Gimmicky & Cheeky Resumes: How Creative Is Too Creative?

Would you print your CV on a TShirt stating you should be the latest fashion at a prospective employers company? Or present yourself as the latest blockbuster movie they must see?

Business Insider recently showcased the ‘Coolest Resume’s of 2011’ and displays some very vivid, eye-catching, clever and creative CV’s of 2011. Created mainly by people who are in innovative roles such as designers, graphic designers, photographers, etc. The intention is to grab attention, which they certainly do, however can you go too far with being creative on CV’s?

The creators of these certainly gained interviews and even jobs using clever concepts to illustrate their employment history and personal profile, however there are pro’s and con’s of using creative CV’s for your self-marketing.

The Pro’s

  1. You will certainly stand out from the crowd and raise your chances of being invited in for an interview.
  2. You have the ability to showcase your creativity, and how clever and innovative you are.
  3. Creative CV’s allow you the opportunity to emphasise your personality and values more effectively using colours, tones, and concepts that you can do in a traditional CV.
  4. It’s fun for both you and the interviewer and they appreciate a break from the bland.
  5. It demonstrates your initiative to take the effort and time.

The Con’s

  1. Experienced CV screeners can’t ‘pattern’

People who are trained to screen CV’s, like HR professionals, recruiters and talent resourcing professionals, find it difficult to apply ‘patterning methodology‘ to creative CV’s. If they can’t find the pattern they are screening it all gets too hard and you run the risk of the creative CV being put on the no pile, ‘maybe’ at best.

2. Be prudent of the kind of ‘creative’ approach you take. If applying for a professional role, doesn’t mean you need to be boring.You can still be creative, but keep in in alignment with your audience. Many of the examples featured in this article are more for ‘creative’ industries and roles and not suited to corporate or professional job roles in more traditional industries such as mining, banking, accounting, finance, etc..

3. Attention grabbing, yes and may give you 15 minutes of fame in the interview, but unless you have the solid experience to back up the ‘pretty colours’ using this technique when you don’t have adequate experience can leave you exposed with just a good idea and nothing to qualify it.

4. There is always the “interview-grinch” out there, who no matter how clever and well thought out your creative approach is, just hates attempts of others to ‘think out side the square’ and be different. They think you are just trying too hard and being too clever for your own-little-boots. They will ignore it just to spite you. You run the risk, but it may still be worth it.

5. Some times a technical glitch can deflate your best intentions. Conversions to files and problems with opening big files can relegate your work to the too hard basket. Make sure you do your creative CV in a common format that will open easily.