Emily Henderson

Why You Didn't Get The Job ...

Dissecting The Good (And Bad) Resume In A Creative Field

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Design by Yasmin Leão

I’ve hired (and not hired) many people over the last seven years and I can tell you right now what will help you get a job in a creative field: A COMPELLING RESUME. We have all heard that “you will never get a second chance to make a first impression,” which rings even more true with a potential employer, when you hand over (or email) your resume (especially in the design field). Think of your resume as your “first impression rose.” Yes, there is still room to get a rose at the end of the night, but with that first impression rose in hand you are golden. It is very hard to ruin a good first impression, and likewise, it is very hard to fix a bad one. With that said, it is 2016, and it is time to amp up your resume. Gone are the days when you could apply for a creative position by simply handing over a boring piece of paper with your credentials on it, so let’s break down the pitt falls and the peaks of what makes or breaks a good resume.

First, lets start with the bad:

bland_resume

1. The “Zero Personality” Resume: Your resume is the first thing a potential employer is going to see, so while you don’t want to assault their eyes with visual chaos, you also don’t want to look like every other resume out there. The content and personality you can display is heavily dependent on the field you work in. If you’re applying for a position on Wall Street, then it’s probably best to leave off the hand drawn flowers and organic lines. But, since we’re talking about creative industries where you can get a little more creative with your resume, there’s nothing wrong with introducing a little color to the page. You’d be surprised at how many resumes we’ve seen, from folks applying for creative positions, showing little to no personality. It’s shocking and upsetting. If you are applying for a creative position then you are, 9 times out of 10, a creative person – SO, get creative, and don’t be basic.

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to have a beautiful resume (more on this later).

Bad_Graphic_Design_Resume
Too_Many_Graphics

2. The “Try Hard” Resume: Now, on the opposite spectrum of the “Zero-Personality” resume we have this type – the “Try Hard” Resume. It does show creativity, I will give you that. But there is a fine line between being creative and looking like someone that, based on their resume, would take “casual Friday” way too far. Keep it professional. A few well placed graphics, the right font, and a two-tone design can go a long way in exemplifying you as the perfect candidate on your resume. Making your resume unique doesn’t have to involve 7 different colors, or overly graphic images. The above resumes probably have perfectly acceptable information, but the designs are just very distracting. I give all of these resumes an A+ for design and creativity effort, but they are slightly missing the mark and verge on juvenile.

Resume_With_Too_Much_Information
Resume_Too_Much_Information

3. The “TMI” Resume: We all have that friend that feels the need to name drop, and one-up you during every conversation. So it is with the “TMI” resume. We get it – you’re amazing, and totally qualified for the job. But, instead of showcasing everything you’ve done, a resume with too much information tends to look like verbal vomit, and causes most employers to skip through most of the info. It’s just too much to take in (unless your field requires extensive, in-depth descriptions of your skills, and previous experience). Generally a person spends 6 – 10 seconds perusing a resume (I am generous so I gave potential candidates a good 30 seconds – I JOKE), so keep it relevant, concise, and organized. Put the most important information “above the fold” (near the top of the page) and keep it simple. You can do the majority of your bragging during the interview, once you nab an appointment.

Not_Enough_Resume_Information

3. The “MIA” Resume: Less is more, but we still want to know something. Make sure your resume has enough information to inform a potential employer of the work experience you have. A sentence or two detailing the responsibilities you had at your previous jobs can help them quickly assess if you’ve had the experience they’re looking for. If you have jobs unrelated to the position you’re applying for don’t let them outnumber the amount of jobs you’re listing that are related. It is totally cool to include that you worked part-time for Anthropology, even if you’re applying for Graphic Design position. But, don’t list 5 retail jobs that really have nothing to do with the position, just to “fill out” your resume.

Badly_Laid_Out_Resume
Bad_Resume_03

4. The “Spacial Unawareness” Resume: The layout of your resume is so important to the final look. You could have a closet full of awesome items, but if you can’t put one outfit together then you are S.O.L my friend. Same with your resume. You could be the most qualified person for the position, but if you can’t seem to organize that in a way that makes sense you will be doing yourself a disservice. That means no huge blocks of white space, type that’s too small, or confusing “artistic” arrangements. Organize your resume into clear sections or bullets with room for the eye to rest, and utilize the whole page. As a general rule, your resume should never continue onto a second page, as no one will bother to flip the page, so change up your margins or spacing as needed.

Inapropriate_Resume

6. The “Typecast” Resume: Having the wrong font on your resume can immediately typecast you as the wrong fit for the job. In general, the body of your resume should be a sans serif font (which means it does not have the little “feet” on the top and bottom of each letter). Why? It tends to look cleaner and more modern, especially when typed in a small size. Don’t use 5 different fonts, even if you do think you know what you are doing, and have some amazing fonts in your arsenal. Keep it simple and stick to one or two fonts, using the different weights of the font to create separation between the headers and body.

And may the record forever be stated that (in my opinion) there are certain fonts that should never appear on a professional resume, including, but not limited to, Papyrus, Edwardian Script, and Comic Sans. In fact, Comic Sans should never appear anywhere. Ever.

OK – enough about what not to do, let’s move onto the good news.

Here are a few examples of resumes we think work. They’re elegant, clean, simple, and unique to you. Some of them have a little less information, and are more graphic, while others have a more standard appearance, but still with that hint that aesthetics were considered. The best part? If you’re no graphic designer, some of these resumes are templates you can buy, and fill in with your information. So you really have no excuse.

Interesting_Graphic_Resume_Layout

Design By Anneleen Maelfeyt

Beautiful_Feminine_Resume

Template by Creative Market

Good_Designed_Creative_Resume

Design by Evelien Callens

fun_cute_resume

Design by Sara Duncan

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Left – Design by Justin Pocta | Right – Source

Masculine_Clean_Resume

Template by Creative Market

Beautiful_Design_Resume

Design by Jess Gerrow

Floral_Resume

Design by Leila Karimi

And then, you could always go off page entirely, and come up with some totally inventive and crazy ways to share your resume. We once got one of those little plastic click cameras, where you insert a disk with images that rotate like a mini projector, and it had the portfolio images of the applicant. Although the candidate wasn’t the right for the position (the guy turned out to be over-qualified), we still talk about his resume, and how it was presented (in fact we still talk to him, and will probably someday hire him once we have the budget). It was really unique, completely original and we still have it sitting on our shelves. I call that a GOOD “first impression rose.”

Innovatie_Resume_Pack

Design by Mikaël Thiolet

Innovative_Resume_Ideas

Left – Design By Cai Griffith of She Was Only for Jon Ryder  | Right – Design by Rob Jervis

Bribing an employer with chocolate has never proven to hurt your chances of getting the job. Not sure if the pills scenario is a good idea, but I can appreciate that the person has a sense of humor (or an extreme addiction).

Just for fun, here are a few resumes from our crew. We’re not claiming they’re stellar examples of everything a resume should be (and they actually have both said they would revise and redesign their resumes now – so they didn’t want to let me include them). But they both left an impression and must have done something right, because they got the interview – and the job.

Microsoft Word - BT Resume 2014_revised.doc
SLT_CV_PDF_For_Blog_Post

The long and the short of it: If you’re applying for a position as a creative show your value, skills, and personality in a way that is graceful, creative, and concise. Don’t make someone guess if you know Quickbooks, Photoshop or Excel – write that down. Don’t make them wonder if you have a sense of humor or like to have fun – show them visually, and with taste. We get hundreds of resumes or emails for each job and the ones that offer up the information in the most concise, creative ways get the interviews.

Next up? How to prep for that interview . . .

UPDATE: Many people in the comments think that some of these resumes are ridiculous and wouldn’t get them an interview in their field. If you are applying to be a doctor then No, you don’t need to have a super designed resume – this is advice for the potentials in the design industry. As a design team we have seen so many resumes come across our desks, good and bad, so we are speaking from our personal experience and letting you know how/why we bring in potential hires to interview. While these tips may not be absolutely universal I think its safe to say that having an interesting font, a slight variation in color and being concise and yet looking interesting is never bad advice for any field. Despite how serious your job is it doesn’t hurt to look like you might also be a fun person to sit next to. Am I wrong on that one?

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    1. If you’re a jerk I’m a jerk too. These resumes are really pretty, but as an avid Ask A Manager reader/person who hires at a tech company, I can’t help but give most of them the side eye. There are basically no accomplishments listed on any of the “good” resumes – a resume needs to show your value and skills via showing what you’ve done. While it is stated in the first sentence that this is advice to “get a job in a creative field”, I feel like it needs to be in the post title or something and referenced more often throughout . This advice is not good advice for a lot of job seekers who aren’t looking in the creative field and I’m afraid that might get lost to someone who doesn’t read every word carefully.

      Sorry for the negative post. Normally I’m of the mind that if a post doesn’t float my boat, I don’t need to comment – I can just click away. But job hunting is a tricky game, and I feel like this advice could be a disservice to people applying to a lot of jobs. For job advice, people should be reading blogs that focus on that – like Ask A Manager. I’ll stick with you for home design advice! :)

      1. I think that’s exactly what Emily is directly referring to – resumes for creative positions. She says right up there somewhere in the second paragraph that the way your resume can look is “heavily dependent” on the field you’re in. She’s given advice for young people in design fields before (I fall into that category, and hope I’m not the only one?), so I think this falls under that category. Super helpful for me!

        1. No Ana, I know you’re trying to be kind, but do not take this advice. Take the advice of a career counselor at your college (if you are still attending) or a career coach. These were not good resumes, for any field.

          1. Looks very gimmicky to me, if the boss hiring is into such things then you’re in luck if you send him a box of chocolate. In my country, NOPE, NO WAY, unless you’re implying to want to start personal relationship with the boss..

          2. Uh, no. People who advise people about getting a job and are not actually out in the workforce themselves rarely have the right info.

            I’ve gotten the worst advice ever from so called career counselors. As someone who also hires in the creative field, I like almost all of those cited as good examples.

            Re: claims of not enough info — that’s not really the job of a resume. The idea, IMO, is to entice an employer to want to meet you and bring you in for an interview. You want to show you have some design skill without going into your life history. That’s what the interview is for.

            The only thing I didn’t like was the idea of gifts or chocolates. To me, that’s super cheesy and would be a negative (as much as I love both gifts and chocolate!)

            Remember, this is for creative fields only. If you’re in IT or accounting or whatever, your resume will probably look different.

            I recommend checking out your potential employers branded materials and seeing how conservative they seem to be. If they come across as very safe and corporate, your resume should probably stick to basics.

      2. As someone who works in a creative field (formerly at an ad agency and now at an architecture firm) I have to say even here a resume covered with flowers or other odd imagery would probably be tossed in the bin. Utilizing a personal logo, a strong layout, and a color or two is important, but start covering it in flowers or stars or dinosaurs and I am just not going to be able to take you seriously.

        1. This is all so interesting. Ok i’m going to edit it to make sure that it reflects jobs just in a creative (and maybe even specifically design) job. No need to make people upset.

          1. Some of these people are insane. I thought it was a great post. If people can’t filter out the irrelevant points to your life you shouldn’t be reading blogs. Everyone’s different. Every job is different. Every recipient of incoming resumes is different. Insane that people take the time to hate so much (made me take the time to write my first ever comment on a blog. Ever. ).

          2. I found this post incredibly relevant and accurate. Being a designer or creative means being open to what may seem uncomfortable to others. Well written!

        2. The resume, the attire, the conversation is directed at the “client”, a recruiter and a hiring manager. Figure out who they are and appeal to them, instead of trying to appeal to your creative self. A business that wants to hire a designer is still a business and they must know what you can do, as opposed to seeing creative resume. A resume is not the same as marketing materials. It might help to have an online portfolio. But resume itself must be well written and readable and well-oganized. Everything else is secondary. For a creative profession, perhaps a top banner or a logo will help or a sidebar. Don’t send packages, candy, CDs. Remember who your client is and who sorts the resume’s. A recruiter has to go through hundreds of resumes every day. Do you think he will have the time to open a box of candy and try to read what it says? Emily you are actually looking for quirky people to join your business. Will Anna Wintour like flowers on a resume? I think she’s business focused and no nonsense kind of person. Looking at a portfolio will help and reading a good resume, perhaps directing to an online portfolio or linkedIn, but not flowers or CDs.

          1. Don’t be obtuse. Design students now are encouraged if not required to produce leave-behinds like the chocolates photographed; they’re tokens to send to interviewers as thank-you gifts, and they are considered to be important in my field (visual design and creative tech). It’s fine if you don’t understand how the hiring process for creatives works, but don’t speak to it.

          2. This^

            Perfectly took words out of my mouth, Emily is the boss hiring and she wants quirky people like her who are fun to be with at work and best if becoming friends with each other. I get that that’s her style but writing a post that’s gonna be viewed by many including first time job applicants telling them it’s OK to put pictures on your resume is BAD, very bad.

            This post will be better if it’s titled to “How I Want Your Resume To Look Like If You Are Applying To Join Emily Henderson Studio” or my personal preferences for resumes instead of encouraging people to get “creative”. Many people like I say are applying jobs for the first time, so please don’t give false impression that generally the bosses like gimmicky stuff. Actually I don’t even think 1% of bosses in this world will like these resumes (flowers and fonts..). Sorry if I’m being too honest.

    2. 200% agree. your audience isn’t just the “creative types” and some of these “good” resumes are down right horrible (at least outside the “creative world”).

        1. You are such a patient saint! I don’t understand the flack, although it seems like there are a LOT of uptight HR people in this post. I’m a visual designer and would hate to work at an agency where creative, well-designed resumes are thrown away immediately. Whether the design style suits your personal tastes should really have no influence on your decision making – a resume design as well as a portfolio should demonstrate solid design sensibility, type handling, sophisticated use of color and placement. I think it’s awesome that other creative fields are interested in the same skills, and I think it’s even better that you’re fostering a hiring environment where people can feel safe being their talented, creative selves.

      1. You are COMPLETELY correct. There is always a sense of “style” for all fields, but it is often more restrained than the “creative world”. I am an architect but studied architectural engineering and when I was a student looking for an internship I once ran out of “engineering resumes” and submitted one of my architecture resumes to a company. The company was not interested in me and took the time to let me know how hugely unprofessional my resume was.That taught me a valuable less about appropriate styling, including font.
        All that said I do enjoy this post and I think this is a “style” blog and resumes (first impressions) hinge on style!

    3. I think those who are upset by this post need to remember that Emily is in the CREATIVE industry is a CREATIVE, so she, naturally & rightly, is writing & creating content from that point. And I think it’s safe to assume that’s why most of us are reading her blog…because we appreciate her perspective on things! So, I feel it’s a bit hypocritical to get our panties in a wad when she writes about a behind the scenes aspect of the industry she works in.

      She once posted advice for interns that was incredibly helpful for me jumping into the first internship a more straight-laced commercial interiors firm. The company was pretty different from a business like Emily’s, and so I had to use common sense, my knowledge of the commercial interiors industry and business I was working for to adapt (and even ignore some of) the advice for my situation. But it still helped succeed in that internship. The same goes for this post, I know what companies I desire to work for and can choose which of the suggestion, if any of them, would be most appropriate for the career I’m pursuing. Obviously, I’m not going to use that floral example if I was pursuing a commercial design position (it’s called common sense), but if I was hoping for a position with firms that have a more creative & light-hearted approach to design (like Emily’s!) that could be a smart move to show I get the aesthetic of the firm! But having read this post, I’m better equipped to put together my resume & layout and know a few pit-falls to consider avoiding. Anyone would be a fool to blindly follow the advice Emily (or anyone) gives without giving careful consideration to their own context and applying it accordingly.

      Many of Emily’s readers, myself included, ARE creatives trying to succeed in creative industries. We read Emily’s blog for different reasons than you. We read because she is excellent at her craft and building an incredible business (which makes her qualified to give us career advice)! We read her blog hoping to glean a little knowledge from someone who’s doing the very thing we’re working towards and learn how to better forge our own path in the rapidly changing & growing creative industry! So while this post may not be relevant to you, please remember before you complain that this is SO relevant to readers like me and career advice relevant to our fields can be so different, and therefore way less available than other fields!

      Thank you so much, Emily, for taking the time to pour into other designers & creatives success, as well as being an inspiration to us!

      …and thus concludes my essay of a comment…

        1. Agree Agree Agree that the content of this post is great—As someone who is building a creative business I am always interested and appreciate the opinion of other creative professionals who are on the same path. Posts about resume style and content, business challenges, developments in the field, and interior design projects are all equally interesting to me. Keep them coming!!

      1. Here Here!!!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself! If you don’t like it, don’t do it !
        As someone also in a creative interior design based role, who hires other designers, I love this post! It’s so interesting to me to see how everyone is responding to it . I also feel slightly validated in my own opinions of resumes. Ha! There are so many resources out there nowadays, to do a plain-Jane style resume just shows that you don’t use your tools. I think there is room in every industry for a little bit more style ! (Said the designer) ?

    4. Agree that we should stick to interior designs here, Emily is branching out so much in 2016, just the first month it’s getting scary, like she’s attempting to talk about EVERYTHING under the sun, not that she shouldn’t (we enjoy hearing her talk) but I think generally it HAS TO BE related to interior designs and her interior styling secrets.

      I am also not a fan of those fashion and beauty products some of which are not available from my country, WTH.

      As a person who applied and called up for many interviews and nailing interviews on first meeting, I say a lot of the so call “good resumes” she stated are more like HER personal preference, like how you want to style YOUR resume to impress HER. It doesn’t work in real life. LOL. Sorry..

      1. Who are you to tell Emily Henderson what subjects she can address on her blog? It’s HER blog. If you don’t want to read a particular post, then don’t. Just skip it.

  1. I think these are beautiful and aesthetically appealing, but they are very graphic design/tech/new media oriented. I’m in the humanities and I have worked with a headhunter to streamline my resume/CV but I have found in my field, employers require a more descriptive “TMI” resume. I think in certain fields there is emphasis on knowledge of different creative suites or applications and those are easier to list concisely. If I simply listed bullets with “grants, collections care, teaching, etc” I’d fall into the “MIA” category. Furthermore, many universities use resume submission software that requires a “cut/paste,” plain text, no frills, content-focused application. So even when I have attempted a more graphically interesting layout, I don’t always get to showcase it. That said, this IS a design website…so maybe I wasn’t your target audience (vocationally speaking).

    1. I agree with this! I am a programmer involved in both the submitting and reading of resumes. A good descriptive/TMI is usually better for a programmers resume if it is organized well. You want to present the fact that you know what you are doing and that you meet all the requirements for the job which are usually a lot! What makes a “good” resume is very much geared towards the field/position you are applying for.

  2. Loved seeing all these and getting an understanding of what a good resume in this field looks like in mixing the pretty with required information.
    For me, creativity sparks creativity no matter what form it takes.
    Thanks Emily!

      1. Ha. I can’t believe how controversial this post became. When we were brainstorming it we all got so excited in the office to post it thinking that EVERYONE would love it. Whoops. Live and learn :)

        1. You do you. I love this blog so much and get sad when people start complaining about posts. I love this blog and look forward to reading it every day! 99.9% of the posts are amazing. If you don’t like a post, just come back tomorrow!

          1. I agree! I am a lawyer who works in real estate, so this advice is not for me, but I still find it very interesting. I will also keep it in mind for my daughters who may pursue more creative fields. And I really dislike when readers tell Emily what to or not to post about. I like her perspective on a range of topics.

        2. Wow, people need to calm the hell down. :)

          Considering how many people responded to your previous post about your team hiring new positions (here and on instagram), you’d think this post would be a great insight for when you’re hiring next time! I’m not in design but I’d love to work with you! and if I was a designer this would give me the dos and dont’s of applying for a job with you. I think it’s great!

        3. I DO LOVE IT!!! And I need this, Emily. I’ve been stuck at the same job for 6 years because I’m afraid of the unknown. I have no idea what people who are hiring in the creative industry expect, and really appreciate the advice! And I definitely want a post on what to expect in an interview!

        4. As a creative coming out of school I really, really appreciate this post. There isn’t a lot of information like this out there for us, so please don’t let the grumps discourage you from doing posts like this in the future – You can’t please everyone!

        5. Hi Emily, hope you get to read my little comment out of the hundred here, it’s totally ok and fine if you’re writing this post to share with us your recruiting experience and what kind of resumes impress you.

          Unfortunately, the presentation of these posts recently (including the design mistakes “faux look”) seems to come across as YOU bashing other people’s works and preferences. It’s not very professional and nice of you to ride on other people’s failures when you have a blog that gets millions of readers.

          Many of us read your blog everyday, love your voice and love your quirkiness in designs but I think the blog is branching out too much in 2016. I will appreciate if you will speak more in your old blogging kind of voice where you just share and talk stuff instead feeling the need to show 10 bad designs, 10 bad resumes, 10 bad “insert anything”. Thank you and have a nice day. :)

          1. I like the good and bad comparisons. I feel like I learn a lot more from them because you always explain why it’s not working. And I come here to learn (rather than trawl Pinterest) and you’ve saved me so many times (rugs that are too small, curtains hung at the wrong height, an overly drab resume).
            So no, you’re not being mean when you explain why something doesn’t work. it’s feedback and we all grow from it.

      2. Seriously, Ask A Manager. Blog and community full of people who are doing hiring, and do a lot of hiring for their jobs. Love Emily, but read her advice, take it as one interviewer’s specific opinion, and then please get your interview advice from them.

  3. My current resume format most closely resembles Brady’s. In fact, my format was created in my interior design professional practices college course where we were graded on how we presented our content in the most “design firm/ business professional” manner. Some of my classmates tried more quirky formats like the “good examples” above, but were met with resistance from our professor. She beleived that it was better to have “a well-composed and formatted resume, than a graphically beautiful one”. I guess it’s beecause you never know who’s hands it will fall into (i.e. a straight-laced suit and tie professional, or a hip and cool blue jeans and fringe booties individual). :) I suppose I agree, but it’s very limiting. Also, when posting on job websites, I found it really hard to keep my formatted resume in tact. Most sites will simply extract your information from a Word file or PDF, so all that hard work normally gets lost. Thanks so much though for bringing some awareness. I could definitely stand to update mine more often and perhaps inject a little humor. :)

    1. “Excellent communications and customer service” (?)
      “You never know who’s hands it will fall into.”
      “It’s hard to keep my formatted resume in tact.”

      Some people have an instinctive knowledge of correct usage in regard to spelling, grammar, etc. Find one and have them edit your work. It will make you look as smart as you probably are!

  4. I’m not in a creative profession so I can’t do this but they’re fun to see.

    There are some fun resumes and resume templates at prezi.com, if you can use an electronic slide show type display as a resume.

  5. So helpful for creatives! I also hire creative positions, and just a few tiny design details (and a well designed website!) show me their design skills the minute I start reading.

  6. LOVE THIS. I find this post extremely helpful in knowing what you (a professional in the design/creative industry) feel is a good resume. I agree that it is a fine line between being too creative and still looking professional on paper but these guidelines are very helpful for someone looking to rework their resume. Thanks!

    1. Agreed! So great to have some professional creative input from someone that is in the design world. Although, I do think that all of these tips are pretty universal and can be used for any field, taking into account what she mentioned about content being dictated by what field you are applying for.

  7. Yay for candid and professional help with one of the hardest things to put together as a young professional. I’ll be using these tips very soon.

  8. I loved this post! As a Design Director, I also have looked at MANY poorly designed resumes over the years. For someone starting out in a creative field who looks to your blog for inspiration and guidance I think this post was super relevant and in some cases may be eye opening. Thank you for providing well rounded design content.

      1. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw negative comments to this post. I mean, seriously?! People need to get over themselves.

        Also, I hate the grammar police that keeps coming back to your blog for an unknown reason. Guess what grammar police, we are not all native English speakers and we just couldn’t care less if the text is grammatically perfect.

        Bravo Emily, this was super useful for me and please keep such posts coming!

  9. Some of these comments are pretty harsh! I thought it was an interesting post. I work in a field that straddles business/creative (marketing/communications for a healthcare nonprofit) and it’s often hard for me to strike the right tone with my resume. I think some of the more subdued creative resumes are great examples that I can keep in mind next time I refresh mine. Although I will say, I have to include a lot more info in mine than those examples. I guess I’m a TMI person, but I won’t get an interview at all if I don’t list off some of my responsibilities and accomplishments.

  10. I have to say I fall into the “let’s not talk about this here” team. While I understand the need to have a visually attractive resume, I work in HR software as my career and know that “designed” resumes actually can get you automatically weeded out of a job. Love the idea of “pretty” resumes, the but the reality is, software, competitive job seeker markets and time are some of the biggest items on the other side of the table for recruiters. Designed resumes can work against those items and drive recruiters nuts. KISS- applies to resumes from the recruiters standpoint.

  11. I thought this post was super helpful even to NON creative field types. I see so many craptastic resumes. Usually tmi and pages long. I also see tons of poor formats. You don’t have to be in the creative field to have it look nice. Maybe not flowers but gosh, I’d be thrilled with resumes that looked like these. And my husband is in the creative field and looking at what others are doing is inspiring and helpful.
    On to the interview post! I’m on board!

  12. I know some aren’t loving this post, but I’ve been considering looking for an interior designer to work under and it’s great to hear some advice from a designer out in the field on what catches her eye on a resume. Thanks for the advice and loving all the posts lately. Some really great and strong content.

  13. Really enjoyed this post. Seeing things from a business creative insider perspective is so interesting. Looks like a lot of time and thought went into it – great job.

  14. I like this post. As someone who started in Graphic Design (I have since switched to Marketing), I agree that your resume is the first piece that will be seen by a potential employer.

    That being said, I would steer more towards a bit more of a conventional resume if you are applying for a GD job for a larger or more corporate company. I actually think Brady’s does a terrific job of walking that line. That may just be my experience (coupled with a particularly bad interview with Altria who kind of ripped it apart)

  15. Well, I’m a stay-at-home mom with no immediate plans to apply for a job and I still read this entire post AND found it to be informative and entertaining content. Also, I don’t think it’s even possible to write a substantial design post every. single. day.

  16. I am soooo tired of the negative comments. I am 76 today, a retired design professional and love Emily’s blog and have followed daily since Design Star. Guess what Gang, she is a whole person, not just an designer/stylist and this is her Blog!
    Read or don’t read, like it or not, move on or not, but slamming, forget about it! Who cares? and nobody needs it. In my book Emily has a very unique special voice and adds value to my days whatever she talks about.

    1. Yes! I so appreciate that almost every day there is new content here. It gives me a reliable place to go when I need a 5 minute break between projects at work and I really appreciate that.

      I think this topic definitely falls within the purview of the blog, but even if it didn’t, why would I complain? I can’t emphasize this point to fellow readers enough – Until I (or you) start paying for content I don’t think I (or you) have the right to dictate what the content should be.

      And the subject of creative field resumes today? Perfect! I work for the career services office of a top tier MBA school. ALL of these examples are formatted in a way we would never allow. It was great to see things from the ‘other side’ before getting back to work on employment statistics.

    2. Hear, hear! (And happy birthday!) Love this comment and agree whole-heartedly.

      This blog content is 100% free to the reader, so if a particular post isn’t your cup of tea, why not just close out of the browser and try again tomorrow?

      Emily, I applaud your team for keeping the blog so fresh and interesting week after week. It’s not easy.

    3. Amen. I am 48 and remember a world before blogs existed. I still get excited every single day to visit my favorite blogs and sort of can’t believe that we get all this amazing content from such smart creative people for FREE!!!

    4. Yay – Vicki! I agree with everything you said!! Yes, this is Emily’s Blog! The resume advice for creatives is a very interesting topic, but at the end of the day, people need to figure out what works for them! Comments lacking tact are so very unnecessary!

    5. I agree with you, Vicki. It’s a great, big world and there’s lots to get upset about…blog content is not on my list. I fully expect that any blog will change and evolve as the creator does. Life would be dull if we all stayed the same!

      And Emily, I appreciate your willingness to read, respond and stay involved with your readers. You keep doing you, girl.

    6. Agree Agree Agree that the content of this post is great—As someone who is building a creative business I am always interested and appreciate the opinion of other creative professionals who are on the same path. Posts about resume style and content, business challenges, developments in the field, and interior design projects are all equally interesting to me. Keep them coming!!

  17. I want to jump into the fray! I agree this is a little random but I actually got into it. As a creative at an ad agency, this definitely applies to my field.

  18. I found this poster super insightful as I am trying to change the path of my creative career. It was really interesting to see what kind of graphic design you are intrigued by as an interior designer. Your point of view is unique and is totally relevant. I am a graphic designer and have a slightly minimal design aesthetic so this post has reminded me to consider my audience/future employers. Thank you! And just remember … Haters gonna hate!

  19. As someone in a straight-laced field, I found this interesting and helpful. I look to creative resumes when updating mine. It is easy to dial back the personality into something more traditional, but I find it difficult to introduce new elements without some inspiration.

    Introducing a small amount of color and some different formatting helped give my resume personality, which helped to balance out the overall “TMI” effect from needing to list tons of specific experience (as is expected for my field).

    I’m adding these to my inspiration folder for next time I feel like switching things up.

  20. It’s likely that I’ll never use this information myself, but I consider myself a creative/somewhat design-savvy human, and I thought this was really interesting. I read all the way through for what amounts to entertainment purposes (which is basically why I read any blog) and this both piqued my interest and held my attention. So! Thumbs-up from here. :)

  21. Ha! The “not my cup of tea” section in Pieter’s CV is something I would surely omit. Doesn’t seem like a team player when you say you don’t want to do project management or administrative tasks. Everyone has to do some of that, at some time, no? I wouldn’t take up space on my resume telling people what I don’t prefer to do.

    1. Seriously. I am a manager and would immediately throw this resume into the trash. The last person I want on my team is someone who immediately tells me what they DON’T want to do.

    2. I had the exact same thought. Especially in any kind of small firm or organization, that sort of work has to be done, and usually everyone has to do it at some point.

      (also, inherent sexism re: traditionally female sorts of tasks…? hmm…)

    3. That, and the ‘Ellen’s man, Charlie’s father’ bit. SO not an appropriate thing to include when applying for a job in the US.

      I’m aware, however, that more personal info is included in CVs overseas. I worked admin briefly in the UK and had to reply to all the people who didn’t get my job. There were a lot of photos, and one woman even included her measurements.

  22. I’m not mad at this post at all, in fact I ate it up and I even checked out the resume sites listed. I’m in Education so I can’t use all of them but I most certainly plan on changing my resume. (I like Brady’s and will probably copy) :-) I would like to start an online education blog soon and this advice definitely helped there. Also, Emily this topic isn’t a nuisance to me, I love variety in a blog.

  23. Loved this post – so interesting to see how the other half lives! In the legal profession we like resumes that look like the ‘zero-personality’ one. Something like Brady’s or Sara’s would also be good if it were single-color. To me, the cover letter and interview are the times to show your personality. All I want the resume to show your qualifications and have ZERO misspellings or other typos.

    This post was eye-opening! I love being educated by you, Emily, on ALL SORTS OF TOPICS. Keep on keepin’ on!

  24. My husband (a creative director) was once sent a resume which had an image of the applicant’s face made up of pixels which were photos of her vagina. How’s that for TMI?

  25. Several of the “good” resumes are individuals are Belgium. Maybe the Netherlands is more accepting of “pretty” or “amusing” in resumes than, say, the United States.

  26. I am a Director in the banking industry (risk management of all things…snore) and see TONS of resumes. The way information is displayed is so important. You’re suggestions are on point – readers can cherry pick what works for them based on their respective field. In fact, I want to update my resume right now with sans serif!! Thanks for the post; I appreciate the variety of content (including mommy posts:) xx

  27. Wow, so I definitely need to change my resume now because one of those was LITERALLY my resume design, down to the spacing. They changed the info to theirs, but they’re from the same town so I guess they got my resume somehow?

  28. I loved your insight and it is so nice to hear advice from someone who actually HIRES people. I love this post just as much as your interior design posts and think that you should post more things like this. There are so many people interested in interiors, but don’t know how to do the technical sides of things (like resumes, interviews, etc). Maybe if we accepted these posts more with open arms we could actually learn something!
    I sent this to so many of my newly graduated friends and we all found it full of great information.

  29. I have loved having a new post to read pretty much everyday. Whether people love this one in particular or not, I have enjoyed checking it out everyday!

  30. I work in the arts, for a major art museum and art school, and the style-over-substance model of “good-looking” resumes (as identified above) would not land anyone an interview here. Addressing your skill set and qualifications in the resume is *so* important and gives a potential employer a sense of writing style and ability, which is ubiquitous now with our use of email.

  31. I’m a corporate recruiter for an international finance company and I look at hundreds of resumes/day. I’d say Yasmin’s advice is spot on. It’s obviously important to target your resume so it’s position specific and she says that–but what I wouldn’t give to see a pretty resume like that just once! It would break up the monotony for sure. :)

  32. I personally love that you’re providing such well-rounded content, and I was so excited when you announced you were going to expand to other topics as well! I work in PR (so not exactly as creative as design) and have seen some resumes over the years that could really benefit from a lot of the advice you gave – there were some really great takeaways in each point you made in this post, no matter what industry you work in…

  33. I rarely comment but this subject is close to my heart. As an Architect (who straddles the creative and the technical) I used to work hard on making my resume reflect the same balance. I’d never put flowers on mine, but as someone who hires people now, I will always appreciate a well-laid out page, graphic “pop” of color or a thoughtful font choice.
    I’d add one more piece of advice for the “creatives”, add a portfolio – even if it is a just few images and use that to drive the tone of your resume, that helps give a more holistic view of your aesthetic.

  34. This is interesting to me because I’ve worked in a more serious, traditional field, and I’m currently working in a “creative field” in a pretty traditional city (DC). Your feedback on what not to do is great and the resumes in the “what to do” section are beautiful. But I have to agree with other people that especially the first few you showed are totally lacking in substance. I get that some of these are for graphic designers and the links to their work are where you see their experience, but that doesn’t work for everyone in the “creative field” (whatever that really means). To me, the “Madison George” and Justin/Jason ones are the best combos of format and substance (and most similar to the ones of the people you hired). Someone applying to a job in a creative field should absolutely have a well formatted resume that demonstrates their ability to think spatially and call attention to the right things. But what’s up with the lack of descriptions under work experience? Or the totally fluffy, “assisted with various projects and office needs”? Or the “quirky” ones? Tell me what you were responsible for so I know that you can do what I need you to do. Every creative job has creative work, but it also has a lot of organizational and traditional office work that require professional skills. If I saw a resume that was beautiful but lacked substance, that would raise a red flag because it would demonstrate to me that the person is so focused on aesthetics that they fail to understand the purpose of the resume. Aesthetics are supposed to enhance content and function, not replace it, and some of the “good” resumes seem to have done the latter.

  35. Damn-some of these negative comments are ridiculous. I can’t believe people are so fired up over a post about resumes. I thought the post was interesting. People can be so nasty from behind a computer.

  36. I started in a more creative field (architecture) 12 years ago, right before everything went completely digital. I heavily emphasized graphic gymnastics on my resume, as well as having that resume integrate into some sort of mini-portfolio/cd/booklet. Over the years, as I gained more experience and migrated to the related field of urban planning, my resume has gotten much more conservative. I do think layout and clear information is always important, but content and experience trumps graphic layout any day. Furthermore, for most prospective jobs in my field, an online application needs to be filled out that restates anything on the resume, and the resume is just an attachment that may or may not even be looked at by HR. I’ve learned that it is all about following the instructions of the application and making sure you know your audience.

  37. FINALLY! I’ve been in charge of sifting through the resumes at my architecture firm for over 4 years now, and it is un.be.lievable some of the resumes that have passed by my desk. People (I would even be so bold as to say not just creatives…gasp!) should try to communicate at least a little bit of their personality with their resume, not just their history.

    We’re a small, young firm that wants to bring in people that can both contribute to our quality of work but also to the personality of the office. We write our job ads specifically catered to those with a sense of humor, but we inevitably receive tons of standard form bullet point resumes.

    I would add that the cover letter makes all the difference in the world. Maybe the list of accomplishments doesn’t truly allow us to get a good sense of the person, but when they infuse their cover letter with the humor and the passion that we’re looking for, they almost always go right into the interview pile, regardless of their resume. I’d also make the argument that the cover letter is easy to customize to each position one is applying to rather than having to worry about if their resume is too boring or too crazy looking. Applying to a big corporate firm? Write a more professional cover letter. Applying to my firm? Make me laugh and want to know more about you.

  38. haha, I can’t believe how controversial this post is! as a PhD student in biomedical engineering (and we have the most boring resumes/cvs), I actually really enjoyed reading this. I think it’s all about who you’re catering too and it’s clear that’s important to understand. thanks emily

    1. Thank you so much for visiting this topic Emily! As someone who aspires to be a wardrobe stylist, I have to learn to infuse my creativity and more importantly my sense of style in everything I do. People in creative fields have to show that they’re creative. Period. Resumes, business cards, and your personal appearance are all branches of you, therefore should show some element of your aesthetic.

  39. Emily – hello from the UK! I am an avid reader and quite frankly was horrified reading through these comments. Gosh – how British did that sound?! I LOVE that you are posting about another aspect, that for me is what makes yours the ultimate lifestyle blog. Family, interiors and general life. Keep up the great work and I will keep searching for a larger rug. That post has stuck with me and every time I walk into our sitting room I cringe! All front feet on the rug but it’s too small! xx

  40. Has anyone else noticed the trend where everyone expects every blog post or article to pertain to their specific needs, or they think it’s terrible? Not everything is about you!

    Anyway…I currently work for a very stodgy and traditional energy company doing sad boring technical work all day, but I majored in creative writing and studio art and am hoping to move back in that direction. This post was actually very helpful for me! After ten years in a strict corporate environment it’s nice to get the go ahead to loosen up a little to go after the kind of career I want…a career that actually wants me to have a personality! This post pertains to me, so I approve! Ha!

    Also, all this talk of creative resumes has me thinking of Elle Woods’s resume in Legally Blond: “It’s pink.” “Uh huh, and it’s scented. It adds a little something don’t you think?” Haha.

    1. It IS about us, though. Emily’s not maintaining this blog as a way to share fun stories with her friends or as a means of self-expression. She’s doing it to advance herself professionally, and also uses it as a source of income (advertising Target products, asking readers to buy her book, sponsored content).

      Caveat: I don’t know Emily; this is just my impression of what her purpose for the blog is.

      She also periodically asks readers what they want to see, and they’re telling her. Not every comment on the blog has to be fawning. The “negative” people are being perfectly civilized. And I’m saying this as someone who enjoyed today’s post.

      1. What Holey said, if only everyone thinks like you.

        This blog does get Emily money, she being sponsored into representing certain brands and products. I don’t know, maybe she is trying hard to increase her amount of viewers by offering a variety of different things. Like this post.

        Some people might stumbled onto this post when googling how to impress with resumes and such and it’s bad to tell people it’s OK to get creative..this is the internet, many of us are not from U.S. too, so she can’t possibly speak for everyone why is she stating “bad templates” and openly bashing other people’s resumes (when it works for the field that they’re applying for). Note, title is dissecting good and BAD resume, Such negativity.

        I think if you’re not an expert on the topic, don’t set yourself to look like one?? I think that’s the least a blogger with millions of readers can do. No offence.

      2. It is about the collective “us”, but it’s not about each and every one of us as individuals. Her blog as a whole serves a community of people who are interested in Emily’s style and advice. I don’t agree with every opinion that she has because I’m not Emily, and that’s ok. My personal style is actually very different from Emily’s, but I still enjoy her work and insight. I don’t expect every single thing she posts to speak to me on a personal level, and when it doesn’t I appreciate that it speaks to someone else and move on. This post is helpful for people with creative careers (especially people who might want to work for Emily someday!). If you don’t work in a creative field, appreciate the post for what it is, and move on. Constructive criticism is great, and helpful, but whining that every post doesn’t apply to your specific life is ridiculous.

  41. Honestly, Emily:
    I AM going to apply as a doctor, and I just bookmarked this post so I can buy one of the templates. They’re just so beautiful, and I hope doctors are allowed a certain sense of beauty, too, aren’t they?
    So – I think you’re absolutely RIGHT on that one!
    Greetings from Germany, by the way :)

      1. Exept if they don’t. Sadly people hire who they (think) they understand because they are similar. I’ve heard multiple times in those classes you get at university on applying for jobs, how font size needs to be big enough, certain things need to be in a certain order…while I might apply for an entry-level position the people hiring are probably a lot older than me and might be put off by things unfamiliar, just cause they are not used to it.

        I understand however, that resumes are of greater importance in the US. In Germany the letter of application, where you actually take time to write about why you are applying for the job, is very relevant as well and the cv is more like a fact-sheet you add.

  42. DAMN! People are passion as f*ck about resumes!
    Just want to say I thought this post was very interesting… I really enjoyed all the examples and see how it can be very beneficial to someone looking for a creative career. Good job, Emily!

    1. Yay! I agree, loved reading this post. So interesting to see what different fields look for in their resumes (and SO wish every field allowed people the creative liberty and prowess to craft beautiful, interesting, and inspiring resumes like the one’s you’ve posted)!

  43. Hi Emily,
    I am an artist, and fully believe that I know who the Target woman is, and what she looks for (Target is my favorite store after all). My goal in the next few months is to sign a contract to design artwork exclusively for Target stores. I would love to show you some of my work! Could you give me advice on contacting buyers, and landing such an amazing opportunity?
    I would love to hear from you.
    Thanks,
    Kaiti

  44. I majored in interior design and one of our senior assignments was to create a creative resume and coordinating buisness cards. We had critiques as a class and evaluated each other’s for feedback. If you work in a design field, then a creative resume is a must!

  45. Reading through the comments makes it pretty clear who here has fallen victim to the The “Zero Personality” resume or the “TMI” resume….haha ;)

    I’m a Creative Director and overall, I agree with what you said in this post! Of course, I look at the resumes given to me from a design perspective in addition to the content and the way you style your resume says a surprising amount about you as a designer, about your aesthetic and whether or not you’d be a good fit. If you don’t know how to treat the white space on your resume, you are probably lacking in the layout department. When I first started out, I really needed a post like this. I thought that the only thing that really mattered about my resume was that 1) I had one, and 2) that it listed which school I had attended and that my creative side would be judged purely by my portfolio, but this really is not the case. I agree with some of the other posters – I think this will be eye-opening for some new creatives who really had not thought about this aspect of their application yet.

    Also, you guys, when you see a post on Emily Henderson’s DESIGN blog about resumes and hiring in the creative industry…spoiler alert: She’s not giving advice to HR Administrators for a Corporate Company or Legal Assistants, so cool yer jets!

  46. Wow! I’m always amazed at how quickly people spew negativity from behind their computer! She made it quite clear that this was from a creative field perspective. I admire anyone’s opinion who has gotten so far in her particular field. Keep up the variety in your posts- very informative!

  47. As someone looking for tips from creative [and successful] professionals I found this post extremely helpful. I appreciate the clear outline of the good and bad… I found myself being a victim of some of the bad! This helps understand what’s happening on the other side when I submit my resume for a creative position. Thanks for the post!!

  48. If I saw these resumes without reading the text, I would think some of them were restaurant menus! Maybe the restaurants are using the same templates :)

    I am an academic, where these types of things wouldn’t fly, but when I look at CVs of potential grad students, postdocs and faculty, I want them to be well-organized and easy to read, as well as free of irrelevant fluff, which is easy to spot and makes you look like you’re trying too hard. If you’re a junior person it’s understandable that you have less accomplishments, no need to put how you cook pizzas for your dorm, as I once saw a student do (he was applying for a research position, not food industry). Also, if I saw NOT MY CUP OF TEA as a heading on a resume with Administration, Project Management and Finances as bullet points underneath I would spit my tea out from laughter!

  49. I think on section 3 about the MIA resume, you meant “assess” not “asses” ;) Haha! That typo always jumps out at me because one of my teacher friends I graduated with misspelled “assess” that way all throughout her big final student teaching plan . But I love this post! Great timing as I’m going to be changing jobs soon and it’s time to refresh the old resume. Thanks!

  50. I do interviewing / hiring (as part of a team) for a large consulting company focusing on Mergers and Acquisitions. We usually expect people keep to the professional / boring side. However, I have interviewed people with the more “graphic” resumes because they had the experience and the expertise. I think it demonstrates that content can be more important than style even in the most formal fields. On the other hand resumes with typos would not have passed the screening because attention to detail is so critical.

  51. There sure are a lot of resume experts on this message board…

    Emily, I agree with some of the other comments here – You do you. This is your blog, and we all come here to see your view of the world. Even though this post isn’t specifically about interior design, it is design-related (graphic design) and therefore completely relevant. It’s also important to note that for every person who is just here for the pretty pictures, there’s another person aspiring to work in a creative field that may be looking to you for guidance.

    It’s also tough to come up with new content every day, and it’s almost certainly impossible to come up with new photographic content every day. I’d prefer this sort of article once in awhile as opposed to no updates or extensive sponsored content.

    I love this blog, and for now, I’m reading whatever you’re putting out there :)

  52. I’m in my 30s & currently job searching. I’m not in a creative field, but I’ve noticed lately that when I’m hiring college students or new grads, their resumes look a lot more impressive than mine, which uses a word template from 8 years ago. I was actually just thinking that I need to do a little reformatting, add some color, to make sure that it’s noticed. I think there is a lot here that can be used as inspiration, even if we have to tone it down for our actual field! Good design/formatting makes it easier to read and that’s always appreciated.

  53. Emily, knowing you are in the market for writers with interiors style, not just graphic designers, what would you recommend for a writer’s resume? I’d think the cover letter would take front and center above the resume. I certainly succumb to the TMI resume – mainly because I have a ton of past experience and there’s not a lot of room for white space or illustrative embellishment, which is of course what ‘makes’ most of these designs! If I made my resume beautiful rather than simply clean, it would be 4 pages instead of 1 … But I do worry mine is off-putting after this post! Will admit I never thought a resume could be considered braggy.

  54. Thanks Emily, as someone who is currently looking for a job in the design field and trying to figure out how to make my resume stand out,this really helped!

  55. Awesome post Emily! It’s true that this applies to specific industries. I was hiring for two social media content producers last year and had to read over 200 resumes. One or two were over-designed, five or six hit the right notes and the remainder were terrible. For the role, it was important that we hired solid visual communicators who could also write succinctly. Needless to say, they were the candidates who got interviews.

    I am kind of gobsmacked how much flak bloggers get sometimes for not being all things to be all people. If this advice doesn’t apply to you, take what you like and leave the rest.

  56. As an almost graduating student, Thank you Emily and Team for this article! Love all the advice I can get, especially from people who’s work I adore.

  57. I know its your blog and all and I love you but if we uncreatives were creative enough we wont need to check out your blog everyday after a long days work typing in Arial and Times New Roman #10 all day long. We are here coz we suck balls in style and our walls are painted beige and we have cherry cabinets in our kitchen. So when you write posts about stuff that creative people should do, we feel left out because we know we graduated high school 10 years ago and can never choose to be a creative again then we become sad. Then we go get a drink and cry ourselves to sleep. Then we wake up get dressed and open microsoft word and we stare and look at Arial again. And wonder why cant microsoft bundle helvetica at least?

  58. I also am in the category of ‘wish we could stick to interior design/lifestyle’. I was a hiring manager in the commercial design and advertising industry. I hired for my team, and some of the time, six figure positions. If someone sent me a resume with flowers on it, I would laugh, then put it in the trash can. I look at a portfolio for design skills, talent and execution. All of the ‘good’ resumes were fluff and had very little weight to them. I also don’t like the idea of calling people (types of people) out, it’s in poor taste. I’m sure every single person who sent you their resume for your recent job posting is asking: is Emily talking about me? A private discussion would have been better if you really thought they could improve. I love ya Emily, but I don’t love this.

    1. On the other hand, here I am, just out of a hiring bout for my team of creatives for a company that does party goods, but for big box stores, and I considered resumes with and without flowers, as long as they were well designed AND had enough information for me to make an informed decision about the candidate.
      I feel like it’s incredibly presumptuous for people who went all critical about this post to make blanket statements about the “creatives” industry. I mean, my fellow team leaders don’t even have the same criteria, and we hire for the same company.
      This post seems to have done pretty well on keeping to the highway vs. the winding roads of left field.
      And it wasn’t bashing as far as I could see – it was constructive criticism, put very kindly and objectively. Like, wow, you yourself just said that if you got a resume with flowers on it you’d laugh, then put it in the trash, and that’s not bashing. But Emily’s “perhaps this is too much/not enough and here’s objectively why” is bashing. Uh-huh. Got it.

  59. As an owner of an interior design company who is constantly looking at resumes and hiring designers and other creatives, I must say I completely agree with you Emily. These are all important points. I think the design world is a different beast from many other fields and people who are not actively seeking to hire designers don’t necessarily understand what we’re looking for. For someone applying for an interior design position would do well to read this post.

    Who would think resumes would be so controversial!

    1. Yes, totally agree!
      I just hired someone for a commercial (VERY commercial) product design job, and I looked at resumes with flowers and without, as long as I got the sense of who the person behind it was. I think it’s incredibly narrow-sighted to discard a resume just because it’s aesthetic does not appeal to you. As long as it’s well-put-together, and gets the information you need across, and it’s good design, yeah, I’ll read it. If you can’t give attention to the person initially, what does this say about you as a boss, right?

  60. I can’t get past people who think they can dictate what you should or shouldn’t write about on Your Blog. Skip the post if it isn’t your thing.

    I used to do a lot of hiring in the Graphic Design field and I agree with many of your points. I do think it can be taken too far for sure. Some of my favorite resumes were still conservative yet extremely beautiful, concise, complete, and well-laid out out. It can be all of those things. Some resumes have magic and some just… don’t. But that’s what it comes down to, right? You’re looking for someone with taste?

  61. I’m not in a creative field, but I LOVED this post. I’m happy to see diverse topics that are still under the “design” umbrella. And I think a lot of people (except maybe Wall Street-ers, as the post says) probably have résumés that could use a few design tweaks. I know I’ve been looking for a subtle, creative way to kick mine up a notch! Thank you, Emily!

  62. I find this entire post comical. Yes, a catchy or visual appealing resume will get you noticed, but in the creative field what really matters is your PORTFOLIO OF WORK. So is this post referencing entry level creative positions where the applicant doesn’t have a portfolio? Or is this referencing experience creative positions? As a creative director with over 15 years experience I’ve seen my fair share of resumes and I don’t have many that I remember from people that I hired, but I do remember amazing portfolios. So my advice to those looking for entry level positions, it’s about personality, drive and willingness to learn have a clean concise resume and references that support that. If it’s entry level we don’t except you to have a ton of experience in the field, but you do need to be qualified for the position. If you went to college then you have a portfolio of work, make a small collection of your best school work that represents you. No college, take skillshare classes or creativelive classes and compile a small collection of work which represents your skills. With entry level, we are not looking for amazing portfolios, we are looking for great people we can mold into the skill set we need. If you are experienced, then you are expected to have a portfolio. Boring resume, creative resume, colorful resume with flowers, none of that matters. I look at your skill set and if it looks right for the job I ask to see your portfolio to make sure your work reflect what you say you can do. I think this post can be highly misleading for creatives looking to break into the field.

    1. Speak for yourself, actually.

      I will give my attention to resumes that I come across, but I will ONLY look at the portfolio if I find the resume well-designed. Note that I didn’t say “if I like it”, because that would be unprofessional and subjective. I don’t have to like everything for it to be objectively successful. Does it get me the impression of the person who created it? Is it well-designed? Does it contain enough info for me to form an opinion? Then yes, they’re in the next round, and I’m looking at the portfolio.
      Plus, I feel like you’ve contradicted yourself within the post – you start by saying that it’s your portfolio that matters, but then go on to say that “I look at your skill set and if it looks right for the job I ask to see your portfolio to make sure your work reflect what you say you can do.” Well, so resume does matter, because without the info on the resume, you won’t look at the portfolio.

  63. I appreciate this post! I’m not going to put flowers on my resume because I don’t work in a creative field but I think a refresh is certainly in order and I pulled a lot of good ideas from this. Thank you Emily and team!

  64. Is it weird to say I love how controversial this post is? It’s so interesting to see all the reaction, and see how diverse Emily’s audience is professionally :) (I am a software developer myself, but I also love the design side of things, obviously, why else would I be here.)

  65. I for one love this post. I’m an elementary teacher and I’m actually in a graduate school seminar class focusing on writing resumes right now. Is it appropriate for my resume to look like any of these (super amazing) creative ones? Heck no! But my “perfect” teaching resume would look insane if I sent it to a design firm. It would be super cool if everyone could calm down.

    Keep up the awesome work, EH crew.

  66. I cannot believe how critical people can be of content they pay exactly zero dollars to read every day. What in the ever loving f$@k?

    I am not ever going to apply for a job in a field these would be appropriate for, but you know what? Still found it interesting. I like reading about and learning all kinds of new things. Hell, I even found the sponsored doc in a laptop posts interesting. I don’t have kids so I probably never would have learned about such a thing if not for your blog. But I was actually really interested in that use of technology. So thanks for teaching me about things I would not be exposed to otherwise. I think your designs are amazing, but if all you ever talked about was pillows and cement tiles I would have gotten bored a long time ago!

    1. Well said, JSP!

      Good to know I’m not the only one that gets inspired by many different things :-) Creativity is fostered by this open and funny sharing of experiences, inspirations etc

      Btw Your first 2 lines are gold! Chill out people!

  67. I’ve been a graphic designer for 15 years now, and I ALWAYS add flair to my resume. Every single time I get an interview I get comments that they liked my resume *because* it stood out. I don’t go as crazy as some of your examples here, but adding a bit of color, creative banners and a personalized logo does enough to get you noticed and show that you know how to design well (in addition of course to good font choices and proper spacing).

    Why would you apply for a creative field using a boring, generic resume?! Creative businesses want to see creativity!

    I liked this post, Emily! It’s always interesting to see how other people present themselves in their resumes.

  68. I am 6 years into the creative industry and currently on a job search. My resume reflects my portfolio, and I believe it’s what motivates the hiring managers to actually go to my online portfolio. If my resume had no personality or reflection of my skill set, why would anyone bother checking me out online?

    I think what Emily talks about are valuable to us creatives.

    In the end, it’s all about personality. I used to study common questions for interviews and never get a call back. Recently I said screw that and now I go in with a clear mind, WAY less nerves, and I always land a second or third interview. And most importantly, I have been having fun on my interviews!

    One manager told me he can train anyone on a new skill set, but there’s no way he can train them for a new personality. With that advice I feel if your portfolio isn’t rock solid, but you can vibe with the manager and team, you have a good chance at getting an offer.

  69. Great post! Most of these would be frivolous in my field (legal), but EVERYONE can benefit from good spacing and good font usage, and sometimes even very restrained use of a design element. Tailor your CV to the position/field, make sure it looks nice, has accurate contact info that is not ridiculous or unprofessional, and that it is perfectly typo-free and fib-free. Always appreciate the posts even if not on a specific design topic and even if they do not apply directly to me. Bring on the interview one!

  70. First off, thought this post was terrific. Not because I am looking for a new job, but I have a junior in high school. I forwarded it to her college and career teacher. It’s important to look at what does work and what doesn’t work side by side.
    Secondly, your analogies are terrific. I remember one post you wrote about marriage that struck a chord with me and your most recent one about side dishes.
    I enjoy seeing the different parts of your life because no one is just their job or their family or their hobbies. It’s a balancing act.
    And I wish everyone would remember that it is free and optional to read anything that you post. As far as I know, no one is pointing a gun to their head to force them to read it.

  71. “Don’t try to win over the haters, you are not the jacka$$ whisperer”….my favorite quote recently (scott stratten) . Please don’t let negativity EVER change your voice on this wonderful blog I look forward to everyday!!! You received a lot of comments and your ratio is POSITIVE. This was a good one!!! Don’t second guess yourself!

  72. “Despite how serious your job is it doesn’t hurt to look like you might also be a fun person to sit next to. Am I wrong on that one?”

    I enjoyed the post but I do think you’re wrong on that one, for many fields. That’s why most large employers use resume parsing software and standardized forms and such. If they wanted to see your fun side in initial screening steps, they’d ask for it. Mostly they just want to wade through applicants’ qualifications as quickly as possible to weed out the unqualified.

    For business/legal/academia/etc., save your fun side in small doses for an interview, I think.

  73. I am a lawyer, so the advice for my field is exactly the opposite of this. I would throw out all of the resumes except the first two if someone wanted to work for me and I loved reading this. It is interesting to get insight into other worlds!

    1. Ha! I’m also a lawyer & my resume is/was the exact format as the second one—I thought it was hilarious to see it instantly posted at the top!! (Though, I wasn’t just out of school, so my ‘Education’ section was after my ‘Experience.’)

      I took this post at face value, recognizing that the expectations for an individual in a creative industry would, pretty much, be the exact opposite of what may be expected of a DC lawyer, in terms of job search.

  74. I work in the art world, considered one of the creative economies, though not design, and I’ve never judged a resume for it’s graphic impact, unless it’s illegible. I respectfully disagree. I would also say that I look for the content in the cover letter to make the first impression. If a well written letter strikes me, I typically spend time during the interview to delve into the CV, if it looks appropriate to the position at first pass. My two cents.

  75. I cannot believe that people are so up in arms over this post. Blogging is about showing your own point of view and letting your creativity shine! The entire blog is about Emily’s viewpoint. I appreciate Emily posting about things she and her team have experienced and what they would do differently. I don’t necessarily think that every post applies to every reader, but since no two people are exactly alike, that only makes sense.

    I loved it! I will keep reading and I hope everyone else does as well :)

  76. I just love that the beautifully designed resume that heads the entire post falls well into the M.I.A. category with no employment or responsibilities information. That said, it is really pretty.

  77. I think you are guilty of judging a book by its cover. Many of those “good” resumes are pretty awful except for the “design” aspect, which is way too much. I think this is bad advice–especially for anyone who is starting out–they are waaaay to smug. Straightforward is best. Let your experience get you in the door–the flair can be displayed at the interview!

  78. I’ve never commented but I truly enjoy your blog. I am commenting now because I felt too many comments said you were being “mean” or “rude” by telling people what not to do or having posts pointing out bad design. Many people have already made the point, pick out what applies to you and leave the rest. People are different, accept it but don’t think you have to change because you don’t fit someone else’s mold.

    More importantly, people want to improve, want to change and want to be inspired. You can’t improve unless you know what needs improvement. It is completely beneficial to see the “bad” to more fully understand and appreciate the “good”.

    So thank you for your posts and please don’t let people that are too sensitive and selfish, destroy your blog voice.

  79. Love this post! Thanks for the link to the templates – very helpful for those of us who aren’t graphic designers or don’t have the tools to create something like this ourselves. I’m not in a creative field, but love the general message here about injecting a little personality, as appropriate, into your resume. It never huts to be memorable!

  80. As a marketing manager and graphic designer I love creative resumes. This post got me really excited. Although I am working at an IT company, we love to see creative resumes, including graphics matching the style of our website, info graphics or even fun online presentations.

    Though I would probably not include illustrations in my own resume, Jason Gamm’s resume in the post is a dream. I see everything at a glance, perfect. My colleague is hiring right now in marketing and resumes like that really are as good as gold. Don’t torture the person’s eye you want to work for. Make it easy for them to understand who you are and what you bring to the table. And a little bit of nice typo never hurt anyone.

  81. Just want to chime in and say that I love this post– even though I’m not a designer, I work in the arts nonprofit field. A while back, I noticed the extreme designer resumes and thought, “Why can’t I apply some of that presentation to my own resume, but keep it a bit more restrained for my position?” I figured that if some fogey looked at it and didn’t like it because it wasn’t a word doc, it probably wouldn’t be the right organization for me anyway. I got way more job offers and praise for it (including during an interview). So yeah, some of these are specifically for designers, but depending on your exact field, the ideas (find balance between simple and enough; consider type carefully; make information like skills lists more palatable) can be useful.

    P.S. For someone who said “go to a college counselor/career center,” I did, many times in college, and ended up with a blah word resume and cover letters that got me nowhere. My conclusion was that college career centers can sometimes stick to decaying information, instead of rapidly updating it. In my case, they were also woefully uninformed about the arts.

  82. Wow, people must have extra venom in January. I’m a lawyer, so I would obviously not turn to a stylist for resume advice and I think it goes without saying that Emily wouldn’t seek to advise me on my career, nor I her. To infer from this post that Emily is talking to every profession and to “yell” about it is asinine.

    I think this post was fun and interesting and a refreshing break from the staid world of law, which is why I come here. Now I can dream of how my resume might look if lawyers weren’t such squares. Thank Emily!

  83. Like others have said, I love how much discussion this post has encouraged. I’ve also enjoyed how articulate the responses are from all perspectives. Most of the time on other blogs and stories, reading comments makes me fear for the future!

    Resumes are incredibly subjective. Even within the same field, what is someone’s home run is someone else’s bin toss. I hire for a creative field and appreciate when I see personality, either through design or words. In fact, I just bookmarked the Behance page of one of the resumes because she listed “Parents’ Refrigerator: 1994-Present” under awards and accomplishments. (I find that clever and she lives in the same city as I do.) Who knows if I’ll hire her, but I’ll definbtely look at her portfolio.

  84. Oh my. Such an open-minded crowd. Yikes.

    well, I am in the process of redoing my resume and I thoroughly enjoyed the inspiration.

    Keep on keepin’ on.

  85. I’m in the process of redoing my resume, and I just had to roll my eyes at a lot of these. Plus, if your selling point is that you are creative, then how creative is it to use a template designed by someone else??
    I think Brady and Sara’s resumes strike the right balance–interesting, but not completely needy or whack-a-doo.
    I personally am not applying for a graphic design job. That said, I think I can extrapolate enough from some of the these examples to design a resume that looks decent. So thank you for the ideas, good and bad.

  86. Great post that seems to be lost on a lot of people.

    I was creative with the resume that got me my last two jobs (the one i’m at now and the job I had prior to this) and both my bosses told me it’s what got my foot in the door. Another tip/thing I did was print my resume outside the standard 8.5×11 size so it couldn’t be easily lost in a shuffle of paperwork. One I made small and one i made slightly larger but square (I think it was 10×10).

    I work in the advertising and marketing industry but i’m a director/project manager so while *my* job isn’t on the creative side it’s well received in the industry and no matter what a creative layout will get noticed.

    Sorry you can’t please everyone but this was a great post for the audience in my opinion!

  87. Oh boy! I can’t believe how controversial this got!

    Emily, I loved this post and found it super informative. I also love the well-rounded content. It’s nice to see all aspects of the design world! Thanks for the fun post!

  88. soo comic sans is a no go then? j/k. I definitely think you should clarify that these are more appropriate for what you and maybe some creatives are looking for and definitely not for everyone. But I do think there’s some good info. It’s good see what people in different fields are looking for and it never hurts to add a little more design to a resume. I don’t think I would use the more design focused ones unless I was applying to a job specifically with you. That said this post definitely inspired me to make my resume a little more interesting. Thanks!

  89. As someone who just hired someone with a visual resume, this info is on the mark. It was a huge differentiator from the other candidates. Great ideas, good post.

  90. I’m an engineer, My husband is an engineer. My brother, uncle, father, auntie, cousins …. all engineers or techies. All our resumes (which are considered ‘good’ in the tech field) all look like the third ‘try too hard’ example. But I was blessed with an artistic daughter, who can draw and paint like I never would have imagined before having her. I try hard to support her interests, so you bet I showed her this post!! Thanks so much for it!

  91. Hey Emily, That is a great article.You listed out some very innovative resumes which will surely get noticed. I’m an engineer by profession and we have to create the usual tech-related stuff filled resume. This will appeal more artistic and creative people for sure. Good work!