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Is it okay to be more artistic/creative with your resume if you're applying for a more creative job?

Office Hours #1: Resume Writing with Judy Park [39:48]

This question was posed by a question during one of our most recent "CareerVillage Office Hours" sessions. During Office Hours sessions, we invite students to pose questions related to a specific topic. In this case, the topic was resume writing. If you answer this question, we will reach out to the students who attended this office hours session to inform them of your response, and all students on CareerVillage will benefit. If you would be interested in hosting an office hours session on a particular topic, please reach out to our staff!

#resume #resume-building #job-applications #creative

Thank you comment icon Do you know if it's going to fall on computer eyes or human eyes? That will most likely give you your answer. If you FIRST submit an ATS (Applicant Tracking System)-friendly resume online, you should be able to ask your recruiter to submit the more creative resume to the hiring manager instead. Your window of opportunity for that is between the first round of recruitment and the first interview. If you're only submitting a resume online, play it safe and go with a standard, legible resume. CareerVillage Office Hours

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Dexter’s Answer

Hello!

I have hired creative designers before, and for me, I like to start getting a sense of the candidate's design skills in the resume. Now I would still recommend having appropriate design for the job you are seeking (e.g. don't use a comic book type design for an enterprise company's design job). I would say that the equivalent to seeing a creatively designed resume for me is seeing a hobbies section on a resume– not required at all, but is fun to see.

Having said all that, using a standard resume template is totally fine and will not hurt your chances. The reason is that given that this is for a creative job, the most important thing will be the portfolio.

Although I like creative resumes, I know some other managers that do not like it. So just like adding a hobby section on your resume, there's a chance that it'll hurt your chances of getting the job if the hiring manager sees something they do not like.

Happy to answer follow up questions, so if I can provide further insight, just let me know!

Best of luck!

--
Dexter
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Stephen’s Answer

Definitely agree with Dexter's answer! Having a creatively designed resume does give the hiring manager a glimpse into your capabilities. I also agree that it's optional -- your skills on your resume should be doing the talking. To provide another analogy, it's like a cherry on top of a cake. Not required if the cake is already delicious, but a nice touch depending on the company and role.
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Dustin’s Answer

Hey, there!
Agreed, a unique style is super helpful to stand out from the crowd of resumes. As a Marketing Program Manager for a creative team that works closely with the Creative Director, I appreciate a well laid-out resume that gives a bit of creative flair - but yes, your experience and skillset will do the heavy lifting.

Dustin recommends the following next steps:

Check out 12 on this website about inspiring resumes: https://www.canva.com/learn/50-inspiring-resume-designs/
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Don’s Answer

As someone who's worked in media and design for 20+ years, I can say having an aesthetically pleasing resume is a definite plus, but remember design's 3 F's: Form Follows Function.

Studies show hiring managers give your resume seven seconds of initial scrutiny, before deciding if they want to read closer. Seven seconds! In that blink of an eye they'll decide if they want to give you a second glance. That means you'd better have a clean, clear resume that showcases your artistic talent, but also the ability to convey important messages quickly.

I'd put more work into your online portfolio site (you do have one of those, right?), which is where the real decisions will be made. Your resume is only the hook to get them there. So yes, make it visually appealing, but don't let its real purpose get lost in the shuffle.
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Melissa’s Answer

Absolutely. As others have previously mentioned, it helps get a sense of your abilities before the rest of the process, and it is also optional. It's a great way to showcase great layout and basic design principles, especially if you're able to format the information in a legible, unique way. Be careful though, being unique won't help if the document isn't very legible or professional; there needs to be a balance.

As with everything, it's also dependent on the hiring manager. Even if the role is creative, work with the HR representative to get an understanding of what the hiring manager might prefer. Some managers want to see professionalism and corporate adherence in the resume, but creativity in your portfolio, etc.

As someone who's been on both sides of this, I like to see creativity in a resume. A bit of personality helps the hiring manager and interviewer understand a bit more about you and can tailor the questions better. The areas I've noticed that hinder applicants are:
1. too lengthy (3+ pages); 1 is ideal for me to see you can put the most important information on 1 page in an organized way
2. inconsistency (only some job titles are bold, only some include the location, etc.)
3. too much design, not enough content (I want to be able to read your qualifications that you've worked so hard for; your portfolio can show me the rest)
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