I recently came across a very popular article dissecting the debate between “creative vs. boring resumes.” I will save you the read because there really is no debate. Design cannot save a boring resume – If your resume is boring without creative elements, your resume will be boring (and more frustrating) with them. Your resume should stand out based on the quality of the content, which means clearly communicating your impact and highlighting quantifiable accomplishments.
You’ll be judged on design choices – When you design your resume, you give people one more element to critique. Remember, for every person who loves the color and graphics, nine won’t. For most of us, design is not a key qualification, so why distract readers with it? It would be a shame if readers missed your actual qualifications because they didn’t like the, say, green headers and drop shadows.
Design doesn’t play well with screening systems – What does your resume look like when you strip away the creative elements? You should know, because that is what readers will likely see after the automated screening system has done its job. Actually, readers probably won’t even see your resume because the screening system won’t pass along what it “sees” as a jumbled mess.
Again, focus on creating a resume that clearly communicates your qualifications, accomplishments and potential impact. While everyone else tries to grab readers’ attention with flashy design, you will stand out on the strength of your content.