Q. Resumes are boring! But I’m a very creative person, and creativity is a large part of my job as a marketing assistant at my company. I helped design our website, and I am the graphic designer for the white papers, flyers, and other materials we take to trade shows. I also write a lot of our copy—I love coming up with new ideas to grab the attention of our online customers. How do I get that creativity across in a boring resume?
A. Resumes do not have to be boring. There are good and bad ways to show creativity on a resume. One of the bad ways is to use cartoons, colorful fonts, or colorful backgrounds. A survey by Accountemps found that up to 35% of hiring managers and recruiters found overly designed resumes to be annoying and a reason to reject a candidate.
Also, the more design you put on a resume, the less likely it is to pass through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which cannot read tables, text boxes, images, fancy fonts, and other graphic design elements. If your resume fails the ATS, the resume—and your creativity—will never be seen.
While creative ways for delivering resumes (in bottles, with food delivery, as a song) may result in an interview, they seldom result in a job. Unusual approaches may work in small companies, but they are highly unlikely to work in large companies with many levels of recruiters and hiring managers—one person’s appreciation of creativity is another person’s irritant.
Now for the good ways to show creativity:
- Accomplishments and results. How did your website design improve the hits and conversions on your website? How many people picked up your materials at the trade show (compared it an industry average or your company’s previous average)? How many hits has your online copy generated?
- Online portfolio. Now is the time to post a portfolio online and link to it. You can mention the link on your resume and/or include it as part of your LinkedIn profile. Let your creativity shine.
- Social media. These days, hiring managers and recruiters seek out candidates on social media. Use that trend to your advantage by, for example, writing an interesting LinkedIn profile, showing your designs on Instagram, or posting a video that showcases your creative projects.
- Volunteering. If you need more creative outlets than those at work or in a different area, volunteer for a nonprofit that will allow you to flex your creative muscles. Volunteer experience—as long as you keep records of the results—is as valuable as work experience in showing creativity.
Boring resumes do not need to be boring: the English language has many ways of showing enthusiasm, innovation, and creativity. Content is king. We have decades of experience at Robin’s Resumes® in writing resumes that attract the attention of hiring managers and recruiters in many highly creative fields. Contact us today.