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Traditional vs. Creative Resumes?

by - March 20, 2017

During my time as a corporate recruiter, I had seen thousands, yes thousands, of resumes. Now that I am an HR Business Partner I see a lot fewer. It's closer to 25-30 a month. One thing I have seen job applicants struggle with the most is the resume. Particularly, many find it difficult to develop a resume that will stand out above other applicants.  Job seekers may ask questions like: What kind of information should be included? What should the layout look like? How many pages should it be? What is the best way to present my skills? There are so many things to consider when creating a resume. In this post, I give a few tips for developing the look of your resume. 

My top recommendation is to understand your job industry. 

Are you in a very corporate job function or a more flexible and creative one? You know the type of corporate job to consider, right? Accountant, lawyer,  banker, HR manager, etc. These professions will have a typical corporate culture, so the resumes in those industries are expected to be very clean and concise. Layout wise this will mean that the resume should be a one-pager (two at most), color-limited, and simply designed. Creative professions like designers, project managers, video editors, marketing and sales managers will have a lot more leeway. Wild colors, varying fonts, and cool artwork are all fair game. For those professional industry jobs previously mentioned, these things should be left out or at least kept at a minimum.  Black, dark blue  and white are about the only colors that should be shown. A clean font, like Arial or Times New Roman should be used to keep things standard and easy to read. Lastly, there should be no distracting design or artwork embedded into the resume unless it is very simple.  

Now, let's get a bit more fun! Creative resumes should be, well, creative. For these type of industry the resume is actually a great way to show skills in a creative way. For example, a designer may use a resume to give a quick glance into their skills by creating a well designed resume. I remember seeing a resume where there were bar graphs that described the level of expertise the applicants had in certain areas. Other resumes just have very eye-catching layouts. Now, don't get carried away of course. The resume, in any case, should be easy to read and should definitely not be distracting. For example, I have also read resumes with so much stuff included that it was so difficult to understand. Most things were irrelevant to the job. Some things were confusing. And other items were just randomly placed. The last thing a job seeker should want is to submit a resume that hiring teams do not understand.  

As a disclaimer, all Creative jobs will not need be expected to be extremely creative and not all professional jobs will such a strict basic resume requirement. Get to know the company you are applying to by networking and doing online research, then determine what will work best for you. 

I hope this helps someone! For more tips on resume writing, checkout my post on how to write a resume

Happy hunting! 

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