Creative CV Yea or Nay?
How many times have you heard or read that you have from 10 to 20 seconds to impress the recruiter? I bet more often than you wanted to. One thing is sure, when I first heard it I thought I must find out how a smashing CV looks like and started frantically searching for the perfect CV template that will secure all the interviews I wish to go to. Then it hit me: How could I stand out if I use a CV template that is available for everyone? Creativity, I sighed with relief, this is the solution to my problem. But how far can I go without being labelled as eccentric and, what is worse, unprofessional?
Should I go with a standard CV or should I use my creativity?
Well, I think the answer is: both. But how much you can rely on you creativity depends on the job you are applying for. If you are a graphic designer or you wish to work in the media, you should showcase your skills by all means available to you. After all, creativity is essential to your job. But if you are applying for a part time job or a job that just puts less emphasis on creativity such as a bookkeeper's role than you might want to stay on the safe side and make a more standard looking CV. I do not mean plain and boring though. Make it logically ordered and easy to read. I'd say download a template and change it. Use different but professional fonts, divide your resume into 'chapters', choose a not too flashy colour to highlight the most important parts or the subtitles. These seem to be little changes but if you do it right, the eyes of the recruiter will be drawn to the relevant parts of your CV. That said, I must emphasize that content still rules.
Catching the attention of the recruiter is just the first step. You will get the job only if you can prove that you have those transferable and/or practical skills and experiences that are required from the applicants. So make sure you tailor your CV to the job you apply for before focusing on the layout.
Tips to make a creative CV
I don't consider what I've said about the readability of your CV to be something extra you can do. I think it is a must. But besides breaking your CV into eye-catching blocks, there are other tricks you might want to apply even if you are not a web-designer.
Do you want to make something different but you are not a tech-savvy guy? Then make a picture. It is worth a thousand words as they say and you don't even have to use photoshop if you don't want to. Look at what I have found:
She used a traditional CV yet it is unusual and creative.
CVs are supposed to be one or two pages long, but if you chose to make a slide-show I'd say make it a bit longer. Chop your CV into well-defined sections and make sure it emphasizes all the skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Here is an excellent example:
A video resume can help in marketing yourself but only if it is done right. I'd suggest check out some videos before making your own and make sure to ask your friend's opinion before posting yours on youtube or anywhere else. You can’t go wrong if you follow some basic rules:
- Be collected and emphasize skills and experience that are relevant to the job type you are applying for.
- Be professional and remember: this is not a movie so be yourself. Don’t include scenes that are not work related.
- Be honest about your skills and experiences.
But again there are situations when choosing a different path can lead to success. Take Matthew Epstein’s case. He wanted to work for Google and made a pretty unusual video resume:
In the end, he decided to work for SigFig but he had several interviews among others with Microsoft, Amazon and Google. So, who said that a video resume is a waste of time?
Infographics are very popular among the graphic desigers because it can showcase their skills. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it if you aren’t one of them. It might seem difficult but it’s not. The tools are made pretty easy to use. All you need is a little time to figure out which one works best for you. My favourite tools are: Piktochart, Creately, Easelly and the best part is they offer free templates so you don’t have to start from scratches. ‘Why bother making an infographic if I’m not a designer?’ you might ask. Well, it shows you are flexible and willing to learn new things. Not a bad image to create regardless of the nature of your job. Besides, it is fun making and is impressive. Take a look:
Final tip: Whether you choose a traditional CV template or a more unusual one, I’d suggest always tailor it to the job you are applying for. Haven’t you found your dream job yet? Then start your search now.