What Is a Creative Resume?

Definition & Examples of a Creative Resume

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Creative resumes are nontraditional resumes. They can have an unconventional format or use video or a website to display your skills.

Learn more about creative resumes and whether you should use one.

What Is a Creative Resume?

A creative resume is a resume that doesn't follow the traditional resume templates. These resumes are typically creative, catchy, and designed to showcase your skills and qualifications in a way that plain words on paper can't.

Creative resumes can be infographics, video resumes, online portfolios, and personal websites with a career focus.

How Creative Resumes Work

Typically, creative resumes make use of the applicants’ creative skills and are appropriate for their industry and for the job they’re seeking. For example, a graphic designer might create an infographic resume to display their design skills, while a TV/film editor might make a video resume.

A creative resume can also use elements of a traditional resume. For example, you might start with a functional resume format and use color and text boxes to further highlight your skills.

If you're not sure where to start, consider using free online services that will take your information and turn it into an infographic resume, online portfolio, or similar. For example, Canva has numerous creative resume templates.

Benefits of a Creative Resume

Creative resumes can be beneficial for certain types of job applicants.

For example, online resumes are helpful for applicants who want to post films, sound clips, photographs, or other pieces of work related to their industry. Online resumes also allow those in web design and information technology to display their skills.

Creative resumes can help highlight these skills and qualifications in a way that a standard resume can’t, showing what the applicant can do, instead of just asserting that they can do it.

Creative resumes are also helpful for people without an extensive work history. They allow candidates to emphasize skills rather than their chronological work history.

Disadvantages of a Creative Resume

While nontraditional resumes are becoming increasingly popular across a variety of industries, that doesn't mean you should use one. Many companies still prefer a traditional, typed resume.

One reason is that many companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automatically screen resumes. These systems search for keywords that indicate whether a candidate has the desired skills and/or experience for the position. Because ATSs require text-based resumes, some companies using ATS will toss aside nontraditional resumes.

Other companies simply dislike nontraditional resumes, believing that graphics and other visuals are unnecessary additions to a resume. It's important to consider your industry and the specific companies you're interested in when deciding whether to use a creative resume.

If you're concerned about a creative resume not making it through ATS, consider submitting a traditional, text-based resume along with your creative one.

Is a Creative Resume Right Worth It?

Not every job seeker needs a creative resume. Depending on the type of job you're seeking, one can definitely help you get noticed by a prospective employer, though.

Consider the following before you opt for a creative resume:

  • Creative ability: Even if you're going the creative route, your resume still needs to look professional. Otherwise, it can hurt your candidacy for a job rather than helping it. It needs to be appealing to the eye and provide the same essential information as a traditional resume. It's also a significant time investment to create one, and it may not be worth the effort unless you're in a creative field.
  • Appropriateness: If you’re in banking, insurance, or finance, you shouldn't opt for a creative resume. In fact, any industry that still has a dress code is probably not a good choice for this kind of resume.

Key Takeaways

  • A creative resume is a resume that doesn't follow the traditional resume templates. These resumes are typically creative, catchy, and designed to showcase your skills and qualifications in a way that plain words on paper can't.
  • You can make one that highlights your skills in a particular field. For example, if you're a film editor, you might create a video resume. 
  • If you're applying for jobs in a creative field, a nontraditional resume can make you stand out. It might be a turn-off for more traditional employers, and it can't be read by applicant tracking systems. 
  • If you have the ability to create one and it's appropriate for your field, a creative resume can be a good choice.