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Creative Resume Design: Free Templates & Tools to Use

Creative Resume Design: Free...

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Creative Resume Design: Free Templates & Tools to Use

Want to have a standout creative resume without spending a cent? You’re in a good place. There are many online templates and tools to help you create a stunning resume. In this piece, we compile the best of those that are also 100% free of charge.

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John McTale

Editor-in-chief

Nov 8, 2021

 

 

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Writing resumes is a pain and a stress. There, I said it. The fact that your future career depends, almost exclusively, on a single document just *feels* unfair.

And, while many a career expert are predicting the death of a resume as the go-to job application document, for now, it’s still the most widely-used way of screening candidates.

Depending on the industry, the average job opening attracts between 30 and 300 applicants. That’s a lot of resumes to read for the recruiter. That’s why many candidates decide to get creative with their resumes: make the design and layout stand out from the crowd.

Is that a good strategy? The annoying answer is, it depends. For corporate openings, it’s probably best to stick with a standard resume created in Word or Google Docs—big companies are likely to use ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) for initial resume screening and creative formats might not be parsed properly by those annoying little bots.

But—

When applying to smaller companies, modern fancy startups, or eying a job in a highly creative industry, you’re almost *expected* to show some creativity in your resume design.

The good news? In this article, you’ll see dozens of free templates, tools, and resources that will let you create a stunning creative resume at no cost at all.

I spent the past few days thoroughly researching the resume-making market and can proudly say that this article is going to be your ultimate resume toolbox.


First, though, see how we, at Storydoc, can help you up your creative resume game.

 

Storydoc creative resume templates

 

Our interactive presentation maker comes with templates perfect for a stunning creative resume.

Instead of giving the hiring manager yet another bland document looking just like 300 others in that folder, you can get her an interactive experience telling the story behind your career and skillset like you never thought possible.

And the best part? If you’re a student, you can use our dynamic resume template 100% free of charge. Storydoc is and will always be free for verified .edu email addresses.

Here’s an example of how your Storydoc online resume might look:

 

 

Impressive, right? You see, the main problem with most “creative” resume designs is that they’re art for art’s sake. Forcing fancy graphics, animations, and visuals into a document, making it look crammy and actually harder to scan than a plain Word document.

Storydoc's creative resume template has been designed for perfect readability, letting the hiring manager immediately see the real value you bring to the table.

It’s all about showcasing what matters most in a way so engaging that employers will want to read it to the very end.

Another string to your bow is our personalization feature. In a few clicks, you can personalize each resume to the employer of your choice, adding their company logo or the name of the hiring manager (if you know it).

Finally—

With Storydoc, you’ll avoid the awkwardness of waiting for a callback. Our tool gives you access to an analytics panel for your resumes, letting you track each and every one you sent out. You’ll know who opened your resume, how many times they shared it with their colleagues, and how much time they spent on it.

 

Free online tools for a creative resume

 

The online resume-building market is huge. There are hundreds of apps that let you create nice-looking, non-standard resumes using their predesigned templates. Some even come with auto-generated content for job descriptions, skills, or even resume summaries.

The problem with those apps is that most of them are based on tricky subscription pricing. Initially, you pay around $4 for two-week access, only to get charged around $30 each month after that period. All that said—

There are apps that are actually free to use and you can create very nice creative resumes with them. Certainly better than what you’d be able to produce in Word (and with much less effort involved).

Yes, you guessed it. We thoroughly researched the market and want to suggest to you two of the best free apps for creative resume making.

Note: this is not a sponsored piece of content, we have no deal with those providers, and they don’t even know we’re writing this. Our recommendation is unbiased and objective.

 

Wozber

 

Wozber is the most full-featured free resume builder online. It comes with 30 fully-customizable templates, many of which are REALLY creative. At the same time, all of Wozber’s templates look very modern and minimalist. It’s a great pick for a tasteful resume that will add some flair to your job application while still adhering to the most important rules of the resume game.

Also, you can easily switch between the templates while keeping all of the content so you can decide how creative you want to get depending on the company you’re applying to.

One of the best features of Wozber is the auto-formatting: depending on the length of your content, the app will auto-adjust the layout so that you never have to worry about page splitting, spacing, or the positioning of headings.

Also, the wizard-based editor comes with tips for writing each resume section so you get the feeling of being hand-held throughout the process. All of their in-app advice has been consulted with certified career experts so it really is legit and trustworthy.

Honestly, the experience of using Wozber feels almost too good to be true, but true it is. Here are some sample creative resumes made with the app:

 

Wozber template #1

Wozber template #2

 

FlowCV

 

FlowCV.io is one of the fastest-developing resume creating apps online and it remains 100% free. I first discovered it two years ago and still thought it was a great little tool but when I revisited their page while doing research for this piece, I was stunned.

They added dozens of great-looking templates, improved their editor to accommodate more personalization options, and tweaked the wizard’s UI to make writing a resume even easier.

The philosophy behind their product, as described by the founders themselves, is very simple: “We believe that creating an effective resume should feel more like browsing music on Spotify, chatting on Tinder or editing pictures with VSCO than working on a thesis.”

It’s hard not to agree, right? With FlowCV, you can create a resume in less than an hour and the result will be an eye-popping but still a very much professional document.

Here are some examples of what you can expect:

 

FlowCV template #1

FlowCV template #2

 

Fill-in-the-blanks creative resume templates

 

The free resume builders we reviewed above are a great way to add some fun to the daunting resume-making process. The downside is that you have less control over the final product than when using a standard text editor.

And while making a resume from scratch in MS Word can feel like torture, you can pick a readymade template available online and just fill it out with your information.

Also, using an “isolated” template instead of an app, you make sure your personal information is safe and secure since you don’t need to disclose it at any stage.

Let’s have a look at some options:

 

MS Word free creative resume templates

 

Wait, what? MS Word and “creative?” That doesn’t even feel remotely possible.

Alright, perhaps the templates available from Microsoft aren’t the fanciest, but they’re a safe choice if you want a resume design with some pop on it while still be sure your job application passes an ATS scan.

Out of hundreds of resume templates available in MS Word, there are three that stand out:

 

security

Modern chronological

Highly legible, elegant, and simple with a little bit of flair added with the green elements. Also, bonus points for a great font pair (always a sucker for a good serif + sans-serif combination).

 

Download here
basic

Simple resume

As the name implies, one of the simplest picks out there. Again, it’s very straightforward and focused on high readability. A good resume template to go for if your experience is very limited, letting you put more emphasis on your educational background.

Download here
digital advertising

Columns

Nice pastel colors add a cozy touch to this template, the two-column design will help you save space and squeeze more content onto the single page.

Download here

 

Google Docs free creative resume templates

 

Now, arguably, MS Word resumes don’t exactly count as “free” because you need a paid Microsoft account to be able to access them. Here’s where Google Docs come to play—to get these templates, all you need is internet access.

Here’s how to find the GDocs templates gallery on Google Drive: go to this link and just scroll down until you see the templates for resumes. You’ll see 5 nice-looking templates:

 

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All of them are solid and display some level of creativity. See my personal recommendation below.

security

Modern writer

“Modern Writer” has some minimalist elegance in it that just draws your eyes into the text. It’s not complicated or overly graphic-based, but it comes with a nice combination of fonts and the colors add a bit of a spark to it.

 

Download here
basic

Swiss

Created with Swiss precision, this template does a very good job of clearly dividing the resume sections thus guiding the reader’s eyes to where you want them to go. Plus, it features enough white space to give recruiters some breathing room.

Download here

 

Canva free creative resume templates

 

A tool that lets you really indulge in creative resume templates is Canva. In case you don’t know, it’s an online visual editor where actual design pros create templates for all kinds of documents for laymen to use.

In a way, it works as a shortcut to fancy creative design. With little effort involved, you can create a resume you’d think only a graphic designer could make.

To browse all of Canva’s templates for resumes, just follow this link but note that some of them might not be free.

Again, for a hand-picked selection of the best free ones, see below.

cream and grey

Cream and grey

The mockup of this creative resume template has been made for a “Social Media Manager,” and it makes all the sense in the world. It’s a great pick for creative industries such as social media, advertising, or online marketing.

Download here
pink colorful

Pink colorful infographic

By far the most visual resume template so far. It’s based on simple vector icons representing each resume section and differently-sized blobs that indicate your proficiency in the skills you decide to showcase. A brilliant resume for entry-level positions, not so much for more senior candidates.

 

Download here
white and pastel teal

White and pastel teal

“White and pastel teal,” in turn, follows the major trend in modern-day design: minimalism. A lovely pick for a more “serious” kind of a job application in a conservative industry, still featuring some creative elements—far from boring and plain!

 

Download here

 

Behance free creative resume templates

 

Finally, one of my favorite online repositories of all sorts of beautiful designs: Behance.

It’s a place where designers from all over the world share their work: an online portfolio, of sorts. Now, most of the designs you’ll see on Behance are just there to work as sources of inspiration—you can’t download them. But—

Some designers share free download links for their work, pro bono. It’s exactly the case with the three amazingly creative resume templates you’ll see below.

minimalist

Minimalist

An absolutely stunning piece of resume work by Fernando Baez of Spain. A template that lets you showcase your achievements, provide an overview of your career history and even mention your hobbies and interests in a non-cringe way. The only downside is that it’s only editable in Adobe Illustrator.

Download here
clean

Clean

Another resume created in Adobe Illustrator, this design by Eduardo Ogawa is very polished, elegant, and easy-to-read. Like some other two-column resume designs we covered, it will help you save space and end up with a single-page resume, if that’s your goal.

 

Download here
white on black

White on black

A bit risky when you suspect your resume might be printed out—no employer would appreciate the amount of ink they’d have to use to print it—but sure to immediately pop when viewed online. A really beautiful piece of work by Wassim Awadallah.
 

Download here

 

A word on ATS vs. creative resumes

 

Before you go, here’s a very important thing to remember.

In modern-day hiring, a lot of companies use automated software to screen resumes before they reach human eyes: it’s called ATS. And contemporary ATS is really good at extracting information from most PDFs, let alone Word documents but it’s unlikely to scan a purely visual file.

To make sure your resume is fit for the ATS encounter, here’s what you should do:

  • First, save your resume as a PDF. It’s the safest choice because it prevents the design and layout of your resume from going haywire across devices and operating systems.
  • Secondly, copy all of the contents of your resume. Just open the file and go Ctrl + A.
  • Then, open the Notepad and paste what you copied (Ctrl + V).
  • Now, look if the order of sections is intact, if there aren’t any awkward line breaks and whether the text makes sense, overall.
  • If it does, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, the only way it’s useful is if you know for a fact that it will be read by a human being (for instance, if you’re applying directly to the hiring manager’s email).

 

And that’s a wrap!

 

As you can see, there are many ways for you to punch up the creativity of your job application completely free of charge. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your end goal should be for your resume to be as easy-to-read as possible. There’s no point cramming annoying graphics, charts, or visualization into your resume if they don’t make reading easier and more engaging.

Finally, make sure to make your resume ATS-friendly if you’re applying via a job board or the company’s career site. Non-standard formats will only work when you’re 100% sure your resume will reach a human recruiter or hiring manager directly, without having been scanned by bots.

Thanks a lot for reading my article. Keeping my fingers crossed for your job hunt!

John McTale

Hi, I'm John, Editor-in-chief at Storydoc. As a content marketer and digital writer specializing in B2B SaaS, my main goal is to provide you with up-to-date tips for effective business storytelling and equip you with all the right tools to enable your sales efforts.