Give Your Resume a Creative Boost with Inspiration

Give Your Resume a Creative Boost

What if one day you decide that it’s time to have a change, and want to try for another creative job?

What if you are a student, looking for a design internship?

What if you are a fresh graduate, hoping to apply for your first job at a design agency?

You could be any one of the above.

No matter what your situation is, it is always prudent to have a well crafted resume to call upon when needed. It is your ticket to new job opportunities and clients.

Give Your Resume A Creative Boost
Image credit: hellotkt

Your resume not just a list of achievements and your education history, it is also the first and the most crucial step to opening the door of communication with the company you are applying to. Your resume represents who you are and what you know, but most importantly, it must be able to communicate that effectively. Therefore it is definitely worth investing your time to give special attention to its design and content.

There are plenty of resume writing resources on the web, but I’d like to highlight a few important ones with this post. You will be surprised to see the significant improvements to your resume just by applying these easy fixes below.

Easy Fixes to a Better Resume

Resume Length

Keep your resume to within a page or two. However, this rule of thumb really depends on the individual. If you have had plenty of relevant work experience, don’t compromise and compress everything into a page. A two page resume is acceptable. Companies receive plenty of resumes on a daily basis, all of them a few pages long. This is very tedious and time consuming process and keeping it short and to the point is a welcomed plus.

Bullet vs Paragraph

Make it neat, too much information distracts the reader. Using bullet points makes it look neater and is a lot easier to digest than a chunk of words in a paragraph. Spend time crafting succinct and productive sentences. Always remember that the objective of a resume is to communicate your abilities in a clear and concise manner. It is better to have one well-written page than many pages with irrelevant, fanciful details. Don’t make the recruiter sift through unimportant details to look for pertinent material.

Go straight to the point; include only significant and relevant experiences. The interviewer does not need to know every small detail of your education or all the courses and seminars you’ve attended. Leave those as topics of conversation during the job interview. However, you should include any relevant experience you have with reputable companies.

The Design and Presentation of Your Resume

A well written resume is only half the battle won. It’s human nature to enjoy looking at and be attracted to something pretty or interesting. Thus, it is very important not to neglect the design and presentation aspect of a resume.

An untidy resume is unacceptable. A cluttered resume is hard to read. A disorganised resume will immediately reflect badly on your personality and attitudes. Regardless of how outstanding your qualifications or experiences are, a poorly presented resume will not only give a bad first impression, but also greatly reduce your chance of getting the job you want. Your resume is for first and possibly even the only chance to create a good impression.

Template vs DIY Design

If you are applying for a creative position, what better way to showcase your creativity and design prowess than in your resume? Avoid using templates downloaded off the Internet or those found in Microsoft Word. Add your personal touch and design style in your resume. You want to stand out from the crowd and this is best way to do so. You have mentioned your skill and proficiency in design software, now’s the time to prove it where you can. Show, don’t just tell.

The use of a unique layout, choice of colours, fonts and the play on typography adds to the presentation of your resume and communicates your design capabilities. The rule of ‘simplicity works’ still stand. The creative challenge is to make it simple yet stylish.

Few things to note:

  • Use white space deliberately
  • Refrain from using Times New Roman
  • Have good contrast. (Make your headers bold)
  • Keep your fonts legible
  • Do not print on both sides of the paper.
  • Choose an appropriate type of paper to print on.
  • Include page numbers at the bottom (if your resume exceeds one page – e.g., Page 1 of 2, Page 2 of 2)

Think outside the box.

Add your Personality into your Resume

Ingrain yourself in the recruiter’s mind with a resume that reflects your personality. Be honest and bold. Besides providing your accomplishments, elaborate a little on how you benefited the organisation and what you achieved with them. The use of action verbs will catch the recruiter’s attention and will clearly communicate your achievements, work ethics and working style. Words like ‘directed’, ‘developed’, and ‘incorporated’ are some examples of action verbs that you can use in your resume. These action verbs will also help the recruiter to have a better understanding of your personality and determine if you are an individualistic worker or a team player.

Personality Types
Image credit: Combined Media

Take a look at some of the different types of resumes presented below. Observe the design and the themes used. The aesthetic style of these resumes is an excellent representation of each individual behind it. They each exude the style and personality of the resume’s owner.

Be confident; don’t be shy to be proud of your abilities and accomplishments.

Funky Resume Inspirations

The influx of info-graphics has greatly influenced the way designers design their portfolio. It takes time and patience to study and understand the use of info-graphics in resumes.

This compilation includes plenty of resumes with exceptional layouts, colourful designs and amazing graphics.
Michael Anderson
Michael Anderson
Steve Duncan
Steve Duncan
Chester Lau
Greg Dizzia
Greg Dizzia
Sofiane Yaya
Sofianne Yaya
Johnathan Wong
Johnathan Wong
Leon Steward
Leon Steward
Jason Feng
Jason Feng
Francis Homo
Francis Homo
Sidney Gutierrez
Sidney Gutierrez
Pau Morgan
Pau Morgan

Simple and Clean Resume Inspirations

If you prefer a clean no-nonsense layout, these resumes will give you some inspiration on how to help your resume stand out from the crowd regardless of its simplicity. Look at the techniques applied with these resumes; the intentional use of white space, strong colour contrasts and the choice of classic but classy fonts.

Steve McKinney
Steve McKinney
Michael Farrow
Michael Farrow
Jen Watson
Jen Watson
Ren Walker
Ren Walker
Carol Smyth
Carol Smyth
Joe Hickman
Joe Hickman
Cara Charlton
Cara Charlton
Chris Malmberg
Chris Malmberg

More Resume Resources

  1. 10 Tips for Writing A Remarkable Resume in Today’s Creative World
  2. Beautiful Design Resumes & their Matching Portfolio Sites
  3. Resume-Writing Dos and Don’ts
  4. Resume Style File
  5. Give your resume a face lift

Carpe Diem, Seize the Day

Your resume should impress and hold the recruiter’s attention. It isn’t difficult to make adjustments to your resume. It is worth the time and effort to improve your resume because it is will be your first chance to make an impression. If you don’t seize this chance, you might not get another one.

Wait no longer, start this New Year with a newly designed resume and let your creativity do the talking. If you’ve come across any interesting resume designs that are both effective and creative, feel free to share them with us.

Charlotte’s interest is in web interface and design as well as motion graphics. Her absorption with her work is mostly due to her attention to detail and passion for the world of design. Winding down after work, which consumes much of her time; she enjoys traveling, exploring new places, gastronomy, and fashion.


    • Peach,
    • January 29, 2010
    / Reply

    Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  1. / Reply

    Great job on this post Charlotte. Those are some awesome resume sample. I really like the one that looks like a vintage flyer.

    Most are designed well, but some just look too busy though. Anyway, I’m out, will be redesigning my resume now. :)

    1. / Reply

      Hey Jad, thanks for the comment :)

      Do post your new resume online when it’s done!

      • crystal,
      • March 5, 2011
      / Reply

      What program should be use to make something creative ?

    • eric,
    • January 29, 2010
    / Reply

    Nice article, though i have seen most of the examples before. I think the most difficult part here is not to create a creative resume, but not to go overboard. Having been on both sides (selecting candidates and being one), I have learned that recruiters only scan a resume. So having a too funky resume may not always be in your best interest. Apart from readability (also people in the creative industry tend to have little time to carefully browse through resumes), when you are an industry veteran, you don’t want to appear to be a starter on the job market, fresh out of school with your resume looking very creative but also still lacking that refinement that comes with the years.

    Just my €0.02 ;-)

    1. / Reply

      Hi Eric, I have to agree that it shouldn’t go too overboard with its design. It gives an impression that the candidate is try too hard or being a novice (as what I hear from some recruiters). On the other hand, some smaller design houses find it very interesting to receive funky resumes.

      Thank you for your constructive input!

    • Mike,
    • January 29, 2010
    / Reply

    Good article, but I think some of the examples are too over the top. They might be fine for a online resume, but some would look really bad printed on black and white printer. In my opinion a designer should focus on typography and a clean layout.

    1. / Reply

      Yes, printing will be an issue for those complicated and graphic-rich resumes. Perhaps such resumes can be sent through snail mail together with their CD. And a print-friendly one with a clean layout can be put online.

      Thanks Mike!

    • nick,
    • January 30, 2010
    / Reply

    Surely way over complicated?

    A CV is meant to be readable and your portfolio does the talking. Theres no problem with a spash of colour and creativity, but they seem to be over worked IMO.


  2. / Reply

    really nice round up… as Jad said, this is to good that give us will do start redesigning our own vitae :D Love the clarity and elegance Jen Watson Vitae. Once more nice post. Congrats!

    • Bob,
    • January 30, 2010
    / Reply

    Charlotte, beautiful examples of some very creative resumes. Thanks for putting the list together.

    I’m a digital marketer and I did my resume to resemble a comic book where I play the superhero. I’d love for you to take a look at it

    A few things I have found with having a more creative resume are (1) make sure you have a smaller file size, some employers won’t take something over a certain size (2) make sure you have a text version and (3) don’t worry if someone doesn’t “get” your style. The few that do will instantly get it.

    I’m still looking for the right opportunity, so if anyone has suggestions please let me know @onehalfamazing

    1. / Reply

      Hi Bob, very interesting comic theme!

      Did you make it mostly black and white so that it’s print friendly?

        • Bob,
        • January 30, 2010
        / Reply

        Yes, its all black and white and printer friendly.

          • Anu,
          • January 31, 2010
          / Reply


  3. / Reply

    Really good work …..

  4. / Reply

    I recently applied for a job by a communication agency, i thought to be creative and made my resume on six pages, these six pages i needed to show my work and give it a nice design. I WAS SO WRONG.
    Allthough i was invited to have a word with the company, i get the comment that they rather like a resume of one page.

    Advice: when you get an invitation, don’t be afraid to ask the person, after the conversation, what you can improve about your resume. You will receive a great reaction which helps you to power up your resume.

  5. / Reply

    bullseye, thats is it

    • Eric,
    • February 2, 2010
    / Reply

    Hi Charlotte,

    these are nice designs, you can make a follow up on this post by showing us how to make a basic but attractive/creative one page resume.


  6. / Reply

    Great article! Some of the examples are very extreme, but if you apply for a job as a graphic designer I think that’s absolutely fair.
    When I applied for a job as a UI Designer I also went for extraordinary and the whole department was talking about my application before I even had a job interview, so when I came there everyone knew I’m the one with the crazy resume. So it can be good to have something over the top even for jobs that don’t directly have something to do with graphic design.

    • Jakub,
    • February 2, 2010
    / Reply

    Absolutely amazing, fresh subject. I never thought about tweaking my resume to that level. Now I will, hopefully not soon. ;)
    Thanks a lot.

    • Ben,
    • February 3, 2010
    / Reply


    As someone who has worked in the industry for 10 years at various agencies and been responsible for hiring creative talent, seeing an over designed resume is a huge turn off. And I know this has been the view of a couple of Creative Directors I’ve worked alongside.

    I want to see clear facts, any qualifications, but most importantly work experience and achievements.

    My advice would be, if you really think you have what it takes to fill the vacancy, email your resume along with a portfolio pdf. And in your email, put your money where your mouth is. Ask the Creative Director to set you a brief which you’re willing to work on for free. Turn it round in two days and get it back.

    Now that’s the kind of get up and go I expect from someone on my team!

    So whilst I don’t agree with you Charlotte, I hope you feel I’ve contributed constructively.

    Kind regards

  7. / Reply

    Text resumes will be around for a long time. Because everyone can type.

    But everyone cannot write a story or a poem.

    So, there will also be a demand for expert / professional resume – writers, for a long time to come.

    But an ever-increasing number of recruiters feel that graphical / visual / audio resumes have an edge over plain text resumes – prompting emergence of path-breaking job-portals such as

    which inspired me to come-up with my own

    ( it is easy to be inspired, but , at the age of 77 , difficult to implement ! )

    With regards

    hemen parekh

    Mumbai — India

    • Jane,
    • February 9, 2010
    / Reply

    Thank you so much! Just what I need to fix up my resume!

  8. / Reply

    To my knowledge, there is only one recruitment software which is equally popular amongst the recruiters and the jobseekers.

    It is “ Resume Rater “.

    Recruiters love it because it enables them to find the 5 best resumes out of 5000 received against their advt., in a matter of minutes.

    Jobseekers like it because rating their own resumes [ using “ Resume Rater ” ], before sending to recruiters, tells them whether it will get listed in those “ best 5 “ !

    One can download “Resume Rater“[ free and without login ]
    from almost any link on the first 2 pages of Google search results ( – although there are 59.4 million links ! )

    with regards

    hemen parekh


    Rating their own resumes [- and those of their classmates ] could be an interesting exercise for fresh graduates.

    • damien,
    • July 6, 2010
    / Reply

    Nice stuff. But many employers require a resume to be uploaded during an online application process, and, then bundle everyone’s resume and do a keyword search. In other words – design is futile.

  9. / Reply

    online resume is really needed specially if you want to apply for IT jobs on the internet “..

  10. / Reply

    Most of these resumes you posted are confusing, try too hard, have too many colours and are an absolute mess. I would not hire most of these people based on their annoying resumes. Keep it simple, stupid.

      • Janet,
      • February 23, 2012
      / Reply

      They are probably not the target audience for your company and its culture.

        • Michael Freytag,
        • February 20, 2014
        / Reply

        No, they are simply what he said. Very few of them adhere to a base design principle. When you are presenting your information you want it to be easily understood. It’s examples posted like this that depreciate my value in a blog; Quality over quantity.

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