How to Use Creative Resumes to Catch Art Directors' Attention

An artistically creative resume

Your resume must stand out in a field like design — where every job opening prompts a pile of creative resumes on a hiring manager's desk. That's why designers are increasingly creative, playing with resume form and format to catch an art director's attention and land an interview.

But before getting creative in your approach to resumes, be sure to address the essentials. These resume basics include providing information about your career history; making sure you're clear, concise and error-free in your writing; and providing details of your skills and abilities. The following guidelines can help you balance the basics and your own creative ideas.

Choose a format for your creative resume

Resumes typically follow one of two formats:

  1. Chronological resumes list your employment history from current to past and are well-suited for designers who are newer to the profession.
  2. Managers or midcareer designers may prefer functional resumes – which begin with a personal summary or mission statement, list essential skills and then document previous responsibilities – or resumes that combine elements of both the chronological and functional styles.

Keep your audience in mind

Once you've gathered career information and selected a format, consider the audience. Advertising agencies and creative studios often receive resumes that are unusual or distinctive, but corporate human resources managers are more likely to prefer getting conventional resumes as Word or PDF files. Think about the company and the job you're applying for before you decide on packaging your resume as a pop-up book, for example.

Consider innovative options

If it's appropriate, consider unexpected or creative ways to design your resume. But don't be clever just for clever's sake. Hiring managers tend to disregard resumes that try too hard to be funny or are over the top. Design your resume strategically so it purposefully distinguishes your personal brand and abilities. A couple of ideas for creative resumes:

  • The infographic — Presenting data and information visually is trendy now. In fact, the infographic is the top unconventional format for resumes among marketing and advertising executives.
  • The package — If you're applying for a job in retail or packaging design, you might present your resume as a box or bag with all the relevant "product" information — about you.
  • The microsite — Interactive designers might consider creating one-page websites or microsites to display their resumes. Tailor your portfolio work to the company or market you're targeting in your job search.
  • The video — Video resumes aren't new, but they can be a distinctive adjunct to your job hunt. A video can capture your personality and demonstrate your enthusiasm about a job opportunity.

You'll also need to create a standard resume in Word or PDF. Any company that manages job applications online will require you to attach a conventional document, even if you're able to follow up with an out-of-the-box resume.

Regardless of format, be sure that your resume meshes with your personal brand identity. The entire package of communication from cover letter to follow-up should catch an art director's eye and speak with one distinctive voice: yours.