Creative Resume Ideas with Examples

We’ve got three crucial questions for you. When was the last time you updated your resume? Did you enjoy doing it? Do you think someone would enjoy reading it? You may be in need of a more creative resume.

Chances are, if you don’t have fun making something, it probably won’t be any fun reading it either.

Let’s guess what you’re thinking right now: “But resumes aren’t supposed to be fun or enjoyable.” 

Our answer? “Why on earth not?” Of course, how creative or interesting you can make your resume depends a lot on the kind of job you’re applying for. That being said, if you were an HR recruiter tasked with looking through potentially hundreds of resumes, wouldn’t you appreciate seeing something a little interesting now and then? 

More importantly, don’t you think that an engaging resume would stick out in your mind compared to the rest of the hundreds? Studies show that recruiters spend an average of six seconds on each resume before moving on to the next. Just a little bit of creativity can go a long way to standing out. 

Let’s dive into what resumes should, shouldn’t, and could be like.

What Information Should Go on a Resume?

Let’s look a bit at the basic information, whether or not we’re talking about creative resume format. Note that what’s expected on a resume today is different than even a decade ago. According to Business Insider, you should have the following components on your resume: 

  • Contact information
  • Professional title
  • Keywords from the job posting
  • Relevant accomplishments and achievements
  • Career narrative
  • Metrics
  • Certifications and credentials
  • Relevant URLs
  • Action verbs

Other details you’ll want to add are your main resume/career objective, employment history, education, both soft skills and technical skills, relevant certifications, and testimonials. 

Notice how we say relevant a few times here. Law office recruiters probably don’t care that you worked at McDonalds while you were in highschool. They also probably don’t need to know that you’re proficient in Mario Kart. However, they probably would like to know that you’re an Eagle Scout, multilingual, or volunteer at a youth center. If you only have six seconds to impress your hiring manager and a lot of information to communicate, you have to understand who your audience is and make sure you stick to details that are relevant to the job you’re applying to. 

How Often Should You Update Your Resume? 

You should update your resume every time you apply to a job, even if you don’t have anything new job experience to add. It may be tedious, but it’s worth it. 

Customize Your Resume for Every Application

The best resumes are ones that have been tweaked to specifically fit the position and company you’re applying for. Back in the list of information to add to your resume, we recommended “keywords from the job posting.” You don’t want to copy the job posting word-for-word because that is too obvious. However, you do want to sprinkle those keywords into your resume, since you know that is specifically what recruiters are looking for. Be honest, but also be smart. 

Check out these two employment history examples:

Example: Creative Resume Employment History Slide by SlideModel

Notice how the first version of this resume example emphasizes content marketing experience, while the second one puts social media experience at the forefront.

We’d order the information like the first example if the job position was titled “Content Marketing Specialist” whereas we’d use the second example for a job position titled “Social Media Manager”.

Talent-Position Fit

Nowadays, the job space is more competitive than ever. Education is no longer a guarantee for a job. Unless you are applying for particular technical skills that require a high academic background, recruiters are more focused on talent, learning skills, and soft skills. 

The new recruiting motto over startups and corporations is “hire for talent, train for skill.”

Said this, your resume content should clearly state your talents and the fit for the position. The Talent-Position Fit concept means the main set of skills you master (being technical, soft or attitude) which are requested, required or implicit for the job.

For example, imagine there is a job posting for an international commodities trading company, which is looking for an international trader. 

You can create a narrative about your talents around the following list.

  1. Area of Expertise Talents
    • International commodities commerce knowledge (backed by education-wise)
    • International commodities  commerce experience (backed by previous jobs experience)
  2. Soft Talents
    • Negotiation (backed by experience and achievements)
    • Adaptability (backed by a particular experience)
  3. Attitude
    • Problem Solving approach.

So before updating your resume, make sure you understand the talents being requested. Sometimes, talents required for the job are hidden in the culture description, like “fast-paced”, “objectives-oriented”, “data-driven”. It is important to tailor your resume to the defined talents and implicit talents.

What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Creative Resumes?

Now that you’re sure you have the right information ready for your resume, let’s talk about creative resume formats. 

Traditional Resume Design

Traditional resumes are usually built on a Word document with black text and a white background. Resumes can be two pages or one, though one page resumes are becoming more and more popular and requested by recruiters. People list their information in some variation of this order: contact information, mission statement, education, employment history, and skills. Most recent information is listed first, making it easy for recruiters to get the gist of your recent activities at a glance. It’s common to use bullet points and maybe columns, but the traditional resume doesn’t go much more creative than that. 

We want to be clear. We’re not bashing the traditional resume. There are many situations in which a simple resume design or format is necessary, like for that law office job we mentioned before. We just want to show you that there are more options to consider. In fact, some of these ideas may help enhance what will essentially remain a traditional resume. 

Source: Traditional Resume slide by SlideModel

Creative Resume Design Format

The creative resume often uses color, icons, infographics, and even photographs. On the extreme side, the creative resume format might not even look like a resume at a glance. We’ve seen resumes that look like social media profiles, menus, and magazines. There’s even people who print their resume out on chocolate bar wrappers. The sky’s the limit. Just carefully consider what’s best for the job you’re applying to first. 

Source: Ingenious Job Applicant Puts Her Resume On A Chocolate Bar Huffpost

Creative Resumes for LinkedIn

Another reason to create a creative resume is when publishing it to LinkedIn. Since your LinkedIn profile has a built-in resume function, it can be quite repetitive to upload a resume document that looks almost exactly like your profile. Take advantage of the opportunity to present your employment history in both simple text and a more creative way. 

This is especially relevant because so many hiring managers are relying on LinkedIn to find job candidates. Not only do you normally have to upload a resume, but you have to share your profile, hence avoiding the repetition. 

Many job postings on LinkedIn get hundreds or even thousands of applications. Putting extra creativity into both your resume and your LinkedIn profile can help you stand out from the masses. You can keep your LinkedIn profile updated and be used as a resume for recruiters, but also upload a PDF to be shown in your LinkedIn profile. Furthermore, another option would be to export your LinkedIn profile as a resume or CV format, in PDF. One caveat here is that you need to keep one of the sources as the single source of truth, which will be easier in the future to keep your data accurate and up to date.

Source: Modern 1-Page Resume PowerPoint template by SlideModel

What Do Hiring Managers Say About Creative Resumes?

Generally speaking, recruiters aren’t opposed to the idea of spicing up your resume. However, you want to avoid making it too hard for your recruiter to get the information they need from it. Basically, be creative, but keep it functional. Catch their attention with a little color, but avoid making it look like a unicorn blew up all over the page…unless you’re applying to be a clown at a kid’s center, perhaps! 

Our best advice is to try to stick to the general format of a traditional resume, mostly so recruiters know where to look during their six second analysis. However, feel free to add in some unique features, as long as they are enhancing the overall message and not distracting from it. Check our Resume Template Free Download

Source: Free Simple Resume Template for PowerPoint by SlideModel

5 Ideas for Making Your Resume More Creative

This is the fun part: thinking outside the box, or rather, the Word document with black text and simple lists. For each of these creative resume format ideas, you can go conservative or extreme. We’ll help you with creative ideas for both.

Idea 1. Incorporate color into your resume

Not only is color generally pleasing, it is a tool you can use to subtly indicate to hiring managers where to focus on your resume. If you want recruiters to notice your prestigious education or impressive accomplishments, then add color to those areas, either in the title, as a box around the section, or shading behind the section.

Want recruiters to notice your plethora of skills over your lack of formal job experience? Leave the job experience part as a more traditional list and add colorful graphs and diagrams to your skills section. However you use it, color will always draw the eye, especially when in contrast to the rest of the document. Where are your eyes drawn to first in this creative resume sample?

Source: Creative Resume Slide Template for PowerPoint by SlideModel

Idea 2. Add icons to lists

Icons are great ways to liven up what would normally be a simple list. They can also make a resume more skimmable, since hiring managers can easily see what each point in the list is about, just by looking at the icon. Check out the following example. Even if the recruiter doesn’t want to read about each interest, they can get a quick idea just from the icons.

Idea 3. Demonstrate skills and interests with illustrations and/or infographics

As they say in storytelling, showing is often better than telling. This translates to creative resumes in the form of infographics that show what you’re good at or what you’re interested in, instead of just listing it out. The nice thing about infographics is, while they may seem intimidating to make, there are a lot of infographic templates out there where all you have to do is fill in the blanks with your details.

Source: 6-Step Star Infographic Diagram for PowerPoint by SlideModel

Idea 4. Change up the format of your resume

Here is where you can go really crazy…or not. It’s up to you. Would it be cool to format your resume on an image of an iceberg in order to express what’s below the surface of your title? Yes. That’s actually pretty cool! Would recruiters for a creative position like it? They very well might! Would the hiring manager at that law firm? Maybe not.

Conservative Versus Creative Reformatting in Resume – Source: SlideModel

Idea 5, Change your font, but keep it readable

99% of traditional resumes are written in Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. There’s a reason for that: those fonts are some of the most easily readable options out there. That gives you an opportunity to boost your resume’s creativity with one easy change: the font. There are thousands of fonts out there that are both unique and still readable. Play around with it and choose the one that best fits your personality. Just make sure you don’t choose Comic Sans.

Our Conclusion on Creative Resume Ideas

There’s a story of a job applicant submitting a resume formatted to look like an Instagram profile. During the interview presentation for the job, the HR manager specifically mentioned how refreshing it was to see a creative resume or CV like that. It made her want to meet the person who made it. 

Will a creative resume get you your dream job? Probably not. You still have to have the skills, experience, and personality to back your resume up. However, your creative resume may be just the thing to get your foot in the door and an interview on the calendar. And finally, by making your resume more unique, you may just find yourself having more fun updating it than before. At least, it’s worth a try.

1. Modern 1-Page Resume Template for PowerPoint

Use This Template

2. Buyer Persona PowerPoint Template

Use This Template

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