By Jennifer Farley

How Creative Should A Designer’s Resume Be?

By Jennifer Farley

Earlier this week Alyssa wrote an interesting post questioning whether freelancers need a resume/CV along with some great tips on what should be included. From my own experience, both as a designer applying for jobs and as a design instructor looking at applications coming in for the course I teach, I think it is highly beneficial to have both a website and a resume that can be printed or sent as a PDF.

For designers, the resume is an opportunity to apply their design flair to paper and make their resume stand out from the many plain Jane resumes that fall on an employer’s desk. If you’re working in a visual field, why not add some visuals to your resume? A picture can tell a thousand words, as they say, and an original, cleverly designed resume will stand out a mile. Make sure the design is good though, because you don’t want it to stand out a mile for all the wrong reasons.

Here’s a small collection of eight imaginative resumes from people working in various creative fields.

Lydia’s Cartoon Resume is witty, eye-catching and quite obviously in a comic book style appropriate to her industry.


Michael Anderson, an infographics designer produced a very slick and beautifully colored information graphic of his skills and experience.


Krista Gregg, a graphic designer created a hand-drawn style, giving the impression of a resume that was doodled together.


Christiano Pires’ design takes the form of a standard resume on a table, surrounded by personal belongings.



Greg Dizzia uses data visualization to display his skills and experience.


Doni Kristian Dachi goes grungy and dirty with his web developer resume.


Sofiane Yaya combines hand-drawing with arrows on torn, rippled paper on his graphic design resume.


And finally, to show that a resume does not have to be too over the top while still being creative, this example from Kenji Enos shows a clean, elegant and attractive design.


These kinds of resumes are obviously not suitable for every kind of job application. You need to be sure that you make a good impression and as a designer, that certainly gives you the right to have a more original layout and design. However, as with every type of design, your resume is a form of communication and you are providing information so make sure that your details and key skills are legible.

So how creative do you think a designer’s resume should be? Are these examples over the top or are they suitable for the industry? Have you seen other creative resumes online that you thought were cool?

  • agelfand

    These examples are beautiful, witty, and demonstrate considerable artistic talent — but I’m not convinced any of them are appropriate for a resume.

    Resumes are at-a-glance documents typically used to screen candidates based on the appropriateness of their skill set and work experience. For that reason, a resume needs to be brief, clear, and eminently scannable.

    A portfolio is the place to knock the socks off the employer with your exquisite artistic technique and clever point of view. A resume is essentially a fact sheet. If I were screening job applicants, any of these resumes would definitely grab my attention, but they would not necessarily help me perform the task at hand (which might be to find all applicants with experience designing for the engineering industry, or all applicants who can work with a specific development platform, etc.).

    These resumes are more appropriate as portfolio pieces. Why not have a portfolio-style resume in the portfolio, but, when applying for a job, send the traditional kind? Whether you can get away with a creative resume format really depends on the situation, I suppose, but I’d give it some serious thought before going against the grain.

  • SpacePhoenix

    I think that only the last one would be suitable (even then probably border line) as a resume. imo a resume should be neatly presented, in mono only for easy scanning (possibly with OCR software) or transcribing into a database.

    If I were an employer and I was going through resumes even if the job in question was a graphic designer one, I would probably trash all but the bottom one. The rest are really designs, designs which should be in a portfolio and not in a resume.

    When an employer is going through a couple of hundred resumes any where they can’t quickly skim through and see the info they are looking for will probably end up going straight into the trash.

  • circle

    Check out these squares and their traditional views of what a resume is and is not. They should still have a print friendly version for entering into a database but these will make them stand out.

    Actually everyone reading this I hope you don’t get creative because then it will be harder for me to stand out. Please be boring and basic and let me stand out. Thank you very much.

  • Hamran

    These are all cover pages. Great cover pages. Not resumes.

    The actual resume is the complete employment/education information listed in reverse chronology in plain text, with your contact info at the top. If you exclude that, you break HR workflows and essentially hide information from everyone at your potential employer. The first thing many HR people have to do is paste the whole of your resume into a text box in a Web interface and save it into a database so it can be searched and referred to later. They need to see the information in its plainest form.

    It’s the same as you can name your house “The Smith Cottage” and paint it blue and red and put lights all over it, but when people ask for your postal address you give them 123 Main St, City, State, Postal Code. There is a standard way to store and share and use this information. If you burn that information into an image instead of including as plain text then you hide it.

    However the cover page can be the exact opposite. It is not even required in the strictest sense. So you can get as creative as you want in your cover page. You can also target various ones specifically to a particular employer or job. That is actually a great practice.

    But if you were printing and mailing any of the above, then stapling a plain text resume to them would improve them. If emailing, then attach the above as an image and include the plain text resume in the body of the message and you clearly make it much more useful. Even if only to enable plain text searching of the message. So these are cover pages.

  • Terrific examples of a person’s creativity.

    I find that most HR today don’t even know what a resume or c.v. is and it is obvious by the number of books, articles, and examples out there that there are no standards.

    The real value of someone is what makes them stand out in the crowd.

    I would advise those who do such creative work to have a simple straight forward old fashioned styled resume handy for the less progressive.

  • Juuce

    These are great! What is a CV these days? To me it is a bit of paper that convinces the target to consider you for the job and get you an interview. If it achieves those aims, it sure beats a classic approach that gets deleted. A case in point, our studio once received a paper donkey (pinata)from a designer that we had to kick the crap out of to get to the CV and work examples. She still works for us 5 years later.
    The creative industry has the benefit of not needing to fit the square hole, wear the suit or be cleanly shaven. Of course some people prefer it – but tolerate deviation!
    Roughly twice a year we put out adverts when we need designer for the studio, and nothing is more mind-numbing than 600 applications in the same Word template ranting about creativity, just not showing it. Being an industry largely about creative approached to visual presentation – why not start with your first point of contact. How wild you go depends on the target – a (suit-wearing recruiter? Borderline insane creative director? In-house production manager…
    Bottom line is that it is hard to get excited about a creative prospect when their CV look like one from an accountant.

  • Wow, these are really stunning examples. Designs like these would really make you stand out. It would depend on the kind of company your going to see exactly. I would agree with peterb, that it’s a good idea to have a ‘serious’ resume in addition. Perhaps send the serious resume in the mail and have a design like these to leave with the potential employer at the interview. Include a photo of yourself also – every little helps!

  • atsa

    I really like all these resumes but its not same with HR Departments of Companies looking to hire. Mostly the look for exact information and in resume there should be more information design than visual designs.

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful resumes

  • Fantastic designs and layouts to inspire all who are about to set to make a resume. But they are only good to post or email and therefore no good for the likes of a job website, they usually want a doc file.

  • Anonymous

    Oh WOW! Some of these are truly awesome! My fiancée is a graphic designer and he could use taking a look at this entry! Thanks for putting it together, Jennifer.

    Looking for web design tips?

  • Drew

    I have used both the heavy design resume and the traditional one. I can honestly say the jobs I picked up with the graphic resume were much more fulfilling as an artist, as opposed to the ones I got with the traditional resume. If your the type of person who is more interested in getting an awesome job where you are challenged daily as a graphic designer and pushed to the limits of your creative ability, go with the heavy graphic resume. Only those employers who get your style and want what you have to offer will respond. On the other hand if you your looking for a gig…any gig, send them the traditional one. Those employers generally don’t care about your style or talent, they simply just need someone to work the program and produce work in their preset style.

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