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Creative Resume Designs: Easy Ways To Sharpen Your Competitive Edge

– Posted in: Resume Writing

Should you consider creative resume designs to get attention in a crowded job market? We’ve all heard the saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Not a day goes by when I don’t feel the need to remind clients of this truth. This is especially important in your job search, because a first impression is often a lasting impression, after all. Even more significant, your resume is often your first and only chance to make a first impression on a potential employer. It is absolutely crucial that your resume create a great first impression and that it leaves the potential employer with the image of you that you want it to leave. So, the answer is “yes.” Creative resume designs can help.

What do we mean by creative resume designs? In some cases, it is as simple as adding some graphics and a few creative design elements to an otherwise straightforward resume as we did in this resume that we created for a journalist and business writer.

Sample Resume for Writer

Resume professionally written for a journalist and writer tehn formatted using creative resume design to capture attention.

Similar to a newspaper or magazine layout, we’ve used a two-column format to immediately differentiate this resume and make it stand out in a stack. The two graphics are tasteful, relevant, and add to the visual appeal of the resume. In this case, using creative resume design elements worked to achieve the ultimate goal — giving this job seeker a competitive edge and making a great first impression that generated interviews.

Here is another example resume that shows how just a few creative touches can give a job seeker true competitive advantage.

Sample resume with graphics

Example of a professionally written resume illustrating the use of graphics.

Like it or not, it’s true. Appearances do count. People take appearance into consideration on nearly everything they buy. Attractive packaging helps sell. If you are selling a product, one of the best forms of advertising is the packaging that holds your product. Package design helps draw attention and create desire for the product, and can often be the difference that makes the sale. The same is true about the eye-appeal of a resume.

But are graphics always appropriate? Absolutely not. When considering how to apply the principles of creative resume design to your own resume, ask yourself four questions:

  1. Will the resume design fit the expectations of the target industry?
  2. Will the resume design fit the expectations of the target profession?
  3. Will the resume design be a fit with the culture of the company I am targeting?
  4. Will the resume design fit my own personal brand and personality?

The two example resumes above are both from individuals in creative positions, and the graphics were appropriate. But there are times when a creative resume design that is a bit more understated is called for.  For example, here is the resume we developed for a sales executive who worked in the high-tech industries.

Sample creative resume with a graph

Example of a creatively designed resume using charts and other design elements

Creatively designed resume page 2

Second page of a creatively designed resume

This example resume has undeniable eye appeal and uses some uncommon design techniques such as a graph to show sales results, but it is still appropriate for both the industry and profession. This job seeker definitely entered the job market with a great competitive advantage over the masses of other job seekers with dull-looking (and often dull-reading) resumes.

As I started out with: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And the truth is that these rapidly formed impressions can be lasting ones due to what is called the “halo” effect. What does this mean? Psychologists tell us that if the visual message your resume leaves is negative, the employer will carry over that impression and will assume that over, and will assume that other aspects of you and your professional offering are equally negative. When your visual message is positive, the opposite is true and the employer you’ve just met will tend to assume that other aspects about you are equally positive. It only makes sense. Unleash your creativity and develop a standout resume!

Go ahead and use the principles of creative resume design to give yourself an edge in the job market. As always, if you need help with your resume, we are here for you!

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About the author: Michelle Dumas is a multiply-certified, national-award-winning professional resume writer and career marketing expert widely recognized as pioneering thought-leader and trend-setter in the employment services industry. With 20 years of experience, Michelle has helped 10,000+ job seekers in all 50 U.S. states and across the world land rewarding jobs and build fulfilling careers.

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