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Creative Resumes for Copywriters?

Should people going for creative jobs use creative resumes?

5:44 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If someone has an MBA and they are applying for a Director of Marketing position, it is obvious their resume should be conservative. But, if someone is going for a copywriting or graphic designer job with an advertising agency, should their resume be a little more visually creative?

While the content (previous experience, education, etc.) should be professional looking, I am just wondering about adding a little flair like a non-cutsie, simple graphic or something? What about using a creative paper to have it printed on instead of the standard linen? Is it best to try to "stand out" a bit or will taking that risk cause a resume to get tossed in the circular file?

The bottom line is--how creative should the resume look?

6:51 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When hiring for creative positions (caveat- I'm not in advertising) I like a professional resume and cover letter just like any other position. I do appreciate someone who adds an additional work sample which can be appropriately creative though.
6:53 pm on Mar 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Being outside of the corporate world for too many years to mention, my opinion on this should be taken with a grain of salt...that said, I would not add graphics to a resume. A well presented resume provides good information - and a portfolio should supply the evidence that you have creativity.

my 2 cents :)

But I'd be interested in hearing from someone who actually knows something current on this subject.

10:47 am on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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OK u've a catch here.

If its a hard-copy I may not suggest graphics (maybe....just maybe for graphic designer). But yes you can deliver some really 'out-of-lines' copy for your resume if applying for copywriting job. This I have done in past and it really helps. Imagine a Creative Director getting a true facet of your personality thru the resume. (assuming he is creative as well) It really helps as people who dares to explore their identity and put forth in front of people, tends to rise higher.

I may have forwarded u the copy of my resume (something that's in your mind) but the globe is still a huge arena. So explore your imagination and come out with a very out-of-the-earth CV. If its a post of CW in some frenzy Ad agency - you might hit the Bulls-Eye.

1:44 pm on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Jessica, I've seen a ton of resumes, and most attempts to get creative end up looking unprofessional. I DO think that a skilled graphic designer could vary from the standard resume format and incorporate graphic elements; a short "brochure" might be an interesting idea.

If you make the reader hunt for important information, though, he/she won't like it. The target firm may dictate some choices, too. In a conservative corporate environment, even creative types probably need to use a traditional resume. Conversely, a small, avant-garde ad agency might like a highly creative presentation.

I think this issue is a lot like using humor - if you decide to do it, you really need to do it well.

4:26 pm on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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J, first and foremost you want to look professional.

You want the resume and cover letter to reflect that you are competent, have integrity and that you have some interest in the industry. That is to say, you give a rip and it's not just a job for you. It is on this last point you might (be careful) be a bit more colorful.

For example, if you're aiming at an ad agency, you refer to some of their key clients as firms you turn to for services or products where you list "other interests." Something like. "I drink Coke, drive a Chevy, use UPS over FedEx,..."

5:04 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks so much for the help! Looks like the consensus is to keep it professional and make the portfolio creative. I appreciate the comments!


12:17 am on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have been a TECHNICAL writer for the past 10 years, and have
started crossing over to copywriting.

Adding my two cents, many companies use scanners with OCR.
Graphics can confuse them. Multiple fonts can confuse them.

What I have done with GREAT EFFECT is to have an online portfolio
of my work that I can show my contact once I'm inside the door.

I have a blog on my site which I very, very selectively point
clients to if I get the sense that they might enjoy a bit of
whimsey (most do not) as well as serious persuasion. And soon,
in addition to my technical writing portfolio, I'll have a full
blown copywriting portfolio as well.

One more thing about the portfolio: I plan on having a mirror
version of it on Geocities so that if I am talking to a
prospective employer (i.e., someone who would pay great AND
provide benefits), I do not arouse concerns about my
entrepreneurial nature. :) As long as I do the work that they
need done, on time, no excuses, it's none of their busienss as to
whether I have something going on the side.

To GET INSIDE THE DOOR, I use a standard, professionally crafted
2-page resume. Very little creativity. I don't cast pearls
before swine, i.e., show work to people who may not be up to
appreciating it. Generally, HR people are NOT creative types.
That's what drives them into HR (God love 'em).

I do NOT include references. I do not include anything from my
portfolio. I make it clear that both of these are available
during an interview.

Finally, I make sure that in addition to my experience, that I
tell the prospective employer or client what I will do for him or
her. And I aim at showing this person how hiring me will turn
them into a hero with their superiors (assuming it's not a one
person show).

Bal Simon