The Best Resumes Get Back to the Basics

Survey: Majority of Execs Prefer Traditional Versus Trendy Resumes

The Creative Group
181 Bay Street, Suite 820
Toronto, ON M5J 2T3
Contact: Naz Araghian
[email protected]

Toronto, ON -- Is it time to ditch the old-fashioned resume? No way, new research from staffing firm The Creative Group suggests. Nearly eight in 10 (78 per cent) advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they would rather receive traditional CVs in Word or PDF format from candidates applying for creative roles at their company. This was also the top response among a majority (70 per cent) of hiring managers in a similar study conducted three years ago.

Far fewer executives today favoured online profiles (14 per cent) and video or infographic resumes (3 per cent each) as their format of choice.

View an infographic of the survey findings.

“With only a few moments to capture a hiring manager’s attention, it’s tempting to develop a resume with a creative format and style. However professionals need to be sure they aren’t sacrificing clarity in the process,” said Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of The Creative Group.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “Which of the following resume formats do you most prefer to get from candidates applying for creative roles at your company?” Their responses:



Traditional (e.g., Word document, PDF)



Social or online profile









Some other format



Don’t know/no answer





*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

“While a visually unique resume may be a great way to initially pique an employer’s interest, successful resumes must above all else be easy to read, concise and clearly demonstrate what makes the candidate an ideal fit for the position,” Bottineau added. 

The Creative Group shares five resume mistakes creative job seekers should avoid:

  1. Overdesigning it. While it’s OK to incorporate elements of your personal brand into your resume, refrain from excessive embellishments, such as too many charts and colours, which can be distracting. Instead, use your portfolio to showcase your artistic style.
  2. Ignoring the user experience. The best resumes feature simple fonts, standard margins, section headings and bullet points to highlight key attributes and help employers navigate the information.
  3. Focusing on job responsibilities versus results. Hiring managers are far more interested in the impact you made than the tasks you handled. Whenever possible, quantify your contributions to the bottom line.
  4. Including too many extras. Listing hobbies and interests on your CV is fine if they’re related to your career goals and the position in question; if they’re not, leave them off. In the same vein, ditch the objective statement and business jargon.
  5. Failing to keep it fresh. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, it’s wise to keep your application materials current. Review your resume at least once a year to ensure it features your most recent accomplishments and skills.

About the Research

The survey was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 U.S. advertising and marketing executives.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in connecting interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire and full-time basis. For more information, including job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and TCG’s blog, visit Follow us at, and @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace news and hiring trends.