If you’re in the creative professional field, you’re rewarded for turning something ordinary into something bold, creative, and intriguing. As a designer, you know better than anyone that everything you create is a testament to your talent. So what about your resume? Which route should you go: pretty or practical?
Regardless of industry, profession or experience level your resume has an important and specific job to do. It serves as your first impression to a potential employer. It outlines your skills and experience, demonstrates the value you can bring, and earns you the interview. Getting your resume right can make all the difference in your job search.
Let’s consider the advantages of both pretty and practical types of resumes.
Pros of Pretty:
Gives hiring managers immediate insight into your creative vision and aesthetic. This excellent post from Business Insider, 13 Insanely Cool Resumes that Landed Interviews At Google And Other Top Jobs is one that epitomizes the opportunity of developing a creative resume. These candidates took the opportunity to develop a creative resume to add another piece to their portfolio.
Sensory appeal makes it visually stand out. Developing a creative resume sets you apart from your competition. Sharon Potsch, Talent Engagement Director with WunderLand Group appreciates the value of creative resumes. Potsch believes, “Creative resumes are a reflection of the designer and create such a positive, instant impression that I always pause and pay more attention when I receive a beautifully designed resume.”
Shows, rather than tells, your creative talents. In a way, you’re giving hiring managers a first-hand opportunity to experience your creative talents. If the hiring manager is captivated by your presentation, design, concept and content, you’ve essentially proven your abilities. As was mentioned before, everything you create as a designer is a testament to your talents.
Pros of Practical:
It’s expected. Recruiters spend an average of 6-8 seconds reading a resume. Recruiters and hiring managers have specific criteria they look for, which makes it easy for them to determine which resumes are worth their time or not. For example, recruiters expect to find the most relevant experience towards the top of resumes, supported by a list of accomplishment statements. This information helps recruiters to answer qualifying questions such as, has he/she been successful in similar roles? Your ability to meet and exceed recruiters‘ expectations usually bodes well throughout your job search.
Easy to read at a glance. Although design is a key factor, it’s important to focus on the content of your resume. Including dates, places of employment, your experience and accomplishments are essential.
Potsch adds, “It’s important to have a resume that also captures, in words, the key contributions of your work. When a resume reaches an organization, typically a larger company, in-house recruiters scan resumes for key words to help them identify the right match. While a designed resume may look beautiful, its reliance on white space and minimal text may leave qualified candidates out of that scanning exercise.”
Captures important keyword opportunities and is more likely to be compatible with an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). Research has shown that up to 75% of qualified resumes are automatically rejected because of ATS incompatibility. What does ATS reject? In a nutshell, anything remotely creative is rejected by ATS including graphics, tables, templated formats, links and etc. With most ATS today, only the exact keywords are recognized. Therefore, the most important thing you can do is include all relevant keywords in your resume. Two best practices we recommend are to include exact words from the job description and secondly, add a skills section to make sure you’ve covered your keyword bases.
So which route should you go? Treat the decision as you would the creative planning process. Ask yourself:
- Who is the target audience and what is most important to them?
- What is my unique value proposition?
- What is the best way of communicating this to my target audience?
What if you’ve put your heart and soul into your resume, ensured its keyword optimized, proofread until your eyes are blurry but you’re still not hearing back? Read, Top 3 Reasons Why You’re Not Hearing Back on Your Resume for some additional tips. It’s important that you pay attention to the responses you’re getting from your resume. If you aren’t getting the desired response, consider trying something different.
WunderLand is a team of Talent Acquisition Experts who connect companies with in-demand digital, marketing and creative talent. The experience, insight and market knowledge we provide have earned us loyalty and a reputation for quality.