One of the most common ways in which individuals attempt to make their resumes stand out is to use lots of color and graphic elements. I have already shared that, for most people, “designed” resumes are a bad idea. But what about in the case of designers and people in creative fields? Doesn’t it make sense for them to have “designed” resumes? In short, it can. Having a well-designed resume makes perfect sense if you can, in the design itself, communicate your expertise in this arena. That is why I suggest that designers and creatives have two resumes – one standard and one with some design elements.
Always start by developing an accomplishment-focused, design-free resume. This will ensure that you are focusing first-and-foremost on excellent content. It will also leave you with a version of your resume that will work well with automated screening systems – a big roadblock for designed resumes.
When you are ready to create the "designed" version of your resume, there are some important things to keep in mind:
1. Design should complement accomplishment-focused content. Too often I read resume from candidates in creative fields that are all design and no content. If you want to be truly disruptive in a creative field, develop a resume that speaks to your actual impact. Speaking to things like ROI, delivery-timelines, and customer satisfaction communicates that you can measure your success and helps readers across all departments understand your value.
2. Design should increase readability, not diminish it. As we all know, your resume will be scanned by a human for, probably, seconds before a judgment is made. If your resume design makes it difficult for readers to quickly identify your qualifications and get an initial idea of your potential impact, they will simply move on. Remember, no one has time to decrypt your complicated infographic.
3. Design should bolster your qualifications. Remember, unlike non-creative candidates, your resume design may be heavily weighted. That’s an added burden, but also a unique opportunity to use the design itself to represent your skills and aesthetic.
I can't overstate that – regardless of your profession – when it comes to resumes, content is king. But even great content won't hold up if you are using a tired resume template. While I don’t suggest colors and graphics for non-“creatives,” everyone should have a resume that is accomplishment-focused, extremely readable and professionally formatted.