Recruiter’s Nightmare: The Scariest Resume Design

  • It won’t be easy if you resolved to pursue a career in a creative field. In order to get a dream job, candidates do their best to stand out from the pile of other applicants. They are so desperate to land a job, so they strive to create an outstanding and unconventional resume that will set them apart and draw recruiter’s attention. It is true that compelling offbeat resume is a way to a career in a creative field. But sometimes they forget that first of all a resume is an official document that introduces them for the first time to an employer. Most job seekers can’t find the right balance between creativity and information you got to present to an HR. As we all know, we never get a second chance to make a good first impression and it’s impossible to fix the bad one. Some applicants confuse an appropriate creative resume with a total disaster. Creating a graphic design resume and experimenting with formatting, fonts, and layout is reasonable, but overly decorated CV is a bad sign for employers. They can get confused by lots of images, diagrams and colorful fonts, therefore it won’t bring you any luck with your job search. The worst case scenario is that it will ruin your chances for success. If a recruiter won’t be able to easily read the crucial information about you such as your experience, professional skills, abilities and accomplishments you will never get a callback.  


    Here are overly creative resume examples that never worked out. Career advisors have shared the worst resume writing mistakes they have encountered during their career. Check it out in order to learn from graphic design mistakes of other job hunters.


    1.     Resume with inconvenient fon

     Look at this resume. Is it possible to read it fast and grasp the main information? Well, apparently no.  Brenda Sommers, HR specialist at a career development center have received thousands of resumes for different job openings. This one is the worst resume design she has ever seen. That’s what she has commented on this resume: “The design of this resume is a complete failure. The background is so distracting so that I can hardly discern this unreadable font. The applicant tried to personalized resume too hard”. These are not all the mistakes in this CV. Recruiters from GrandResume have noticed more: “This resume contains typos. It is definitely success killer. Besides, it is not well structured, there are no bullet points and this candidate has used way too many personal pronouns.”


    Avoid using different fancy and decorative fonts. Bear in mind that there exist some fonts that are better never ever use on your resume. These are decorative fonts such as Papyrus, Edwardian Script, and Comic Sans. Sans serif font like Arial is the best font for the resume. Indeed, it’s clean, modern and readable. In addition, it’s better not to use many different fonts in one document. It’s better to choose one or two preferable and the best resume font size will be at least 11 or even bigger.


    2.     Really long resume

    Here is one more example of bad resume. With a resume like this one, you can only dream about your career success. Candidates often forget that recruiters spend on average only 5-6 seconds to skim a resume. This applicant definitely forgot this fact. James Carter, Career Coach at GoodHired said: “This resume looks pretty like a novel. But it is supposed to be a resume, right? We understand that some of you are qualified enough for a position but a long resume is a bad resume. Keep it simple and short.” There is no need to tell recruiters about all your experience in details. It makes your CV look cluttered and make a recruiter skip the most part of the information. Chances are employer will miss the essentials. You can go into details during the interview or in your cover letter. Less is always more! Keep a resume as relevant, organized and simple as possible. One page will be enough but make sure you include all the crucial facts, dates and work background.


    3.     Trying too hard with your resume design

    A creative professional resume won’t hurt if you are a promising architect or art director. It will help in order not to get lost in piles of white and black similar looking resumes. However, should the resume have color or some not distracting background in this case? If you are applying for a job in sales or in management, funny resumes, flowers or colorful lines will create a confusing impression. Marry Lewis, a Career advisor at, commented on this resume: “Despite the background in the creative field, now she is applying for a serious position in SEO. The worst resume shows zero personality. But be careful with trying too hard. This applicant forgot that, first of all, a resume is a professional document. In order to stand out from the crowd, you are not supposed to add 5 different fonts, 10 colors and all possible images”.


    4.     Resume with disorganized layout

    The resume in form of a table game was not the best decision of that job seeker. Laura Jameson, an experienced recruiter said: “Layout is everything. Even if you are a perfect fit for the position, you may never get a callback. Poor layout of this resume doesn’t allow navigating it with ease.” A creative professional resume is all about the nice and clean presentation. If it’s not well-crafted and organized, fonts and images will overshadow essential facts about you as a professional. Check out the correct information and resume sections order.


    5.     Resume with lots of images

    This resume isn’t that bad, but this candidate has included his personal photo and screwed it up. First, we get easily distracted like this and it can cause some professional bias in terms of sex, age or appearance. According to scientific research, almost 90% of applicants in the US get turned down because they have included their photo or logos of all companies and institutions you used to work in. Even if you have a creative career, a bad graphic design will nip in the bud all your chances to be hired. If you have some visual works you are proud of, your resume is not the best place to showcase it. A professional portfolio will be much better.


    It’s much more advisable to concentrate on your tangible result, achievements, and contribution rather than on pictures.


    Only elegant and clean design that shows off your personality will make you sparkle. Make sure your resume target company culture. Keep in mind these most common resume design mistakes and you will certainly succeed in your job search. Now, check out bad resume examples that will demonstrate you how your resume should not look like.


    Here are a few more bad resume examples. Despite the fact that they are offbeat and creative, they are unlikely to get selected for the desired interview. Don’t try anything you are about to see!


    Now let’s have a look at a great example of a good resume with nice and professional-looking design:  



    Recruiters receive dozens of resumes and emails for each job position, and only the most professional, and outstanding applicants get the interviews. Calm colors, good structure, readable fonts and a bit of creativity are your way to successes.