Traditional vs. Creative: Which Résumé Style is for You? Both!

Creative résumés may be more eye-catching, but they aren't always the right choice. The internship pros at WickedSmart explain why you should also have a traditional résumé on hand.

You know that super fancy résumé you created (or had someone create for you)—the one with the color, and personal logo, and graphics, and it’s just almost too much excitement for you to even think about? Well, it may seem like a work of art, but in the end, all that fanciness may be giving you a leg up in select circumstances—or it may be ruining your chances of landing an internship.

Take a deep breath while we explain.

There is a definite time and place for creative résumés. However, you’ll still need to maintain a traditional résumé if you want to maximize your opportunities.

Why you need a traditional résumé

Applicant tracking systems

Bigger and more established organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems to sort and manage applications and résumés that come in. Some of them do not recognize images in documents, PDFs, or anything other than Microsoft Word. Some Applicant Tracking Systems just might be fancy enough to decode your sexy résumé, but others will enter them into the system as blank in all categories, which means you might as well not exist to the company you’ve applied to.

Positions in non-creative fields

Accounting interns don’t need gigantic purple letters and personal logos. Submitting a fancy résumé in this field just may hurt you. Fields that need creativity can warrant the use of a fancy résumé, but all other fields will probably appreciate the more traditional format. Sometimes they’ll flat out tell you what to submit. Don’t ignore their requests.

When to use a creative résumé

If the rules above don’t apply then you’re probably good to go ahead and send the creative version. If you don’t hear back within a week, it’s not a terrible idea to send over your traditional résumé just in case the other one didn’t go through.

If you’ve established a connection and networked into the company, you have a perfect opportunity to ask which format they’d like, since you have both. They’ll appreciate that.

What is the biggest takeaway from this? Have two résumés and use each wisely. Just because you believe one looks better doesn’t mean it’s the best.

Thanks to the internship pros at WickedSmart for sharing their career search advice!

WickedSmart Blog

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About WickedSmart

The pros at WickedSmart believe that exceptional students should have exceptional opportunities, so they've developed the technology to improve the process of matching business, finance, and technology students with superior paid internship opportunities. They hand-pick the companies they work with to ensure that applicants are matched with the best opportunities and give students more tools to promote their skills and aptitude, such as assessments that validate both work readiness and potential.

You can follow WickedSmart on Facebook and Twitter.


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