Should a Graphic Designer Have a Creative Resume?

Steve Guntli

4 min read

Green geometrical pattern

Those in graphic design and other creative fields often put together creative resumes in hopes of "standing out," but it usually works against them. Many others in the creative fields (like UX Designers, photographers, interior designers, or marketers) often submit creative resumes 

Remember that the hiring manager is not hiring you based on the aesthetics of your resume. They're looking at your experience, education, skills, and other relevant qualifications.

Here is an example of a creative resume:

Creative Resume

You've probably seen examples like this circulating Pinterest and Instagram. Unfortunately, this type of resume is not suited for online job applications. Here are other reasons you shouldn't use a creative resume, along with the type of resume format a graphic designer should use.

4 Reasons Graphic Designers Should Never Use a Creative Resume

1. Hiring Managers Prefer a Traditional Resume Format

Most hiring managers prefer a traditional resume format. When they're looking at hundreds of resumes per day, the last thing they want to come across is something that looks like an art project. It's often hard for a hiring manager to look at a creative resume and quickly find the information they need and when that happens, the resume is often rejected.

Learn more about how hiring managers read resumes on our post about the 6-second resume test.

2. It's Hard to Tailor a Creative Resume

You should be slightly tailoring your resume to each position you apply to. That is really difficult to do with a creative resume. Editing graphics, images, or even just text is usually a hassle with a creative resume, because the "look" is so important to the document. You risk not including all of your relevant experience and appearing unqualified.

3. You're Up Against Applicant Tracking Systems  

Most companies (at least 90%) today use what's called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These systems automatically scan your resume to determine if you're a good match for the position. It does this by parsing your resume for keywords, experience, education, and other important factors.

Creative resumes with fancy designs, colors, graphics, and fonts have a difficult time getting read by some ATS scans. The computer is expecting to scan text--not graphics. If you submit a resume that has a creative format, you risk the ATS scoring you as a bad match or worse: rejecting your resume due to encountering an error.

You can check how your resume looks to an ATS scan by using Zipjob's free resume review tool.

Check ATS compatibility

4. Unprofessional

Whether or not you're targeting a job in graphic design, you need to make a professional first impression. Although a creative resume could look pretty awesome, it just doesn't have a professional feel to it.

What Type of Resume Should a Graphic Designer Use?

A graphic designer should use a traditional resume format, just like everyone else.

Instead of making your resume act as your creative portfolio, you should include a link to your online portfolio with examples of your work. Include your portfolio URL in your contact section or as its own section.

Here is a good example of a resume for a graphic designer:

Freelance Graphic Designer

Expert Tip

View 200+ more professional resume samples for all industries, along with a guide to writing resumes from our career experts.


Even a graphic designer should use a traditional format. It's what both hiring managers and ATS systems prefer. The aesthetics of your resume have no effect on the hiring manager's decision. Using a creative or infographic resume with colors, designs, fancy fonts and graphics will only do more than good.

The only time you should use a creative resume is if you are certain that the employer prefers one and you are delivering it directly (in person or by email).  There are many resume builders that can help you put together a creative resume that emphasizes format over content.

Good luck with your job search!

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Written by

Steve Guntli, Editor & Content Writer

Steve started his career as an editor/journalist/photographer for a small weekly newspaper before joining Zipjob. Born in California, Steve has also lived in Colorado and Washington, and recently relocated to Austin, Texas. In his free time, Steve is an actor, comedian, and podcaster, and an avid long-distance runner.

Illustration of a marked up resume

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