Creative Resumes: How Far Will They REALLY Take You?

creative resumesCreative resumes, when you first see them, are amazing creatures to behold.

Sleek lines. Dazzling graphics. Amazing charts. Eye-catching colors. Creative layouts.

But in the end, are they anything more than eye candy for human resources pros, hiring managers or recruiters so tired of boring old formats their eyeballs are about ready to fall out of their sockets?

“Aha!,” they exclaim. “Finally something INTERESTING to look at!”

Two Purposes of a Resume

Fact: the purpose of a resume is to get the attention of the prospective employer. But that isn’t all a resume does… there’s a second, perhaps even more important, purpose for a resume.

Your resume has to make the reader want to pick up the phone and call you.

Which means that despite all the eye glitter they are ingesting from creative resumes, employers still have to read between the lines. You have to SHOW that you can actually do the job.

Especially in Resumes: Content is King

And that, my friends, is where content really is king.

All bedazzlements aside, at the end of the day, substance has to be the last one standing. You can’t rely on dazzling the employer with bullsh*t. Your content must match all that dazzle; otherwise, going the creative resume route is no better than the most odious click bait.

And Then There’s the ATS

And another thing that job seekers tend to forget: when processed by an applicant tracking system (ATS), which happens most of the time when you apply online, creative resumes end up getting vomited out the other side.

The software simply can’t digest the format. It can’t find what it is programmed to look for.

If You’re Going to Go the Creative Resumes Route…

So here’s your strategy should you go the creative resumes route:

  1. Develop great creative resumes that have substantive content that means something to your target audience
  2. Only give that resume to a REAL LIVE HUMAN (do NOT submit online)
  3. Have the more traditionally-formatted resume ready to feed the hungry ATS monster and more traditional companies
  4. Network like hell!

A fancy creative resume can’t seal the deal alone. It should only be considered on tool in your tool box. And it has to be used only when and where it can have maximum impact.

Otherwise, all that creativity won’t take you, or your job search, very far.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Pathfinder.




Dawn Rasmussen 3About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP is President of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, a provider of results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Dawn is also the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide and, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to’s #TChat. Follow Dawn on Twitter!



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