How to put creativity on your resume

How do you demonstrate creative ability on something like a resume or portfolio? The same way you demonstrate anything: show your work.

What problems did you approach with creativity and what were you able to accomplish as a result? If ideas are worthless, what we do with them is where the value is.

People are rarely hired to do a job based on their ability to have ideas about it. Even the most well-paid idea workers—the CEOs and enterprise visionaries—don’t get paid for their ideas. Instead, the people who seem to get paid to sit around and think all day are really getting paid to be experts at communication ideas across a broad channel of people, each with different perspectives and backgrounds or beliefs. Or they’re paid to not merely have ideas, but to develop actionable, detailed strategies on how those ideas can come to fruition, under budget and ahead of schedule.

If you’re hoping to get a job based on your ability to have what feel to be “good ideas,” get in line. The problem is that ideas are useless, even worthless, without action. So if you want to demonstrate your creativity in a resume or portfolio, what you should emphasize is your ability to use creativity for overcoming challenges, inventing valuable things, or for producing real changes in how something works.

If you struggle to come up with real examples of your creativity in-action, consider putting in the extra bit of work to turn your ideas into reality. And if your response to such a call-to-action is “I can’t” or “I don’t know how” then you should reconsider your ability to use creativity for getting anything done.

At the end of the day, creativity is how we invoke change through new and useful ideas. What’s the last thing you changed with your ideas? Put that in your portfolio.