiring writer, knew that the traditional cover letter might not capture the essence of his storytelling abilities. He penned a captivating cover letter in the form of a short story, showcasing his writing prowess and creativity. His unconventional approach impressed a publishing house, and he secured an editorial position.
These real-life success stories illustrate that creativity in resumes can pay off, especially when it aligns with the industry and role. These individuals understood their unique strengths and used creative resumes to secure jobs effectively.
While creative resumes may always guarantee success, they are a great way to leave a lasting impression. For creative professional having a resume that catches the attention of employers is more important than ever. You can no longer rely on a modern resume template that others may be using. It has to be unique to yourself. The main thing to keep in mind is that whatever you produce must meet the standard resume objective that would be expected. Many also find that getting hired because their creativity was appreciated results in finding a company culture that matches their own personal views.
Get started on your own resume now. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even be able to land your dream job.
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