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How Creative is Too Creative When it Comes to Resume Writing?

Your resume should show off your unique personality, so you want to make sure it doesn’t look like it could belong to your neighbor, brother, or best friend. But at the same time, an excess of creativity screams “unprofessional” and can turn a potential employer off. So how do you toe the line between personality-filled and over the top? Consider these tips:

The non-paper resume

If you’re looking to work in fashion, you may consider submitting a resume that’s written on something other than paper. However, unless you have decided to align your resume entirely with that company’s business (they make t-shirts, so your resume is on a t-shirt) then this is probably not a good idea. Also, it is probably to avoid doing this unless the company is quirky and seems to embrace this offbeat approach. You don’t want to leave a hiring manager scratching his or her head, trying to figure out what to do with your resume when they’re done looking at it.

The video route

Some people choose to make a video instead of sending a traditional resume. While this is certainly eye-catching, if an employer asked for a resume, you should send one. You can always add a video as a supplement to the resume, but do not forgo the paper version entirely. There’s a reason they asked to see the more traditional form.

A heavily designed resume

If you’re applying to a job where design skills will be necessary, this kind of resume can work. But if you’re looking at a more traditional office job, stick to a more conservative resume. And regardless of what the job is, if you can’t execute the heavily designed resume well, don’t do it at all.

Regardless of the kind of approach you take, you want to make sure that your application fits with that business’s culture. For instance, if you’re applying to work at a law firm, you don’t want to sprinkle your resume with pictures and fun fonts. However if you’re hoping to work for a PR firm, something more eye-catching can work. When you respect and understand the business’s company culture, it makes it easier to design a resume that will seem appropriate for that organization.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of following directions. If the job posting asked that your materials be submitted a certain way, follow these instructions carefully. If it seems as if you don’t know how to do as you’re told, you may end up in the “no, thanks” pile.

What creative things have you done with your resume? Let us know in the comments below!

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.