If you're in a visually-oriented profession, your resume should be visually appealing. If you're a graphic designer, design your resume. If you're a photographer, include some photographic images. If you're an illustrator, surely there's some kind of illustration you could incorporate. Hiring managers for fields like this will look for that professional flair. If you're in another creative discipline, consider ways you can incorporate your skills into the preparation of your resume. You also may want to have a plain, database-friendly version of your resume you can offer to employers who are interested in you. Be sure to ask if they'd like your back-up version for their database. If you can, think of other creative things you might do to help you stand out from the crowd. For example: When I ran a creative agency we responded with a company "resume" once that was a bit off the norm. We were responding to an agency review for a food services client. We coined the phrase "Ala Carte Agency" to describe our collection of service offerings and put our written response in menu format. We had a courier dressed as a waiter deliver our "menu" submission on a silver platter with a red rose and some mints. Although not nearly as qualified as many of our competitors, we made the short list and were called in to make a presentation. So, for a little bit of money, we at least got further along in the interview process.
On a similar note, an ad writer who once applied to my company sent me a resume in the form of an ad. This was someone who hadn't been long out of school, so didn't have much background to brag about yet. She was eager to show me her skills and her ad resume was excellent and amusing. So, I called her in, hoping that she was the person I sought. But, she wasn't. She couldn't back up the ability she'd shown on her resume with other work samples, not even from her student portfolio. Was the creative spark shown on her resume a fluke? I had to guess that it was.
I found another example when I recently read through a recruiter blog which talked about interesting things recruiters had seen candidates do to try to get jobs. One of the posts talked about a candidate in Ontario who bought a billboard for $10K, put his picture, name and phone number on it together with a plea to hire him. The candidate got a lot of publicity, but no jobs. The comment the recruiter posting to the blog made was, "Recruiters know that someone who is so desperate for a job that they spend huge amounts of their own money on crazy stunts is probably unemployable for one reason or another." Graciously, the recruiter's firm did call the candidate in for an interview. Sadly, the candidate severely lacked interview skills and consequently, did not get a job offer. So, the moral of the three stories above is, if you can find a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd that's relevant and doesn't make you appear desperate or otherwise crazed, you may be the candidate who gets the first call. But, when you do, be sure you can back up your "pitch" with substantiation — an outstanding resume, good interview skills and solid reasons why the employer should be interested in hiring you.
At least think about it.
Is there any way you can make your resume stand out from everyone else's? Is there something you can do that would be appropriate to your industry? Can you find a way to demonstrate your skills — especially those the employer might want to take advantage of? If there is, make a plan. Be sure it's something you'd feel comfortable doing and doesn't make you appear desperate. Run your idea by the kind of people you'd be hoping to approach and see what their reaction might be.
But, be careful. Creativity isn't for everyone or every situation. If more than one person give you negative feedback on your idea, you might want to call the whole thing off.