When it comes to the format of a resume, what do employers prefer? Will taking the time to make a creative resume help you get hired? Not necessarily. However, depending on the type of job you are seeking, a nontraditional can definitely help you get noticed by a prospective employer.
A study by The Creative Group reports that 70% of employers preferred traditional resumes (PDF/Word) even for creative jobs. Only 20% were interested in infographics, and fewer preferred a social or online profile (4%) or a video resume (2%).
Pros of a Creative Resume
Nontraditional resumes are not for everyone. However, they can be very beneficial for certain types of job applicants. Nontraditional resumes are ideal for job seekers in particularly creative industries, such as marketing and design. More specifically, 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. Social resumes are useful for anyone looking for a job in social media. Thus, nontraditional resumes can help display a person's skills and qualifications.
Nontraditional resumes are also helpful for people without an extensive work history. They allow candidates to emphasize skills rather than their chronological work history.
Cons of a Nontraditional Resume
While nontraditional resumes are becoming increasingly popular across a variety of industries, that does not mean you should immediately begin to draft one. Firstly, many companies still prefer a traditional, typed resume.
A number of larger companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automatically screen resumes; these systems search for keywords that indicate whether or not a candidate has the desired skills and/or experience for the position. Because ATS requires text-based resumes, some companies using ATS will simply toss aside nontraditional resumes.
Other companies simply dislike nontraditional resumes, believing that graphics and other visuals are unnecessary additions to a resume. Therefore, it's important to consider your industry and the specific companies you are interested in when you consider creating a nontraditional resume.
Deciding Whether to Make a Creative Resume
The important decision to make is whether it's worth the investment of your time, and possibly your money. You will need to get hiring managers and networking to view your resume, plus may have to pay to create or host it online.
Start With a Basic Resume
There are certainly circumstances where a visual resume can impress, but it's important to have a basic version of your resume as well. The applicant tracking systems (ATS) that employers use to screen resumes won't read your awesome infographic or parse your skills and experience out of a video. Even if you think it's really cool, it might not be what the hiring manager wants to see.
What's most important is to give the hiring company exactly what they ask for. If they want a PDF or Word document, give them one. Otherwise, you could be knocked out of contention for the job before your application is even viewed.
Here's why traditional resumes still matter from Lisa Gibello, senior account manager at The Creative Group:
- Most hiring managers spend seconds, literally, reviewing resumes to spot the ones they want to read in detail. If they cannot quickly discern an applicant's strengths and the value he or she can provide, they'll move on to the next resume without a second glance.
- Even when applying for creative roles, a non-design gatekeeper in human resources is often the first person to review a resume. In these instances, a traditional resume can be easier and faster to read through than an infographic or video resume.
- In addition, employers often want to see a candidate's portfolio and employment history to find out what clients he or she has worked for and how long.
How to Get Creative With Your Resume
If you're a creative person or in a creative career field, doing something different with your resume can be a good way, especially for job seekers who want to provide online examples of their work, to highlight your skills and experience in a manner that is more visually appealing and engaging than a traditional resume that simply lists your employment history.
Before considering a creative resume format, think carefully about your industry. If you are in a particularly creative industry, such as marketing or design or social media, you might consider a nontraditional resume that will showcase your design skills. If you want to display images, sound clips, film, or other work related to your field, an online resume might be a good option.
However, your best bet will still be to make these nontraditional resume formats supplemental to your traditional resume (especially of a job application specifically requests a traditional resume). Consider creative ways to circulate your nontraditional resume to enhance your job search. For example, if you have an online resume or profile, share it with connections who might be able to refer you to a job. Post a link to your nontraditional resume on your social and professional networking sites.
You can also add nontraditional elements to a traditional resume. For instance, you might want to list the URL of your LinkedIn profile on your resume. If you have an online portfolio or a personal website, add that to your resume as well. Here are even more tips for using a non-traditional resume, and advice on how to create an infographic resume.
You'll save yourself a lot of job searching time by focusing on the activities that give you the best return on your investment of time.
Free Creative Resume Sites
If you do want to be creative, you don't have to be a techie to make a creative resume. There are free resume sites that will step you through the process of designing and creating your resume, provide you with storage space online to host your resume, and give you a personal URL that you can share with employers and contacts. You'll be able to update your resume online and share it with your networking connections and prospective employers.
On About.me, users create a one-page online social resume. Users can connect friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to their page. About.me also allows users to track who sees their profile.
Prezi is a presentation software that allows users to create "prezumes," online resumes that include text, image, and video. While users must pay for special features such as additional storage space, the core features are free.
Resoomay is a site for creating video profiles. Users can promote their videos through social networks, receive feedback, and track how many employers are interested in them.
Re.vu helps users design visual online resumes using a combination of widgets, personalized settings, and themes. Through their LinkedIn accounts, users create visual representations of their accomplishments. Re.vu provides detailed analytics on who looks at each user's resume.
SlideRocket is a presentation tool that job seekers can use to create online infographic resumes. Each user is given a presentation URL that he can embed into a website or blog, or post on his LinkedIn or other networking account. SlideRocket offers free membership with limited services, as well as more extensive paid subscriptions.
VisualCV offers users a free online resume. Job seekers can include videos, work samples, charts, and graphs. Users receive a URL which they can share with friends, contacts, and employers.