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The Do’s and Don’ts of Designing a Creative Resume

For those of you pursuing a career in the arts, you may want to consider developing a creative resume in addition to a traditional-style resume. After all, employers spend an average of 6 seconds viewing a resume. By incorporating a few simple ideas, your creative resume can help you stand out in a competitive hiring environment.  

How can a creative resume help you stand out from the crowd? Well, not only will a creative resume act as a chance to showcase your experience, but it is also a great way to showcase your professional brand, design-eye and creativity. 

To design a resume that will help you land that coveted interview, check out the tips below: 

Choose a Layout that Works for You

When it comes to a creative resume, you typically do not want to exceed one page. Therefore, it is important to choose a layout that works for you. One of the clearest ways to present information, and ensure that employers can easily read it, is by organizing it into columns. Columns let you clearly separate things like contact information, education, and skills from work and professional experience.  

Create a Visual Hierarchy of Information

To avoid getting overlooked, make sure that you put the most relevant information in a more visible spot than the less important information. For example, if you’re a recent graduate with no industry experience, focus on highlighting your education and skills closer to the top of your resume. In doing this, you’ll prevent a potential employer from missing something that could have ultimately landed you the job.  

Choose the Right Font(s)

You’ll want to use clean and easy-to-read fonts on your resume. In addition, ensure that you’re prioritizing readability by keeping text between 10 – 12 pts. As a rule of thumb, don’t use more than two typefaces. Instead, use colour, size and weight to demonstrate an emphasis or shift in information.  

Dare to Design

Like your resume, your cover letter should act as an extension of your portfolio. Make sure that the overall design of your cover letter conveys your personal brand and creative expertise. Don’t go overboard with colour, or other distracting elements, as the focus should be on your writing. In addition, make sure that your header matches that of your resume, for a seamless finish.

Consider Colour

Colour can be a great way to showcase your personal brand. However, you’ll want to refrain from using more than two colours, as you don’t want to distract from the content at hand. Be intentional about your colour choice by considering colour theory. For example, people typically view orange as vibrant and energetic, while blue is seen as professional and trustworthy.

Stand Out with Visual Elements
To make a bold statement, consider showcasing your own work. If you’re a typography wiz, you may want to design your name in an eye-catching way. Other visual elements that you might choose to incorporate in your resume include a logo, or border. If you’ve worked for well-known companies, adding their logos to your resume can help you stand out. Looking at a resume and automatically noticing a logo like Coca-Cola or Facebook can get the attention of employers without them reading a word.
Include a Call to Action

Whether you are going to call to follow-up or invite the employer to call you, be sure your cover letter sets the scene for the next step. Even something as simple as, “I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this position in greater detail.” reminds the employer there is an important next step.

Now that you know how to stand out when designing a creative resume, it is important to understand what not to do. While tasteful uses of colour, visual elements and design can aid your application, if done incorrectly, your resume may have the opposite effect. Continue reading to learn about what not to do when designing your creative resume:

  • Refrain from Including a Photo

    It is highly recommended to remove your headshot from your resume, as this may put you at a disadvantage. While I wish it weren’t the case, many companies and hiring departments can be prone to an unconscious bias depending on how you look. Having a headshot for your portfolio or other professional materials would be appropriate but leave it off your resume.

  • Don’t Measure Your Skills with a Bar Graph/Chart

    While this can look visually appealing, adding a bar graph to demonstrate your skills may remove value from your resume. Skill bars are innately subjective, and therefore unreliable. Instead, list your skills in easy-to-understand sections such as hard skills, soft skills & technical skills.  

    (Image Reference:, Timo, 2021) 

  • Don’t Get Carried Away

    It’s important to make sure that your resume is well organized and easy for hiring managers to read, so don’t get carried away with crazy colors, fonts, and gimmicks. Make sure essential information is well organized and separate it into digestible chunks by using columns, bullet points, and white space.  


    In conclusion, creative resumes are a great way to stand out from other applicants, showcase your personal style and program proficiencies. However, make sure to use this resume with caution. If you submit a creative resume to a company that uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), it may harm your chances of getting screened in. This article shares how you can determine if a company uses an ATS, and tips for getting screened in.