According to the Undercover Recruiter, an average of 250 resumes are received for every job position and recruiters only spend around 5-7 seconds looking at each of them. Whenever you apply for a job, your resume has to immediately stand out from the 99% of other resumes for it to be even worth a second glance.
How do you do this?
By thinking differently.
Some recruiters argue that being creative can do more harm than good. It really depends on the job. If you’re going for a job as a doctor or an accountant, an animated resume like this one by visual designer, Livia Natalie, might be a bit off the mark. But for a role that values creativity, using your resume to literally showcase your skills, can give you the edge over the hundreds of other candidates that rely upon a tired Word template.
For inspiration, here are 10 insanely creative resumes that have worked for candidates. And we don’t use that world ‘insanely’ lightly. Some of these examples are off the charts!
1. Andy Morris
Whichever job you’re applying for, it’s worth having a paper resume, even if it’s just as a back up to something less conventional, like Andy Morris’ LEGO minifigure. To stand out in the competitive design jobs market, Andy designed a LEGO character of himself, complete with a laptop in one hand and a tiny paper resume in the other.
He then designed custom packaging, which includes an overview of his background. The resume has been viewed over one million times and was voted the #1 Creative Resume by Creative Bloq. Genius!
Image credit: Andy Morris
2. Brennan Gleason
If we were to say that putting together a resume is like brewing a fine ale, we’d be talking about the love, care, and patience that is needed during the process metaphorically. Except in the case of Brennan Gleason, who literally brewed his own blonde ale and packaged it in a cardboard carrier with his resume printed on the back.
“I wanted a resume that would both show off my work, but more importantly who I was and what I loved,” Gleason says of his Resum-ale. Oh to be the hiring manager that had this resume land on their desk!
Image credit: Brennan Gleason
3. Robby Leonardi
Robby Leonardi is a New York-based multidisciplinary designer specializing in Illustration, animation, graphic design, and front-end development. And how does someone with all of those skills put them across in a creative way? By creating a Super Mario-inspired resume!
Scroll through different levels to find out all about Robby, including his likes, skills, and awards and qualifications. It all finishes with a contact form and social links that can be used to reach the man himself, presumably to offer him a job.
Image credit: Webby Awards
4. Cory Sherman
Cory Sherman isn’t a real person. Actually, we should rephrase that. THIS Cory Sherman isn’t real. There are other Cory Sherman’s that are 100% real. We made this Cory up to show how you can inject some understated creativity into your resume.
Administration is a job role in which hiring managers tend to favor information over creativity. It’s an industry that values structure and organization. It’s also an industry where applicant tracking systems are widely used to scan resumes for keywords and pick out candidates. So sending over a LEGO figure or a link to a video game would probably see you fall at the first hurdle.
Cory’s resume manages to keep things formal, but with enough creativity to stand out. First of all, placing his name inside a box and writing it in a large, bold font makes it leap off the page. Then he’s gone for something different with his skills - ranking them on a scale of 1-5. This instantly captures attention and says to hiring managers “come see how good I am at these things.”
It’s a minimalist resume that's not as in-your-face creative in the same way as others but in an industry like Administration, it’s sure to stand out.
Want to see how this resume looks with your own credentials? We’ve made it available to edit here.
5. Lukas Yla
Lukas Yla went above and beyond to get his resume noticed. Not only did he deliver his resume inside a box of donuts, he dressed up as a Postmate courier to make sure employers received it. And check out that headline!
The stunt went viral with mainstream press coverage and, of about 40 boxes that were delivered, Yla landed 10 job interviews. An impressive strike-rate.
Image credit: TNW
6. Philippe Dubost
People like familiarity, which is why we always recommend following a format. Familiarity is exactly what Paris-based Web Product Manager, Philippe Dubost, went for with his “Amaz-ing” resume. The resume mimics an Amazon product listing down to the finest detail, so much so that you’ll be adding him to your Wish List. And with those five-star reviews, how could you not?
After 1.5 million visitors and 27,000 likes on the resume Facebook page, Philippe found the perfect job, which means he’s “currently unavailable” with no word on when, or if, he’ll be back in stock.
Image credit: Mashable
7. Herman Walton
Spoiler alert: this Herman Walton isn’t real. He’s one of our made up people again.
But look at how good his resume is!
The medical industry is another one of those ‘keep it formal’ industries that value facts, stats, and attributes on paper. That said, if your resume looks like every other one that’s sent in, there’s a chance your credentials might be overlooked.
Put this resume in the middle of a pile of traditional resumes and it instantly warrants a second look, purely because Herman has taken the ingenious step of adding colorful shapes in the background, as well as a color photo of himself. The shapes don’t distract from the content in any way, they merely add that little something different that makes the document stand out.
Try editing this resume to see how it works for you.
8. Robynne Redgrave
This resume right here is the total package. By that we mean it doesn’t just contain a resume, but a letter of intent, application form, certificates, and a portfolio book. It has a downside in that it can’t be emailed, but having this turn up in the post would go down a treat with any hiring manager. A great way to showcase your skills, while grabbing attention.
Image credit: Robynne Redgrave
9. Calvin Harris (Not that one)
Okay, we promise that this is the last time we’ll make someone up to show you how you can be creative with a typical resume. This Calvin Harris is not a worldwide superstar DJ, but a juvenile counselor looking to land a new job ahead of all the other juvenile counselors out there. How does he do this? By placing a large black triangle in the top corner of his resume.
From the attention-grabbing triangle, the eyes drift over to the bold name, and then the section titles which are capitalized, bolded and underlined. Similar to Cory’s resume from earlier, each of Calvin’s skills are graded with a bar graph. Powerful and noticeable, without being overbearing. Nice work, Calvin!
Turn this resume into your resume by using our resume builder.
10. Victor Rodriguez
Why think outside the box when you can be the box?
Designer Victor Rodriguez used everyone’s favorite breakfast pastime of reading the back of the cereal box to create a resume that wouldn’t look out of place on a grocery store shelf. Victor’s skills and experience can be found on the front, back and side of the box and, such is the level of detail, even the nutritional information has been tailored based on his attributes. We were unable to find out if there was cereal inside the box but we live in hope.
Image credit: Victor Rodriguez
A creative resume on the level of some of those we’ve featured here won’t always work, but if the industry fits and you want to command attention, it’s certainly worth being different.
Let your creative juices flow!
But remember to always have a more traditional resume that adheres to applicant tracking systems (ATSs) handy to send at a hiring manager's request. You can use any of our templates for that.