When it comes to your internship or job search, you’re probably wondering how you can differentiate yourself from other candidates. Maybe a creative resume seems like a good way to go.
Especially since over the last decade, Millennials have, with great fanfare in some cases, gotten creative with their resumes in order to land dream jobs and internships. From Facebook resume designs to purchasing a Google ad, the possibilities are endless. What isn’t talked about often enough, though, is that for every outstanding design that has landed it’s creator a job there has been a fair share of resume flops.
For those of you feeling a little adventurous (and creative) during your search, consider designing a creative resume. To get you started, here are five examples of awesome creative resumes that did the job… and got the job:
Leah Bowman, a student at Northwestern University built an impressive resume to send to internships at “dream advertising agencies.” One employer asked Bowman to create a persuasive advertisement, and that she did. Her Lego inspired resume was a model of herself and skills. Along with the Lego model, Bowman included a letter explaining her experience and skills.
When it comes to landing a PR job, there’s no better way to do it than engage with your audience. PR and social media professional Graeme Anthony used his skills to create an interactive video resume. Anthony realized if he wanted to land a communications job, then he’d need to use a tactic to reflect the changing industry trends. After Anthony uploaded his resume to YouTube, he received numerous job offers and today he works for Manc Frank PR.
Philippe Dubost, current product manager at Birchbox, created an “amazing” resume to catch the attention of employers. The result was a very cool website that was a mock up of an Amazon.com shopping page. His resume suggested once you wanted to hire him, you’d add him to your shopping cart. Not only did this resume land him a job, but it went viral, too.
Alice Lee, UPenn graphic design student, created dearinstagram.byalicelee.com, to try to land an internship with popular photo sharing app, Instagram. This creative resume highlighted her skills, experience, passion, and of course, her love for Instgram. Although her resume didn’t land her a position with Instagram, it did land her an internship with Path.
Chris Spurlock, at the time a journalism student at University of Missouri, created an infographic resume illustrating a timeline of his experience and a graph displaying his skills. Once his infographic was posted to HuffPost College, Spurlock’s resume went viral and employers took notice. After graduating from college, he landed a job with The Huffington Post as an infographic designer.
Now it’s your turn to get creative…
When it comes to designing a creative resume, do so with caution. Creatives can help you get noticed by employers in a good and bad way. Recruiters and hiring managers are extremely picky about resumes, and even the smallest typo can cost you an internship. If you’re still thinking about building an outstanding resume, here are some creative resume takeaways:
1. Understand your Audience
This is the No. 1 rule for building creative resumes. Although it’s tempting to think a wacky, out-of-the-box resume could immediately land you an internship, it could also put your application in the trash.
When planning your creative resume, think of the person reading your resume. You should also think about the company’s image. Your creative resume should reflect the position you’re applying for and why you’re the best match for the internship.
For example, if you’re a public relations student applying for a communications internship at a hospital, your best bet is to submit a traditional resume. However, if you’re applying for a creative marketing agency or a PR internship with a music festival, a creative resume would be more appropriate. Remember, the purpose of your resume is to sell your skills and experience to an employer. Don’t let the wrong type of resume prevent you from landing your dream internship.
2. Clearly Organize Your Resume
According to research, recruiters follow a consistent visual path when reviewing resumes, therefore an organized and visually appealing layout is crucial. The goal is to create a resume illustrating relevant information that will help a recruiter make a hiring decision fast.
There are also key elements you cannot forget to include in your creative resume. Recruiters spend nearly 80 percent of their time looking for the following points: name, current title/company, previous title/company, previous position start and end dates, current position start and end dates, and education. If you overlook any of these points, you can expect any employer to trash your resume.
Strong visual hierarchy is also key when designing a creative resume. This means organizing the layout of your resume in a way that makes sense to employers. Make it easy for hiring managers and recruiters to find important information about your experience. Your resume should guide readers in a logical way that helps them learn more about you as a candidate.
When making an online profile or website, the same rules apply. The online version of your resume shouldn’t have distracting visuals preventing readers from learning about you. It’s also a good idea to provide a link for employers to download a traditional version of your resume. This ensures your resume will land in the hands of employers regardless of its format.
3. Put in the Effort
If you’re going to build a creative resume, you need to invest your time, skills, and creativity. Creative resumes can help you stand out to employers, but only if they’re designed well. You have to make sure it’s really good.
The purpose of a creative resume isn’t only to be visually appealing, but also to quantify your accomplishments. Creating a strong resume requires much time and effort. Focus on what you want to accomplish with your resume and how you’ll get your message across.
The final product of your creative resume should be something employers have never seen before. Any college student can print their resume on a t-shirt or design a fancy brochure. However, the only way you’re going to stand out is if you put 110 percent effort into your resume to create something new and different.
4. Illustrate Your Awesomeness
A uniquely designed resume isn’t going to land you an internship. However, a uniquely designed resume illustrating your accomplishments will!
As you design your creative resume, don’t leave out the facts and figures that illustrate your awesomeness. You should use your design to show employers what you’ve accomplished, how your work had an impact on others, and the skills you bring to the table. Your creative resume should paint a picture to the employer of your work ethic and ability to be a motivated and responsible intern, too.
It’s also important to illustrate the experience and skills that pertain to the position for which you’re applying. Regardless of your formatting, it should be organized in a way where your experience illustrates your awesomeness. You need show employers how you’ll benefit their company and why they should hire you based on your relevant experience.
5. Create a Traditional Resume, Too
Regardless of how cool (and effective) your creative resume is, you always need a backup plan. When designing creative resumes, you always run the risk of problems with formatting. If you plan on applying for internships posted on job boards and most company websites, they’ll likely have a form you need to fill out and an applicant tracking system (ATS) that will read your resume for information. This is why a traditional resume is a necessity during your internship search.
No matter how old school a traditional resume can feel, they’re still your safest option for your internship search. In fact, a great traditional resume could definitely stand out more than a poorly design creative resume. If you’re a creative person, don’t be afraid to let that shine through in your resume. Just make sure you have a traditional resume prepared in case your creative design doesn’t work out.
Your resume is one of the few ways to show employers who you are and want you have to offer. If you can show employers your success in a creative way, then more power to you.
Always keep in mind, however: a creative resume may help you get you noticed… but it is your qualifications that will land you your dream internship or job.
For this post, we thank our friends at HeatherHuhman.com!
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets. Follow Heather on Twitter!