Resumes can be pretty boring. It’s also estimated that the average employer spends about 6-7 seconds looking at a resume before moving on to the next one.
That isn’t a lot of time to stand out and prove that you’re the right person for a particular job, especially when you’re using a standard template, format, and style for your resume. So, how can you make your resume interesting? Does it even really matter?
Letting your creativity and personality shine through your resume is a great way to get your foot in the door and make sure an employer looks at what you have to offer for longer than seven-seconds. But, there’s a balance you need to strike between personality and professionalism.
With that in mind, how can you effectively show your creativity in a resume?
Put a Spin on the Standard Template
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential employer. If you’ve put out a job listing and get 100 applicants, think about how boring it would be to go through each resume with each one of them looking exactly the same. Unfortunately, that’s what typically happens.
While a good recruiter or employer can eventually “weed out” the ones they don’t want, it can be beneficial for your resume to stand out sooner and catch their eye by being just a bit different. A bland resume won’t land you a job. Try looking at examples of resumes to learn more about what not to do, before figuring out how to add your creative spin to your own. Some ideas that can keep your resume professional-yet-unique include:
- Adding color
- Using graphics and images
- Choosing a unique layout
- Using an online resume
- Adding a video
Creative resumes can be especially effective if you want a career in marketing or media. But, don’t count them out for more serious careers, like public health. Many public health jobs require the ability to think outside the box and work directly with people. If you show your personality through your resume, an employer will recognize that you have more to offer than hard skills.
Talk About Your Creative Thinking Skills
Once you get the attention of an employer with a unique-looking resume, keep them interested in what you have to offer. Creative thinking is a bigger draw to most employers than you might think, even if the career doesn’t seem to require a lot of “creativity” on the surface.
Every resume needs a section dedicated to your skills and abilities. But, instead of just focusing on some of the “standard” items, make sure you include skills related to creative thinking, including:
- Time management
If you were an employer sifting through resumes all day, imagine how refreshing it would be to see some of those skills. Unfortunately, they are often ignored on resumes in favor of technical skills specifically related to the job. While those are important, adding your creative thinking skills — and even explaining how you put them to use — can go a long way in helping you stand out from your competition.
Let Your Personality Come Through
Think of your resume as a first impression. It’s your one chance to entice a potential employer enough that they might call you in for an interview. The interview process is where you’ll really get a chance to show who you are. But, your resume can get your foot in the door.
So, why wouldn’t you want to let your personality come through?
According to the 2020 Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum, there is going to be an increasing demand for skills related to innovation and creativity between now and 2025. Showing off your creativity in a resume goes beyond listing your skills. You can actually show an employer how creative you are by using more casual language, talking a bit about your personal life, or even including a blurb on what a particular job would mean to you.
There is a fine line between professionalism and something too personal. But, it never hurts to include “snippets” of who you really are on paper. Remember, a company is hiring all of you, not just the skills you’ve listed on a piece of paper. Most businesses want to work with well-rounded people who are willing to add something positive to the work environment, rather than those who just show up, do their job, and go home.
So, whether you’re specifically looking for a career in a creative field or you want to think outside the box to get the attention of a possible employer, it never hurts to show your creativity in a resume. Do your research and find examples that stand out to you. It’s okay to find inspiration elsewhere, as long as you make sure your resume is personal, unique, and a good fit for the career you want.