Each week, TopResume’s career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions like the one below from Quora and the Ask Amanda form. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.

Q: Will a creative resume design really help me land the job?

Do creative resume designs work? Do employers like them? — Rodrigo M.

To be honest, a creative resume design can often work against — rather than in — your favor. In fact, when TopResume surveyed nearly 400 recruiters and HR professionals about the resume mistakes they considered to be deal-breakers, “format and/or design is too elaborate” was among the top 10 resume offenses.

Here’s why: While a fun design or an unusual format may catch a recruiter’s eye, it can also be distracting. The best way to impress a recruiter is by making it easy for them to identify your qualifications and understand your career story in a short amount of time. The average recruiter spends only six seconds reviewing a resume during their initial assessment; they don’t want to waste time hunting for key pieces of information. Unfortunately, a creative resume format often changes the whole layout of the document, making it a challenge for recruiters to quickly find the information they care most about.

In addition, creative resume designs don’t play nicely with applicant tracking systems (ATS). If you plan to apply for positions online, avoid using a resume design that includes embedded tables, charts, or other images, as these design elements are often unreadable by the ATS.

The moral of the story? When it comes to your resume format, less is usually more. Stick to a simple, clean resume design that favors white space and makes it easy for the reader to quickly skim your information and understand your career story. The more creative you get with your resume design, the more likely recruiters will be forced to hunt for the information they care about — and the more likely they will skip over your application altogether.

Save the fancy graphs and other bells-and-whistles for your personal website (if applicable). If you’re looking for inspiration, check out some of TopResume’s best sample resumes.

Click on the following link for more information on why an uncomplicated resume design is most successful.

Unsure if your resume design will pass the test? Request a free resume review today.

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