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Like new clothes you may have busted your budget for, spending money on a designer resume — one that is wildly creative in layout — doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get the job. It may, in fact, not even guarantee you’re putting your best foot forward.
So, how do you know when you need to use a designer resume? When should you stick with the tried-and-true classic template?
When to AVOID Getting Creative
In some cases, it’s essential to present a specific resume. As an example, when applying for jobs with the Federal Government, you will almost always need a special resume. Government employers aren’t interested in a fancy resume. They don’t want to be distracted from the information that’s on your resume. They want a standard, classic resume.
“You’ve probably been told that your resume is the most important document in your job search (and it is). But if you want to stand out from the competition, you need more than a great-looking resume. In the end, only qualified candidates will get called for an interview, and only those that know how to interview will get the job.” – The Best Resume Does Not Always Mean You Will Get the Job
Although you can research exactly how to create this kind of resume from the Internet, it might be in your best interest to seek a pro who specializes in creating resumes for federal jobs (such as CareerProPlus). Professionals know all the nuisances involved and can help ensure you’re meeting the very strict requirements when applying for such a position.
In short, if you’re applying to a government job, it’s a safe bet you won’t need a designer resume.
When to Get Creative
When you’re in the creative industry, you should get creative with your resume. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, your resume should reflect that visually. Your resume is your first impression, and it should convey your creativity. By esthetics only, you need to prove you have the skills to get the job done.
But beware, if you’re applying for a management position in the creative industry, steer clear of a designer resume with all the bells and whistles. The point is to present your experience and credentials. They’re not going to hire you because of your design skills, but rather your professionalism.
Private Sector Jobs Offer Some Leeway
But how about those of us looking for jobs in the private sector but not in the creative industry? Will a designer resume make your resume stand out? Or, will an overreaching and not-standard resume result in you being overlooked?
Some hiring managers and H.R. execs simply see a designer resume as distracting and desperate. “Resumes should be clear, clean, and to the point,” says Sue Karlin, President of Suka Creative.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t add some creativity in your resume (see these federal resumes as an example), without taking it too far. Rob Wallace of Wallace Church says you don’t need to be a graphic designer to present a visual interesting resume. Mr. Wallace suggests any applicant could use a logo, consider their font, even explore an expressive color.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, consider your industry and the job for which you are applying. You need to walk a thin line between setting yourself apart from the sea of other applicants and branding yourself as over-reaching and desperate.