How to design a creative resume

With hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants applying for each job position, you need to craft an attention-grabbing resume that will immediately draw in an HR director or recruiter. The idea of a “creative” resume has become commonplace, but the templates found online are not always in your best interest. Many of them sacrifice space to prove experience for an appealing design.

Always remember: content is king. The main objective of a resume is to emphasize your qualifications for the job you want. Adding creativity and flair is the cherry on top.

Content is king.

There are a number of small changes you can make to your resume that add detail without compromising content and professionalism.

1. Add a splash of color

Choose one color to feature throughout your resume. Add it to your section separation lines, your bullet points (not the whole line of text), or your position titles. The trick is to use the color to draw the eye to important information rather than distract from the content on your resume.

2. Stylize the bullet points

Your bullet points do not have to be the classic circles. Change them to squares, diamonds, or any other basic shape. You can also choose an icon that is representative of your industry to add as your bullet points. Just make sure that the changes you make to your bullet points are simple and do not take the focus off your hard work and accomplishments.

3. Feature icons in the skills section

Add mini icons next to each skill to draw attention to your special abilities. Do you have great oral presentation skills? Perhaps put a megaphone icon beside “Engaging Presenter.” Do you have proficiency in Microsoft Suite? Perhaps put a computer or mouse icon next to “Microsoft Suite.” Pay special attention to the alignment of the icons juxtaposed to the text – it should look seamless, not scattered.

4. Play with font styles

Change the font from the classic Times New Roman for something a little more modern. Resumes need to be read, so choose a font that is clean and crisp. If you don’t like the options in Microsoft Word, download a new font you like here. I advise to have no more than two fonts on your resume.

Not all industries are accepting of creative resumes; some still prefer traditional resume styles.

Here are a few industries that will likely appreciate an individual design:

  • Advertising

  • Fitness

  • Graphic Design

  • Journalism

  • Marketing

  • Programming

  • Public Relations

  • Sales

  • Wellness

Of course, none of these suggestions should ever infringe on the basics of a well-crafted resume. You still must lead with strong content featuring powerful writing.

Sarah Sax is the founder of Write For The Job.

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