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Your resume is your first advertisement to a potential employer for your skills and abilities. It needs to have a marketing punch that will get human resources or a hiring manager to take a second glance. Like with many things in life, it is important to know the rules well enough to determine which ones are best to break. Having a creative resume can make or break your ability to land a job, so how do you know if you’re using the best format to highlight your skills and stand out in your field or industry? Here are some pointers to keep in mind when deciding how unique you should make your resume.

  • Are you in a field that values creativity? The only time a unique or creative resume is truly appropriate is when you’re applying for a job that values this level of creativity. They are most commonly used by individuals seeking roles in graphic design. In this way, the creative resume acts not only as a document about the job seeker’s experience but showcases skills and acts as a small portfolio. Create a larger job sample portfolio than you will ever need for one job. The same work samples won’t be applicable for each job, so if you have a large library to choose from, then you won’t have to scramble to look for examples.
  • Does the formatting making it difficult to find important information? When considering a uniquely formatted resume, it is essential to view it as a recruiter or a hiring manager. Is the contact information visible immediately? Can you quickly scan the document for job titles and dates of employment? Before you go too far into the creative aspects of the design it is critical to make sure this information is present. While you want to stand out from the competition, you don’t want to give a recruiter a reason to discard your job materials.
  • Does it have a purpose or is it just unique for unique’s sake. The design should be functional as much as it is creative. Sending out documents with unique formatting that doesn’t serve a purpose will set off the hiring manager’s red flags. They won’t understand the reason behind the creative resume and may disregard the information contained unfairly.
  • Can you make it unique without making it distracting? The design, graphics, colors, and all the other components should come together in a way that is still functional as a resume. If the elements of the design are distracting it will go unread. There can be a fine line between creative and distracting so be careful not to cross it. The creativity serves as an example to portray your personality to a hiring manager. You can take advantage but don’t be over the top or reflect someone you aren’t.

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