For many employers, your resume makes your first impression. How far is too far on the road to making your resume stand out? We have some expert advice on creating a resume that pops while maintaining a good degree of professionalism.
Should I customize my resume?
Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation highlights “one thing to think about is the job/career you are pursuing. If it is in any way creative- personalize your resume, use your creativity...a designer, for example, is not interested in a cookie cutter resume.”Ref Link
Let the role you’re applying for and how you’re applying determine your level of creative content. In some cases, it’s best to have different versions- one for handing to potential employers in person and another for uploading into websites that will largely process the information with AI.
Why am I doing this again?
Remember, the purpose of your resume is to highlight your skills and establish yourself as a strong candidate for the position. Putting yourself forward as a potential company asset is the goal, not summarizing your life story.
Steve, a Hiring Expert with Caterpillar points out that “there is a fine line on a resume in providing too little or too much information. Again, the point is to give enough about yourself to make them want to find out more; but don't tell the whole story on the resume alone. It is in the interview that you can really begin to sell yourself and what you bring to the table for an employer.”Ref Link
Context is key and it’s possible to be too personal. Pictures and anecdotes are great but aren’t appropriate content for your resume. If you have personal life experience that makes you more qualified for the position, allude to it in your cover letter and discuss it in further detail in your interview.
A resume still needs to serve its function. It won’t matter how impeccable your design is if it doesn’t tell a hiring manager what they need to know.
A little hesitant about where to start?
Roohi, a Hiring Expert at HP suggests that “if you are creating your resume from scratch, it may be good to use a site that will put together a general format for you to get your job history organized. You can then personalize it and adjust it as you see fit.”Ref Link Steve, with Caterpillar, weighs back in with another tip saying “structure of your resume is critical. The resume must grab the attention of the reader immediately, so the first few sections should be those in which you are the strongest. If, for example, you do not have much work experience, push this to the bottom of the resume. Start off with your career intentions, then get into your leadership skills and education.”Ref Link
Adding your creative work to the formatting of your resume can be one more way to tangibly showcase your skill-set to potential employers. It’s a great opportunity to have your strengths set you apart from the crowd.