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8 Creative Resume Styles Recruiters Will Love
Paolese / AdobeStock
Kristen Farrell
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This year is a milestone year for my parents. Both my mom and my dad turn 60. They met more than 40 years ago at Manhattan College. Upon graduating, my parents got married and started looking for their first jobs. My mom was hired by a local cable company and my father got a job at HBO. How did they apply to those jobs? They saw a job advertisement in the New York Times and mailed in a cover letter and resume.

It is pretty incredible to think about how much has changed for job seekers. We live in the age of LinkedIn profiles, digital portfolios, personal websites and video resumes. Individuals not only apply for positions by video, but they quit their jobs by videos that go viral. 

In 2018, is a traditional resume obsolete? The answer to that question will always be no. However, there hasn’t been one type of resume template for quite some time, nor will the job market ever go back to that model.

So, what should your resume look like in 2018? First and foremost, it should not look like it did two years ago. As a marketing professional, I tend to think of my resume as a social media platform. Started a new job? Update your resume. Got promoted? Update your resume. Learned a new skill? Update your resume. As you progress in your career, you should make it a habit to update your resume and LinkedIn profile in real-time — and remove things from your resume that are no longer relevant. If you don’t share that information, how will prospective employers know?

Resumes are also like websites. You should update your resume’s design every couple of years. Resume templates change as fast as website templates. It’s important to stay abreast of these changes so you are never out of touch with the modern resume.

If you haven’t updated your resume in a while, now is the time to do it. Here are eight creative resume styles that will make you stand out.

1. The Colorful Resume

Spice up your resume with a touch of color. This Goldenrod Yellow theme is a Microsoft Word compatible resume template that has a clean design and enough color to guide the eye down the entire page.

Tips: Use a color that you like and that is legible. Also, make sure you can answer the question, “Why did you use that color?”

2. The Modern Font Resume

Times New Roman has not been the default Microsoft Word font for quite some time. While there’s nothing wrong with the font, why not explore modern fonts that may better represent your personality? A study called The Baskerville Experiment: Font And Its Influence on Our Perception of Truth shows that font influences how readers perceive a message. Therefore, typographers and designers recommend the following fonts:

  • Georgia
  • Gill Sans and Gill Sans Light
  • Calibri
  • Constantia
  • Merriweather

This Sleek and Simple resume template has the classic resume feel and can easily be updated to use any font that is installed on your computer.

Tips: Choose a font that is aesthetically pleasing like one of the above.

3. The Border Resume

Templates that have a border are great for two reasons. First, they have a simple yet elegant design. Second, a border boxes in the content that you want employers to see and therefore helps guide the eye to your experiences.

The Simple Green resume template is an example of a colored border on all four sides. Though, there are other templates that have a border on the top and the bottom only or just one of those sides.

Tips: Make sure the border your use is not overwhelming as you don’t want it to overshadow your skills. Also, test how your resume will look printed in both color and black and white before committing to this style. You have no control over how a hiring manager will print your resume and you want to make sure it will look good in all formats.

4. The Patterned Resume

Incorporating a pattern into your resume brings out your personality.

This Green Florals Creative Resume theme is a great example of how a pattern can make your resume blossom. Here’s another floral-themed resume template that incorporates a pattern behind the text.

Tips: A patterned resume is not appropriate for all careers. This style is best for a professional in a design or creative-focused job. Also, just like the border resume, test how your resume will look if it is printed in color or in black and white.

5. The Headshot Resume

Are you an actor or do you work in a client-facing role such as sales or real estate? Consider trying a resume template that includes your headshot. A resume is your first impression and including your headshot communicates that you are confident and comfortable interacting with people.

The Modern and Chic photo resume template is a great example. It also showcases some of the other design elements discussed in this article, including using color and a modern font.

Tips: Your headshot should not be front and center. Your resume needs to communicate why you’re qualified for a position. Also, make sure the picture you use has a high resolution so it prints well.

6. The Two-Column Resume

Most resume templates have two columns. Although, there are thousands of ways you can format content in two columns.

For example: This Plain and Simple resume template separates its two columns with a simple line. That template has a much more traditional feel than this Light Gray Brush Creative Resume design, which is artsy and puts the contact information that is usually at the top in the left column.

Tips: A good multi-column resume template will have a fair amount of white space so it has a clean look. While you can play with margins to fit content to one page, don’t change the template too much as that defeats the purpose of using a template.

7. The Timeline Resume

The timeline resume is a great template to use if your goal is to show career growth over a period of time. You may want to communicate this when you are applying for a promotion or a job that is a level above where you are now.

Even though every resume is chronological, timeline templates make your career progression more visually interesting. Take a look at this Resume Full Shot example, which also incorporates color, an interesting border and icons to represent skills.

Tips: Some timeline templates will limit the amount of information you can put on your resume, so make sure you are highlighting accomplishments that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.

8. The Infographic Resume

An infographic resume template comes in all shapes and sizes. This style takes the timeline resume to the next level and will incorporate almost all of the creative elements discussed in this article.

This Pastel Modern Icons Infographic Resume breakdowns your experiences, skills and accomplishments into manageable chucks on information. A template like this is a home run if you’re applying to a position that involves creating infographics and making presentations.

Tips: The infographic resume template example is from Canva, which is a great free marketing tool for creating everything from infographics to emails to social media graphics. Finding a great resume template there is icing on the cake!

If you’re feeling a little lost or overwhelmed, have no fear! There are a ton of free online resources that make it easy to incorporate these creative touches. Start with the examples provided and then explore other resume templates from places like the following:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Freesumes.com
  • Canva

Always remember that, even though there's no longer one way to write a resume, simplicity is always key.

Also, think of creativity in terms of your profession. While a marketer’s creative resume could highlight key skills in an infographic, a programmer’s creative resume could make key skills pop as a tag cloud.

At the end of the day, your resume should be a true reflection of your professional self. Research these styles and more until you find the resume template that works best for you and your career.

Kristen Farrell is a professional communicator who previously worked in human resources. She shares career lessons and everyday experiences on her blog: kristen-farrell.com. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her running, crafting, or spending time with her husband, Jonathan and cat, Trotsky. 

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