Have you submitted countless resumes only to hear radio silence from hundreds of employers? Think of it this way: the average corporate job posting receives 250 resumes. And that’s just for one job!
If you don’t hear back, it doesn’t mean that you’re not qualified. It also doesn’t mean your resume is half-bad, either. But it does mean that your application didn’t stand out. Employers spend an average of 2.5 seconds skimming your application before moving on to the next one.
Every job application you send should stand out, including your cover letter and resume. If you want better luck scoring interviews, you’ll need to spend more time making a creative job application. Today, we’ll go through five ways to do so, and show you how EDHEC can help you with an extra kick in your job search.
What is a Creative Job Application?
With all things, you must add nuance to your strategy. Your job application should still be professional, clear, and demonstrative of all of your relevant experiences. None of those qualifiers should be sacrificed for the sake of creativity.
A creative job application is creative in the way that it stands out from the others. Even subtle distinctions can make your application creative. You can use more creative elements depending on the job you’re applying to.
For example, an employer hiring a graphic designer would likely appreciate more design elements to an application than a more conservative government agency looking for an accountant. Tailoring your creative job application to the company and industry is paramount to your success.
1. Creative Project Display
Most resumes list an applicant’s projects consecutively, detailing the work involved, how they succeeded, and the timeline. A portfolio might add links to said projects, putting the onus on the employer to see for themselves.
If you can find creative ways to input images of your successes in your resume or portfolio, your application will stand out. It will also give employers an easier path to learning whether or not you can produce quality work.
2. Add Personal Stories and Interests
If you’re going to add personal interests to your resume, make sure they would be interesting to the employer.
For example, an application to a grant writing role might include a link to your blog detailing your history and experiences with volunteer work. Or, an application to a business development role might include your experience creating a successful startup in college.
These details add personality to your application, helping employers see your creative side and who you really are as a person. Try your best to keep this section limited though — at most, two or three sentences.
3. Spice Up the Layout
Resumes and cover letters often have similar formats across all job applications. Which parts of your application do you want prospective employers to see first? Highlight those parts with text boxes and columns to ensure they get fair exposure.
You might also consider bolding and italicising certain elements, especially positive experiences and results you propelled in other roles.
4. Use Icons and Colours
What’s a creative job application without a little bit of colour? You can add different shades to your resume — perhaps to highlight boxes with achievements, or to emphasise certain skillsets. You might even add the colour palette of the company you’re applying to, to evoke a sense of familiarity.
Be careful, though. Don’t get carried away with overly bold or abundant colours, as your goal is to highlight your experiences, not distract from them.
Another creative addition could be icons. Next to your skill sets, you could use “check-mark” or “pen-icon” bullet points. You could add a globe for experiences that took you out of your home country. Have a little fun with it!
5. Create a Value Video
Some employers are starting to require applicants to submit a short “value video” in place of a traditional job application.
One survey said that 9 out of 10 employers would watch a video job application if they received one. The switch in medium lends itself to increased creativity.
Create a short video in which you describe:
- Why you’re interested in the role and company
- What value you bring to the table, including your skills, experiences, and traits
A short video embodies a creative job application that will surely get you noticed. Use the opportunity to sell yourself with the video, as you have more tools at your disposal than just written words or a portfolio. Show off your eloquence, personality, eye contact, smile, and professionalism.
Pro tip: Don’t replace your entire resume with a video. See it as more of a cover letter, and include your resume as well. Make sure you also write a short note on the email letting the employer know that you have attached a video.
A creative job application is one way to help you shine apart from other applicants. But always keep your audience in mind when drafting your resume and cover letter. Don’t go overboard, and make sure your best selling points are always clear — even amidst design elements.
If you’re looking to score an interview, you might benefit from a creative job application, as well as some extra support.