The Truth about Creative Resumes Print E-mail

I often come across posts about the most ‘creative resume designs’ and how they can help the job seeker stand out. As LinkedIn is a valuable job search resource, I noticed that questions on the platform were revolved around creative resumes and the level of creativity one should implement into his/her own resume.

As the debate grows larger, and job seekers are uncertain of which direction to go with their own resumes, there are a few things to keep in mind about graphically-creative resumes. Sure they look nice, and a creative resume may help you stand out – but for most employers, you’ll be standing out for the wrong reasons.

It can be very tricky for employers to read a creative resume. That alone should be enough for you to stick to a traditional resume. But if not, here are some more creative resume downfalls:

The ATS doesn’t like it

If the hiring manager is going to have a hard time reading your graphically-creative resume, you can be certain an applicant tracking system (ATS) will. Many corporations utilize an ATS to screen their applicants. An ATS will scan your resume for certain words or phrases, but if it can’t read your resume, chances are your resume won’t even make it to the hands of a hiring manager. Do you want to take that risk?

The hiring manager doesn’t like it

Once your resume beats the ATS, it’s in the hands of the employer. Make sure your resume is easy enough for hiring managers to locate key information. Hiring managers know what they are looking for and they know where to find it on resumes. A visually-creative resume tends to mess with the presentation of information on your resume – and guess what? Employers do not like that! No matter what experience you have, if a hiring manager cannot find what he/she is looking for, your resume will most likely land in the garbage.

A strong argument that supports the creative resume is when you are applying for a position in a graphic design or other creative field. The best practice would be to send a traditional resume to the employer that includes a link back to your creative portfolio. If you need to have a creative resume, make sure you send a traditional resume with it just in case.

The loss of professionalism through simplicity

The truth is, a resume is a business document. It should stand as your intent to do business with the employer. Don’t forget, you are selling your brand. Therefore, you want to be as professional as possible. Professionalism begins with a well-formatted resume. Employers know where to look for the information they need to distinguish you from other candidates. Don’t make it difficult for them to make that distinction.

Creative resumes are very pretty – we agree! But as a job seeker, the traditional resume is always your safest bet.