Are Creative Resumes a Good Idea?

Creative resumes sound like a great way to make an impression. But are creative resumes really a good idea for your job search?

Creative resumes come in all shapes and sizes. At Mudgood, we’ve seen everything from 3D resumes (think origami) to full-color resumes that have been designed to resemble a board game. We’ve even seen resumes printed on T-shirts and other fabrics. As a jobseeker trying to navigate a difficult hiring environment, you know that you will be competing with dozens of other candidates for every job you apply for – and there’s a natural tendency to think that a really creative resume is a good way to make your application stand out from the rest of the field. But here’s the problem with that line of thinking: unique, creative resumes make some employers nervous. In certain fields and industries, employers are looking for traditional professionals – not the guy who submits his resume via a YouTube video. However, in creative fields and industries, a creative resume might be a prerequisite. If you are absolutely certainthat a creative resume is a good idea for your job search, there are a handful of guidelines you’ll need to consider.

It better be good.

A resume printed on colored paper that has been scented with lavender isn’t creative – it’s just weird. A good creative resume is an all-in proposition. The employer needs to clearly see that you have opted for a creative resume and your concept needs to be first-rate. So before you fire off a creative resume to a prospective employer, run it by a few friends to make sure the concept is really as good as you think it is.

How creative is too creative?

One of the things that make creative resumes so dangerous is that it’s easy to make them too creative. Even creative industry employers have their limits and if you aren’t careful, you can quickly turn them off by taking your resume a few steps beyond the cutting edge. To make sure your resume fits within industry norms, conduct an Internet search for examples of creative resumes that have been used by jobseekers in your field.

All sizzle, no steak is a big mistake. 

It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, the employer is running a business and employment qualifications (not clever resume designs) will be the primary basis for their hiring decision. If you have determined that a creative resume is the right strategy for your job search, make an intentional effort to keep your priorities straight, i.e. steak first, sizzle second.

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