Innovative CV/resume options to set yourself apart

by Shannon Houde

I’ve been waiting years for traditional CVs and resumes to be fazed out, and it looks like the first signs of the revolution are here! Think about it – in an age where everything is done online, why is the paper/pdf-based CV still considered standard practice? Making matters worse is the fact that most jobseekers spend days agonising over their CVs just to have them glanced at for 40 seconds by an overwhelmed hiring manager. It’s hard to stand out when your CV looks just like every other candidate’s. That’s why I’m so excited to see creative, digital CV and resume options start to catch on. I’ve highlighted four of these options below, but more are coming on the scene every day, so if you know of one I haven’t mentioned, be sure to share it in the comments section!

First Things First: Who Should Use Alternative CVs?

Before I get to the creative CV options that are out there, I want to preface this post with a few warnings:

Warning 1: Alternative CVs are not right for everyone.


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This is a revolution and sometimes it takes time before it gets universal traction and market acceptance. Before investing your time in creating a non-traditional CV, consider the company and industry you are targeting. Are you applying for a marketing role at an innovative startup or an accounting position at a large financial services firm? While the former would likely appreciate a very creative strategy the latter probably wouldn’t. Carefully consider the culture of the company you’re targeting and decide whether they are ready for such a cutting-edge approach. If in doubt, use one of these as your “cover” CV and then still spell out your accomplishments in a more traditional attachment.

Warning 2: If you’re not going extreme, keep it simple.

If you decide to stick with the traditional paper/pdf CV, make sure you keep it simple. I lean away from fancy formatting on traditional CVs. Unless you are applying for a highly creative graphic design-type role, steer clear of over-designing your CV with complicated layouts, colors, graphics, etc. The most important thing is the content, and especially your accomplishment statements. If you want to present your CV in a creative way, use one of the options below where formatting is done for you, but make sure that your accomplishments are included, as some of these new formats have left this out:

 1. ResumeUp

This one is my absolute favourite. ResumeUp makes it easy to present your education and professional history as an easy-to-read timeline. It’s still in the beta version, so there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out, but I love how this site easily syncs with your LinkedIn profile to populate your job history automatically – so convenient! Plus the final result is absolutely stunning. The only drawback is that there isn’t much space to articulate accomplishments in detail.

2. InnovateCV

InnovateCV helps you create a more traditional-looking resume that is still quite dynamic. Unlike ResumeUp, it allows visitors to view your online CV and to easily download it as a PDF or Microsoft Word Document. It even allows you to attach a short video profile to your CV, as shown in this example.

3. Visual CV

Visual CV is a great option if you have a lot of digital work samples to show off to potential employers. This site lets you supplement your work experience and skill descriptions with relevant documents, images, audio and video – very cool!

4. Innovative Resume

Innovative Resume is pretty similar to Visual CV and InnovativeCV, except the final result is a bit more static (i.e. no videos). Unlike the first three, this site is also not free, but the rates are still pretty affordable. And Innovative Resume does let you customise your CV a bit more by offering 12 different ‘themes’ to choose from.

Photo credit StartupStockPhotos via Pixabay

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