Creative Resumes Get Fewer Interviews

Researchers found creative resumes got fewer interviews.

by Donna Svei on June 26, 2013

A group of university researchers in Norway have shown that creative resumes really don’t work. Here’s the story from the European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology:

The researchers had a gender-balanced group of 45 professionals (half external recruiters and half HR professionals) and 45 students read 12 resumes. The applicants were non-creative types for a non-creative job.

The researchers created three resumes for each applicant. The content was identical. The aesthetics differed.

Resume #1 was a formal resume on white paper.

Resume #2 was identical to Resume #1 except it was on colored paper.

Resume #3 incorporated graphic design elements similar to an infographic.

Here’s what the readers said:


Resume Type












Colored Paper





White Paper






As you can see, only 27% of the creative resumes made it into the “interview” pile while 41% of the traditional resumes on white paper got the nod. Now, can we extrapolate the results of one study in Norway to the whole world? Of course we can, this is the Internet! Well, no, but if it were me, I would heed these results and go with a traditional resume.

What if you’re a creative? I don’t know. I would want to see some research results for creatives. Failing that, I would ask people who review creatives’ resumes and make interviewing decisions for their thoughts on the matter.

June 2014 Update: New research from the University of Michigan-Dearborn says that video resumes don’t help your cause either. More here.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at or call me at (208) 721-0131.

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